There are many forms of written discourse, though they can typically be divided into four basic categories that cover most pieces of writing. Expository writing is a piece that is written to explain something or provide information about an issue, while descriptive writing presents a description of a particular thing through sensual language. Narrative discourse is typically a written work that tells a story, often with a basic structure that includes a beginning, a middle, and an end. An argumentative written discourse, on the other hand, is one that is meant to persuade someone with a particular idea or to argue a certain point of view. Most forms of written discourse are presented in a prose style, though poetry can be used effectively in some situations. One of the most common forms of discourse is expository writing, which presents information about an issue. An essay written as a comparison and contrast between two different things, for example, is typically a piece of expository written discourse. These works do not argue that one thing is better than another, but simply provide information about them. Descriptive writing is also quite common and, as the name suggests, describes a particular item, scene, or event. This type of written discourse often uses sensual language that appeals to a reader’s perceptions, such as smell and sight. A writer using this form of discourse typically tries to paint a mental image for a reader that allows him or her to more closely connect to what is described.
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