Types of Essays

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  • Topic: Writing, Rhetorical modes, Essay
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Four types of essays exist including: narration, description, exposition, and argument. Each type has a unique purpose: some tell a story, some are descriptive and others prevent viewpoints. One of the best ways to better understand each type of essay is to review examples.

Types of Essays

Narrative

Narration is telling a story from a certain viewpoint, and there is usually a reason for the telling. All narrative essays will have characters, setting, climax, and most importantly, a plot. The plot is the focus of the story and is usually revealed chronologically, but there are sometimes flash forwards and flash backs.

In writing a narrative essay, remember to:

Include sensory and emotional details, so the reader will experience the story, not just read about it Have the story support the point you are making, and make reference to that point in the first sentence. Write in the first or third person

Descriptive

Descriptive essays have text which describes traits and characteristics of people, objects, events, feelings, etc in intricate detail.

Whatever is being described will be thoroughly examined. For example, if you were describing roses, you would explain:

Where they come from
What they look like
What colors they are
How they grow and smell
When you write a descriptive essay, you want to involve the reader’s senses and emotions. For example, you could say, “I got sleepy” or describe it like this, "As I was waiting for Santa, my eyelids began to get heavy, the lights on the tree began to blur with the green branches, and my head started to drop." The second sentence gives vivid details to make the reader feel like he is there.

Exposition

Expository essays can compare, explore and discuss problems, or tell a story. An exposition essay gives information about various topics to the reader. It:

Informs
Describes
Explains
In writing an exposition, the text needs to:

Be concise and easy to understand
Give different views on a subject or report on a situation or event Explain something that may be difficult to understand as you write your essay. Remember that your purpose is to explain.

Argumentative

In an argumentative essay the writer is trying to convince the reader by demonstrating the truth or falsity of a topic. The writer’s position will be backed up with certain kinds of evidence, like statistics or opinions of experts.

The writer is not just giving an opinion, but making an argument for or against something and supporting that argument with data.

To know how to write an essay in an argumentative way, you have to research and backup what you say in the text.

Learn by Example

When learning how to write an essay, sometimes the best way to learn is to look and analyze essay examples.

Following are excerpts from narrative essays:

"Looking back on a childhood filled with events and memories, I find it rather difficult to pick on that leaves me with the fabled "warm and fuzzy feelings." As the daughter of an Air Force Major, I had the pleasure of traveling across America in many moving trips. I have visited the monstrous trees of the Sequoia National Forest, stood on the edge of the Grande Canyon and have jumped on the beds at Caesar’s Palace in Lake Tahoe." "The day I picked my dog up from the pound was one of the happiest days of both of our lives. I had gone to the pound just a week earlier with the idea that I would just "look" at a puppy. Of course, you can no more just look at those squiggling little faces so filled with hope and joy than you can stop the sun from setting in the morning. I knew within minutes of walking in the door that I would get a puppy… but it wasn't until I saw him that I knew I had found my puppy." "Looking for houses was supposed to be a fun and exciting process. Unfortunately, none of the ones that we saw seemed to match the specifications that we had established. They were too small, too impersonal, too close to the...
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