Types of Essays

An essay is, in general, an essay that presents the author’s argument, but this term is somewhat vague, probably overlapping with those of an article, letter, report, book, and even a short story. Essays are typically formal and usually written on academic subjects. In recent years, essays have increasingly been categorized as “expression” and “communication”. In recent decades, there has also been the tendency to combine the two concepts, thus: communication essay and expression essay. Essays are written to be used for a specific purpose, which may be for publication, as a student project or for a thesis.


The structure of an essay makes it different from a normal article. The essay consists of three main parts: the introduction, the body and the conclusion. These parts have the freedom to adopt any structure they wish, however the most common, accepted and proven method is to follow the logical order, which is called the logical sequence.

The introduction is the section that introduces the essay and provides background information. It can be very brief, as in a class assignment or research paper; but if it is a personal essay, it will also be shorter. The essay body contains all the material required in the essay and is normally referred to as the main body. This consists of the main thesis statement (which may vary from writer to writer), body paragraphs which contain individual statements, the conclusion paragraph which summarizes the arguments of the essay, and the index. The index is not included in the writing of an essay, instead the writer chooses a separate method of indexing.

The most common forms of essay composition are argumentative, narrative and descriptive. Argumentative essays are written about an issue or topic, using various forms of argument, such as comparison and contrast, implication, support, and persuasion. Narrative essays are written about events that are related to the thesis and may include a personal story or a description of events. Descriptive essays usually describe facts as they pertain to the subject, without any opinion or criticism of the facts as such.

The third most common type of essay is descriptive. It can be written about almost anything, without any opinion on the matter. As the name indicates, this type of essay tests the reader’s knowledge of the subject or topic, rather than presenting information about it. An example would be an essay about the common cold. The writer would have been well advised to include the name of every person who had died as a result of the common cold.

The four most common types of essays are expository, argumentative, descriptive and personal. The expository essay is a summary of some previous and related expository literature. The argumentative essay is designed to convince the reader of the existence or non-existence of some claim. A descriptive essay is one that presents facts about a specific subject but leaves the opinion of the author(s) out of the piece.