Types of Essays

An essay is, in general, simply a written piece that present the writer’s opinion, but the precise definition is sometimes vague, overlapping with that of a personal letter, an article, a report, a book, and even a short story. Essays have always been categorized as either formal or informal. Formal essays generally follow a specific structure, although this has certainly changed over time. One of the biggest influences on essay structure has come from the early universities, who required all students to write one essay for their degree. This essay was usually the result of student research and included some form of critical analysis or an argument based on the papers they read.


The idea being that a student should be able to formulate his or her own opinion about the given topic. Formal essay formats involve the use of at least four distinct parts, which are usually dependent on the type of essay being written. The first part is known as the Introduction, which is often written in the first person. This part will contain the writer’s thesis statement, which is the main reason for writing the essay. It can also include a description of the subject, an examination of the literature and other supportive research, and finally a description of the results or conclusion.

The next part of the essay is known as the Body. This part contains all of the main points of the thesis statement as well as any additional supporting evidence that go along with it. The remaining part, known as the Conclusion, presents the writer’s opinion about the matter. This is the most common type of essay and it must contain factual information and/or a logical argument to persuade the reader.

The third type of essay that is quite common is what is known as the expository essay. Unlike the argumentative type, this one does not have a thesis or a description of the subject. Rather, the expository essay has no content other than to persuade the reader to accept a particular point or the viewpoint of the author(s). This type of academic essay usually takes the form of an argument or a series of argumentative or expository essay paragraphs. In expository style, there is no need for further documentation or elaboration on the subject because the primary purpose of the essay is to persuade the reader.

The fourth and last type of essay is known as the reflective essay. Unlike the other types of essay mentioned above, it actually starts with the introduction. The starting point of this essay is the topic or issue of the essay itself. The author(s) then uses the body of the essay to explore the various possible arguments that can be raised about the given topic. As such, this type of essay requires extensive researching and proofreading to ensure that the essay is free of grammatical and contextual errors.

The five categories of essay are the most common. However, as mentioned before, the format and structure of the essay still depend on the topic and the nature of the writer. In order to create an informative essay, one must carefully analyze and evaluate all the available facts, considerations and statements and then compose a cohesive and well-developed essay that has strong thesis statements, interesting details and compelling body paragraphs.