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An Overview of the Most Common Academic Essay Types

The kind of essay you should write for your class assignment depends on a lot of things, but especially the topic you have chosen or were assigned. Generally, your topic will fall into one of four types of essay. It’s possible that it could fall into either of two different categories, so if that’s the case, either one should be fine. These are the essay topics for different types of essays:

Figuring out what the goal of your paper is will allow you to identify and select which of these essay types should be used. You should consider what the overall purpose is of discussing or explaining the ideas in your paper. Consider the question: What can this assignment achieve in terms of understanding the events and ideas discussed?

Stay Within the Parameters

It’s important to keep in mind that regardless of your personal preference, your professor will have certain expectations and requirements for the main functions of an essay. Those expectations and requirements should be the basis of your paper regardless of which approach you would prefer or which one you think would be easier. Try to resist the temptation to get carried away by your thoughts if you tend to get ahead of yourself. You are only required to use certain techniques and a specific essay structure, so stay focused on the task and write your paper exactly the way your professor wants you to. That will ensure the best grade possible.

Different Types of Essays Defined

Each kind of writing has its own characteristics. Here’s how each of the types of academic essays can be differentiated and identified.

Persuasive

Persuasive papers are meant to convince the reader to do something specific. Whatever that action may be should be described in the paper with detailed reasons given why it should be done and why it’s so important. It’s one of the most useful types of essay writing. Persuasive writing is often used to request student scholarships, grants, or funds for various purposes. The author of the paper typically explains why they deserve the money and what exactly they plan to do with it. If you’ve ever written an application paper for a college, or written an accompanying paper with a grant application, you have written a persuasive paper.

Argumentative

An argumentative approach seeks to convince the reader to believe something. Unlike a persuasive paper, argumentative writing is one of the essay types that doesn’t ask anyone to actually take action, but rather to subscribe to a certain idea or doctrine. Types of essays that deal with politics are a good example of writing that attempts to argue a point and ultimately convince the reader to agree with the opinions expressed.

Compare & Contrast

As can be gathered from the title, this method weighs (usually) two events or anything else against each other to show how they are similar or how they differ. Drawing similarities or differences between two things will usually lead to some overarching conclusion that brings significance to the particular paper.

Narrative

Of the four types of essays, narrative is the most personal. It allows the author to tell a story or use personal experience to discuss events. It’s an introspective approach that brings about self-understanding and discovery.

Conclusion

The type of essays you will need to write for any college or even high school class will most likely be one of these four: persuasive, argumentative, compare & contrast, or narrative. These types of essays and their structure can be used by any student to help them get an ‘A’ on their assignment.