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Types of Essays

Whether we are doing a college degree or working on an email in the office, we encounter different types of writing every day. So what are we trying to communicate with our types of writing? It depends largely on the context at hand and the intention that we have. All the types out there need to be harnessed, increasing our written communication.

How can we look at different writing types through the right lens? How can we understand all the genres of writing out there? These questions are important and need to be considered if we want to master all the writing types that we encounter. Let’s consider the most important styles of writing:

  • Narrative style – attempting to tell the audience a story.
  • Persuasive style – aiming to give an opinion and back it up.
  • Descriptive style – describing some sort of scene or picture.
  • Expository style – aiming to inform the audience or have something explained to them.

Now that we’re a bit more knowledgeable, what is an essay and how can one be written?

What is an essay?

High school or college can be a strange place because there are many types of writing to do in the form of essays. Whether you’ve been given many different types of expository essays to do or whether you are familiar with other types of college essays, there are some questions that still may linger: what is an essay and how can one define essay?

When considering a broad essay definition, one can define essay as “a writing piece on a particular subject or topic”.

So now that we have this broad definition, we can look at the different types of essay subjects that are out there. One needs to be familiar with all the essay types that are around, even if they’re not going to be written by you – if you want to be a good writer, you have to know your craft.

Types of essays

We’ve looked at how to define essay, but what about all the different essay types that exist out there? It doesn’t matter if you’re going to write all of these types yourself, but in order to perfect your essay writing ability, it is best to have a broad understanding.

Argumentative essays

Humans have a lot of different passions, things they are for and things they are against, so this is where the argumentative essay comes in. One of the key things when writing any types of argumentative essays is to pick a stance and defend it, considering everything for and against. One needs to have a rounded opinion before they can drive in their argument. The great thing is that there are seemingly endless types of argumentative essays that one could write – you only need to have an opinion on something. Here are some examples of topics:

  1. Same-sex marriage should be a norm in today’s society.
  2. The racing industry is bad for the environment.
  3. The alcohol minimum drinking age should be decreased.
  4. Governments should force people to recycle more.
  5. Single-sex schools should be abolished.

Expository essays

It is often the case that the idea of this essay type is misconstrued. An expository essay needs to use evidence and facts in order to explain something, not just rely on personal opinion. There are numerous types of expository essays that can be written – as a helpful reminder, one could explore some of the following topics:

  1. How to essay: describing how something can be achieved or done.
  2. Step by step essay: describing a certain process.
  3. Analysis essay: analysing certain ideas, objects or events.
  4. Descriptive essay: explaining a certain event.

Classification essays

Within a classification essay, the writer tends to organise and sort things into different categories. This is one of the types where it is best to use a single organising theme and provide examples of items that fit into each classified category. When writing a classification essay, there are many different topics one can choose, so take note of some of the following as prompts:

  1. The attitude people have to parenting styles.
  2. Different teaching methods for lectures.
  3. The best kind of communication strategy to use in marketing.

College essays

College students will be confronted with all types of college essays which they will have to write using many types of writing styles, however, even though the styles of writing and genres of writing vary between courses, there are things that are common. Make sure you take note of the following:

  • Show the audience that you command writing with appropriate vocabulary.
  • Plan as meticulously as possible.
  • Write in a mature, punctual, and sophisticated style.
  • Only gather information from trusted and reputable sources.
  • Use referencing properly and formatting should be correct as well.

Types of hooks for essays

Often, writing an essay is easy but one is left wondering how to engage the audience. Different types of essays require different types of hooks in order to engage the reader from the get-go. Whatever type you’re working on, try to use some of the following types of hooks for essays to serve this purpose:

  • Create a question that relates to your subject, inviting readers to answer it.
  • Provide a shocking fact or statistic.
  • Present your essay idea as a revelation in the field.
  • Provide a description of the scene that sets your essay.
  • Recount some sort of dramatic incident to show your subject.

Good essay topics – general examples

Have you ever sat down to write an essay only to go blank at what to actually write about? It can be difficult, even with a solid understanding of all the essay types out there, to pick a topic. Even professors struggle with this! If you’re looking for some inspiration, here is a series of good essay topics:

  • Controversial, e.g. “Interracial adoption in society and the implications.”
  • About current affairs, e.g. “The demonetisation of the Indian currency and the economic effects.”
  • About ethics, e.g. “Can one justify the legal donation of organs to save lives?”
  • About the law, e.g. “The problems with sentencing children to life in prison without parole.”
  • About society, e.g. “The use of social media to target children with adverts.”


There are a lot of different types of writing and a whole lot more types of writing styles, so we hope you have become familiar with these and have gained more in-depth knowledge – it’s important to know about essay writing in general so that you can come up with good essay topics and write to the best of your ability.

Good luck writing!