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Types of Essays: Informational Guide

There are many types of writing that we get on with in essays. Whether we’re at college or high school, different types of writing are always in front of us. Do we understand all the writing types with the utmost precision and accuracy? How can one become the best possible essay writer that they can, creating the best texts possible?

One’s approach to writing needs to be the same, i.e. one needs to write with a good understanding of the styles of writing and types of writing before one is able to succeed in their goals. Let’s consider all the most common genres of writing:

  • Persuasive genre – in this kind of writing, one gives an opinion and backs it up.
  • Descriptive genre – one is trying to describe something to someone.
  • Expository genre – a person will try and inform their audience of something, usually explaining something to them.
  • Narrative genre – the most common in novels. Telling a story to the audience.

So now that we’ve got a better understanding, what is an essay and how can one be written?

What is an essay?

The writing never escapes us, whether we are in high school, college or in the professional working environment – there is always writing to do in an essay form. Perhaps you’re finished with college and know all about the different types of expository essays or types of college essays, or perhaps you’re still in high school and have lots to figure out. Whatever situation you’re in, perfecting your essay writing craft requires a good understanding – how can one define essay? Let’s look at the basics.

A broad essay definition: “a piece of writing on a particular topic or subject”.

Now that we have the bare bones of an essay definition, we can assess all the different types of essay out there. The most important thing about being able to write is knowing your craft inside out.

Types of essays

We’ve taken a look at the definition, yet what can we say about the types of essays that exist? Perhaps you’re not going to write them all in your lifetime, but for you to become better at it, you need to have a wide understanding of all the different types.

Argumentative essays

Forming a coherent argument is about picking a stance and defending it. However, when writing any types of argumentative essays, you won’t want to come across as an obnoxious person, so consider the for and against sides with any topic you choose. Choosing a topic is all about something that you have an opinion about. There are many different types of argumentative essays that you could pick, the best being about something controversial or where there is a lot of opinions for and against. Consider some of these main ideas for an argumentative essay:

  1. The cost of college is much too expensive and should be decreased.
  2. There should always be a separation of church and state in every nation.
  3. Greater control should be imposed on guns.
  4. Governments should always provide free healthcare to their citizens.
  5. Violent video games are a source of behavioural problems.

College essays

In college, there are many styles of writing and all of them can be difficult to employ. There are also many genres of writing that students will need to think about, so all in all, there is a lot to master. But no matter what course you are taking, all college essays have certain things in common. Take note of the following when you’re writing:

  • Write with a certain command of English that is mature and sophisticated.
  • Take your information and sources from reputable journals and publications.
  • Plan meticulously and correctly.
  • Craft a good thesis statement to be referred to in your essay.
  • Use appropriate vocabulary for your high level of writing.

Expository essays

Expository essays serve to explain certain things with evidence and facts – sometimes, they are known as how-to essays. The most important thing in all of these types of expository essays is that one should use evidence and facts, not personal opinion. It can be difficult at times to think of things to write, so take note of the numerous types of expository essays that could be written:

  1. How to: describing how one can achieve or do a specific task.
  2. Step by step: describing processes.
  3. Analysis: an analysis of different ideas, events or objects.
  4. Descriptive: trying to describe a certain thing or event.

Classification essays

This is perhaps the most common type of essay in high school. A classification essay serves to categorise things, ideas, and objects. Once these classifications are created, they can serve as the body of the text. In writing different classification essay types, it is often difficult to come up with ideas. Take note of some of the following ideas:

  1. Different methods to be able to quit smoking.
  2. Different ways one can spend their holiday.
  3. Habits and different traditions in a cultural context.

Types of hooks for essays

Whatever type you’re writing, it’s a great idea to include hooks for essays on any subject matter. The hook serves to engage the reader from the get-go leaving them wanting to find out much more. There are many different types of hooks for essays that can be used, so take note of some of the following examples:

  • Present a riddle that may engage your reader.
  • Make a candid observation.
  • Describe a certain process in a way that it will lead to your subject.
  • Relate a past incident in the present tense.
  • Entice your readers in by cutting off your subject for a short time.

Good essay topics

Even with a solid understanding of all the essay types that are out there, how can one craft good essay topics to use? It is difficult to come up with an initial idea. If you’re suffering from a momentary lapse or some writer’s block, think around some of the following as an example:

  • Controversial, e.g. “The accountability of charity members and workers.”
  • Society, e.g. “Addressing the gender pay gap in society.”
  • Current affairs, e.g. “The Rohingya muslim population in Myanmar.”
  • Ethics, e.g. “Is it right not to report your friend if they’ve committed a major crime?”
  • The law, e.g. “Who is legally responsible for accidents?”


Writing the best essay you can means that you should have the best understanding of the craft. We hope that you are much more aware of the different types of essays, types of writing styles and what constitutes good essay topics. There are numerous types of writing to master, but we hope that you are now in a better position to tackle them all. Best of luck writing!

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