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The 5 Types of Essays Every High School Student Needs to Know & Easy Tips On How to Write Them

high school writing tips Mar 09, 2022
High School Student Writing

There are many types of essays (some call them categories of essays), and you will likely encounter several throughout your school career. Although the specific requirements and expectations for each type of essay may vary, there are five basic essay formats that you need to know to write. Let's take a look at each essay type:

Descriptive - Paint a Mental Picture

In a descriptive essay, you give the reader a picture of a scene, object, or person. To accomplish this, you must appeal to all the senses. You must help your reader see, smell, feel, taste, and hear what is described.

When done well, a descriptive essay can be incredibly stimulating and powerful. It can put your reader directly into the scene's heart or experience being described. This is because effective descriptive writing creates a detailed picture in your reader's mind and allows them to experience it firsthand.

Expository - Explain Something

An expository essay is a style in that you must clarify a topic and freely express your opinion. This type of essay is often used in school writing classes to help students express their ideas clearly and concisely. Expository essays usually contain three main parts: an introduction, paragraphs, and a conclusion. The introduction should state the thesis or central idea of the essay, while the paragraphs should support that idea with evidence and examples. The conclusion should briefly summarize the essay's main points and provide the reader with a final thought.

Narrative - Tell a Story

A narrative essay tells a story with an introduction, setting, characters, plot, climax, and conclusion. In other words, it follows the traditional narrative format of beginning, middle, and end.

The purpose of a narrative essay is to entertain your reader by telling them a story. Unlike other forms of writing, such as expository or persuasive essays, which focus on conveying facts or trying to convince your reader of something, a narrative essay is meant to be compelling. Therefore, it should be well written and have good pacing, with a clear beginning, middle, and end.

Persuasive - Convince the Audience of Your Point of View (POV)

A persuasive essay attempts to convince your reader to agree with your point of view. Remembering that a persuasive essay is not just about presenting facts but also about stating your opinion and supporting it with evidence.

Your opinion should be the focus of your essay, and you should support your argument with evidence. Be clear and concise, and try to avoid complicated wording or jargon. Your goal is to present your point of view as clearly as possible so that your argument will convince the reader.

Argumentative - Explore a Topic and Establish a Point of View.

An argumentative essay is a form of writing that takes a stand on a topic. You must prove your position is the best by presenting evidence supporting your view. Often, these essays are written about a controversial topic or issue on which there are multiple points of view. To make your argument convincing, you must examine all sides of the issue and evaluate the evidence objectively. You must also take a point of view and defend it with argument and logic.

**Note: An argumentative essay is about convincing you to see something from your point of view, so I think this essay could be put in the "persuasive essay" category. However, they (whoever they are) say that argumentative essays require a tremendous amount of research, and all the different viewpoints are considered, concluding that your perspective is correct.

The five types of essays you need to know how to write are 

  1. Expository
  2. Narrative
  3. Persuasive
  4. Argumentative
  5. Descriptive.

It is essential that these different styles of writing can all provide a unique perspective on an idea or topic to avoid boring the reader with the same type of essay. By mastering the different types of essays, you can convey your thoughts and ideas in a way that engages and interests the reader.


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What are the Differences Between Expository vs. Argumentative Essays?

  1. Expository Essays – Expository essays are like talking to an encyclopedia - they state the facts without taking sides. For example, if your essay were about why cats are better pets than dogs, it wouldn't be an expository essay because it would take sides.
  2. Argumentative Essays – Argumentative essays are like entering a debate tournament - taking a stand on one side of the argument and presenting evidence to support that opinion. For example, if you argue that cats should have the same rights as humans, your essay would be argumentative.
  3. Organization – Expository essays are organized like a shopping list (what comes first, second, etc.). In contrast, argumentative essays follow more of the traditional format of introduction, body, and conclusion, with individual paragraphs for each main argument and counterargument.
  4. Style – Expository writing comes off as polite but a bit robotic, while argumentative texts can use logic and appealing emotions like humor or pity to make your point. It's like comparing a text message from your parents (expository) to a text message from your best friend (argumentative). Expository writing is straightforward and all about facts, while argumentative writing may include humor, sarcasm, and pop culture references.
  5.  Purpose – Expository writing aims to inform people about something they may not yet know (the role of fiscal policy in managing an economy). An example would be trying to convince someone that Euphoria is a better show than Stranger Things, and you have listed all the reasons for that, which can be facts or feelings.

 What are a Few Sample Expository Writing Topics?

  1. How do Social Media companies make their money?
  2. What is the purpose of a thesis statement in an essay?
  3. The cost increases of a college degree over the past 25 years.

What are a few Sample Argumentative Essay Ideas?

  1. Should laws force Social Media companies not to create such addicting platforms?
  2. Why thesis statements are needed and why essays that don't have them suck!
  3. Is a college degree worth the cost?


Unlock Your Essay-Writing Superpowers With Our Game-Changing Guide!

Master the 5 essential essay types, boost your grades and impress your teachers. Discover expert techniques and proven strategies that will elevate your writing skills.

Don't miss your chance to transform your academic success – CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD FOR FREE NOW!


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