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English essay: How many types can there be?

The English essay has various categories: descriptive, analytical, argumentative, definition, narrative, comparison/contrast, cause-effect, and the process essay. Each of these follows a specific structure and content format.

The descriptive research paper describes thoughts, feelings, physical attributes, events, places, people, or things. It provides extensive details and creates a picture with them such that the reader can visualize the subject described. The descriptive essay uses sensory impressions extensively. Example: Describe a place, a teaching methodology, or the functioning of a legal procedure.

The analytical essay depends on the writer’s ability to explore various aspects of a subject. It analyzes a subject’s strengths, weaknesses, possibilities, advantages and disadvantages, and methods. It presents an unbiased view into the subject and leaves the judgment to the reader. The subject matter could be a book, play, poem, painting, writing, views, or opinions. Example: Analyze the issue of Shakespeare’s authorship, setting in Othello, or Crash, the movie, as a representation of social chaos.

Theargument/persuasive essayforces the writer to take a stand and convince the reader to share the same. The writer has to use persuasive reasoning and examples. Example: Should abortion be legalized, should there be segregation in schools and colleges?

The definition essay is based on the concept of defining the subject and explaining the definition through facts and examples. What is the basis for this definition? What examples can you provide to support the definition? Example: Define friendship or the right to choice.

The narrative essay is like story-telling. You narrate an incident, an experience, an occurrence, or a thought process in a linear or flash back method. It uses strong images, powerful language, and vivid impressions, and is most often written in the first person. Example: narrate an incident that affected your life, narrate how you achieved an aim in life, narrate a road accident that you witnessed.

The comparison and contrast essay sets up two parts of a subject for comparison and/or contrast. You have to present the similarities and differences between them with explanation and example. You could write an objective account or try to persuade the reader to accept the comparison and contrast in favor of one of the elements. However, the similarities and differences should be based on provable facts and information. Example: Compare and contrast two friends.

The cause and effect essay explores either a single cause for many effects or a series of causes for a single effect. In this essay, you tell readers how X, Y, and Z led to A or how A led to X, Y, and Z. The paragraphs will be structured according to the format you choose. Example: Write a cause-effect essay on pollution and asthma.

The process essay is simple. You have to describe a process step-by-step such that the reader knows how to bake a cake, train a dog, or repair a car. It is fact driven and could use some narrative elements to spice up the essay. It is structured to reflect the process.

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