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Essay Styles

Different Essay Writing Styles

So you just received your latest assignment: you have to write an informative essay on a particular subject.  While the primary focus will be on the content of the assignment, essays also provide insight into the writer’s skills and grammar usage.  A brief internet search reveals there are many types of essay formatting and styles.  How do you know which one will best serve your purpose?  Besides the traditional college paper formats, such as MLA, APA and Chicago, essay papers incorporate a few different, yet key elements.  Keep reading for descriptions on the most commonly used essay formats.

  • Descriptive Essays – These papers incorporate a conversational, yet formal, writing style.  They’re generally used to combine personal opinions with facts to present the reader’s comprehension to a certain topic.  Descriptive essays are sometimes synonymous with book essays.
  • Narrative Essays – These papers allow for a bit more creativity and are generally assigned in literature or history courses.  The writer is afforded the opportunity to include anecdotes while also incorporating sensual elements, such as describing scents, views and sounds within the story.
  • Quantitative Essays – These essays incorporate more analytical features such as those used in math courses. They’re designed to provide the writer’s knowledge of certain mathematical concepts and techniques as well as his ability to problem solve.
  • Personal Essays – These are used for college entrance exams, training programs or other environments where the writer should reveal more about himself, his goals, intentions, etc.  While the primary purpose is to focus on the writer, it also provides insight into his writing and grammar skills.
  • Process Essays – These are intended to ensure the writer can adequately explain sequences, such as timelines of history or procedures associated with completing projects or tasks.  They might include numbered lists or presented in an outline form.
  • Persuasive Essays – These papers give the writer an opportunity to convince the reader one way or method is better than another.  Used often in debate courses, the goal is to provide justifications for the reasoning.  They might also include why the alternatives shouldn’t be considered.

As you can see, there are many different essay styles and each has its own unique purpose.  If you’re given a writing assignment and are requested to present it as an essay, be sure you understand what the parameters are so that you can choose the best essay style.  If you’re unsure, speak with your instructor for further guidance.