Different Types of Essays with Writing Tips + Topic Examples

9 different types of essays every student need to know

Do you think that comprehending an essay topic is enough? Ha! Think again. Essays are the most common types of academic writings in any institution. It is, therefore, paramount for any learner to Understand the Different categories of Essays and learn how to write them with ease. As a writer, one needs to acknowledge that essays have different meanings, writing formats, and purposes.

There are about nine basic essay types in Academic Writing that every learner or writer should know. They include descriptive, expository, compare and contrast, argumentative, or persuasive, process essays, definition, critical analysis, pros and cons, cause and effect, and problem and solution essays. However, at advanced academic levels, you would be expected to understand more than these 9 categories.

Make sure you know how to define, write and format all types of essays. By the way, do you know how to categorize essays? Which is your favorite type? Leave a comment.

You probably would get disappointed when your professor comments, “Your essay is too descriptive; be more critical, or lose marks!” It probably seems unlikely, but think about it. How do you differentiate a descriptive essay from a critical analytical one? You need to know when to describe, define, include facts, and give your opinion.

Would you like to comprehend the common categories of essays once and for all? I got you covered. Let’s do this!

How Many Types of Essays are There, Infinite?

Learners are fond of asking, “how can I become a professional essay writer?” Others ask, how does understanding the different genres of essays impact my academic writing skills? Well, by understanding the kind of essay that your professor expects you to write, you will select an appropriate topic, use the correct wording, and format the paper appropriately.

Consequently, you are more likely to earn higher marks than a person who wrote a 5-paragraph essay with no particular attention to the category of essay the professor requested. That being said, let’s have a quick look at the meaning of 9 different types of essays with topic examples and writing guidelines.

1. Meaning & Types of Descriptive Essays

Descriptive essays are among the nine basic types of essays that every student or writer must know. Do you know what descriptive essays are? As the name suggests, they describe or narrate an event, emotion, object, or person logically. According to the Oxford Learners Dictionary, the genre is derived from the verb ‘describe,’ which means “to say what somebody or something is like.”

This genre of essays tests the writer’s ability to explain experiences in writing. Understood now? For instance, you could be asked to describe the origin of abortion in the United States. Or describe the major types of gambling. You ought to give an account of something and provide as many details as possible.

Subscribe to our blog – we are compiling articles on; the meaning and history of descriptive essays, the format and examples, and extensive guides on how to write this category of essays. Keep in touch for more!

The four major types of descriptive essays include: essays about a place, opinion, object and person.

4 Major Types of Descriptive Essays + Topic Examples

Let’s look at some examples of Descriptive essay topics about a place. The professor may ask you to describe;

  • Describe your favorite place – it could be a hotel, a country, a village…
  • An ideal bedroom (ideal home)
  • A country’s struggle for independence
  • Your classroom or house
  • A favorite shop, store, or country
  • A place you have visited recently
  • The area in which you grew up
  • Your teacher’s leadership skills
  • A particular venue like a wedding

Using these examples, write at least five descriptive essay topic examples about a particular object, person, opinions, and memories. Leave a comment.

Now that you comprehend the meaning of descriptive essays let’s move on to the second category of essays – persuasive or argumentative essays.

2. Persuasive or Argumentative Types of Essays

Just like a seller convincing a buyer to purchase a particular product, your persuasive essay should convince the reader to take your point of view on a particular subject. It would be best if you defended your argument using logic and reasoning and convincing facts.

Persuasive or argumentative essays, just like the other different types of essays, call for an extensive understanding of the topic under consideration. The genre does not ask you to describe your perspective – this is not a mere opinion essay. You should first select an appropriate topic, conduct background research on it, examine the evidence, and take a position, either “for” or “against,” to build the strongest argument.

I would suggest taking a position with more strength, as you have to explain your reasons for taking that direction. For instance, you could be asked – should abortion be allowed for college students? Or should gambling be banned in the United States? In both cases, you need to examine both sides, take a position, and defend it. Of course, you need to support your claim using relevant sources, examples, and, where appropriate, tables and figures.

This is how to format your argumentative essay like a pro…let’s get to it!

How to Format an Argumentative Essay

Argumentative or persuasive essays follows a particular writing format. Remember, you’re exploring a debatable topic or subject, then giving your opinion on which side you thing weighs more. Remember to provide justification for taking a stance.

For instance, if you argue in support of organ donation, the reader needs to see the logic in your writing. Give ‘enough’ details and evidence. Remember to cite (acknowledge the sources) appropriately.

How to Write Argumentative Essays like a Pro

Bonus Writing Tip: – the general format of a persuasive or argumentative essay include;

  • Cover page (with student’s credentials and essay topic)
  • Title (Essay Topic) – should be relevant and researchable
  • Introduction paragraph (with a thesis statement, background information, and the hook)
  • Paragraphs on one side of the argument (like why abortion should be permitted)
  • Paragraphs on the other side of the argument (like why abortion is immoral or limitations)
  • Your position – based on the facts you collected and your reasoning, which side has more weight? What have you learned?
  • Conclusion – summarize the main point, your opinion or stake, and restate your thesis statement.
  • Reference page and appendices (information or data not included in the text, but relevant, like images, tables, and the likes)

Some examples of persuasive or argumentative essay topics may include;

  • Are we too dependent on computers?
  • Should online gambling be delegalized?
  • Do we need online dating apps in the 21st century?
  • Does social media impact one’s life?
  • Should content on the internet be more restricted?

Exercise – think of additional 5 argumentative topics and share them in the comment section. The best topics earn 5% discount for all our services.

In the meantime, let’s explore the third category of essays – the compare and contrast essays.

3. Compare & Contrast Types of Essays

A Compare and Contrast essay is also among the basic essay categories every student should know about. This essay genre has two primary purposes: It discusses the similarities and differences of two separate things.

You should first identify the basis to compare the two things and then identify how they differ. It is essential to compare and contrast items that relate in some way. For instance, you cannot compare driving a motorcycle and reading an article – they are not comparable and don’t seem to have anything in common.

However, you may compare reading a book and reading an article or the similarities and differences between gambling today and 100 years ago. Another possible topic to write your comparison essay on is the level of abortion in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Let’s list some examples of compare and contrast essay topics. The professor may ask you to compare and contrast:

  • Economic development in a developed and underdeveloped countries or regions
  • The education system in the USA and Canada
  • College life vs. high school life
  • Two articles, books, or magazines
  • Leadership styles of two presidents or governors of your choice (or pre-selected)

While writing this category of essays, you have to find some common grounds to base the comparison. For instance, while comparing two leaders based on leadership style, leader A may be endorsing democracy while leader B applies dictatorship.

It is up to you to find relevant bass for the comparison. An example of a wrong comparison could be – leader A endorses democracy while leader B is tall. Do you get the point? The basis of comparison should match.

Now, let’s discuss the cause-and-effect types of essays.

4. Cause and Effect Essay Types

A cause-and-effect essay first identifies the causes or reasons for the occurrence of something, then explains the consequences or effects. The genre is prevalent in academic writing and mostly in medical studies. For instance, it is applicable in medical studies while examining health problems like HIV, Covid-19, and Malaria.

For example, you could be asked to explain the causes and effects of abortion in the United States. You need to understand what abortion is to give the correct answer. Another example is – explain the causes and effect of undocumented immigration in Mexico.

Explain the cause and effect of;

  • Pollution, climate change, or global warming (related topics)
  • The Civil Rights Movement and its effects
  • World War I, II or any other conflict
  • Tsunami or earthquake in a particular region
  • Stress is any other health problem

This type of essay demands a more profound understanding of the topic, for you would not be simply describing but investigating the how, when, why, and effect of a particular aspect in life. You need to conduct relevant research on the topic. You could investigate the effect of a particular aspect on a country’s sociodemographic, economic or political status.

Now that we understand the meaning of cause-and-effect essays let’s move on to the following genre of essays – the pros and cons essays.

5. Pros and Cons Type of Essays

For ages, pros and cons analysis has have been applied as the basis for decision-making. A writer must first understand the topic and then examine the advantages and disadvantages to write a quality and informative pros and cons essay.

Compare and Contrast Essays

For instance, you could be asked to explain the pros and cons of social media. While one of the pros would be to connect with learners from other educational systems, social media users are prone to cyberbullying. You need to explain the points separately and not just list the pros and cons in the same paragraph.

Let’s list some examples of pros and cons essay topics. The professor may want you to discuss or analyze the pros and cons of:

  • Online dating
  • Going to college.
  • Social media
  • Online shopping
  • Animal experiments
  • Legalizing prostitution
  • Self-employment

To write a good pros and cons essay, you need to conduct extensive research. It’s time to move on to expository types of essays.

6. Expository Essays + Topic Examples

An expository essay also falls under the basic essay categories that all essay writers should know. It requires the learner to investigate a particular idea, examine the exiting evidence, expound on it, and then form an argument clearly and concisely. You can accomplish this by analyzing the cause and effects, comparing and contrasting ideas, etc. This genre is prevalent in classroom evaluation.

For instance, you could be asked to explain why parents are strict sometimes. Or why you prefer a particular English teacher. An expository essay evaluates your investigative, evaluative, or argumentative abilities.

Some expository essay topic examples may include;

  • Explain why parents are sometimes strict
  • What is your favorite school subject?
  • How was your first day in college?
  • Does Alcohol solve problems?
  • Has technology made communication easier?
  • What would you do if you were to live forever?

Expository essays describe a particular aspect broadly and coherently. Understood? Can we now move on to the following type of essay – definition essays?

7. Definition Types of Essays + Topic Examples

A definition essay is a genre that requires you to explain the meaning of a particular term – from a broad perspective. While terms like a tree and book have definite and concrete meanings, others like honor and lobe depend on a person’s perspective.

For instance, the professor can ask you to define terms like respect, optimism, natural beauty, or kindness. You need to be very creative to avoid repetition in such essays.

Some of the terms or topic examples you may be asked to write a definition essay on include;

  • Pollution
  • Honesty
  • Love
  • Kindness
  • Patience
  • Essay
  • Success
  • Communication
  • Strength

While writing a definition essay, do not simply write its distortionary meaning. It would help if you explored deeper.

Let’s move on to the 8th category of essays – The Process Essays.

8. Process Essays with Topic Examples

A process essay is a genre in academic writing that aims to guide or direct a reader to do something. It explains the steps one by one and consistently. You should never skip some steps while writing a process essay. Instead, your directions should follow a chronological order.

For instance, a professor can ask you to write a process essay on the topic:

  • How to cook pilau
  • Writing an essay step by step
  • How to format a paper in APA
  • Riding a bicycle
  • How to insert a table of content in Microsoft Word

While writing a process essay, your directions should be factual and verifiable. You have to understand the process for you to write an outstanding essay.

9. Critical Analysis Types of Essays

Critical analysis essays are widespread in advanced learning levels, especially Master’s and Doctorate. They are regarded as the hardest among the outlined 9 types of essays. They could cause you to google “Someone Write My Essay.”

This genre requires you to analyze the effectiveness of particular literature, and explain, obviously with supporting evidence, what it does, or does not do well. You are not asked to describe but to investigate the work in detail. It would be best if you also examined how other scholars say about the topic.

For instance, your professor could ask that you critically analyze a particular article, book, or film. You need to understand the article’s content or book; otherwise, you may not manage to defend your arguments on its strengths and weaknesses.

Some examples of critical analysis essay topics include;

  • Racism in sports is real. Discuss.
  • WWI is a necessary tragedy that transformed the world. Discuss.
  • Analyze Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and its impact on racism in America
  • Analyze the effect of betting on the sporting community

While writing a critical analysis essay, it would be best to describe or summarize the content but critically analyze it with logical arguments and reliable sources. While conducting critical analysis, you should identify the reliable article, find similarities and differences in authors’ opinions, generate your own opinions, identify research gaps, suggest solutions, etc.


Understanding the different types of essays is critical in writing outstanding academic papers. The categories have a different format, wording and serve different purposes. You need to understand the type of essay that the professor expects to boost your grades.

However, the exact number of types of essays is undecided – some scholar says its 4, while others say its 5, 6, 7, 9 or 10. This article explored the nine most common categories of essays, which include;

  • Descriptive Essays
  • Persuasive or Argumentative Essays
  • Compare and Contrast Essays
  • Pross and Cons Essays
  • Expository Essays
  • Definition Essays
  • Process Essays
  • Cause and Effect Essays
  • Critical Analysis Essays

I hope the article has answered your questions. We would greatly appreciate your feedback. Leave a comment or suggestion – and share the article. Remember to leave a comment. Which is the easiest and hardest type of essay to write.

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2000cookie-checkDifferent Types of Essays with Writing Tips + Topic Examples

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