General Classification of Main Essay Types

There are actually quite a few kinds of essays. Here we will discuss 8 of the more common kinds you might be assigned to write.

Definition essay – In this essay you do just what the title says; you define something. You would take an idea and write a detailed definition, which may include examples and classifications within that definition. Using examples in definitions helps the reader get a firm understanding on what you are trying to define.

Description essay – In this case, your essay would describe a thing or idea and then you could give examples. To illustrate this type of essay, a person might choose to describe the arctic hare. To organize your essay, describe different parts about the arctic hare. For example, where it lives, its lifestyle, what it eats, etc.

Classification essay – this essay has you breaking up an idea into main parts and discussing each of them. For example, you may choose to discuss the health care system in your country. You would give some background information about it and then define and describe each component part.

Evaluation essay – this essay is comprised of judgments you make about ideas, events, actions or people. Your evaluation is made based on criteria you present. You must discuss the criteria you used when making your judgment. For example, you might evaluate the importance of a global economy. What is your judgment about why it is important or not?

Persuasive or argumentative essay – many teachers like to assign this kind of essay to their students. It really gets them thinking. They must do adequate research in order to present a solid case. The student must establish facts about their argument, do adequate research so they can present relevant data, build the argument and attempt to persuade the reader. This kind of essay takes confidence to write. You must be firm in your viewpoint and be able to present an adequate argument that could persuade someone else to join your point of view.

Literature response essay – you may have read a poem, novel or story and have been given homework to write an essay about what you read. You must be able to evaluate what the writer has written. Do you understand the point the poet was trying to get across? What feelings is the reader left with after reading the novel? Does the story move you? How and why?