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Kinds of Essay

What is an Essay?

The word”essay” has been derived from a French word “essai”. The French philosopher Montaigne after his retirement devoted his life to study. He originated this form of composition and published his first collection of writing under the title of “essai” in 1580. Then an English philosopher “Bacon” followed him and published his collection of writing under the title of “essay” and kinds of essay. A short literary composition on a single subject is usually presenting the personal view of the author.
Structure of Essay: In an essay, the writer writes his own personal views, thoughts, opinions, experiments and facts or extra information about the given topic.

Kinds of Essay
Kinds of Essay

Kinds of Essay

There are six kinds of essay.
1. Descriptive Essay
2. Reflective Essay
3. Narrative Essay
4. Explanatory Essay
5. Imaginative Essay
6. Controversial/ Argumentative Essay

1. Descriptive Essay:

Describe (V) To say what a person or thing I like; Give a picture of someone/ something in words.
Description (N) the act of writing or saying in words what someone/ something is like.
Descriptive (Adj) the one who/ that describes.
Definition: In the descriptive essay, the writer describes whatever he sees or hears about a person, place, thing or an animal. Descriptive essay is generally of concrete natures.

  • Person: (a leader, teacher, doctor, and actress etc.)
  • Place: (a country, city, village, town, school, college etc.)
  • Thing: (A car, bus, watch, door, lock, flag etc.)
  • Natural things: (snow, ice, rain, waterfall, river, the sky, the earth, sea etc.)
  • Animal: (a cow, goat, horse, dog etc.) 

2. Reflective Essay:

Reflect (V) to think deeply about, to contemplate, to considerate.
Reflection (N) thought, contemplation, consideration, meditation.
Reflective (Adj) thoughtful, contemplative, meditative.
Definition: In the reflective essay, the writer reflects on the topic. He forms different ideas and thoughts about topic in his mind, which is generally of an abstract nature.

  • Philosophical topic: (conscience, love, hatred, kindness, life etc.)
  • Religious topic: (death, soul, worship, power of prayer, recitation of the holy Quran etc.)
  • Social topic: (dowry, divorce, marriage, poverty, slavery, liberty etc.)
  • Merits and demerits: (bravery, cowardice, honesty, dishonesty, hospitality, discipline, unity etc.)

3. Narrative Essay:

Narrate (V) to give a written or spoken detail of an incident, accident or adventure, etc.
Narration (N) the act of giving a written or spoken detail of incident, accident or adventure, etc.
Narrative (Adj) in the form of storytelling.
Definition: In the narrative essay, the writer narrates an accident, incident, a journey, tour or any historical event.

  • An accident: (bomb blast, train or bus collision)
  • Natural disaster: (earth quake, flood, fire)
  • Incident: (street fighting, relative’s death)
  • Any story real or unreal
  • Journey, your, walk etc. 
  • Biography of a well known personality 

4. Expository/ Explanatory Essay:

Expose (V) to explain
Exposition (V) explanation
Expository (Adj) explanatory
Definition: In the expository essay, the writer explains/ exposes the topic.

  • Industries: (Sugar mill, cotton mill, flour mill etc.)
  • Departments: (senate, parliament)
  • Occupation: (medical, engineering, etc.)
  • Scientific topics: (functioning of TV, radio, wireless, telephone, fax, computer)
  • Quotations/ sayings: (mother is the first teacher, if there is a will, there is a way)

5. Imaginative Essay:

Imagine (V) to form a mental picture of something.
Imagination (N) the act of imagining. 
Imaginative (Adj) showing imagination, full of imagination.
Definition: In the imaginative essay, the writer imagines about a topic.

  • If I were you.
  • If I were rich.
  • If I were a king.
  • If I were the P.M of Australia.
  • “What would you do?”
  • If I were you, I would …

6. Controversial/ argumentative Essay:
Argue (V) to give reasons (for or against something).
Argument (N) reasons (for or against something).
Argumentative (Adj) Controversial. 
Definition: In the argumentative essay, the writer argues for and against the topic.

  • Who is responsible for the down fall of education?
  • TV is blessing or curse.
  • Love marriage or arrange marriage.
  • Village life or city life. 

Difference between Essays

Essays have been divided into different kinds: for example; descriptive essay, reflective essay, imaginative essay, argumentative essay, explanatory essay and narrative, but while writing these kinds cannot be limited only and only up to one kind. One kind may share with the peculiarities if another kind, for example: a narrative essay may have a good deal of description and as the writer shares his own feelings, ideas, thoughts and knowledge so every kind has to be more or less reflective.
Question: Which topic essay can be written on?
An essay can be written on each and everything, either that is of an abstract or concrete nature, a living or non-living thing, the smallest or the biggest thing in the world.

  • A needle
  • Almighty Allah
  • An aunt
  • An elephant
  • A lamp
  • The sun


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