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What Is an Essay: A Clear Picture of Essay Genre and Essay Types

An essay is one of the most common college assignments, which is often confused with other types of writing. Most students don’t have a clear picture of what essay is, which becomes the reason for failure. Want to succeed in essay writing? Then, keep on reading to plunge into the essence of the essay genre.

Essay definition

The word “essay” has a French origin, which means “attempt”. The appearance of the essay genre is connected with the name of the famous Michel de Montaigne. He was the founder of this genre, which can be defined as a literary piece of writing, in which the author expresses his/her own attitude to certain issues. An essay a genre that gives freedom to express yourself and share your personal impressions and thoughts with the reader.

what is an Essay

What peculiarities does the essay have?

Check what distinctive features essay has to have a better understanding of how to write it the best way:

  • It should be clear and concise. Essays shouldn’t be long.
  • An essay should have a short opening with the thesis statement, the main body (3-4 paragraphs), and the conclusion.
  • When writing an essay you aren’t expected to deepen into the topic too much. It’s not a research paper. It’s impossible to cover the topic to the full extent within the essay volume.
  • A good essay is the one that is written in an original way. Creativity and originality are appreciated most.
  • An essay is a discussion of some topics rather than giving lots of facts.
  • There are no strict restrictions on writing style. The writer has the freedom to show his/her intellect and opinion on a certain question.
  • An essay is the genre that suits best for writing blogs.

The most popular types of essays

We can distinguish five types of essay in accordance with the purpose that the writer pursues. They are the following:

  • Narrative: It’s just a story from the writer’s experience. Narrations are written from the first person. Here the author builds direct contact with the reader by telling his/her own story.
  • Descriptive: This type of essay focuses on the detailed description of a place, person, object, event, etc. The main goal is to let the reader see the whole picture using vivid language means and appealing to all the human senses.
  • Expository: This type of essay explains how things work. Here the writer analyzes the topic and gives all the necessary information on it.
  • Persuasive: The goal of the writer is to persuade the reader that his/her position is the right one. For this, it’s necessary to find persuasive arguments and use logic. You should help the reader make the right conclusion.
  • Compare and contrast: The goal of this essay writing is to consider two objects, opinions, etc. giving a comparative analysis with arguments.
  • Opinion essay: It’s an essay where the author presents his/her opinion and supports it. There may be a need to consider an alternative position as well. An opinion essay is one of the most common for college and university exams.
  • Technology essay: This kind of essay should be written in an analytical form. The writer discusses the advantages and disadvantages of modern technology and gives evidence to each point. To discuss the changes that take place in the world of technology, you need to make sure you use up-to-date information. So, for this type of essay, research is a must.

Now, you have a better understanding of essay features and can create a great essay that will impress your college professor.

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