Essay Writing: Types, Components/Format , Characteristics and Samples 2

Essay Writing: Types, Components/Format , Characteristics and Samples

What is an essay?

An essay is a properly and logically constructed literary composition usually dealing with a subject /topic usually from the point of view of the author. It is often non-fiction where the presentation is often based on facts. It can also be based on assumptions (researched or educated opinions that include a number of facts) or subjective (based on opinions) in terms of language, perception and experience, as well as world interpretations. It has a beginning, a middle and an end. Like a paragraph, it is also classified into several types such as narrative, descriptive, imaginative, reflective, expository and argumentative.

Components and format of An Essay

An essay is written to persuade others or simply to educate the reader about a specific subject. In order for the reader to be convinced or fully educated, the essay must contain a variety of essential components to make it flow in a logical manner. The key parts (or sections) of the essay are the title, introduction, body, and conclusion.

Title: It is the name of the topic/subject of the essay. It summarises the main idea of your essay.

Pro Tips :

➡ Should be catchy and specific to your essay.

➡ Should adequately describe the content and/or purpose of your essay.

➡Use short cliches or familiar phrases that are one to eight words long.

Introduction: It introduces the subject/topic through a compelling opening brief paragraph, especially by using a saying or quotation of some author.

Pro Tips :
➡ Should contain a surprise or attention grabber for the reader or at least make the essay sound interesting. One good way to do this is, to begin with, a quote about the topic.
➡ Ensure that the presentation shifts from the general to the particular in regards to the topic.
➡Presents a “road map” of the essay to the reader in a clear order.
➡ The most important part of the intro will be what is considered a thesis statement at the end
➡ The thesis statement sets out the intent of the paper and can provide insight into the examples and facts of the author

Main body: The structure of the main body depends on what the title is asking you to do. In case of a discussion type essay, the main body is often divided into two parts, one looking at the advantages of the topic and the other looking at the disadvantages.

Pro Tips :

➡Contains the evidence and support of the paper in addition to the author’s ideas

➡ Paragraphs must contain a topic sentence which relates the discussion back to the thesis statement.

➡ Logical ordering of ideas: three types of order are:

1. Chronological order: order of time, good for narratives

2. Spatial order: good for descriptions of locations; top to bottom,

3. Emphatic order: most common for college writing; proceed from least important to most important.

➡ Ensure that transitions are present to create a good flow to the essay

➡ Include enough information, examples and evidence to support your argument and do not forget to
cite, cite, cite!

➡ Make it sure that each example is relevant to your specific topic

Conclusion: A brief summary of the main body.

Pro Tips :

➡This section should conclude all of your arguments and points

➡Should restate the main arguments in a brief and simplified manner.

➡ Ensure that the reader is given something to think about, especially if it is an argumentative essay.

Do not ever forget to allow time to rewrite the first draft of your essay and, then, to proofread it before turning it in.

In a typical short essay, five paragraphs will provide the reader with enough details in a limited period of time. However, it is important for a research paper or dissertation to have more than five paragraphs in order so as not to confuse the reader with too much detail in one paragraph.


Essays like paragraphs may be classified as narrative, descriptive, imaginative, reflective, expository and argumentative. However, some essays may partake the peculiarities of more than one class or type. For instance, a narrative essay may contain a good deal of description or an argumentative essay may contain a good deal of reflection. Let us now describe them one by one.

1. Narrative Essay: It is an essay which narrates an event or a series of events. It tells the readers what happened. The happenings must be given in the order in which they occurred. Narrative essays deal with –

➡ biographies (e.g. the life of Prophet Mohammad(SAW), or of Mahatma Gandhi);

➡ historical events or legends (e.g. the reign of Yousuf Shah Chek, or the story of Pandavas from the Mahabharata);

➡ incidents (e.g. a quarrel in a neighbourhood, a marriage ceremony, or a festival);

➡ an accident or natural disaster (e.g. an earthquake, a fire, a flood, a road accident, a plane crash, or a tsunami);

➡ a journey or voyage ( e.g. a journey in an overloaded bus from your home to college, or travel through the ship to the holy city of Mecca for performing Hajj);

➡ a story ( real or imaginary).

2. Descriptive Essay: – It is an essay which describes or gives a description of something – a person or a place or a thing. Here, the writer keeps himself apart and does not allow his own feelings to appear.

Descriptive Essays are about –
➡ plants, animals, minerals etc. (e.g. the chinar, the tiger, coal etc.);
➡ cities, towns, countries, buildings etc. (e.g. Lal Chowk, Sopore, Saudi Arabia, the Taj Mahal, etc.);
➡. aspects and phenomena of nature (e.g. sunlight, the monsoon, volcanoes, a cloudy evening, etc.); and
➡ manufactured articles (e.g. aeroplanes, silk, motor-cars, trains, vacuum-cleaner, fridge, washing machine, etc.).

3. Imaginative Essay: It is an essay in which the writer is called to place himself imaginatively in a position and narrate his experience/s.

Essays on such subjects as “If I were the President of the USA” or “The Autobiography of a Cow” may be called imaginative essays.

4. Reflective Essay: It is an essay which consists of the writer’s thoughts or reflections on some topic. This essay is generally of an abstract nature. Reflective essays deal with –
➡ qualities, etc. (e.g., honesty, truth- fullness, heroism, temperance, patriotism, cowardice etc,) ;

➡ social, political and domestic topics (e.g., caste, poverty, wealth, liberty, education, democracy, business, government, marriage, family life etc.);

➡ philosophical topics (e.g., reality, the meaning of the universe, right and wrong, consciousness, morality, etc.); and

➡ religious and theological topics.

5. Expository Essay: – It is an essay which explains something. It gives facts arranged in a logical order. It answers the question – how and why. Expository essays –deal with

➡ scientific topics (e.g., the evolution of man, cosmology, solar system, gravitation etc.);

➡ institutions, occupations, industries (e.g., Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, farming, leather- tanning etc.) ;

➡ literary topics (e.g., the novels of Dickens, the tragedies of Shakespeare, the style of poetry, etc.).

6. Argumentative Essay: It is an essay which intends to prove or to disprove something. Its aim is to persuade the reader that the writer’s point of view is correct. Paragraphs on such subjects or topics as “Is Science a Blessing or a Curse?” or “Is Life for us Better than it was for our Forefathers?” may be called argumentative essays.


A good essay should have the following characteristics:

1. Unity: It means all the parts of the essay should be clearly related to the subject.

2. Coherence: It means that there should be a logical sequence of thought, i.e., each sentence and paragraph in the essay should link with each other in order to appear as a single whole.


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