As a writer, you’re probably going to be tasked with writing more than one essay. In fact, if you haven’t written an essay lately, read on. Essays are a great addition to every writer’s portfolio.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking a peek at different types of essays; we’ll leave it up to you which essay examples you choose for your portfolio. But first, let’s explore the different types of essays.
The Narrative Essay
Have you ever read a Chicken Soup for the Soul book? Okay they’re a little cheesy. But most of the essay examples within those books are great examples of the narrative essay. A narrative essay is one which tells a story, and there’s usually a lesson to be learned at the end.
If you’re charged with writing a narrative essay, there are certain attributes that your delivery has to have. Most importantly, you’ll need to ask from what point of view the essay should be written. Most narrative essays are written in the first person.
“When I was growing up, I loved to eat, eat, eat apples and bananas.”
This would be a great introduction to a narrative essay. It’s personal, and written in the first person. It leads the reader to believe that there’s a point to stating the dietary persuasion of the speaker. A narrative essay such as this one may end with a moral.
“Those fruit flies impacted me in a deeply curious way. It’s for that reason I’ve switched to eating grapes and kiwi.”
It’s probably rare that a client will hire you to write a narrative essay, unless he’s looking for you to write his memoir. With that said, however, you may choose to include a narrative essay of your own on your portfolio, or submit one to a publication. There are many book publishers and magazines which will pay you nicely for your own original narrative essay.
The Persuasive Essay
The persuasive essay is exactly as the name implies. The writer of a persuasive essay has come to a realization, and wants to make you believe that his idea is the truth. Persuasive essays are used frequently in academics. For example, a student may be given an assignment to write how Piggy was the bad guy in Lord of the Flies. Within that essay, that student aims to convince you that Piggy did indeed deserve to meet his demise.
You probably won’t find a lot of persuasive essays in coffee table books. But you can find them outside of academia. A good example of a persuasive essay is the sermon a preacher delivers. TED Talks are usually persuasive essays in spoken form, also.
“Young people have a tendency to eat, eat, eat apples and bananas,” a persuasive essay might begin.
The introduction is followed by two or three points which serve to prove the point of the author. Is it a good idea to eat so many apples and bananas? A bad one? Maybe the author dislikes fruit in general. The points within the article lead up to a conclusion:
“Kids today have a plethora of options available to them. Limiting a child’s diet to apples and bananas will most certainly contribute to the fall of human civilization.”
By the end of the persuasive essay, it’s clear what the author intends to impart to his audience. Apples and bananas aren’t the way to go, and the persuasive essay can convince the reader of just that.
The argumentative essay is one in which all Facebook trolls will delight. Take a commonly held belief – any – and find the opposing viewpoint. Express that viewpoint in a nicely worded piece of literature and BAM! You’ve got an argumentative essay.
If you include to choose argumentative essay examples in your portfolio, be careful. Writing about religion or politics can send clients quickly running in the opposite direction. But there are plenty of fair game topics out there for you to explore. “Why is Android superior to the iPhone?” “Are Gluten-free Diets a Fad?”
“When I was a kid, I loved to eat, eat, eat apples and bananas. As it would turn out, I was a step ahead of the gluten-free gang.”
While the introductory paragraph may contain a personal anecdote, the remainder of the argumentative essay should be factual, and probably written in the second or third person.
“While only 3.5 million people have celiac disease, an exponentially higher number of people are on a gluten free diet.”
Taking a popular stance and dissecting it is par for the course in an argumentative essay. If you’re challenged to write one of these, we’d just advise you to be careful. Don’t alienate your clients.
“I like to eat apples and bananas, but which is better?”
A comparative essay is one which takes two commonly held viewpoints and exposes similarities and contrasts between them. While it’s not always the case, comparative essays are usually written objectively. These essay examples aim to show the difference between, say, apples and bananas. What’s good about apples, and what’s great about bananas?
“Apples are crunchy, and bananas squish in your mouth. However, both are delicious.”
Comparative essays are very frequently assigned to students. There’s a very broad range of use for them in academics, whether Religious Studies majors are comparing theologies or Language Arts students are comparing protagonists in literary works.
You may also come across comparative essays in your work as a freelancer. Sometimes even simple product reviews can be examples of short comparative essays. We have comparative essays on the Freelance With Us website, too. Take a look at our article on Word vs. Google Docs, or our piece on Scrivener vs Storyist.
So while these certainly aren’t all the different types of essays, the four essay examples we’ve outlined are the most popularly encountered in both school and freelancing. Over time, we’ll take a more in depth look at each of these, and show you how to perfect the art of essay writing.