Essay Types and Modes Youll Need to Write for College


You Want Us to Write What? Understanding the Task Assigned

Which academic essay writing types we use depends upon which disciplines (or classes) we write for. Each instructor or professor will assign papers that invite us to reveal in writing what we have learned/what we think about the material for that particular class:

* ANALYTIC-A classic style used in art, science, history, psychology, education, and most other disciplines across the curriculum to explore and investigate an idea, process, person, action, or attitude.

* ARGUMENTATIVE-Used in more advanced English classes, in philosophy, and in courses which include theory.

*COMPARATIVE/CONTRASTIVE-Used in most courses where specific analysis of like and unlike elements, characters, and ideas lend themselves to comparison.

*DEFINITIONAL-Written when we apply a more thorough study to a topic, especially an abstract one.

*DESCRIPTIVE-Used to more intensively, more concretely cover an idea, item, or subject.

*EVALUATIVE-Often confused with analytical, the evaluative essay moves beyond the what and how to the how much...we put a value on the topic here.

*EXPLANATORY-Also called the expository essay (though I tend to see all essays as expository, as exposing a truth about something). With this type we further our own and our readers' understanding of the subject.

*PERSONAL-Also called the response essay, the personal style essay is still well written (readable for an audience other than the writer), but is more informal--containing narrative details that entertain.

*RESEARCH-While most essay types will include references or will quote authorities, the research essay is mostly informational, using the findings--the stats and facts--we made investigating the findings of others.


Modes and Types and Modes...Oh Crimeny! Avoiding Confusion

We need not panic when called upon to do a specific type of college paper writing. Why? Because we already use the types...on a smaller scale.

That is, we use miniature versions of the essay types when we write paragraphs for the complete essay. A type and a mode are the same thing, then. One is just smaller, while the other is an extension of the smaller.

For example, we write about the forms and functions of gossip for a sociology paper. We open with a definition paragraph that shows how the word "gossip" originated from the word "gospel." Then we continue to discuss how gossip brings people closer--emotionally, spiritually, and even physically.

Go Easy on Yourself: Your Confusion is Understandable

Just as we might call all writing expository, we call one type and one mode an expository type of essay and an expository mode of writing. So is the piece I'm writing explanatory, definitional, comparative? I include explanatory elements. I use definition and example. I slip a comparison in, too.

Here's one way to look at types/modes:

--We write a paragraph or passage in a certain mode. --We can then turn that smaller piece into a whole essay, into one long, extended mode.

Here's another way to look at types/modes:

We buy a box of gourmet chocolates. We lift one from the box: we understand that the thing we hold in our hands is a chocolate. It also has chocolate in it.

Here's one more way to look at types/modes:

You own a Camaro with a Corvette engine. They're both Chevys.

You're Going to What, Now? Confuse Us All Over Again?

No. Now that we have the types/modes separated enough to understand the difference, I'll just remind you of one more thing: we can and usually do overlap the modes. No one piece of academic essay writing exists in one isolated mode alone. It includes many varied sub-styles to make it more engaging, entertaining, and expository.

And it requires a number of major parts--an opener, a main body of text, and a closer. And you know what? These parts are written in the modes.

I'll add more pages on academic essay writing. Much more. So if you haven't had enough, come back again for monthly freebies. But for now, if you want to check out samples you can use as models for modes/types, click here for mode samples written by college students.

One more thing about college paper writing:

Enjoy the process. Find one thing in it you like and are good at.

N.H.-born prize-winning poet, creative nonfiction writer, memoirist, and award-winning Assoc. Prof. of English, Roxanne is also web content and freelance writer/founder of, a support site for academic, memoir, mental disability, and creative writers who need a nudge, a nod, or just ideas?of which Roxanne has 1,000s, so do stop in for a visit, as this sentence can't possibly get any longer?.

How To Write A Newsletter
In order to be successful with a newsletter, specialize in a subject not adequately covered in existing newsletters. A subject which you can give more, or better information on.
How to Create Incredible Characters Easily
Creating incredible characters can be easy if you know of a few simple rules:Each character should have his own voice. If your character is from Brooklyn, give him brooklyn accent and mannerisms.
Creating Great Business Correspondence
Obtaining the skills for writing good business correpondence is important; a job seeker needs to send customised job application letters. A secretary needs to send out an official invitation letter.
How To Break Into Print Publishing
The big question. Do you submit directly to the publishers, or doyou find an agent who will do that for you? Based on anecdotalevidence I've heard, it can work either way.
Comma Usage Made Simple
Don't they drive you nuts?You can visit all the rules of style you want, and you can readall the books and articles you want. You'll still be confused.
Interviewing an Author: Dont Be Left Speechless
Joyce Carol Oates. Langston Hughes.
Write Strategy: Think, Believe, Attack
Think of writing like karate..
Retail Margin, Trade Discount, and What it Means for the Author
DEFINITIONSRetail margin is basically the difference between your book's wholesale price and your book's retail price. For example, a book with a cover price of $10 and a wholesale price of $5 has a 50% retail margin.
Authors-Stop Expensive Mistakes Before you Spend on Professional Services
So many clients come to me as a book or marketing coach telling me how they spent and wasted a lot of money and time following different well-known gurus in the book and publicity fields. Debbie's Story A recent client, Debbie, already got her books printed--over 900 left to sell from the 1000 at too much cost.
Gut Check: Quitting Your Full-time Job for Your Freelance Career
It's 6:00 p.m.
Need a Book Coach, Ghost Writer, or Editor? Part 1
If you either want to write a book to help others create a better life and boost business or you already have your book nearly finished, you may need book coaching to answer all of your questions "What step to take next?" Many writers think that all they need is a good editor and their book will be ready for publishing and promoting.Maybe you think you don't have enough time to write it yourself.
Persisting With Bulldog Determination
Persisting With Bulldog Determination [Book excerpt from Successercising}by Rick Gettle © 2003-2004Ninety-five percent of all new businesses go out of business within the first five years or less.Why Do They Fail?There are many starters in life - but very few finish what they start.
Know Your Editing Choices
Each author has special editing needs. To save yourself time and money, look at the choices below and decide which kind of editing suits your needs.
English Grammar - Seven Outdated Rules You Can Ignore
No matter what your fifth-grade English teacher says, some grammar "rules" no longer apply. The style mavens of our day all agree that the ability to communicate clearly and concisely takes precedence over archaic grammar rules.
Idea Mining for Writers 101
Want to write an article or book, but are stuck for ideas? Here are a few practical ways to awaken that muse.- Keep a writer's journal.
How to Write Headlines for How-to Articles
Want to write a how-to article but can't come up with a topic?Start by naming the three biggest problems your customers or clients face. You've just come up with three ideas for three different articles.
Top Ten Great Headline Ideas
What Makes a Great Headline?Headlines are far more important than the copy beneath them. If you don't use headlines within your chapter or in your Web site sales letters and article titles, you will lose your audience's attention in a few seconds.
Writing Help
Whether you are working for a small business, large corporation, or are a student, there are numerous sources that you can turn to for help with writing. Businesses need to be able to effectively communicate with their customers, their employees and their potential customers.
The Myths of Writing: Have You Bought Into These?
There is an image most people carry of the artist (think Van Gough's self-portrait, the one with his ear bandaged), working in solitude in a barren garret in a dark corner of the city. Everyday is a struggle.
Writing from Home: It Can Be Great and Not-So-Great for Mothers
I went to school to be a teacher. In fact, I have a B.

Home | Articles Site Map