There are many different approaches to essay categorization. Hence, there is no single view on how many essay types exist. According to the simplest and most common classification, there are narrative, descriptive, expository, and persuasive essays. In this article, we are going to explain what is unique about the last two essay types and highlight the main differences between them. 

What is an Expository Essay?

An expository essay is one of the most common forms of writing tasks given to students. Simply put, ‘expository’ means intended to explain or describe something. Expository is the synonym to explanatory, so obviously, an expository essay is aimed at explaining a particular idea. 

This type of writing doesn’t require you to take a position on an issue so that the reader knows which side you’re on. Instead, you should introduce data, facts, and statistics on a topic and present the information in an unbiased manner.

The main goal of an expository essay is to prove your knowledge and deep understanding of a problem. That’s the reason why such tasks are very common at the university level. 

Tips to Write an Expository Essay

  1. Get reliable information from assigned readings and your lecture notes to demonstrate that you have profound knowledge.
  2. Analyze ideas to offer two sides of an argument and compare them. Resort to different critical thinking strategies like Venn diagrams or pros and cons lists to evaluate the topic. 
  3. Avoid using dictionary definitions. Try to use scholarly ones instead. You can find them in textbooks or journal articles. It would be great to compare multiple definitions of a term or topic if they exist.
  4. Don’t use the first-person language as well as don’t take a stance on the issue in order to stay objective. Remember that your goal is to provide the information, not to convince. 

Types of Expository Essays:

  • ‘How to’
  • Classification
  • Cause and effect
  • Problem and solution
  • Comparative

What is a Persuasive Essay?

A persuasive essay requires you to take a particular position on an issue. Its aim is to convince the reader to accept your arguments and agree with your point of view. 

Using logic and reasoning is essential for this type of academic writing. It is necessary to show that your opinion is more legitimate than any other. A persuasive essay requires presenting clear arguments and convincing facts. 

This type of writing always starts with a thesis statement, which is the argument or the point you are trying to make. In general, you need to describe the problem in your introduction and explain to the readers why they should care about it. Then, mention the counterargument and do your best to present it fairly. Include the main objections to it in order to refute the argument opposite to yours. After that, you can move to the body of your essay that consists of paragraphs supporting your thesis with evidence. A persuasive essay must be finished with a conclusion summarizing the main points and restating the thesis.

Tips to Write a Persuasive Essay

  1. Don’t be prejudiced while expressing your point of view. The fact that you need to take a position doesn’t allow you to be biased or narrow-mindedly convinced by only one side. On the contrary, you need to show the reader that you have taken an open-minded look at the problem. Weigh up the evidence on both sides of an issue and draw your conclusions based on objective information.
  2. Go deep into the topic and compare a few ideas to make a value judgment. Brainstorm different perspectives and contrast them, so you can demonstrate your profound understanding of the problem and sound more persuasive. 

A key element of any persuasive essay is rhetoric. Its forms include the following: ethos, pathos, and logos. Let’s have a closer look at each of them. 

  • Ethos. This type of rhetoric means that you are trying to convince the reader in your point of view by proving your expertise on the subject. 
  • Pathos. If you are appealing to emotions in order to persuade someone, it means you’re using pathos. 
  • Logos. Giving specific fact-based reasons and supporting them with details means that you resort to logos. 

What’s the Difference Between Persuasive and Expository Essays?

Now that you know the definitions of these essay types, let’s summarize the key differences and similarities between them.

  • Value judgments. It is allowed to make value judgments in a persuasive essay, while you cannot do it in expository writing. 
  • Personal pronounces. A persuasive essay sometimes allows using First Person Language, while it’s forbidden in an expository one. You should use Third Person Language only. 
  • Expressing opinion. The aim of a persuasive essay is to prove to the reader that the author’s personal position on the issue is right, while it doesn’t have to be done in an expository essay.
  • Depth of research. Both types of writing require profound research on the issue in order to present multiple perspectives on the subject. In contrast with expository writing, one needs to take a position on the most viable perspective in a persuasive essay. 
  • Referencing. Both forms of essay require the writer to add references in order to back up all points. 
  • Structure. An expository essay as well as a persuasive one consist of an introduction, body, and conclusion. Any of them shouldn’t include subheadings. 

Final Thoughts 

As you may see, there are similarities in the structure, referencing, and approach to research in both types of essays. They have to provide in-depth information on the topic as well as consist of an introduction, body, and conclusion backed up by credible references. However, the major difference between them is that the persuasive essay goes one step further and lets the writer take a personal position on the problem after presenting the key information.

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