Smiling students looking at results
Even if you already have a topic for your essay, it may be still not enough for writing a good paper. What you need in addition is to clarify the type of an essay that you are supposed to write. Make certain to clarify the kinds of essays your teachers want you to write, before you start working on them.

Types of essays: all you needed to know



Primary goal: To describe the main traits of an object, process, phenomenon, etc.

This kind of essay is mostly expressive writing – it usually involves all the five senses and encourages to add a lot of details. When writing such a text, you should not be laconic. Try to apply your imagination and talent to create a feeling you want.



Primary goal: To analyze and critically evaluate a topic.

Among all the types of essay analytical is the most exacting about logic and structure. You should be careful, organizing your ideas. Make clear statements and remember to use linking words to help readers follow your thoughts.



Primary goal: To give arguments “for” and “against” a particular position.

This kind is similar to one of the types of essay for IELTS – advantages/disadvantages essay. The major principle is to characterize the particular phenomenon, organizing ideas and examples. You can make such a writing only after doing a rigorous research.



Primary goal: To persuade the readers that your opinion is viable.

This is a type of essay involving discussion. Instead of giving informative facts and general view, your task here is to persuade your readers to accept your ideas. Writing this essay, you can manipulate readers' emotions, but your only tools must be facts and logic, not emotional pressure.



Primary goal: To define an object or phenomenon.

When working on this kind of essay, you're supposed to cover one specific term. Your major role is to explain your readers, what exactly does this term mean, and in what circumstances it is used. It is suitable to talk about origins of the word and spheres of usage.



Primary goal: To classify a group of objects according to a certain criterion.

A classification essay is a kind of essay to sort things into different categories. It is helpful when analyzing the differences between objects. Classification must be clear, and each point should be linked to the following one.


Compare and contrast

Primary goal: To discuss the main similarities and differences between the given objects.

This type of comparison essay is similar to the last one. But writing a compare and contrast essay, one could seek for differences not only in general categories but two specific subjects: people, companies, universities, political strategies and so on.


Cause and effect

Primary goal: To explain what factors lead to what results and why.

The final type of essay – cause and effect essay. You may discuss one cause and several effects, or one effect and several causes. This kind of essay is perfect for ecological and political topics.

It's difficult to tell what is the hardest type of essay. If you want to know – better look at the examples bellow. You can imagine how these types are related to your topic and discover what the hardest is.


Types of essays: Wonderful suggestions

To understand better why different types of papers require totally different approaches, let’s look through these suggestions for different kinds of papers, all of them dedicated to the same topic of smiling and smiles:

  1. In a descriptive paper, you might want to describe the smile of somebody you know personally or that of a celebrity, such as Julia Roberts, for example. Discuss what her smile looks like and how you feel when you see it.
  2. Analytical. Analyze the things which make you smile. Try to specify what exactly about these things makes you smile.
  3. Argumentative. Offer arguments for and/or against forced smiles at work/ in personal relationships. You might include the findings of recent studies about the negative effects of artificial smiles on a person’s health.
  4. Take a particular position and persuade your audience whether it's good (or bad) to use artificial smiles.
  5. Answer the question of what a smile is. You can use different perspectives to discuss for instance how muscles work when smiling or what are the emotional effects of a smile on the smiling person and those around.
  6. You can use the level of sincerity of smiles to divide them into different groups, such as natural, polite and forced ones, for example.
  7. Compare and contrast. You could choose different types of smiles and find similarities and differences between them. Why can it be hard to distinguish between a natural and a forced smile at first glance? Alternatively, you could compare and contrast the smile of Mona Lisa from the well-known painting by Leonardo Da Vinci to the smile of the girl in the painting Smiling Girl by Vermeer.
  8. Cause and effect. Discuss the main causes and consequences of a smile.


Types of essay on IELTS

IELTS essay types are almost similar to the listed above types – they have analogous structure, outline, rules, and approaches. However, it is necessary to understand the details of all types of an essay to write them perfectly. So, let's see what are the types of an essay on IELTS exam and how to write such papers.


Opinion (Agree or Disagree)

As you can guess, this type of essay is aimed at covering your opinion on the topic. To make your job easier try to choose a side – don't try to persuade your readers that all opinions on that topic are possible. After you choose whether you agree or not, stick to your opinion and prove it with the help of the arguments.

You should answer the following questions in your essay:

  • What is the topic you're going to discuss?
  • Do you agree or disagree with the statement?
  • Why?
  • To what extent do you agree or disagree?
  • How can you prove your opinion?

To make it clear, state your opinion in the introduction and the conclusion. It'll help your readers to understand your point of view. Also, don't forget to support your opinion with the examples.


Advantages and Disadvantages Essays

This kind of essay doesn't appeal to your opinion. When writing such an essay, your main goal is to show what other people think. Normally, there is only one advantage and one disadvantage described – it's difficult to talk about more points without exceeding the word count.

You should answer the following questions in your essay:

  • What is the topic you're going to discuss?
  • What is the main advantage of the discussed issue?
  • What is the main disadvantage of the discussed issue?
  • How can you prove these points?

You can write your opinion on the topic in conclusion. It is suitable also to include the results of each point in your essay. By the way, here are some topics for writing advantages/disadvantages essay.


Problem and Solution

Problem and solution is one of the main types of essay asked in IELTS. Your goal here is to state a problem and offer a solution to this issue. Usually, you can deal only with one problem because of the limited word count or time.

You should answer the following questions in your essay:

  • What is the topic you're going to discuss?
  • What are the negative effects of this topic?
  • How is it possible to tackle these problems?

Notice, that the problem and the solution must be written in separate paragraphs to help readers comprehend your writing. It is also important to show what results are going to follow after the solution you offer.


Discussion (Discuss both views)

Discussion and Advantages/Disadvantages are similar types of essay according to subject matter. Often, they both discuss opposite views of the subject. Anyway, when writing a discussion essay, you need to describe both statements in the task and tell whether you agree with them or not.

You should answer the following questions in your essay:

  • What is the topic you're going to discuss?
  • What is the first view you're going to comment on?
  • What do you think about this statement?
  • What is the second view you're going to comment on?
  • What do you think about this statement?

Don't forget to include examples in your essay. If you want to share your own opinion about the topic, write about it in conclusion.


Two-part Question

Two-part question is one of the most famous types of essays in English. In the task, there are given a statement and two questions to answer.

You should answer the following questions in your essay:

  • What is the topic you're going to discuss?
  • What is your answer to the first question?
  • Why do you think so?
  • What is your answer to the second question?
  • Why do you think so?

When writing this kind of essay, give clear, structured answers. Remember to prove your opinion and use linking devices.

As you see, a single topic does not necessarily mean that there is only one way to approach the issue. So define your type of essays, choose your approach and write outstanding papers. Good luck with your essays and have a nice day! By the way, if you still aren't sure how to write a particular type of essay, we can help!