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Learning Commons: Writing & Speech: Types of Writing

Reading and Writing Resources

                                                               Four Different Types of Writing Styles: Expository, Descriptive,  Persuasive, and Narrative - Owlcation                                     

Types of Writing Assignments

Descriptive writing describes something or someone.  It uses metaphors, adjectives, adverbs, and language that activates the reader's senses.  Descriptive writing is appreciative of minute details. Descriptive writing includes poetry, diary entries, and nature writing. It may also be a section within a longer essay form, such as an argument.

Expository writing is more about facts than storytelling and poetry. It can inform or instruct readers about a subject.  Expository writing in its purest form is not persuasive; however, expository writing may be a part of another essay form. Expository writing includes news articles, nonfiction books, textbooks, scientific and medical research, instruction manuals, and cookbooks.

Narrative writing tells a story.  It has a beginning, middle, and end. Narrative writing includes novels, creative nonfiction, screenplays, biographies, mythology.

Persuasive writing seeks to win its audience over to a certain point of view. It builds an argument by presenting evidence and justifications to back up an opinion. This may lead to a call to action. Persuasive writing may incorporate other styles, such as narration or definition. Persuasive writing includes academic essays, opinion and editorial writing, advertising copy, product reviews, cover letters, and letters of recommendation.

Analytical writing involves breaking down a piece of writing into its parts in order to understand what it is, how it works, and why it is important. It shows the thought processes you went through to arrive at a given conclusion and discusses the implications of this. An analytical essay is often persuasive, making an argument about what you are analyzing, but in some disciplines, an analysis may not necessarily be persuasive.