Essay Types: I–N

Essay Types: I–N

by Owen Fourie

What is involved in each of these kinds of essays?

(If you are a new reader of this blog, the introduction to this particular category will help you to understand how this post fits into the bigger picture.)


Prove a point–your thesis–by using the support of a variety of examples:

  • specific examples drawn from your personal experience;
  • typical examples derived from the common experience of many;
  • hypothetical examples that are simply imagined situations.

This method is not confined to the illustration essay and may be used when writing other types of essays, particularly of the narrative kind.


Look under Deductive and note that while the deductive essay moves from the general to the particular, the inductive essay moves in the other direction, from the particular to the general.

Begin with a fact that sets down a particular truth. Example: My sixteen-year-old refrigerator is extremely noisy.

Introduce your topic and state your premise. (To follow the above example, it would be about old refrigerators and their noisiness.) Describe briefly what you propose to do in this essay without giving away your conclusion.

Proceed to gather all the evidence, which must be reliable, verifiable, and interpreted by you.

Write persuasively about the topic as you present the evidence and develop your argument. Since your conclusion (your thesis statement) is not yet known, you might have a better opportunity than in a deductive essay to persuade your reader to accept your position.

State your conclusion. Example: All very old refrigerators are extremely noisy. Note that inductive reasoning allows for a false conclusion even if the premises are true.

The premises in the inductive argument give a measure of support to the conclusion but cannot ensure that it is beyond dispute. You would, of course, want to arrive at a true conclusion. To do so, the thoroughness of your research as well as your persuasiveness will be put to the test.


Write an essay about anything, an essay that, instead of reflecting scholarship and adherence to rigid rules, gives you the opportunity to vent yourself freely, to express your personality, your intimate thoughts, your unique view of life declared whimsically, humorously, thoughtfully, sadly, playfully, satirically, in whatever way you please in a conversational manner but not without polish.


Look under Definition, Explanatory, Expository, Informative.


Pose a question based on your research that you are doing currently on a particular issue. Give reasons for choosing this question, which, instead of a thesis statement, is the motivation of the essay.

Respond to your question by explaining how you viewed the matter before researching it and how you see things now at this point of your research.

Summarize and analyze the most influential writings, perhaps three different items, that you have researched. Deal separately with each of these. Discuss and reflect on the ideas and arguments of these writers. Describe how their views have affected your own thinking.

Sum up the results of your inquiry and your current position. Restate your question and leave the door open for further research based on a tentative thesis statement in your conclusion.

The inquiry essay, which takes a micro-view of a situation, precedes the exploratory essay, which takes a macro-view of a situation.

Look under Exploratory.


Verify the required format of the interview essay with your instructor. Will this be in a question-and-answer form or will it be like a narrative essay?

Choose a topic of interest to you. Find an authoritative source on the topic and make contact to find out if that person is willing to be interviewed.

Make an appointment and prepare thoroughly for the interview. Prepare your thesis statement and a list of questions. Have a specific direction and goal set by your thesis, but remain flexible and open to any new direction in the interview.

Be well equipped with paper, pencils, pens, laptop computer, and sound recorder. Use a recorder only if your interviewee agrees to its usage.

Ask all the who, what, when, where, why, and how questions.

After thoroughly reviewing your interview notes and recording, write your essay in the required format. The interviewee’s background and importance to the subject should be given in the introduction.

Be sure that your interviewee is contactable in case you are uncertain about any points that might need correction before you submit your final copy.


Look under Analysis or Analytical.

Literary Response

Look under Analysis or Analytical.


Look under Analysis or Analytical.


Look under Autobiographical, Memoir, Narrative, Personal Narrative.


Look under Autobiographical, Memoir, Narrative, Personal Narrative.


What good or bad experiences have you had with any of the kinds of essays mentioned in this post? Under any of the types in this post, are there points about them that you feel are missing and should be included? Do you have any useful insights? What are your particular struggles? Your comments, observations, and questions are welcome.

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