The Four Types of Writing


There are four main types or styles of writing. These are expository, persuasive, narrative, and descriptive writings. In the most basic and short description, these four types of writing can be defined as follows:

Expository means writing in which author’s purpose is to inform or explain the subject to the reader.

Persuasive means writing that states the opinion of the writer and attempts to influence the reader.

Narrative means writing in which the author tells a story. The story could be fact or fiction.

Descriptive is a type of expository writing that uses the five senses to paint a picture for the reader. This writing incorporates imagery and specific details.

A detailed and elaborate examination of the four types of writing is given below:

Expository Writing

Expository writing’s main purpose is to explain. It is a subject-oriented writing style, in which authors focus on telling you about a given topic or subject without voicing their personal opinions. They furnish you with relevant facts and figures but do not include their opinions. This is one of the most common types of writing styles, which you always see in textbooks and how-to articles. The author just tells you about a given subject, such as how to do something.

Key features:

  • Expository writing usually explains something in a process.
  • This type of writing is often equipped with facts and figures.
  • It is usually in a logical order and sequence.

Expository Writing is mainly used in textbook writing, how-to articles, recipes, news stories (not including opinion or editorial pieces), and business, technical, or scientific writing etc.

Persuasive Writing

Persuasive writing’s main purpose is to persuade. Unlike expository writing, persuasive writing contains the opinions and biases of the author. To convince others to agree with the author’s point of view, persuasive writing contains justifications and reasons. It is often used in letters of complaint, advertisements or commercials, affiliate marketing pitches, cover letters, and newspaper opinion and editorial pieces.

Key features:

  • Persuasive writing is equipped with reasons, arguments, and justifications.
  • In persuasive writing, the author takes a stand and asks you to agree with his or her point of view.
  • It often asks for readers to do something about the situation (this is called a call-to-action).

Persuasive writing is normally used in: opinion and editorial newspaper pieces, advertisements, reviews (of books, music, movie, restaurants, etc.), letter of recommendation, letter of complaint etc.

Narrative Writing

Narrative writing’s main purpose is to tell a story. The author will create different characters and tell you what happens to them (sometimes the author writes from the point of view of one of the characters which is known as first person narration). Novels, short stories, novellas, poetry, and biographies can all fall in the narrative writing style. Simply, narrative writing answers the question: “What happened then?”

Key features:

  • In narrative writing, a person tells a story or event.
  • Narrative writing has characters and dialogue.
  • Narrative writing has definite and logical beginnings, intervals, and endings.
  • Narrative writing often has situations like actions, motivational events, and disputes or conflicts with their eventual solutions.

Narrative Writing is used in novels, short stories, autobiographies or biographies, anecdotes, oral histories etc.

Descriptive Writing

Descriptive writing’s main purpose is to describe. It is a style of writing that focuses on describing a character, an event, or a place in great detail. It can be poetic when the author takes the time to be very specific in his or her descriptions.

Key features:

  • It is often poetic in nature.
  • It describes places, people, events, situations, or locations in a highly-detailed manner.
  • In this style of writing, the author visualises what he or she sees, hears, tastes, smells, and feels.

Descriptive Writing is mainly used in poetry, journal or diary writing, descriptive passages in fiction etc.

To conclude, writing is an important skill in any language. A writer must know all these styles in order to identify the purpose of his or her own writing and make sure it’s something the audience wants to read. As it is often said, the way we write tells our personality, the unique voice we may have and the way of approaching the audience and readers.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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