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Sep 17th 2014

An Introduction to Essay: Its Parts and Types

Here you will find the most common elements of an essay, i.e. its parts, and then a short description of some of the most common essay types so you may pick one if your teacher or professor has given you a free choice. The elements listed below are simply the most common elements, which means there are some elements missing and means there are some elements that you are not going to use with every essay.

The introduction

This sets up the meaning and the point of the essay. It tells the reader if they want to read on or not. It is not a place to start fleshing out your ideas. It just gently walks the reader into the point or message of your essay.

The Thesis

This normally appears in the introduction and some people like to think of it as their overriding theme or point of the essay. It is often the point you argue for, against, or try to prove or disprove. More importantly is that it is referred back to within the conclusion.

The body

This makes up the bulk of the essay, and just how the introduction features a thesis, the body also features other essay elements.

The conclusion

This is where you refer back to your thesis and explain how you proved it, disproved it, or how the issue is still undecided. In broader terms, you provide some sort of resolution on the issue of your essay.

The research

There are many essays that are chock full of research, and you will often have to justify how you found that research.

The data/results

You sometimes need to show results or data in your essay so that you may analyze it later or use it as evidence.

The analysis

Do you have data of some sort? Then you may need to analyze it in order to help the reader understand it a little better.

The evaluation

You use your skills and judgment to draw conclusions on something else whilst also judging it or providing evidence based on what has been previously written/done.

The argument and counter-arguments

Within the essay, you may need to make arguments and they are often followed by counter arguments. The counter arguments are may help to prove the argument they try to counter. They ask and answer the same questions that the reader would have asked.

The excerpt/ abstract (summary)

This is where you lift a piece of your essay that runs very clearly along the theme of your essay. It provides a short bit of your essay for people to read so that they may better understand what the essay is about.

The bibliography / Reference section

If you quoted from other works or used ideas from other works then you should put them in your bibliography / reference section so as to avoid plagiarism laws and rules. It is wise to follow one of the formatting methods so that other readers may quickly understand your references. You should also maintain your referencing consistency and be sure you give enough information to allow people to check your sources/resources.

The endnotes 

There may be things that you need to clarify from the essay, and that is fine but it may overly extend the essay if you do. Therefore, you put notes in the endnotes section so that people are not forced to read it in your essay and so the essay does not go on too long. You can ask people to refer to the endnotes if for example they want further details on something you did. 

The two essay variants

There are more than two, but most people will group essays together as either formal or informal. Still, there are numerous other variants such as the freestyle used in personal essays, or candid, academic, poetic, etc. People bulk them together as either formal or informal because the variation of essay is not that big of an issue. For example, with a personal narrative essay, most people are aware that a less formal essay variant is acceptable.

The different types of essay

There are a lot of different types of essay; in fact it would be rather difficult to collect together a full list of the many types of essay. Still, here is a list of some of the most common essay types.

Classification and division

Cause and effect

Evaluation essay





Five paragraph essay


Literary analysis



SAT essay

Thesis Essay



Compare/Contrast Process

Book report


Sequence Essay


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