As writing becomes more and more intensive, it will likely be classified into any one of four categories or types. These types are: narrative, descriptive, expository and persuasive.
When someone approaches you regarding a writing assignment or if you yourself are planning on writing something, you must not only know the topic, but also understand what type of writing is expected. Some of these types are used together in the same piece of writing. A good writer would know when the transition occurs!
This may be the most common type that people are familiar with because it deals with story telling. From a very young age, students are taught and encouraged to write narratives with a typical outline consisting of a beginning, middle and an ending. As a result, people find this to be an easier type of writing. Fiction books, plays and other plot summaries feature under narrative.
Descriptive writing as the name suggests describes an idea, person or place in detail. It focuses on specifics and tries to explain the essence of the subject in words. For example, if you were to write about a painting, you would not only write about the picture but also about the frame, the background, the colors, the meaning it conveys etc. Descriptive writing can also elicit what the writer feels or understands about the subject. His or her opinions, ideas or suggestions may also be included. More experienced writers always use this type subtly with the help of metaphors and figurative speech. Common genres in descriptive writing are non-fiction such as biographies, poetry and observational accounts.
This type of writing is factual. There is no place for suggestions, opinions or descriptions. Definitions, instructions, academic writing and business writing fall under this category. Students may find this type essential especially in higher education courses where they must prepare reports and theses. Even for those who pursue non-writing oriented careers; organizing thoughts, having a flow in writing, following a plan or making decisions require the use of critical thinking and clear expression.
This is a more refined type of writing that is hardly mastered by all. The idea is to express an opinion about one point of view and to provide facts and information in support of your opinion so that your readers are convinced of what you say. A writer often also explains the other point of view but uses facts and figures to invalidate it. Such a type of writing is seen in reporting and journalism, debate papers, essays and reviews.
Written by – Radhika Pillai