What are the four common types of writing?

There are four different types of writing that are the main forms of composition:

  • Expository
  • Persuasive
  • Narrative
  • Descriptive


The expository form is for information or explanation. This is when the author writes with the purpose of informing or explaining his or her subject matter to the reader. People who write research papers or biographies are using the expository type since those works are informative topics. History books are informative written works as well, since they seek, in the expository form, to not only record historical dates but also inform the reader about what happened during those times.


The persuasive form is for influencing the reader. With this form the writer tries to persuade the reader to agree with the author’s opinion. Debates and speeches are written in the persuasive so as to sway the listeners to agree to their side. The persuasive form, if employed correctly, can influence anyone to change one’s opinion so as to agree with the author. A person could find themselves liking zebras simply because the author write a very convincing piece that zebras are more likable than elephants.


The narrative form is for storytelling. This type of writing can be written in the first, second or third person, it does not matter which person the story is told in as either one can be competent enough to tell the tale. The narrative can be fact or fiction, if it is fiction then more of the imagination is used to write a completely made up story since there is less fact to go on. The genres for the narrative are historical fiction, fantasy, science fiction, poetry, etc. The writing possibilities in the narrative form are almost endless.


The descriptive form is similar to the expository form. The difference is that the descriptive form uses the five senses: sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell to inform the reader of something. The expository form is mostly a retelling of facts while the descriptive form uses images and details to describe things. The author uses imagery and specific aspects in his or her writing in order to describe to the reader what is being talked about. Books on nature or cooking books can be written in this form, so as to entice a person to go out and explore the woods or mountains.

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