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Writing Styles

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Your audience and writing purpose will determine your writing style. The four main types of writing styles are persuasive, narrative, expository, and descriptive.  In this blog post, we’ll briefly explore the defining features of these four writing styles. For more help using these writing styles, schedule an appointment at the GWC!

Persuasive:  For this writing style, the writer is trying to convince the reader of the validity of a certain position or argument. Persuasive writing includes the writers’ opinions, and provides justifications and evidence to support their claims.

Examples: Letters of recommendation; cover letters; Op-Eds and Editorial newspaper articles; argumentative essays for academic papers

Narrative:  Often seen in longer writing samples, the purpose of this writing style is to share information in the context of a story. Narratives should include characters, conflicts, and settings.

Examples: Short stories; novels; poetry; historical accounts 

Expository: This type of writing is used to explain a concept and share information to a broader audience. Expository writing provides evidence, statistics, or results and focuses on the facts of a certain topic. This type is not meant to express opinions.

Examples: How-to articles; textbooks; news stories (not editorials or Op-Eds); business, technical, or scientific writing

Descriptive: This type of writing is used to depict imagery to create a clear picture in the mind of the reader. This method helps the readers become more connected to the writing by appealing to their senses. Descriptive writing employs literary techniques such as similes, metaphors, allegory, etc to engage the audience.

Examples: Poetry; fictional novels or plays; memoirs or first-hand accounts of events

*This post was adapted from “Types of Writing Styles” by Robin Jeffrey.

Blog post prepared by Danielle Perry, GWC tutor. Published January 27, 2020.

what is descriptive style of writing

The 5 Types of Writing Styles with Examples

Learn about the major writing styles: narrative, descriptive, persuasive, expository, and creative, and read examples of each.

Becoming a stronger writer, for work or for fun, isn’t as simple as just sitting down and putting words to paper. There are actually different types of writing that serve different purposes, and understanding the goal you’re trying to achieve—and the technique that will best serve it—will make your work stronger. 

Read on to learn more about the five types of writing styles, when you should use each one, and how to improve your skills no matter which of the different types of writing you want to do. 

The 5 Types of Writing Styles and Why You Should Master Each

1. narrative writing.

Narrative writing is storytelling at its most basic: it’s all about sharing something that happens to a character. It can be an epic tale or a small anecdote; it can span years of time or a few minutes; it can be fact or fiction. 

Narrative writing uses many of the most common elements of storytelling , such as plot, character, setting, conflict, emotion, and a core message you’re trying to get across. There are also tried-and-true story archetypes or narrative structures you can use to shape your narrative writing, such as coming of age, rags to riches, or the hero’s journey.

While narrative writing can take a lot of forms, one thing is always true: You should be taking the reader on a journey with a beginning, middle, and end. Even if you’re just telling the story of a funny incident that happened to you yesterday, your character should start somewhere, run into some sort of conflict or interesting experience, and then ultimately reach a resolution.

When to Use Narrative Writing

Narrative writing is most commonly used in fiction and creative writing, but it can also be used in nonfiction to help make true stories more compelling to your reader. Whatever you’re writing, the narrative style is worth mastering because people tend to connect best with stories. For instance, you might use narrative writing in:

Examples of Narrative Writing

Pick up any of your favorite novels and you’re sure to find narrative writing, but here are some great examples on the web, all of which are recommended reading by writer Noah Milligan in his Skillshare class on writing short stories :

2. Descriptive Writing

Descriptive writing involves capturing every detail of the place, person, or scene you’re writing about. The goal is to really immerse the reader in the experience, making them feel like they are there.

When trying to achieve a descriptive writing style, think of it as painting a picture with your words. What can you say to help the reader truly envision the subject in their mind’s eye? This usually involves crafting vivid descriptions using all five senses: sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste. But it could also involve use of simile and metaphor to evoke a mood or feeling that’s too hard to capture with physical descriptors. This can help elevate your writing from a simple description to something that connects with others on a deeper level.

According to Skillshare teacher Kathy Fish , descriptive writing is about more than just making your story pretty. “Great description accomplishes four things. It immerses the reader and gives them a ‘felt experience.’ It also establishes, enhances, or changes the tone of the story. It can compel the reader forward into the story, especially if you include something that’s surprising or unexpected into your description. It can give the reader a sense of the internal state of your character.”

When to Use Descriptive Writing

Descriptive writing is most often in creative writing and can be used along with narrative writing to build scene and setting. It can occasionally be seen used in more formal writing to help explain an idea more deeply or get the reader to emotionally connect with the story you’re telling. Some examples of where you might use descriptive writing include:

Examples of Descriptive Writing

To see descriptive writing in action, check out some of this recommended reading from Kathy Fish’s Skillshare class on how to write descriptively :

3. Persuasive Writing

Persuasive writing is all about getting your point across. The goal is to share your opinion in a thoughtful way—or, even better, to actually convince the reader of a viewpoint or idea. Whether you have a strong stance on an issue or need to inspire people to take action towards a cause, persuasive writing is the way to do it.

Of course, you can’t expect to simply state your viewpoint and have everyone convinced—you need to effectively back it up to bring the reader over to your side. There several main types of evidence in writing you can use when trying to persuade, including:

Whatever evidence you use, it’s often best to keep emotions at bay in persuasive writing. While sharing a bit of your personal story can help build a compelling argument, too much emotion could cloud your key points and turn the reader off. Instead, try and think from the reader’s point of view and ask yourself: What are the most important things I could say to help convince them?

When to Use Persuasive Writing

Persuasive writing is often found in nonfiction and is almost never used in fiction. It’s particularly worth mastering if you do any kind of business writing—even just drafting emails to your colleagues!—since clearly convincing people of your ideas or point of view can be so valuable at work. You’ll also see persuasive writing used in: 

Example of Persuasive Writing

For some examples of persuasive writing, check out this suggested reading from author Sara Eckel’s class on writing persuasive essays :

4. Expository Writing

Expository writing exists to explain a subject or inform about a particular topic area. The goal is simply to teach the reader something.

Expository writing should aim to answer any questions a reader might have about a subject: think about the classic who, what, why, when, how questions. You want to lay everything out clearly, avoiding any jargon or overly technical language that may confuse people. Try to approach expository writing from a beginner’s mindset to make your piece as useful as possible.

Most importantly, keep your emotions and opinions about a subject out of it. Unlike persuasive writing, expository writing shouldn’t have an angle or agenda—just the facts. 

When to Use Expository Writing

Learning how to write in this style is valuable if you ever need to teach through writing, even if that’s just training your colleague on a particular process. While historically expository writing was mostly considered an academic style, you can now see it all over the web, with content marketing blogs and how-to articles teaching readers how to master all manner of skills. For instance, you’ll see expository writing in:

Examples of Expository Writing

This blog post is a classic example of expository writing—it’s here to share the facts and teach you something! Beyond that, here are a few more places to find expository writing:

5. Creative Writing 

As with any artistic medium, the rules are really only there to be broken—and creative writing is any writing that exists outside of the styles above, or even combines the styles in surprising new ways. The goal of creative writing is really to find new ways to tell stories that can surprise and delight readers. 

When it comes to creative writing, you can let yourself literally rewrite the rules of what great writing can be. You could try a new format or structure that you haven’t seen before. You could bring other languages or multimedia elements into your work. Let yourself have fun with it!

When to Use Creative Writing

The purpose of creative writing is really for you to experiment with your craft! Here are some ideas of where you might see creative writing:

Examples of Creative Writing

If you’re looking for inspiration for your own creative writing, here are a few places to explore the unique ways other writers are pushing the boundaries:

what is descriptive style of writing

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The Writer’s Toolkit: 6 Steps to a Successful Writing Habit

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Types of Writing Styles

There are four main types of writing: expository, descriptive, persuasive, and narrative. Each of these writing styles is used for a specific purpose. A single text may include more than one writing style.

Expository writing is one of the most common types of writing. When an author writes in an expository style, all they are trying to do is explain a concept, imparting information from themselves to a wider audience. Expository writing does not include the author’s opinions, but focuses on accepted facts about a topic, including statistics or other evidence.

Examples of Expository Writing


Descriptive writing is often found in fiction, though it can make an appearance in nonfiction as well (for example, memoirs, first-hand accounts of events, or travel guides). When an author writes in a descriptive style, they are painting a picture in words of a person, place, or thing for their audience. The author might employ metaphor or other literary devices in order to describe the author’s impressions via their five senses (what they hear, see, smell, taste, or touch). But the author is not trying to convince the audience of anything or explain the scene – merely describe things as they are.

Examples of Descriptive Writing

Persuasive writing is the main style of writing you will use in academic papers. When an author writes in a persuasive style, they are trying to convince the audience of a position or belief. Persuasive writing contains the author’s opinions and biases, as well as justifications and reasons given by the author as evidence of the correctness of their position. Any “argumentative” essay you write in school should be in the persuasive style of writing.

Examples of Persuasive Writing

Narrative writing is used in almost every longer piece of writing, whether fiction or nonfiction. When an author writes in a narrative style, they are not just trying to impart information, they are trying to construct and communicate a story, complete with characters, conflict, and settings.

Examples of Narrative Writing

About Writing: A Guide by Robin Jeffrey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Learn the Types of Writing: Expository, Descriptive, Persuasive, and Narrative

Catherine Traffis

Whether you write essays, business materials, fiction, articles, letters, or even just notes in your journal, your writing will be at its best if you stay focused on your purpose. While there are many reasons why you might be putting pen to paper or tapping away on the keyboard, there are really only four main types of writing : expository, descriptive, persuasive, and narrative .

Each of these four writing genres has a distinct aim, and they all require different types of writing skills . You may also have heard them referred to in an academic setting as modes of discourse or rhetorical modes . Institutions of higher learning teach nine traditional rhetorical modes, but the majority of pieces we are called upon to write will have one of these four main purposes.

Here’s a tip: You don’t have to guess whether you’re using certain words correctly or breaking  grammar rules in your writing. Just  copy and paste your writing  into our Grammar Checker and get instant feedback on whether your sentences have misspellings, punctuation errors, or any structural mistakes.

Expository Writing

The word expository contains the word expose , so the reason expository is an apt descriptor for this type of writing is that it exposes, or sets forth, facts. It is probably the most common writing genre you will come across throughout your day. In an expository piece, a topic will be introduced and laid out in a logical order without reference to the author’s personal opinions.

Expository writing can be found in:

Textbooks Journalism (except for opinion and editorial articles) Business writing Technical writing Essays Instructions

All of these kinds of writing are expository because they aim to explain and inform.

The municipal government of Happyville unanimously approved the construction of sixty-two miles of bike trails in 2017. Made possible by a new tax levy, the bike trails are expected to help the city reach its sustainability and clean air goals while reducing traffic and congestion. Eighteen trailheads with restrooms and picnic areas have been planned at a variety of access points. The city expects construction to be complete in April 2021.

Because this paragraph supplies the reader with facts and figures about its topic, the new bike trails, without offering the author’s opinion on it, it is expository.

Descriptive Writing

The aim of descriptive writing is to help the reader visualize, in detail, a character, event, place, or all of these things at once. The author might describe the scene in terms of all five senses. Descriptive writing allows the writer a great deal more artistic freedom than expository writing does.

Descriptive writing can be found in:

Fiction Poetry Advertising Journal and diary writing

The children pedaled leisurely down the Happyville Bike Trail, their giggles and whoops reverberating through the warm spring air. Sweet-scented wildflowers brought an array of color to the gently undulating landscape, tempting the children to dismount now and then so they could lay down in the springy, soft grass.

Through description, this passage paints a vivid picture of a scene on the new bike trail.

Persuasive Writing

The aim of persuasive writing, or argumentation, is to influence the reader to assume the author’s point of view. The author will express personal opinions in the piece and arm him- or herself with evidence so that the reader will agree with him or her.

Persuasive writing can be found in:

Advertising Opinion and editorial pieces Reviews Job applications

The bike trail is the glittering gem of Happyville’s new infrastructure. It winds through sixty-two miles of lush landscape, dotted by clean and convenient facilities. If you haven’t experienced the Happyville Bike Trail yet, ditch your car and head outside! Could life in Happyville get any more idyllic?

A number of statements in this paragraph are opinion rather than fact: that the bike trail is a glittering gem, that the facilities are clean and convenient, and that life in Happyville is idyllic. Clearly, the author’s aim here is to use these depictions to persuade readers to use the bike trail.

Narrative Writing

The purpose of narrative writing is to tell a story, whether that story is real or imaginary. Pieces in a narrative style will have characters, and through the narrative, the reader learns what happens to them. Narrative writing can also include dialogue.

Narrative writing can be found in:

All types of fiction (e.g., novels, short stories, novellas) Poetry Biographies Human interest stories Anecdotes

As I cycled down the trail, I heard children giggling and whooping just around the bend. I crested a small hill and coasted down the curving path until I found the source of the noise. Three little girls sat in the grass by a big oak tree. They were startled to see me, and I smiled kindly to put them at ease.

“Whatcha doing?” I asked.

“Nothing,” they chirped in unison.

In this passage, the author sets the scene on the bike trail from his or her own point of view (which is referred to as narrating in the first person ). Using both description and dialogue, the story that takes place is laid out in chronological order.

Understanding Your Purpose Empowers Your Writing

Simply puzzling out which of these four types of writing best suits your purpose and adhering to it can help you write more efficiently and effectively.

To summarize:

what is descriptive style of writing

Reading Rockets

Reading Rockets

what is descriptive style of writing

Descriptive Writing

what is descriptive style of writing

What is descriptive writing?

Descriptive writing helps the reader visualize the person, place, thing, or situation being described. When a text conjures a vivid, sensory impression in the reader’s mind, not only does it make the writing more interesting to read; it helps the reader understand the text better and recognize the author’s intention more clearly.

Why teach descriptive writing?

How to teach descriptive writing

If only descriptive writing were as simple as “show, don’t tell”! Descriptive writing is a skill — and a craft — that takes instruction, practice, and time to learn. The good news is that it can be explicitly taught. An understanding of the characteristics of effective descriptive writing, combined with a toolkit of structures and strategies to scaffold learning and practice, can enhance students’ development as authors of vivid, evocative writing.

What effective descriptive writing looks like

Authors of descriptive writing use a variety of styles and techniques to connect with readers, but effective descriptive writing often shares these characteristics:

What effective instruction in descriptive writing looks like

There isn’t one right approach to teaching descriptive writing, but effective instruction often includes:

Watch a demonstration: show NOT tell using your 5 senses

In this virtual lesson, the teacher models generating written descriptions of a hot day using the five senses as a framework.

Watch a classroom lesson: five senses graphic organizer

Students use their five senses and a graphic organizer to brainstorm ideas for writing a report on a recent school event and to help them think about interesting words to include in their report. See the lesson plan .

Watch a classroom discussion: writer’s workshop

Writer's Workshop connects great children's literature with children’s own writing experiences. In this video clip from our Launching Young Readers PBS series , Lynn Reichle's second graders practice their use of descriptive writing.

Collect resources

Here are some routines and structures for teaching descriptive writing:

The RAFT strategy encourages descriptive writing and supports writing in general by encouraging students to think through the writer's Role, the Audience, the Format, and the Topic. ReadWriteThink offers this RAFT Writing Template .

This Sense Chart  — organized into sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch categories — helps students capture sensory details related to a topic. The Describing Wheel offers a more open-ended format for capturing and organizing descriptive language.

The Show-Me Sentences lesson plan from ReadWriteThink was created for students in grades 6-12. However, elementary teachers can modify the Show-Me sentences to make them interesting for younger students.

This lesson plan from Utah Education Network guides students through the process of writing about a favorite place using descriptive language. 

This lesson plan from the Philadelphia Museum of Art has students work collaboratively to generate descriptive writing about works of art. It is intended for upper elementary and middle grades but can be adapted for lower grades.

Teacher Laura Torres created a lesson plan that uses images to jumpstart vivid writing: Three Descriptive Writing Picture Prompts .

This resource from Greenville County Schools in South Carolina provides several ideas for writing in math class . Writing and mathematics are similar in that they both require gathering, organizing, and clarifying thoughts. Writing can assist math instruction by helping children make sense of mathematics and by helping teachers understand what children are learning.

Writing in science gives students an opportunity to describe observations and scientific phenomena, and can help them comprehend new material by having to explain it in their own words. Fazio and Gallagher propose two instructional strategies to assist teachers and student when writing in science: a mnemonic acronym (POWER) and an editing checklist.

Social Studies

In social studies, descriptive writing can help students describe an important historical figure or event more clearly. Writing rich in detail will create vivid depictions of people and places and help make history come alive.

Differentiate instruction

For English-learners, readers of different ability levels, or students needing extra support:

Extend the learning

This resource from Greenville County Schools in South Carolina provides several ideas for writing in math class . Writing and mathematics are similar in that they both require gathering, organizing, and clarifying thoughts. Writing can support math instruction by helping students make sense of important concepts and procedures.

Descriptive writing in science can help students capture observations and scientific phenomena with greater precision, and can help them comprehend new material by explaining it in their own words. Fazio and Gallagher propose two instructional strategies to assist teachers and student when writing in science: a mnemonic acronym (POWER) and an editing checklist.

Related strategies

Learn more about building writing skills in our self-paced module Reading 101: Writing .

See the research that supports this strategy

Akerson, V. L., & Young, T.A. (2005). Science the 'write' way. Science and Children , 43(3), 38-41.

MacArthur, C., Graham, S., & Fitzgerald, J. (2016). Handbook of research on writing (2nd Edition). NY: Guilford.

Miller, R.G., & Calfee, R.C. (2004). Making thinking visible: A method to encourage science writing in upper elementary grades. Science and Children , (42)3, 20-25.

Mitchell, D. (1996). Writing to learn across the curriculum and the English teacher. English Journal , 85, 93-97.

Children's books to use with this strategy

The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza) 

The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza) 

In this spin-off off from the traditional tale, the indomitable bread-making Little Red Hen makes pizza. Describe why her friends wouldn't help her and in the order they refused her request. Make the pizza, its maker, and the ingredients irresistible in your description. Compare it to a time-honored version.

Read a Rhyme, Write a Rhyme 

Read a Rhyme, Write a Rhyme 

A prolific (and popular) poet, Prelutsky provides poem starters for slightly older children. Young poets can either finish the "poemstarts" suggested here or create their own original poem.

Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella

Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella

Cinderella stories are found around the world; here, they have been fused into one tale with special characteristics in text and illustrations that reflect the different origins. Expand parts of the story to echo the traditions of the culture and its history from which it comes. It may be possible to develop a map of tales (e.g., ancient vs. modern countries, or as a visual as to where it is/was told).

Each Orange Had 8 Slices: A Counting Book

Each Orange Had 8 Slices: A Counting Book

Counting is fun especially in this sophisticated but accessible and handsomely illustrated book. Various situations are introduced in straightforward sentences followed by questions that are answered by counting. Describe each situation in the order presented.

A Drop of Water: A Book of Science and Wonder

A Drop of Water: A Book of Science and Wonder

Arresting photographs of water in various states not only introduces water but also weather, solids and liquids, and more. The sophisticated text further encourages experimentation and observation, although is not necessary to use the entire book with younger children.

26 Letters and 99 Cents

26 Letters and 99 Cents

Sequencing, sets, counting, and money (coins) are introduced in crisp photographs in this wordless concept book. Upper and lower case letters from A to Z with attendant objects are half of the book; turn it over and numbers, counting, and more are presented.

I Face the Wind

I Face the Wind

Children are encouraged to observe as experiment as they learn about wind and air as well as practice science writing by describing their findings.

Benny's Pennies

Benny's Pennies

A boy has five pennies and spends them one at a time as he meets people during a walk. Told in rhyme, this cumulative story is appealing and well supported by illustration.

Jack and the Beanstalk

Jack and the Beanstalk

The traditional tale of a boy who planted magic beans is reimagined as a city story of a spell broken. Illustrations are photographs that have been manipulated for good effect.

Soup Day

A mother and her child get the ingredients for soup on a snowy day and then add everything to the pot. The pair plays snug and warm while the soup simmers until Dad comes home when they enjoy soup together. Crisp collage and a simple text make for a cozy read.

No Easy Way: The Story of Ted Williams and the Last .400 Season

No Easy Way: The Story of Ted Williams and the Last .400 Season

Ted Williams never flinched at hard work or a challenge. In his last season with the Boston Red Sox, Williams had to decide if he wanted to take the chance and lose his rare .400 average or go to bat. Williams' decision creates a riveting read in this handsome and thoughtful look at one man's ethics and the times in which he lived.

The Boy Who Invented TV: The Story of Philo Farnsworth

The Boy Who Invented TV: The Story of Philo Farnsworth

Two machines captivated young Philo Farnsworth: a telephone and a phonograph. Both had cranks and both connected people with others (one in real time, the other through music). These and other inspirations motivated young Philo to invent what was to become known as the television. His early story is fascinatingly told and well illustrated.

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11

Relive the journey of the Apollo 11 where the first people stepped on the Moon's surface and saw Earth from a very different perspective. Eloquent language and illustrations combine to present this historical event in a unique, unforgettable way.

If America Were a Village: A Book About the People of the United States

If America Were a Village: A Book About the People of the United States

If all of the 300 million people were simply one village of 100 people, its diversity is easier to understand. That's just what the author has done to make the complex make-up of the U.S. residents (in terms of languages spoken, ages, and more). Colorful illustrations accompany the understandable text. Additional resources complete the book. If the World Were a Village: A Book About the World’s People , also by Smith, looks at the inhabitants of the world as a village to allow its diversity to become more understandable for adults and children.

One World, One Day

One World, One Day

Every day children around the world awake to begin their days having breakfast, going to school, coming home to families. A poetic text combines with photographs from myriad countries to visually highlight the richness of the world and its people.

10 Minutes Till Bedtime

10 Minutes Till Bedtime

At One Hoppin' Place, the countdown to bedtime is about to begin when a family of hamsters — a mother and father with nine kids and a baby all wearing numbered striped jerseys — arrives at the front door.

The Mysterious Tadpole

The Mysterious Tadpole

When Louis' uncle sends a tadpole from a certain lake in Scotland, the small tadpole grows to enormous proportions. With the help of a resourceful librarian, Louis figures out a way to feed his large and ever-hungry Alphonse as well as determine a permanent solution. Humor abounds in this contemporary classic.

Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. grew up fascinated by big words. He would later go on to use these words to inspire a nation and call people to action. In this award-winning book, powerful portraits of King show how he used words, not weapons, to fight injustice.

Squids Will Be Squids

Squids Will Be Squids

Scieszka and Smith set sights on creating fresh fables — short traditional tales intended to teach a moral lesson. With humorous twists and take-offs, new, different and wacky fables are presented for readers' edification and amusement.

Science Verse

Science Verse

This boy's curse begins when his teacher suggests that the "poetry of science" can be heard everywhere. From Moore to Frost, familiar poems are parodied and turned into science verse. Again art and illustration are inseparable as are the laughs in this offbeat look at science.

Easy to read and understand.

This was really helpful. Very detailed I feel like.

Really good examples and nice enjoyable videos. The videos make it easy to understand.

Fun, useful, precise and captures all the elements needed to build a descriptive essay.

Great, they are supported by video and some examples too.

amazing and helps me learn

clear information, brief, interesting examples and also provide nice video

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4 Fundamental Types of Writing Styles (With Examples)

narrative, descriptive, persuasive, expository writing styles

Depending on your purpose, you’ll want to use one of the four main types of writing styles: descriptive, expository, narrative, and persuasive. Each style has its own purpose, and you may find some styles are more natural for you than others. These writing style examples and tips will help you become a pro at all four.

What Are the Different Styles of Writing?

There are four main types of writing styles. Each has a distinct purpose.

The key to knowing when and how to use these styles is mostly about being aware of what you want to convey to your reader.

Expository Writing: Explain or Expose

When you want to convey information to your reader or help the audience better understand something, use expository writing. There are several types of expository writing, including compare and contrast, cause and effect, and analysis, among others.

Types of Expository Writing

There are several kinds of expository writing. In every type of expository writing, the style is all about converting facts with clarity and focus. In great expository writing, nothing is confusing or unclear.

Expository Writing Examples

Great news reporting is expository in nature, as is writing that is focused on providing instruction or education. It tells the facts and explains details the reader needs to understand those facts. Even better, it exposes or “sheds light on” things the reader needs to know. A great example is the Watergate reporting done by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in 1972 for The Washington Post . Notice how the reporters add detail and background information while keeping the article on-topic in this Pulitzer prize-winning example :

"President Nixon's assistant for congressional relations and two officials of the President’s re-election committee were among the persons sent memos describing wire-upped conversations of Democratic Party officials, according to Alfred C. Baldwin III. Baldwin, the ex-FBI agent who says he transcribed the wiretapped conversations of Democratic officials in the Watergate, is known to have told the FBI that memos summarizing some of the conversations were addressed to the following persons, among others ..."

For more insights, consider these brief examples of expository writing:

Tips for Writing in an Expository Style

When you use this writing style, it's important to keep in mind your purpose: you are writing to explain and illuminate. Don't add your own opinion or make anything up.

Narrative Writing: Tell a Story

Narrative writing tells a story, real or fictional. Whether or not the events described really happened, this type of writing is all about presenting the story in a way that readers will enjoy and understand. The events don’t have to happen in chronological order, but they must capture and hold the reader’s attention.

Types of Narrative Writing

Narrative writing can take many forms. It can be your own story, such as a memoir or a personal essay . It can also be the story of a historical event or a work of fiction, such as a short story or novel.

Narrative Writing Example

In this type of writing, the goal is to tell the reader what happens in a way that is compelling. This can involve creating characters and describing settings in a way that makes the story more realistic. However, while descriptive details are part of narrative writing, this type of writing is not solely about description. This is about what happens in the story. You can see this in action in this example from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.

"Not having a very clearly defined notion of what a live board was, Oliver was rather astounded by this intelligence, and was not quite certain whether he ought to laugh or cry. He had no time to think about the matter, however; for Mr. Bumble gave him a tap on the head to wake him up, and another on the back to make him lively, and bidding him follow, conducted him into a large whitewashed room where eight or ten fat gentlemen were sitting round a table, at the top of which, seated in an armchair rather higher than the rest, was a particularly fat gentleman with a very round, red face."

Consider a few original examples of narrative writing.

Tips for Writing in the Narrative Style

If you’re writing a narrative, keep in mind that you are telling a story. Include details and information that will keep your reader engaged.

Persuasive Writing: Convince the Reader

Persuasive writing is unique because it has a very clear and important purpose: convincing the reader to do something or think something. To succeed at this type of writing, you need a clear goal. Know what you want the reader to do or believe after reading your work.

Types of Persuasive Writing

Any writing designed to sell readers on something is an example of persuasive writing . It can take many forms.

Persuasive Writing Example

Persuasive writing is only successful if you are clear about your goal and then support that goal with relevant points. This builds a case for your reader. You can see this type of writing in action in this excerpt from the Declaration of Independence .

"The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them ..."

Review a few more modern examples of persuasive writing.

Tips for Writing in the Persuasive Style

Whether you’re writing a persuasive essay or creating a speech, this type of writing requires a clear purpose and good organization.

Descriptive Writing: Form a Picture for the Reader

This type of writing is about sharing perspective. In effective descriptive writing, you create a picture in the reader’s mind using your descriptions. Often, this type of writing includes vivid imagery and involves many of the five senses.

Types of Descriptive Writing

Descriptive writing can be fiction or nonfiction. It often uses figurative language , but also provides concrete information. There are many types of descriptive writing.

Descriptive Writing Example

An example of descriptive text can help you understand how this type of writing works. Bringing in sensory details can create a much more vivid picture for the reader, as you can see in this example from Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler. In the space of two short paragraphs, she uses descriptive sensory details from four of the five senses.

"The car drew in around them like a room. Their breaths fogged the windows. Earlier the air conditioner had been running and now some artificial chill remained, quickly turning dank, carrying with it the smell of mildew. They shot through an underpass. The rain stopped completely for one blank, startling second. Sarah gave a little gasp of relief, but even before it was uttered, the hammering on the roof resumed. She turned and gazed back longingly at the underpass. Macon sped ahead, with his hands relaxed on the wheel."

Peruse a few brief examples of descriptive writing.

Tips for Writing in the Descriptive Style

When you use this style of writing, you are creating an image for your reader. Don’t include details that distract the reader from the image you are creating.

Each Type of Writing Style Has a Purpose

Each of the four main types of writing styles has a different purpose. Keep that purpose in mind when you choose the style for your writing. Then, consider closely related elements like examples of tone and examples of mood to help convey your message to readers in an appropriate manner. Vary the literary devices you use, adjusting as needed for different types of writing.

What is Descriptive Writing? Its Techniques and Examples

Shamim imtiaz.

Descriptive writing is a style or technique of writing used by the writer to help the reader vividly visualize the story or situation, using words, metaphors, adjectives, and other literary techniques.

This style of writing is useful when you want the reader to imagine or picture the story or situation you are writing about.

The idea is to provide the reader with rich detail for them to picture in their minds the characters, settings, objects, emotions, and places or even events taking place in real-time.

It does sound easy, but many students and adults find that fine-tuning this skill is challenging.

But, it’s not impossible!

By using Tutopiya’s quick manual below, on what is descriptive writing, its techniques, and examples, you can achieve this.

Five Main Techniques and Examples

 1. five senses rule.

For any novice writer learning the ropes of descriptive writing, the first rule is to appeal to all the five senses of the reader.

Using detail that attracts the five senses, sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell will surely set the tone right for a good piece of descriptive writing.

This kind of detail will make the writing more interesting and engaging.

Take a look at the example below:

‘The gentle warmth of the morning sun caressed my face, the moist yet nostalgic fragrance of wet grass after all that rain transported me back to my childhood. ‘

2. Removing Apparent Description

Description or detail that is very normal and apparent should be left out of writing as it takes up undue space.

Using that space to fill your work with fresh new ideas or words will make your writing more convincing.

It will also give you more time and room to think of other ways of making your writing interesting.

Things that are usual, like the color of the grass or the sky.

Even sounds of animals that we come across every day.

Do not waste time thinking of how to make them any more interesting than they are.

‘The old garden was blooming with colorful flowers once again.’

We all know that flowers are colorful and that they grow in gardens.

Hence emphasizing this sentence with ‘colorful’ does not add any new value.

So, saying ‘The old garden was blooming with flowers once again’ makes the same image in the readers’ mind as it is.

3. Using Figurative/ Descriptive Literary Techniques

Techniques such as Personification, Similies, Hyperboles, Onomatopoeia, and Metaphors are critical masterstrokes that writers use.

Not only do these enhance the language but also provide richness to the writing.

When you attribute a human quality or emotion to an inanimate object that is called Personification.

For example – ‘The chair squeaked as I started to rock it to and fro..’

Similies are basic comparison techniques that compare one thing with another, using the words ‘as’ and ‘like’.

For example- ‘The warrior was as brave and fearless as a lion on the battlefield’.

Hyperboles are the easiest out of the lot.

They are used to exaggerate and create a lasting impression on the reader.

For example –  ‘The army rained down their arrows as the enemy approached the castle walls’.

‘It seemed like the suitcase weighed a tonne…’

Metaphors are used to compare a thing or person to something else that has similar qualities.

For example – ‘In the morning there was a blanket of snow covering the whole garden’.

‘He was the black sheep of the whole family.

Lastly, Onomatopoeia is a very interesting technique that assigns the sounds to what the words actually mean.

For example – ‘Pitter-patter, pitter-patter, poured the rain on the roof of my treehouse’.

‘As we trudged up the hill, the dry twigs and leaves cracked and crunched under our boots.’

Apart from the main techniques above, there are some subtle yet powerful ones called Emotive Language and Oxymorons.

Emotive Language is a way of evoking a particular emotional response in the reader.

For example – ‘the innocent and infectious smiles of the children filled the room with immeasurable delight’ .

‘As the survivors emerged from the rubble, they gazed upon the shadow of death and destruction. 

Additionally, Oxymorons are phrases that contain two contradictory terms.

For example- Julia hurriedly stuffed a piece of cake in her mouth, and said,” this cake is awfully good Aunt Rose”

4. Using Fresh/New Descriptive Words

Sometimes, fresh and novel words or phrases stick with readers.

That is why descriptive writing is a constantly evolving process.

There is no one correct way of writing in this style.

If the readers connect with your words then you know it’s right.

That is why finding fresh ways to connect with the reader is important.

It is very common to write ‘the gentle breeze touched my face 

Try saying ‘a tender breath of fresh spring air caressed our faces..’

It is all about trying new words or adjectives and seeing which ones best convey the feeling you are trying to write about.

5. Reading Good Samples of Descriptive Writing

Reading is a very easy yet sublime way to improve any type of writing skill.

It doesn’t matter whether the material is descriptive or narrative in nature.

What matters is that reading is a very subconscious way of learning how to write well and descriptive writing is no different

If you wish to succeed as a fine descriptive writer then, the most natural way to do so is to read descriptive material yourself.

Reading and writing are a part and partial of our lives, we are surrounded by language and words.

The more we read, the more exposure we get to different writing styles, new words, and phrases, or even new trends of writing.

The mind absorbs several concepts, ideas, signs, words, and detail subconsciously.

The trick is to make reading a constant habit so that the information being synced in can also translate through personal skill and help you tell your story successfully.

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