Types of Writing, When and How to Use them

Let’s talk craft! There are four main types of writing: expository, descriptive, persuasive, and narrative. Each of these types is used for a specific purpose. A single text may include more than one writing style. Nonetheless, we categorized 14 types of writing divided by form and by content. The first type we will explore is by form.

person using macbook pro on table. writing styles

List Of The 10 Different Types Of Writing Styles

  • Narrative Writing.
  • Descriptive Writing.
  • Expository Writing.
  • Persuasive Writing.
  • Creative Writing.
  • Objective Writing.
  • Subjective Writing.
  • Review Writing.

Narrative Writing

Narrative writing tells a story or recounts a series of events in a chronological order. It often involves characters, a setting, and a plot that develops over time. The primary purpose of narrative writing is to entertain, engage, and evoke emotions in the reader. Key characteristics of narrative writing include:

  • Storytelling: Narrative writing employs storytelling techniques to create a compelling and coherent narrative.
  • First-Person or Third-Person Point of View: It can be written from the perspective of a character (first-person) or an outside observer (third-person).
  • Dialogue: Narratives often include direct speech and conversations between characters.

Example: A short story about a young girl who embarks on an adventurous journey to discover a hidden treasure.

“Once upon a time, there was a brave princess who embarked on a daring quest to save her kingdom from darkness.”

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

– Charles Dickens, “A Tale of Two Cities”

Descriptive Writing

Descriptive writing vividly portrays a person, place, object, or experience using sensory details and imagery. The primary purpose of descriptive writing is to paint a vivid picture in the reader’s mind and evoke sensory experiences. Key characteristics of descriptive writing include:

  • Imagery: Descriptive writing uses figurative language and sensory words to create detailed mental images.
  • Concrete Language: It relies on specific and precise language to describe the subject.
  • Five Senses: Descriptive writing engages all five senses to immerse the reader in the experience.

Example: A descriptive essay capturing the beauty of a serene sunset over the ocean, with detailed descriptions of the colors, sounds, and smells.

“The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.”

– William Gibson, “Neuromancer”

Expository Writing

Expository writing aims to explain, inform, or present information in a clear and objective manner. It provides facts, evidence, and examples to support its claims. The primary purpose of expository writing is to educate and enlighten the reader. Key characteristics of expository writing include:

  • Clear and Concise Language: Expository writing uses straightforward language to convey information without personal opinions.
  • Logical Organization: It follows a well-structured format, often using headings and subheadings for different sections.
  • Citations and Evidence: Expository writing includes citations and references to credible sources to support its claims.

Example: An article explaining the causes and effects of climate change, backed by scientific evidence and data.

“The only way to deal with ignorance is to educate.”

– Benjamin Franklin

Persuasive Writing

Persuasive writing seeks to convince the reader to adopt a particular viewpoint or take specific action. Often inspirational, it presents arguments and uses rhetoric to appeal to the reader’s emotions and logic. The primary purpose of persuasive writing is to sway the reader’s opinion or motivate them to act. Key characteristics of persuasive writing include:

  • Strong Arguments: Persuasive writing presents compelling reasons and evidence to support its claims.
  • Appeals to Emotion and Reason: It uses emotional appeals, logical reasoning, and sometimes ethical arguments to persuade.
  • Counterarguments: Persuasive writing addresses opposing viewpoints and refutes them with evidence.

Example: An essay advocating for the importance of recycling to protect the environment and reduce waste.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

Creative Writing

Creative writing is a broad category that includes various forms of imaginative expression, such as fiction, poetry, and drama. It allows writers to explore their creativity and use literary devices to create unique and expressive works. The primary purpose of creative writing is to entertain, inspire, and evoke emotions. Key characteristics of creative writing include:

  • Literary Devices: Creative writing often employs literary devices like metaphors, similes, and imagery to enhance the writing.
  • Artistic Expression: It allows for personal expression and the freedom to experiment with style and language.

Example: A poem expressing the beauty of nature through vivid descriptions and evocative language.

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

– Paulo Coelho, “The Alchemist”

Objective Writing

Objective writing presents information in an unbiased and neutral manner, devoid of personal opinions or emotions. Its primary purpose is to inform and educate without influencing the reader’s perspective. Key characteristics of objective writing include:

  • Fact-Based: Objective writing relies on verifiable facts and evidence rather than subjective beliefs.
  • Formal Language: It maintains a formal tone and avoids emotional language.

Example: A news report providing the latest updates on a current event without expressing personal opinions.

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.”

– Marie Curie

Subjective Writing

Subjective writing expresses the writer’s personal feelings, thoughts, and opinions on a given topic. It allows for individual perspective and emotional expression. The primary purpose of subjective writing is to share personal insights and reflections. Key characteristics of subjective writing include:

  • Personal Perspective: Subjective writing is based on the writer’s individual experiences and viewpoint.
  • Emotional Language: It may use emotional language to convey the writer’s feelings and passion about the subject.

Example: A journal entry expressing the writer’s thoughts and emotions after a life-changing event.

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be.”

– F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Great Gatsby”

Review Writing

Review writing evaluates and critiques a specific product, book, movie, or service. It provides an assessment based on personal experiences or expert analysis. The primary purpose of review writing is to inform others about the subject’s merits and drawbacks. Key characteristics of review writing include:

  • Evaluation: Review writing assesses the subject’s quality, performance, or value.
  • Subjective Elements: Reviews often include the writer’s personal opinions and preferences.

Example: A film review discussing the plot, acting, and direction of a recently released movie.

Each type of writing serves different purposes and requires different techniques to effectively convey information or evoke emotions. Understanding these distinct styles can help writers choose the appropriate approach for their intended audience and purpose.

“It’s no use going back to yesterday because I was a different person then.”

– Lewis Carroll, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”

What is Narrative Writing?

The main aim of narrative Writing is to tell people what happens somewhere or with someone. If you just started working as a writer or if you’re writing your first book, then narrative writing is the writing style you want to focus on. On the other hand, narrative Writing includes both fiction and non-fiction. Whereas non-fiction is based on real events, fiction writing is completely made up.

Example of Narrative Writing:

  • Novel.
  • Diaries.
  • Short-story.
  • Presentations
  • Speeches, and many more.
Features of Narrative Writing:
  • Written in the first person.
  • Storytelling in written form.
  • It requires great imagination by the writer.

Related: Creative Writing Techniques

writing styles

The style is usually linked to content and purpose of the text. List of different types of writing styles as follow:

Technical Writing

Technical writing focuses on conveying complex information in a clear, concise, and easily understandable manner. It is often used in technical fields, such as engineering, computer science, and medicine. The primary purpose of technical writing is to provide instruction, explain procedures, and present technical concepts. Key characteristics of technical writing include:

  • Clarity: Technical writing avoids jargon and uses straightforward language to ensure that the information is easily comprehensible to the target audience.
  • Organization: It follows a logical structure, with headings, subheadings, and bullet points to facilitate easy navigation and comprehension.
  • Visual Aids: Technical documents often include diagrams, charts, and graphs to enhance understanding.
  • Formal Tone: Technical writing maintains a professional and formal tone, devoid of personal opinions or emotions.

Example: A user manual for a computer program, explaining its functionalities and how to use them effectively.

Poetic Writing

Poetic writing is characterized by its use of figurative language, vivid imagery, and emotional expression. It focuses on conveying emotions, ideas, and experiences through carefully crafted language and rhythm. The primary purpose of poetic writing is to evoke feelings and stimulate the reader’s imagination. Key characteristics of poetic writing include:

  • Metaphor and Simile: Poetic writing often employs metaphors and similes to create comparisons and paint vivid pictures.
  • Symbolism: It uses symbols to represent abstract concepts and evoke deeper meanings.
  • Rhythm and Meter: Poetry often follows specific rhythmic patterns and meters, such as iambic pentameter or free verse.
  • Evocative Language: Poetic writing uses sensory language to evoke emotions and engage the reader’s senses.

Example: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”

“Do not go gentle into that good night, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

– Dylan Thomas, “Do not go gentle into that good night”

Related: Most Iconic Poems In the English Language

Academic Writing

Academic writing is a formal style used in scholarly settings, such as research papers, essays, and dissertations. It aims to present information, support arguments with evidence, and contribute to the existing body of knowledge. Key characteristics of academic writing include:

  • Objectivity: Academic writing maintains a neutral and unbiased tone, relying on evidence rather than personal opinions.
  • Citations and References: It provides proper citations and references for sources to give credit to the original authors and support the claims made.
  • Formality: Academic writing follows specific formatting and citation styles, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago, depending on the discipline.
  • Structured Organization: It follows a well-structured format, with an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Example: An academic paper discussing the impact of climate change on marine ecosystems, supported by data and peer-reviewed studies.

Journalistic Writing

Journalistic writing is used in news reporting and aims to provide timely and accurate information to the public. It follows the inverted pyramid structure, with the most important information presented first. Key characteristics of journalistic writing include:

  • Conciseness: Journalistic writing delivers essential information efficiently, using clear and concise language.
  • Objectivity: It strives to be impartial and objective, presenting facts without bias or personal opinions.
  • Headlines and Leads: Journalistic pieces include attention-grabbing headlines and informative leads that summarize the main points of the story.
  • Attribution: Journalistic writing attributes information to specific sources to maintain credibility and transparency.

Example: A news article reporting on a recent political event, providing key details and reactions from relevant stakeholders.

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

– Martin Luther King Jr.

Business Writing

Business writing encompasses various types of documents used in professional settings, such as emails, reports, memos, and proposals. Its primary goal is to communicate clearly and effectively in a business context. Key characteristics of business writing include:

  • Professional Tone: Business writing maintains a formal and professional tone, reflecting the corporate environment.
  • Clarity: It focuses on clear and precise language to avoid misunderstandings and ensure that the intended message is conveyed accurately.
  • Audience-Centric: Business writing considers the needs and expectations of the target audience to tailor the message appropriately.
  • Action-Oriented: It often includes calls to action and clear instructions for recipients.

Example: A business proposal outlining a new marketing strategy, including goals, objectives, and proposed implementation steps.

“In the study’s conclusion, the researchers emphasized the need for further investigation to fully understand the underlying mechanisms.”

Each of these types of writing serves different purposes and employs distinct techniques to effectively convey information, emotions, or ideas to their respective audiences. Understanding the nuances of each style can help writers adapt their approach to suit different contexts and engage their readers effectively.

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