An essay is, generally, a piece of writing that gives the author's own argument â but the definition is vague, overlapping with those of a paper, an article, a pamphlet, and a short story. Essays have traditionally been sub-classified as formal and informal. Formal essays are characterized by "serious purpose, dignity, logical organization, length," whereas the informal essay is characterized by "the personal element (self-revelation, individual tastes and experiences, confidential manner), humor, graceful style, rambling structure, unconventionality or novelty of theme," etc.
The defining features of a "cause and effect" essay are causal chains that connect from a cause to an effect, careful language, and chronological or emphatic order. A writer using this rhetorical method must consider the subject, determine the purpose, consider the audience, think critically about different causes or consequences, consider a thesis statement, arrange the parts, consider the language, and decide on a conclusion.
Expository essay is used to inform, describe or explain a topic, using important facts and teaching reader about the topic. Mostly written in third-person, using "it", "he", "she", "they". Expository essay uses formal language to discuss someone or something. Examples of expository essays are: a medical or biological condition, social or technological process, life or character of a famous person. Writing of expository essay often consists of following next steps: organizing thoughts (brainstorming), researching a topic, developing a thesis statement, writing the introduction, writing the body of essay, writing the conclusion. Expository essays are often assigned as a part of SAT and other standardized testings or as a homework for high school and college students.
In the dialectic form of the essay, which is commonly used in philosophy, the writer makes a thesis and argument, then objects to their own argument (with a counterargument), but then counters the counterargument with a final and novel argument. This form benefits from presenting a broader perspective while countering a possible flaw that some may present. This type is sometimes called an ethics paper.