Types of essays – Expository vs. Narrative with 6 differences outlined

Types of essays -Expository vs. Narrative

Although they are varieties of essays the focus point in this article would be centered on expository and narrative essays. We’ll be studying what makes them similar, what differences both essays have, what purpose they serve and what would be required to write them.

What is a narrative essay?

A narrative essay is a type of essay that tells a story, it is repeatedly written under the influence of a personal experience, although it unfolds to be entertaining and to tickle the liking of every denomination it as well serves to share the significance of that event. With that being said and adequately perceived we forge ahead to the types of narrative writing.

Types of narrative writing

1.       Linear narrative: a linear pattern of narration unveils events in the order in which they unfold. This kind of narrative can easily be fulfilled using any of the 3 narrative techniques. This type of narration commonly engulfs readers with the daily life of the protagonist (Bildungsroman).

An example of this is pride and prejudice by Jane Austen which provides a series gracing each of every narrative perspective but still, in a chronological manner, reveals the event that transpired, another is the toy story, an animated adventure instalment that paces part by part the story of Woody and Buzz Lightyear from their starting union to their final farewell.

2.       Non-linear narrative: this type of narration employs the use of flashbacks and foreshadowing to spell out the plot, it is an out-of-order kind of narrative writing that fractures the timeline of a story to emphasize emotions and place clarity in check. It also uses time dilation to make empiric connections with non-contemporary episodes a technique that promotes suspense. this is mostly employed in novellas, short stories, novels, etc. an example of such is Erin Morgenstern’s the night circus (2011).

3.       Quest narrative: this type of narrative circles around the endless effort of a protagonist trying to achieve a goal.  This type of narrative elapses the story on the all-consuming passion of the hero’s objective, mostly the mode of Operandi for popular writers the likes of homer, who utilized this type of narrative in his globally applauded poem.

The odyssey is a  type that provides the protagonist goal to being geographically remote, meaning the hero would have to make a journey which would involve you to detail down the obstacles and antagonism faced while the struggle to achieve his/her reason for conviction becomes real. An example of this can be seen in J.R.R Tolkein’s narrative the Hobbit, where Bilbo Baggins sets out on a journey with a dozen dwarfs to help them claim back their home.

4.       Viewpoint narrative: this type of narrative is engineered to unveil the point of view of the main character. In a viewpoint narrative moods, emotions, and other corporeal details are strained through the narrator’s own life and individual awareness. This narrative style further with a first-person or third-person omniscient point of view, a third-person omniscient narration is one where the writer switches between the thoughts of multiple principal characters.

Upon knowing the meaning of what a narrative essay is, it is only by the power of independent reasoning that you would round the whole concept to a successful attempt at storytelling, of course, storytelling comes in different formats and those formats, provided they are adopted, will play a major role in conveying the message of your write up to your audience in the most possible way

What is an expository essay?

An expository essay is a type of essay that explores various aspects of a subject matter and further provides detailed information concerning them in an unbiased manner. The thesis statement embodied in an expository essay is one to supply the writer’s topic and it is jotted in third person pronoun.

Recommended: 4 types of Essays

Types of expository writing

Classification essay: this type of expository writing splits the essay topic into a series of topics, groups, and categories which are further narrowed down to provide understanding with a simple definition/explanation presented in detail housing a series of examples, objects, and ideas.

Definition essay: the definition essay is a type of essay that delivers a thorough description of the topic examined. It centres on explaining a purpose using the typical what why and how format. This essay often begins with a dictionary definition before delving into an in-depth study

Process essay: this type of essay is relayed in a do-it-yourself type text. This involves the use of a step-by-step procedure to detail information e.g. 15 ways to grow fatter.

Problem and solution essay:  a problem and solution essay is an essay that houses already identified problems in which the writer evaluates the causes and the reasons for the arousal of that particular issue and then concludes with a tested and sure solution e.g. Hepatitis-types, causes, symptoms, risk factor, a cure.

Cause and effect essay: In this type of essay, the writer attempts to unearth the cause of a specific occurrence, be it an illness, a plague, etc. the essay basically kicks start with questions begging for answers e.g. what led to the outbreak of the black fever and what was the aftermath effect? The cause and effect essay has various methods through which it can be constructed

  • Chain structure: each of the causes is immediately followed by its effect
  • Block structure: the effects come after the cause is listed

Compare and contrast: the compare and contrast essay as the name implies is a type of essay that brings to light the similarities and apparent/vague differences of two seemingly alike objects, ideas, and subjects. E.g. Narrative vs. Expository essay

Now that the understanding we have concerning both essays in context has been broadened we would now look into their similarities and differences.


The major similarity between an expository essay is that they are both terminologies in English, they are both essays and as such, they contain vital elements that can be found in an unblemished write-up like;

  • an explanation
  • A possible description
  • An objective
  • An introduction
  • Paragraphs
  • Hook statement etc.

Differences between Expository and Narrative essay

  • A narrative essay tells a story for the reasons of entertainment, it trends on a fluid format and adapts a flexible form of technique that breaks through the very boundary of every conceivable pattern of write up while an expository essay adopts a single writing technique with a less versatile form, mostly journalistic in nature and it is grafted for the singular purpose of conveying information
  • A narrative essay can be fiction while an expository should be based on empirical knowledge, facts and not imaginations or fantasy
  • An expository essay is lacking in description while a narrative essay employs a portion of the descriptive write up to paint environments
  • An expository essay is founded on intensive research and studies while a narrative essay deals with brain creativity and arbitrary manipulation of events
  • Expository essay abides by a definite rule and cannot utilize figures of speech they are known to be less informal while narrative essays are only bound by grammar rules which can be easily expunged by figures of speech, and they are widely known to be informal
  • Expository essays are simple and concise, narrative essays can sometimes appear to be complex and extended.

Hopefully the above has given you a deep insight into the two selected types of essays, their purpose, what defines them, and their similarities and difference.

Read: 8 Steps and components in writing a feasibility report


Drop your comment, question or suggestion for the post improvement

error: Content is protected !!
Open chat
WhatsApp Now
We can get that stress off your shoulder.

You can call now on +2348060755653 or click below to chat.