Types Of Writing: The 4 Main Types of Writing Styles Students Should Know

What are the 4 main types of writing? In the English language there are a variety of different writing types, knowing when to use the right one will not only make your writing look and sound better but will also help you to create more fitting documents. In this article, we are going to take a look at the various different types of writing in a little more detail, giving you the opportunity to greatly improve your writing skills.

Types Of Writing Styles

Depending on what you are writing will depend highly on the type of writing that you use. For example, when writing an essay, you might write in a persuasive tone but when writing a story you would likely use narrative writing. The four main different types of writing are as follows:

  • Narrative
  • Expository
  • Persuasive
  • Descriptive

For each of these types of writing, different types of text will benefit. We are going to look at each of these in a little more detail and for what they can be used. We will also be looking at some examples to further demonstrate how each one works.

Narrative Writing

This type of writing is used when telling a story, it doesn’t matter whether the story is fictional or based on fact, narrative writing will still be used. It is thought that this type of writing is one of the hardest to master but when done correctly, makes for very easy reading. Narrative writing requires the author to be able to get the audience to enter the story through the use of words.

Narrative writing usually has a series of characters and is often written in first person narration which is where the story is narrated from the point of view of one person, although it can be done with more. The narrative text will also always feature a beginning, middle, and end.

This is an example of narrative writing, taken from the book Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban, written by J K Rowling.

Silhouetted against a golden moon, which grew larger each moment, was a big, oddly lop-sided creature, which was coming in Harry’s direction. He stood very still and watched it sink lower. For a moment, he hesitated with his hand on the latch of the window, deciding whether he should slam it shut, but the strange creature soared over a streetlight of Privet Drive, and then Harry, who had realised what it was, jumped aside.

Expository Writing

This is a style of writing which is used for explaining something to the reader. Expository writing is quite often found in textbooks and is always based around facts and information. The personal opinions or feelings of the author should not be referenced in this style of writing. You might also see this type of writing in recipe books, newspaper articles, or editorial work. Let’s take a look at an extract from a British newspaper to demonstrate this.

As Boris Johnson returns to his post next week in Downing Street, he is going to have to make a series of difficult decisions that are set to define his premiership as well as the future of the nation.

It has been less than three weeks since he left intensive care at ST Thomas’ hospital and the Prime Minister will need to decide how and when to ease the restrictions of lockdown that were imposed by him over a month ago.

Persuasive Writing

As its name may suggest, persuasive writing is used as a way of convincing the audience of something, this could be an idea, an opinion or anything else. This type of writing will include the author’s personal opinion on the topic and will be used to sway the audience towards that. When writing in this style, the author should have a good knowledge of the opposing opinion in order to build a case against it. You might see this type of writing in an essay or a cover letter.

This is an example taken from a cover letter handed to a prospective employer.

I am sending you a copy of my CV in order to apply for the managerial position which you advertised in the local newspaper. You will find that I have exceptional abilities when it comes to this type of role and my past experience will further demonstrate this.

In my previous post, I successfully managed a team of twenty people whose efforts under my guidance, brought the company into new financial heights.

I am capable and willing to expand my knowledge through training and applied learning. I think you will find that there is no-one more qualified for this position than me.

Descriptive Writing

Descriptive writing is a style which allows the author to describe something, this could be a person, a place, an object, or a situation. The language in a descriptive piece of writing will appeal to the senses with the writer detailing how things look, smell, sound, etc.

You will often find this type of writing in a story but it can also be seen in things such as poetry or journal writing. Let’s take a look at an example which has been taken from Daphne Du Marier’s Jamaica Inn.

It was a grey and cold day at the end of November. The weather seemed to have changed overnight, with a backing wind which brought a sky like granite and a miserly rain too. Although it was only just after two in the afternoon, it seemed that the pallor a the winter evening had already closed upon the hills, covering them in mist.

Other Types Of Writing

Besides the four main types of writing, there are four further types of writing which are important to know about. Let’s take a brief look at each of these.

  • Objective writing – this is a type of writing which the author is able to back up with data or facts and does not contain their personal views
  • Subjective writing – this type of writing uses the personal opinions and thoughts of the author.
  • Creative writing- this type of writing allows the author to use their imagination and make up a scenario.
  • Review writing – this form of writing is used to talk about or describe the features of a product, item, place, etc.


In the English language, there are four different types of writing, however, there are also four subtypes of writing which are less common but certainly important. Which type of writing you use will highly depend on the type of text you are penning and each one will bring it’s own unique quality to the work.

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5 thoughts on “Types Of Writing: The 4 Main Types of Writing Styles Students Should Know”

  1. In my personal opinion, these are beneficial to all learners. May I know what type of essay is easier for students ?Thanks.

  2. Please let me know which type of writing is used for blogging and journal?
    I found rules for writing sentence very useful in your YouTube channel. Thanks a lot.


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