What Is the Difference Between Narrative and Expository Essay?
When facing a task of writing a narrative or expository essay, the first thing you should do is understand the difference between these types of papers.
Narrative Essays: Tell a Story
In simple terms, a narrative essay is a story meant to entertain the readers. This writing style is extremely versatile, because it has almost no limitations. Every piece of fiction out there is an example of a narrative essay.
However, this doesn’t mean that these stories are purely fictional. If the author tells a story based on personal experience or historical facts, it will still be considered a narrative essay, as long as the work complies with the essential requirements that pertain to this style of writing. They are:
- Switching between points of view of different characters (optional)
- Combination of concrete and abstract language
- No definite chronology of events, flashbacks, etc. (optional)
- Abundance of personal pronouns
- Simple structure common for fiction stories (setting, characters, conflict, plot, resolution)
- When you are writing a narrative essay on some particular subject, the story should be centered on it without deviating to other areas.
Expository Essays: Inform and Explain
There is no room for fiction and descriptive literary tools in expository essays. These papers are fine examples of informative articles and instructions.
The style of expository essays is concise and simple. All in all, an author should aim to make the essay as clear as possible and edit it in order to remove all information that isn’t strictly necessary.
The most common examples of expository essays are:
- Directions, scientific articles and other texts that follow the cause-effect structure.
- Recipes, biographies, history texts that follow some definite chronology.
- Speeches (mostly political) and other types of texts that are based on the pros versus cons structure.
- Some newspaper articles that provide detailed descriptions of events.
- Medical and scientific texts that follow the problem-solution structure.
- Speeches for debates and other events that are based on the position-reason structure.
In general, expository essays can be characterized by lack of descriptive elements and simple structure. They must be based on facts and require extensive research of the subject.
The core difference between narrative and expository essays is their style. While narrative paper allows the author to be creative and tell a story in a way he or she likes, expository essays follow some strict rules that one must abide.
Narrative texts are versatile in structure and style, but they also require some thorough research of the subject.
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