The 4 Types of Writing

Did you know that there are four types of writing styles, and we use them all in our speech and written texts? That’s right. When studied in the classroom, these writing styles may seem like a new concept, but we routinely combine them while making compelling statements to argue our stance.

We always write with the purpose of conveying a message, arguing our stance, or spinning a tale. The objective is different for every wordsmith, but writing is never purposeless. Interestingly, even scribbling angry thoughts or lists in a journal isn’t a meaningless endeavor. Each writer must embrace the right types of writing styles to fulfill their purpose and convey their message powerfully.

There are different types of writing styles and mediums that are deemed appropriate for fiction, business communications, marketing, research, and academic learning. The writer can experiment with various types of tone in writing to discover their voice and express their thoughts with coherence.

Exploring different types of writing styles is crucial to infuse your words with soulful energy that becomes synonymous with your work.

The Four Main Types of Writing Styles

1.       Descriptive

2.       Expository

3.       Narrative

4.       Persuasive

Each type of writing style carries a unique purpose and challenges writers to advance their skills and expand their vocabulary. If you’ve pursued formal education in creative writing or rhetorical modes, you must be familiar with these common types of writing styles. Generally, university students are taught nine fundamental rhetorical modes of discourse to teach them how to use various types of tone in writing.

To make it simpler, we will walk you through the basic types of writing purposes that come into play in most of the pieces we write. These pieces include fiction, essays, marketing materials, communications, and research.

Decoding 4 Types of Writing Styles

Read below to find comprehensive explanations of each style along with fresh examples to help you understand them better:

Descriptive Writing

Descriptive writing is mostly used in experiential accounts and when painting a picture that the reader can easily visualize in their minds. This type of writing style dwells deep into the details of characters, places, events, experiences, and emotions. Writers describe everything, from the weather and the color of the grass to the most random thoughts in the minds of the characters.

It’s a popular style used by fiction writers as it gives them an abundance of creative freedom to weave a tale precisely the way they have imagined it. Writers resort to descriptive writing in fiction and poetry while journaling their thoughts and experiences, penning biographical accounts, or even writing advertisements.

Descriptive writing makes it easier for readers to visualize everything, from the scenery and setting to the thoughts and emotions of the characters. It enriches the storytelling experience for both the writer and the reader by eliminating rules and regulations that restrict writers’ freedom of expression.

Interestingly, descriptive writing also comes into play in marketing and promotional endeavors, where products and services must be described to inform the audience. 

Example of descriptive writing

Jenny stepped outside the moss-covered cottage and ran her eyes all across the breathtaking landscape with utter disbelief. The darkness of the night had denied her this magnificent view of her own backyard! As she stared out at the snow-laced peak and vibrant wildflower meadows zigzagging along the river banks, Jenny knew she was in heaven.

This passage has adopted descriptive writing to spin a narrative that allows the reader to picture the scene using vivid descriptions. The writer has described everything, from the cottage and the scenery to Jenny’s emotions as she experiences the beauty of nature around her. Such a description allows the readers to experience Jenny’s discoveries and state of mind as if they are present at the moment with her.

Expository Writing

Much as the word implies, expository writing is a style that exposes arguments, facts, and figures. An expository piece is written to expose or put forward facts, and this is one of the most popular types of writing we encounter in our daily lives. You’ve guessed it right, expository writing is crucial for journalism, and it comes with a strict set of rules.

Expository writing aims to inform people and educate them on facts and situations by explaining the ground realities. The writer must present logical arguments supported by widely accepted facts without including their personal opinions on the topic at hand. Interestingly, expository writing is also used in academic essays, technical communications, and business writing.

Expository pieces help journalists, researchers and students analyze facts and scrutinize them for falsifications to identify the truth.

Example of expository writing

The mayor of Blissville has approved the development of a theme park after the unanimous approval of the council. The new theme park will be constructed on 7 acres of farmland situated on the outskirts of town. Several developers are currently bidding on the project, but it is yet to be seen who will secure the project. Reports reveal that the park will include several picnic areas and an art museum celebrating the town’s history of artisanal crafts.

This paragraph is an example of expository writing, and it seems like an excerpt straight out of a news report or a press release. It builds upon the facts and figures and brings in multiple sources to inform the masses of the developments around the theme park.

Narrative Writing

A narrative is a story, and narrative writing is a style that comes into play while telling a story. This story could be real or fictitious, and the writer can choose this type of writing style to narrate the story rather than telling it from a third-person perspective.

In narrative types of writing, the characters can tell their story using dialogues and thoughts, explaining to the reader their emotions and experiences with vivid details. Narrative writing styles are common in novels, biographies, poetry, novellas, short stories, and other types of fiction. They are also used in experiential accounts, travelogues, and modern-day blogging.

Narrative writing is one of the most enjoyable types of writing styles as it allows freedom of expression, and writers can branch out into various directions to pursue their creative inspirations.

Example of narrative writing

As I dashed outside the cafeteria from the back door, I was really hoping no one would be around to witness my walk of shame. But since it wasn’t my lucky day, I ran into Brian, who had to stop me and inquire about the tomato sauce dribbling from my white t-shirt.

“Woah, Murphy, you look like you got into a ketchup fight!” he joked laughingly.

I quickly dodged and ran past him before he could see the tears trickling down my face.

This excerpt is written in narrative style, allowing the character to narrate her ordeal in a highly descriptive and engaging manner. The excerpt narrates both, the dialogues between two characters and the internal monologue of Murphy’s mind and how she’s struggling with the ordeal she just went through.

Persuasive Writing

The persuasive style of writing helps writers persuade the readers by bringing in multiple arguments and analyses to prove their point. Such a piece allows the writer to share personal experiences and evidence, or the writer can choose to stick with facts and evidence to build a persuasive argument.

Persuasive types of writing come into play in academic essays, editorials, advertising, opinionated pieces, and product reviews. When targeting a learned and knowledgeable audience, the writer can build persuasive arguments supported by facts and statistics. In contrast, the writer can persuade emotionally charged audiences by playing on their feelings and emotions.

Example of persuasive writing

Life in Blissville reflects from the town’s name – utter bliss and joy! The people in the close-knit community enjoy support and camaraderie, alongside the comfort of homeownership and income stability. They have access to a remarkable school district, healthcare infrastructure, and housing market, and the newly announced theme park will prove a noteworthy addition to the town’s thriving tourism industry.

The excerpt above introduces facts but in a manner designed to persuade the reader that living in Blissville is genuinely joyful and comfortable. It’s not difficult picturing this excerpt on a real estate website or an advertisement rolled out by the mayor’s office.

Finding Your Voice

Many writers struggle to find their voice and create a tone that becomes synonymous with their work. If you’re struggling with this issue, you can find tonnes of inspiration on LivingWriter, a vibrant community to help budding and seasoned wordsmiths. LivingWriter can help you harness and hone your writing talent into a powerful craft no matter where you are in your writing journey.

Learning about the various types of writing formats and styles will help empower your craft and find your voice. It may seem puzzling and challenging initially, which is why we urge you to experiment with all the styles introduced in this article. You can undertake simple exercises by penning down articles, short stories or blogs one by one to give your creative muscles a boost.

This exercise will inevitably help you strengthen your command on all the writing styles so you can pen down thoughtful and impactful articles or stories by combining these styles effortlessly. Each style comes with a set of rules that must be followed to allow its impact to flow through your sentences.

For instance, persuasive writing demands facts or emotional evidence to make the arguments compelling. Likewise, narrative writing demands an in-depth engagement by narrating everything the characters encounter, even their own thoughts and feelings.

If it seems overwhelming, remind yourself that you’ve already written in these styles throughout school and college, even at work or while writing in your journal. Doing it consciously may seem tricky, but don’t overwork yourself and let the words flow naturally.

Final Thoughts

Let’s quickly recap the four common types of writing styles we’ve discussed in this article. Descriptive writing involves descriptions to help readers visualize scenes and scenarios. Expository writing introduces facts to form correct opinions and debunks myths. Narrative writing narrates experiences, feelings, and emotions, and lastly, persuasive writing aims to persuade the reader.

If you need more cognitive support or you’re just running out of inspiration, head over to LivingWriter to get past the horrid feeling of writer’s block. Good luck experimenting with these writing styles and improving your craft!

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