Expository Descriptive Persuasive Narrative writing styles — what they are and how to write them

Writing is an essential life skill. You will need to write many things on occasion in your life, so learning how to write and doing daily practice on your writing skills will serve you well.

An excellent starting point is learning and understanding what the four main writing styles are.

In this guide, I want to introduce all the four writing styles and provide examples for each one. I then outline how to write in each of these styles.

You may think that you will stop writing in English after you leave school or college — and that the only thing you will ever write after that is the occasional email.

But you could write even a simple email in one of the four styles of writing. It all depends on what you are writing.

You could also write guides, simple introductions to a variety of topics, a lesson plan, a description of a place you visited or a thousand other articles. By learning how to write well in all the four main styles of writing, this will help you in your future line of work and you will become a great help to others too.

Writing is an essential form of English communication, so you should practice and improve all the time.

Shall we take a look at the four main styles of writing?


The Four Main Styles of Writing


The four main styles of writing are:





Let’s take a closer look at each of these writing styles and what they mean.


Expository Writing Style


Expository writing is found commonly in recipes, news, business, technical and science writing.

This is where the purpose of the writing is to inform or explain something to the reader. This is most commonly found in textbooks about a science subject or how-to guides. The writer only provides the facts and figures — he offers no opinions.

It could also be used to explain a process.

Think of this style as having no emotion — it merely presents the facts and nothing else.


Examples of Expository Writing


· An introduction to the London underground system

· How to look after German shepherd dogs

· Fir trees and where they grow

· How to make lasagne


Descriptive Writing Style


In this style of writing, you have to use the five senses to paint a picture for the reader.

You might describe a place you visited and use your senses to create a clear, mental image for the reader. You might also use simile, metaphor and symbols in this writing. This can be quite poetic in style. Authors use this to great effect when telling a story.


Examples of Descriptive Writing


Descriptive writing can be very creative and poetic. In this writing, you have to use your imagination.


The sun set behind the mountains in the distance.

The sun’s final rays lit like a last farewell, sliding behind the slate grey mountains that closed the doors of the day.


The old man crossed the road.

The man, aged and creased at his back and knees, tilted his head left and right, squinting each way to find a safe passage to cross the road.


The man was big.

He carried himself like he was trying to apologise for his height and width, his arms hung awkwardly at his sides like two tree trunks and his big face stared passively in front.


Persuasive Writing Style


In this writing, you give your opinion to the reader and try to influence the reader. This is very common in advertising. Also in news, in letters, in a resume or review of a book or movie.


Examples of Persuasive Writing


In advertising, writers make claims that may be totally untrue.


Rock Beer is the best beer in the world!

Ezee-Beds are the most comfortable bed you can find!


In a persuasive essay, the writer might say the following:


The death penalty is a great deterrent for murder and other serious crimes.

Donald Trump is the worst president everhe has provided nothing for the American people.


Narrative Writing Style


And this is a story — could be fact or fiction. This is the writing style of novels, stories, poems and movies.


Examples of Narrative Writing


This is found in any story, poem or play. Think of the novels you like to read and this will be in the form of narrative writing.




·Graphic Novels


·Short Stories






Identify which writing style is described below:

·A how-to guide on how to send an email

·The Catcher in The Rye by JD Salinger

·An essay about police brutality in the 1960s

·A letter to the school principal giving your reasons why there is too much homework

·The time you went to the zoo and saw a tiger

·An article about war orphans and the effect of war on their lives

·An essay to introduce the main themes from Hamlet

·A news story from your local paper

·An account of a trip you made on a plane

·A letter to a news website to convince people why they should stop going to fast-food restaurants

·A poem about a thunderstorm

·A website that introduces a resort


All Four Writing Exercises



·Write a short essay that compares hobbies of today with hobbies of the 1960s.

·Write a step-by-step guide on how to make a cup of tea.



·Describe your hometown.

·Describe the perfect weekend.



·Write an advertising article to encourage people to visit your country.

·Write an essay that gives your thoughts on the use of the police in society.



·Write a story from your childhood titled ‘The First Time I …’

·Write a short ghost story that maybe is true.




Good writing skills are a life skill.

If you improve your writing skills, it will help you in many aspects of your life. Not just for employment, but in many other ways too.

Writing is not only something we do in school or college. It is not just an assignment we do for homework.

Later in your life, you may be required to write emails, guides, reports, letters — even a short story. By practising your writing skills and developing all the main four writing styles will benefit you in your life.

Go through all the guide above and practice all the four writing styles as much as you can.

Good luck — and let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “Expository Descriptive Persuasive Narrative writing styles — what they are and how to write them”

  1. Writing is a necessary skill that goes hand in hand with reading. These types of writings are the most prevalent, so recognizing them can give students critical thinking skills that serve them during their whole lives. Knowing the intentions behind different writings is very important. .

    1. Thank you, Leona! I wish there was more emphasis on writing skills in school. It is an essential life skill in my opinion.

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