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Differences Between Narrative Essays and Persuasive Essays (And Common Mistakes)

November 1, 2018

Most students receive at least one narrative essay and one persuasive essay to write every semester. And in most cases, they do pretty good. However, most students don’t know how to make the difference between these two types of essays. In many cases, students will write a narrative essay like a persuasive essay and vice versa. In this blog post, we will explain what each of these essays is and the main differences between them. Of course, we will also provide you with a list of the common mistakes that students make when writing narrative and persuasive essay.

The Narrative Essay

Let’s start by explaining what a narrative essay really is. When you write this type of essay, you need to provide all the sensory information to your readers. Narratives have characters, a plot and a conflict. You are basically telling a story. It doesn’t matter if it is a real story of a piece of fiction. Your purpose when writing this kind of academic paper is to tell your readers everything about the events, interactions and even the experience that has happened to you or to one of your fictional characters. Remember that narrative essays are by no means descriptive essays. College students tend to mistake one for the other. When you are writing a descriptive essay, you are tasked with describing a person, an event or an item. You are not required to have a conflict or a plot, of course.

The Persuasive Essay

The persuasive essay, on the other hand, is a completely different type of assignment. When writing such a paper, you need to use your arguments and your logic to demonstrate that an idea is more legitimate than another. You are clearly taking a stance and defending your position with relevant (and very thoroughly researched) arguments. This does not mean that persuasive essays should be emotional or biased. You must also present arguments in favor of the other idea. However, you need to make sure that you persuade your readers to adopt your point of view. In other words, college students must demonstrate why their idea is better than others. And they need to do so by coming up with accurate and well-researched arguments, stats and information.

Major Differences Between Narrative and Persuasive Essays

Now that you know what narrative essays and persuasive essays are, it is time to look at the major differences between then. Because there are several major differences. The first difference is the style and the purpose of the paper. In a narrative passage, you present your characters, the plot and the conflict. You tell a story from a narrator’s point of view. In a persuasive paragraph, on the other hand, you try to persuade your reader of something. You present the argument at the beginning of the passage and then use the rest of the passage to support it with information, stats and various other types of evidence. There are also many other differences between narrative essay and persuasive essay. For example, narrative essays make extensive use of adjectives and exact verbs. Persuasive essays, on the other hand, are dryer and more logical – because you use logic to persuade the reader to adopt your point of view. Clear and precise evidence is presented in support of your arguments. The writing process for narrative and persuasive essays is different as well. In fact, this is one of the most important narrative and persuasive essay differences. In a narrative essay, you pick a real-life event to narrate (or make one up in case of fiction). Paragraphs are in chronological order. Events unfold continuously from start to finish. When writing a persuasive essay, you usually start with a short sentence or two that will capture the attention of your reader. You clearly state your position on the issue and then use each paragraph to provide evidence to support your thesis statement.

Writing Narrative and Persuasive Essay: Common Mistakes

Now that you know the differences between narrative essay and persuasive essay, it’s time to learn about the most common mistakes students make when writing these two types of papers. Of course, you can find a lot of tips on how to write each of these papers online. However, you will rarely find a list of mistakes. Some of the most common narrative essay mistakes include the lack of suspense, foreshadowing and the lack of sensory information. Also, you can easily overload your readers with information or make mistakes in the dialogue parts. When it comes to persuasive essay mistakes, we would mention not providing relevant arguments, using weak arguments, being biased, and being emotional. Also, relying on faulty logic will surely destroy your entire essay. Make sure you stay away from these persuasive and narrative essay mistakes. Also, keep in mind that you always need to write your papers in proper academic style.


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