The Main Differences Between Narrative And Expository Essay


Narrative and expository essays are both types of writing that are used to explain a topic or idea. A narrative essay provides a story from a personal point of view, while an expository essay provides facts and evidence to explain a topic. Each of these types of writing has unique characteristics that determine how the information should be presented and how it should be structured.

Let’s take a look at the main differences between narrative and expository essays:

Narrative Essay

A narrative essay is a type of written work which is often used in school and college settings to help demonstrate various aspects of English composition and communication. Unlike other types of academic essays, a narrative essay allows the writer to describe their own personal experience which happened in their life. This form of written work encourages self-expression and creativity, while also helping to convey the lessons and insights gained from an experience that can resonate with readers.

Commonly, narrative essays have the following common elements:

  • the development of a plot or storyline;
  • use of figures of speech such as similes, metaphors;
  • descriptions of characters;
  • setting(s);
  • physical details that can help build suspense or evoke emotion; and
  • themes—the core idea/insight(s) gained from particular experiences.

Therefore, when writing this type of composition one should strive for clarity within their story, omit details that aren’t relevant to the plot, use consistent language throughout the piece and finally ensure their conclusion provides resolution for the main storyline told within the essay.

Expository Essay

An expository essay is a form of writing that provides information and explanations in an organized way. It is often used to analyze and evaluate knowledge, concepts, and ideas while organizing them in an accessible manner. The writing style of an expository essay will help bring clarity and understanding to any chosen topic.

The main purpose of an expository essay is to provide a balanced, objective analysis on a specific topic. The writer must clearly explain the facts and evidence presented so the reader can easily attempt to understand the material presented. It is also important for the writer to be impartial about what he or she is presenting – all other points of view should be respectfully addressed or discounted depending on the presented evidence.

The structure of an expository essay typically follows a five-paragraph model consisting of an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. An essential element within each paragraph should be facts that directly correspond with the chosen topic – evidence must be offered to provide support for statements being made regarding the subject matter at hand. Additionally, transition sentences between paragraphs are necessary to ensure there is cohesion with each body paragraph explaining its own idea while tying together with previous ideas adequately throughout one’s paper.


The structure of a narrative essay and an expository essay are slightly different. In a narrative essay, the story is organized chronologically, with a beginning, middle, and end. It usually contains a plot, setting and characters, with a relevant and emotional story arc.

An expository essay, meanwhile, is more focused on providing facts and information about a particular topic. It is organized in a logical and structured way and is written in a formal and objective tone.

This section will discuss the differences in structure between narrative and expository essays:

Narrative Essay

A Narrative Essay is often used to tell a story and can take the form of a traditional narrative, autobiographical narrative, or an imagined experience. It is an excellent choice for writers who have an interesting or dramatic story to tell. Generally, these essays will focus on one central event or theme and use a plot structure that begins with an introduction, moves through rising action and climaxes with a resolution.

The introduction should provide background information and set the tone of the essay, setting the scene for what follows. The body paragraphs then provide details relating to the central event or theme, introducing characters, settings and other plot elements as necessary. As the plot progresses in suspense and momentum lead toward the climax which is usually marked by a conflict that must be resolved before progressing to a resolution at the end of the essay.

The conclusion can include reflections on events that led up to this point in time but should not give away how everything wraps up right away; rather it should leave readers eager to turn back to explore more layers of meaning in what came before—all without overly summarizing or foreshadowing what’s about to come next in your story.

Expository Essay

An expository essay is a genre of non-fiction writing that provides a detailed explanation about a topic or idea. It requires the writer to be objective and provide facts to support their claims. It usually focuses on one subject and its components, with the goal of explaining it in detail from an unbiased point of view.

Expository essays are often written as part of assessments, such as college entrance exams or for standardized tests. Generally, the structure for this type of essay consists of: an introduction, three body paragraphs and a conclusion. Each paragraph should have a main assertion, which is supported through evidence such as quotes or examples. Additionally, transitions should be present between each paragraph in order to maintain cohesiveness throughout the essay.

In expository essays ‘show-not-tell’ is key; they should be logical in structure with no room for opinion or bias. The main difference between narrative and expository writing is that expository writing focuses on providing factual information while narrative writing focuses on telling a story.


Narrative essays tell a story in vivid detail, while expository essays focus on providing an explanation and analysis of something. Narrative essays provide a personal story that is often written in first person point of view with a linear structure. Expository essays, on the other hand, are aimed to provide information about a certain topic. They are organized in a more logical way, with each idea corresponding to its own paragraph.

Both essay types require research and proper structure in order to be convincing. However, the main difference between them lies in their content. Let’s take a closer look:

Narrative Essay

A narrative essay is a form of storytelling where you relate one event or experience from your own life. It can be a fun type of assignment to write, if you approach it properly. Learn how to choose a good topic, get a solid rough draft on paper, and revise your narrative essay.

When writing a narrative essay, think about your life experiences in the context of the assignment’s theme, for example “lessons learned from childhood experiences.” Choose one that is easiest for you to write about. Brainstorm ideas and decide which story you want to tell that fits with the tone and structure of the essay.

Next, develop an outline with characters, setting details, conflict and resolution events in mind. Put together a rough draft that follows the order of events as they unfolded and include sensory details such as sights, smells, sounds or tastes associated with particular moments. Write in first person perspective or use third person point-of-view (as long as it’s consistent throughout).

Then go back through your story making changes as needed – add more description or detail here; eliminate unnecessary words there – until it reads well and focuses on what’s important for your essay topic. Finally read it aloud several times to yourself so that any remaining errors are noticeable before coloring from an eye perspective instead of ear perspective helps catch even little errors like tense usage or grammar problems.

Expository Essay

An expository essay is for providing the readers with information about the topic. The writer does not have to provide personal opinion or take a particular stance on the issue, but instead must rely on evidence, facts and examples to back up their statements.

It is important to use facts and evidence that are current and credible so that your arguments hold more weight with readers. You should also try to do in-depth research on the topic in order to thoroughly cover each point you make in your essay.

Additionally, an expository essay should be written in a formal style, with most words spelled correctly and grammar used appropriately throughout. The goal is for the reader to gain a complete understanding of what you are trying to explain through your writing.

Tone and Language

The tone and language of a narrative essay differ from that of an expository essay. In a narrative essay, narrators often use language to convey a story, evoke emotions, and convey the overall tone. On the other hand, expository essays rely on facts and data to explain a concept in a straightforward and objective way.

This section will discuss the differences between the two types of writing styles in terms of tone and language.

Narrative Essay

A narrative essay is written in the first person and recounts an experience or situation. It often has a specific purpose such as to inform, entertain or persuade. The focus of the essay is usually on one particular event, individual, place or moment. The main objective of this type of essay is to tell a story that brings the writer’s point home.

To accomplish this goal, vivid language and details must be used to bring the reader into the writer’s world. It may also contain dialogue between characters, flashbacks to earlier memories and anecdotes from personal experience that illustrate points being made. Since it relies heavily on storytelling devices, narrative writing can be very creative and engaging – and often more relatable and interesting than expository writing.

Expository Essay

Expository essays are focused on providing the reader with factual information. The goal of an expository essay is to inform or explain a topic using research and evidence. It is usually written in an objective tone that conveys the author’s facts and knowledge about the topic without expressing their opinions. This type of essay may use various literary devices, such as anecdotes, metaphors and similes to clarify the text for readers. In addition, expository essays require a clear thesis statement and strong evidence to support its argument.

Expository writing can take many forms, some of which include:

  • Cause-and-effect essays
  • Compare-and-contrast essays
  • Process analysis essays
  • Definition essays

Writers of expository essay should strive to remain unbiased while providing solid support for their arguments or point of view. Expository writing should also be easy to read, effectively organized and concise in order to keep readers engaged with the text. Finally, an expository essay should leave readers with a thorough understanding of its main topic or argument in order to achieve its objectives.


The purpose of a narrative essay is usually to share an experience or tell a story. It will usually contain a plot and characters. On the other hand, an expository essay is more focused on conveying facts and information to the reader. It will usually contain details, facts, and figures, but it can also include the writer’s opinion.

Let’s explore the differences between these two types of essays more in depth:

Narrative Essay

A narrative essay is an essay that tells a story. The story usually revolves around a personal experience and is told in first person. This type of essay requires creativity and imagination, as it often involves vivid description of people, places or events. It can be written from the perspective of the narrator, which allows the writer to give the readers deeper insight into their personalities. The narrative style also encourages writers to use literary elements such as dialogue, pacing and flashbacks for more effective storytelling. As with any type of essay, a narrative essay should have an introduction with a clear thesis statement, body paragraphs and a conclusion.

In a narrative essay, it is important for the writer to engage the reader’s attention and make them interested in the story being told. The most effective way to do this is by creating compelling scenarios or characters that draw readers in and keep them invested in the story until its resolution. Additionally, as this type of writing focuses on personal experiences, writers should also strive to convey their emotions effectively throughout their writing in order for readers to fully connect emotionally with their stories.

Expository Essay

An expository essay is a type of essay that investigates a certain idea, examines the evidence, and then presents an argument or opinion on the topic. It is important to note that an expository essay should not simply be an opinion piece, but instead should use facts to support the argument.

To do this effectively, your essay must have a clear and logical structure which will allow the reader to follow your argument in a coherent and engaging manner.

An expository essay typically contains three basic parts:

  • Introduction – You should introduce the topic of your paper in clear language and provide background on why this topic is important.
  • Body – This should contain all of the evidence that you have gathered as you researched your topic: facts, statistics, direct quotes from experts or other sources etc… It is important to use evidence from multiple sources to give credibility to your argument.
  • Conclusion – You should tie up all loose ends of your discussion and reiterate why this topic has relevance today.

Through thoughtful research and sound structure, you can create an engaging piece of writing that expresses your point of view in an effective way!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the main difference between a narrative and expository essay?

A: The main difference between a narrative and expository essay is the purpose of the essay. A narrative essay is usually written with the intent of telling a story, while an expository essay is written with the intent of providing the reader with information.

Q: What kind of tone do narrative and expository essays have?

A: Narrative essays typically have a more personal tone, while expository essays are more formal and objective.

Q: What is the structure of a narrative and expository essay?

A: A narrative essay follows a linear structure, while an expository essay typically follows a more structured format, including an introduction, body, and conclusion.