Difference Between a Descriptive and Critical Essay

By: | Updated: Dec-16, 2021

Some students can’t get a grasp of different essay types even after a couple of years into their studying. Indeed, there are a lot of kinds of assignments, and every professor can ask for their own unique blend. There are also courses that require their own templates. For example, literature reviews are usually descriptive, and an analysis of a poem is critical.

Those students who want to achieve their best in the academic field have to understand the basics of creating essays. Also, depending on your year in college, you would need to use the appropriate language that will be best for the course. Often, professors in universities demand a more complex style and clear points from their students.

If you are still not sure how to create a perfect paper after this article, ask for help from Essay Hub and its team of professionals! Yet, in general, you should know about the fundamentals of academic writing. It might even help you in your future career! There are four most common paper types that are used in colleges:

  • Critical – here, you will have to question the text or a speech. Learners are also asked to expose its weak and strong points and analyze the importance of the information.
  • Argumentative – the most common kind of written assignment. You will have to state your point of view and argue in favor of it or against it.
  • Descriptive – here, you just have to describe something about the topic. Professors often ask for complex language as well, like lots of adjectives and metaphors.
  • Narrative – these are like non-fiction stories. Usually, this piece asks for the pronoun ‘I’ and your personal experiences.

What Is a Descriptive Essay?

Difference Between a Descriptive and Critical Essay

So, as was mentioned before, this type of academic writing is formal and yet somehow still informal. You would need to find this delicate balance according to the demands of your professors. Students are usually asked to describe something from their lives, past experiences, or imagination.

But don’t let this assignment fool you! There is still some structure to it, so be careful when you let your thoughts run free. You would need to introduce your reader to the topic and develop your thoughts into a cohesive piece. Also, learners have to create a conclusion that will circle back to the introduction and support their point.

Generally, there is a principle to this type of essay that every learner is advised to follow. Since descriptive writing means that you describe something to the reader, you need to be careful about quotations and plagiarism. Here are some tips about presenting your thoughts:

  • Remember about something that you have seen or experienced.
  • Try to use direct quotations when borrowing some info from other writers.
  • Give credit to the authors of the original thoughts. In general, this is a normal practice in academic writing and not only in descriptive essays.

What Is a Critical Essay?

In this kind of assignment, students have to interpret and provide an analysis of some information. Sometimes, this type of paper is called ‘expository’, but some experts say that this is an entirely different category. Also, learners have to support their claims with evidence from different credible sources.

Often, when you hear the word ‘critical’, you imagine something negative, like a criticism. This is not the case with academic writing. Here, professors encourage you to use your critical thinking skills. You will have to break down almost every sentence and search for hidden meaning.

Here are some fundamental characteristics of this type of writing:

  • Central claim. This isn’t necessarily a whole introduction, but only its last sentence. Students are often asked to provide a thesis statement as their central claim.
  • Evidence. This is the biggest part of the essay where you support your thesis statement with some claims and sources. Learners can divide their writing into sections according to their arguments.
  • Conclusion. Here, you return to your introduction and explain how you proved your point. Basically, in this section, students guide the readers into their most important thoughts.

So What Is the Difference Between Them?

Now that you know about the main dissimilarities between these essay categories, you can easily tell them apart. A descriptive paper tells you what happened, and critical writing tells you why it happened. Also, in an academic environment, descriptive papers are used to explain some theories. On the other hand, a critical essay explains their strong and weak points.

To Sum Up

Now you know about the main distinctions between critical and descriptive writing. You might notice that there are also some similarities, like their structure. Still, students need to be careful about what language they use or what arguments they present. With some determination, you will master your academic skills in no time!

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