The Subtle Differences between Narrative and Descriptive Writing

In this day and age, every student has to write various essays on a number of topics throughout their student life. However, these days, students are getting more and more confused about the differences between certain types of essays.

Two major essay styles students often get confused about are narrative essays and descriptive essays. They are not very closely linked, but to the essay writer who is just starting out, the differences may not be apparent. That is why students get confused between them,

If you are one of these students then you are in the right place! Keep reading this article as we are going to highlight the major differences and how you can improve your essay writing skills by knowing them.

What is Descriptive Writing?

Descriptive writing is a style of writing that boils down to focusing on five key things. Those key things are the five senses a human has. The sense of smell, touch, hearing, taste, and sight are all major factors that make up descriptive writing.  The purpose of using these five senses is to develop a person, place or animal or object in the essay. The writer uses these five senses to create a portrait – a mental image, for the reader so that the reader can effectively imagine the scene playing out. If the writer is able to build this image successfully, then we consider the essay to be effective and to have been written properly.

This is the core of descriptive writing, to enable the reader to imagine what is being described in their head and in turn, to make the reader become a part of the story. Making them want to read further into the story.

What is Narrative Writing?

Narrative writing is about the author telling a story from usually their own perspective or the perspective of a character in the story. Usually, these stories are personal, based on the author or character’s life. The author does not use the five senses to develop a picture in this case, instead, heart-felt emotion is created by revealing more about the plot that unfolds throughout the essay. Usually, there is some overlying moral that the author is trying to convey to the audience through the story.

We must not, however, before moving on to the differences, that there are a few similarities between the two styles of essay writing as well. In both essay styles, the author follows the same format. From the introduction to the conclusion, there will be not much of a difference. You might realise that the differences are not in the structure – which stays the same overall. They are mostly in the content and in what is being written about. In both styles, the author must include a thesis statement that signifies what the moral might be and why this story interests the order.

The Differences between both Narrative and Descriptive Writing

From the get-go, these two essay styles start to differ. In descriptive essays, the introduction is much different from the narrative essay. In descriptive ones, the author tells the audience what the subject to be discussed is. This is because the author needs to start building on the subject. However, in narrative essays, the author never reveals the plain plot of the story as it is built throughout the story. This leaves it clouded in mystery and urges the reader to read on.

As we mentioned earlier, narrative essays most often use the first-person point of view, whereas descriptive essays use the third-person view. The first person is used in narrative essays because it gives the reader a sense of identity and character.

The one main structural difference between these two essay styles is that, in narrative essays, you can keep the paragraph as short as you want. This can be as less as two lines but in descriptive essays, long paragraphs area must. You must write a long paragraph as you can get in more detail and be able to describe more in them.

Finally, in the conclusion, the author must quickly wrap up the story in a narrative essay. However, in descriptive essays, the author can give a long and detailed conclusion in which they slowly build towards the ending.

Having trouble?

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The Subtle Differences between Narrative and Descriptive Writing
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