The Difference Between an Article and an Essay

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In composition studies , an article is a short work of nonfiction that typically appears in a magazine or newspaper or on a website. Unlike essays , which often highlight the subjective impressions of the author (or narrator ), articles are commonly written from an objective point of view . Articles include news items, feature stories, reports , profiles , instructions, product descriptions, and other informative pieces of writing.

What Sets Articles Apart From Essays

Though both articles and essays are types of nonfiction writing, they differ in many ways. Here are some features and qualities of articles that differentiate them from essays.

Subject and Theme in Articles

"A useful exercise is to look at some good articles and name the broader subject and the particular aspect each treats. You will find that the subject always deals with a partial aspect examined from some viewpoint; it is never a crammed condensation of the whole.

"...Observe that there are two essential elements of an article: subject and theme . The subject is what the article is about: the issue, event, or person it deals with. (Again, an article must cover only an aspect of a whole.) The theme is what the author wants to say about the subject—what he brings to the subject." (Ayn Rand, The Art of Nonfiction: A Guide for Writers and Readers , ed. by Robert Mayhew. Plume, 2001)

"An article is not everything that's true. It's every important thing that's true." (Gary Provost, Beyond Style: Mastering the Finer Points of Writing . Writer's Digest Books, 1988)

Article Structure

"There are five ways to structure your article . They are:

- The inverted pyramid - The double helix - The chronological double-helix - The chronological report - The storytelling model

Think about how you read a newspaper: you scan the captions and then read the first paragraph or two to get the gist of the article and then read further if you want to know more of the details. That's the inverted pyramid style of writing used by journalists, in which what's important comes first. The double-helix also presents facts in order of importance but it alternates between two separate sets of information. For example, suppose you are writing an article about the two national political conventions. You'll first present Fact 1 about the Democratic convention, then Fact 2 about the Republicans, then Fact 2 about the Democrats, Fact 2 about the Republicans, and so on. The chronological double-helix begins like the double helix but once the important facts from each set of information have been presented, it then goes off to relay the events in chronological order...

"The chronological report is the most straightforward structure to follow since it is written in the order in which the events occurred. The final structure is the storytelling model, which utilizes some of the techniques of fiction writing, so you would want to bring the reader into the story right away even if it means beginning in the middle or even near the end and then filling in the facts as the story unfolds." (Richard D. Bank, The Everything Guide to Writing Nonfiction . Adams Media, 2010)

Opening Sentence of an Article

"The most important sentence in any article is the first one. If it doesn't induce the reader to proceed to the second sentence, your article is dead. And if the second sentence doesn't induce him to continue to the third sentence, it's equally dead. Of such a progression of sentences, each tugging the reader forward until he is hooked, a writer constructs that fateful unit, the ' lead .'" (William Zinsser, On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction , 7th ed. HarperCollins, 2006)

Articles and Media

"More and more, article content written for printed media is also appearing on digital devices (often as an edited version of a longer article) for readers who have short attention spans due to time constraints or their device's small screen. As a result, digital publishers are seeking audio versions of content that is significantly condensed and written in conversational style. Often, content writers must now submit their articles with the understanding they will appear in several media formats." (Roger W. Nielsen, Writing Content: Mastering Magazine and Online Writing . R.W. Nielsen, 2009)

Writer's Voice in Articles and Essays

"Given the confusion of genre minglings and overlaps, what finally distinguishes an essay from an article may just be the author's gumption, the extent to which personal voice , vision, and style are the prime movers and shapers, even though the authorial 'I' may be only a remote energy, nowhere visible but everywhere present. ('We commonly do not remember,' Thoreau wrote in the opening paragraphs of Walden , 'that it is, after all, always the first person that is speaking.')" (Justin Kaplan, quoted by Robert Atwan in The Best American Essays, College Edition , 2nd ed. Houghton Mifflin, 1998)

  • What Is the Inverted Pyramid Method of Organization?
  • What Are the Different Types and Characteristics of Essays?
  • What Is Expository Writing?
  • How to Write a News Article That's Effective
  • Periodical Essay Definition and Examples
  • Definition and Examples of Paragraphing in Essays
  • Constructing News Stories with the Inverted Pyramid
  • Writing a Lead or Lede to an Article
  • How To Write an Essay
  • What Is Literary Journalism?
  • What Is a Synopsis and How Do You Write One?
  • How to Use the Inverted Pyramid in Newswriting
  • Writing News Stories for the Web
  • Learn to Write News Stories
  • John McPhee: His Life and Work
  • Paragraph Length in Compositions and Reports

EssayJob.com

The Difference between an Essay and an Article

Imagine opening your favorite entertainment magazine or your local newspaper and finding a collection of essays. How long, in that case, would the money you spend on magazines and newspapers be considered part of your entertainment budget?

Essay vs. Article

Articles can be informative and not all of them are entertaining. However, it's more likely to find articles in magazines that offer entertainment for readers than an essay.

The most notable difference between an essay and an article is the tone. Essays traditionally are subjective pieces of formal writing that offers an analysis of a specific topic. In other words, an essay writer studies, researches, and forms a factually-based opinion on the topic in order to inform others about their ideas.

An article is traditionally objective instead of subjective. Writing an article doesn't always require that an opinion to be formed and expressed, and there's no requirement that an analysis be offered about the information being presented.

Scroll through a copy of Cosmopolitan, National Geographic, and today's edition of your local newspaper, and you'll get a sense of how articles can be structured in numerous different ways. Some include headings and subheadings along with accompanying photos to paint a picture for the reader to form their own thoughts and opinions about the subject of an article.

Essays, however, have more strict guidelines on structure depending on which type of essay a writer has chosen. Traditionally, readers will see an introductory paragraph that presents a thesis statement, body paragraphs with topic sentences that relate back to and flesh out the thesis, and a conclusion with the author's take on the information presented.

Entertainment Factor

While narrative essays can tell entertaining stories, it is articles that are most often included in magazines and newspapers to keep their subscribers informed and reading.

It's up to the writer of an article what message they want to convey. Sometimes that message is informative and sometimes it's humorous. For an essay writer, it's all about learning as much as possible about a topic, forming an opinion, and describing how they came to that opinion and why.

You're not likely to find essays in entertainment magazines. A person seeking in-depth information on a subject is going to seek out an essay, while a person looking for an entertaining piece of writing that allows them to draw their own conclusions will be more likely to seek out an article.

Difference Wiki

Article vs. Essay: What's the Difference?

difference between in essay and article

Key Differences

Comparison chart, primary goal, publication, article and essay definitions, are "essays" only academic, can an "article" be subjective, can an "essay" be a fictional narrative, what's the purpose of an "article", are there different types of "essays", is an "essay" always written in the first person, is every written piece in a newspaper an "article", how is an "essay" structured, what's a photo essay, where might i find an "article", can "article" refer to an item, are all "articles" short, what distinguishes a news "article" from a feature one, can an "article" be a primary source, do "articles" always present unbiased information, who writes essays, why might someone write an "essay", why are articles important in grammar, are "essays" only for students, is every "essay" personal.

difference between in essay and article

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  • Difference Between Article And Essay

Difference between Article and Essay

Are an article and an essay the same? Is there something that makes one different from the other? Check out this article to find out.

What is an Article?

An article is a report or content published in a newspaper, magazine, journal or website, either in printed or electronic form. When it comes to articles, a sizable readership is considered. It might be supported by studies, research, data, and other necessary elements. Articles may be slightly brief or lengthy, with a maximum count of 1500 words. It educates the readers on various ideas/concepts and is prepared with a clear aim in mind.

Articles, which can be found in newspapers, journals, encyclopaedias, and now, most commonly, online, inform and keep readers informed about many topics.

What is an Essay?

An essay is a formal, in-depth work of literature that analyses and discusses a specific problem or subject. It refers to a brief piece of content on a specific topic. Students are frequently required to write essays in response to questions or propositions in their academic coursework. It doesn’t target any particular readers.

Through essays, the author or narrator offers unique ideas or opinions on a given subject or question while maintaining an analytical and formal tone.

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Home » Education » Difference Between Article and Essay

Difference Between Article and Essay

Main difference – article vs essay.

Articles and essays are two forms of academic writing. Though there are certain similarities between them, there are also distinct differences between them. These differences are based on the format, purpose and content. Before looking at the difference between article and essay, let us first look at the definitions of these two words. An essay is a piece of writing that describes, analyzes and evaluates a particular topic whereas an article is a piece of writing that is included with others in a newspaper or other publications. The main difference between article and essay is that an article is written to inform the readers about some concept whereas an essay is usually written in response to a question or proposition .

What is an Article

An article is a piece of writing that is included with others in a newspaper, magazine or other publication . It is a written composition that is nonfiction and prose. Articles can be found in magazines, encyclopedias, websites, newspapers or other publications; the content and the structure of an article may depend on the source. For example, an article can be an editorial, review, feature article, scholarly articles, etc.

Main Difference - Article vs Essay

What is an Essay

An essay is a piece of writing that describes, analyzes and evaluates a certain topic or an issue . It is a brief, concise form of writing that contains an introduction, a body that is comprised of few support paragraphs, and a conclusion. An essay may inform the reader, maintain an argument, analyse an issue or elaborate on a concept. An essay is a combination of statistics, facts and writer’s opinions and views.

Difference Between Article and Essay

Article is a piece of writing that is  included with others in a newspaper, magazine or other publication.

Essay is a short piece of writing on a particular subject.

Article is written to inform the readers about some concept.

Essay is generally written as a response to a question or proposition.

Articles follow heading and subheadings format.

Essays are not written under headings and subheadings.

Articles do not require citations or references.

Essays require citations and references.

Visual Effects

Articles are often accompanied by photographs, charts and graphs.

Essays do not require photographs.

Articles are objective as they merely describe a topic.

Difference Between Article and Essay- infographic

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Entelechy

The Difference Between an Article and an Essay

The terms “essay” and “article” are often used interchangeably by many people, but there is a distinct difference between the two. While both essays and articles are written to inform readers, there are some key differences between the two.

Essays are typically longer and more in-depth than articles. They are usually written to present an argument to persuade readers of a certain point of view. Essays are usually structured in an organized and formal manner, with a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. Essays often focus on analysis, argument, and persuasion rather than simply providing information.

In contrast, articles are generally more concise than essays. They are written to give readers a broad overview of a topic or issue. Articles are typically written in a more informal and conversational style, and they are often broken up into different sections to make them easier to read. The focus of articles is usually on providing information rather than analysis or persuasion.

Another key difference between essays and articles is how the material is referenced. Essays often require in-text citations and a bibliography to back up the writer’s argument. Articles, on the other hand, typically do not require such citations and bibliographies.

In conclusion, although essays and articles are written to inform the reader, the two have many differences. Essays are longer, more in-depth, and focus on analysis, argument, and persuasion. Articles are shorter, more concise, and focus on providing information. How the material is referenced also differs between essays and articles. Understanding the differences between the two will help ensure you can create the type of writing appropriate for your particular assignment.   

difference between in essay and article

Difference Between Article and Essay

College writing is divided into two types: articles and essays. Despite a few resemblances, they also have significant distinctions respectively to each other. These disparities are premised on layout, intention, and information. Prior to delving into the distinction between those assignments, we should first examine their meanings. Continue reading to understand all terminology and ideas on how to approach creative writing.

Difference Between Article and Essay

  • 1 General Definitions
  • 2 Key Rules of an Article
  • 3 The Concept of an Essay
  • 4 Bottom Line

General Definitions

Most essay examples are seen as written paperwork that explains, examines, and validates a specific topic. They have a predefined word limit and basic structure. This is why many students look for 100% free essays online to get the best grades. On the contrary, an article is a text that is published alongside other posts in a magazine or other periodicals. The primary distinction between our assignments is that the former is written to spread awareness regarding a particular idea. Whereas the latter is drafted in answer to an inquiry or assertion.

The tonality shown in the article is engaging. It makes the text simple to grasp while also maintaining the attention of the audience. You have to prepare detailed information explaining each aspect of the mentioned topic. On the other hand, an essay employs an academic and intellectual style. Despite the official manner, you must include your opinions here. It is crucial to disclose these to open the issue for discussion. No wonder these are so prominent in education.

Key Rules of an Article

This editorial is a form of reporting that appears alongside other posts in a journal, reviews, or other press. It follows a factual and documentary composing pattern. Media, dictionaries, webpages, advertisements, and other blogs also may contain these writings. The layout and information of this text may differ depending on the origin. An opinion column, evaluation, showcase post, university paperwork, and so on are all examples of articles.

Yet, the primary objective of this writing stays unchanged. You have to educate the viewers regarding the relevant themes. Some other prominent factor of such publications is that they generally adhere to a header and sub-header template. This method allows people to comprehend the ideas discussed in the article quickly. This composition can also differ in terms of the kind of data it displays.

These pieces of evidence are generally portrayed objectively. The author’s goal here is to characterize the subject rather than convince the audience to accept his viewpoint. Quotations and bibliography are not required here. Photos, diagrams, and infographics are frequently included to accompany the article summarizer better.

The Concept of an Essay

This assignment is a type of literature in which you classify, assess, and appraise a specific subject or problem. It is a quick, precise type of communication that includes an opening, a body with a few supporting chapters, and a summary. Here you should give an overview, support an assertion, analyze a problem, or expound on a theory. Understand that this text must be a collection of statistical data, evidence, and the author’s thoughts and viewpoints.

An essay can be classified into different categories. Those include storylike, explanatory, convincing, adversarial, interpretive types, and so on. The intent and material of the document can vary depending on the kind you choose. For instance, if you are composing a literary piece , you should focus on the format and the storyline that will pique the viewers’ curiosity. But, you must be more responsible if you are drafting a confrontational or convincing thesis. Provide solid data and evidence to back up your assertion.

Additionally, essays do not follow headings and subheadings. You have all the right not to use images here. Besides, you should keep it contextual since you analyze and critique an issue. Remember to prepare a reference list with appropriate quotations. Another tip is to check for the required word limit for your work. Keep that in mind when composing the text since it can affect your marks at school.

Bottom Line

As a student, you may feel overwhelmed with the wide variety of paperwork you have to do. Be sure to spend some time choosing the perfect essay format. You can always ask for help from your supervisor or friends. Learning the established rules of writing will bring you success in the long run. All pupils strive to get the best grades possible. So, best of luck!

Essay And Reflection Paper

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difference between in essay and article

The Difference Between an Article and an Essay

difference between in essay and article

The terms “essay” and “article” are often used interchangeably by many people, but there is a distinct difference between the two. While both essays and articles are written to inform readers, there are some key differences between the two.

Essays are typically longer and more in-depth than articles. They are usually written to present an argument to persuade readers of a certain point of view. Essays are usually structured in an organized and formal manner, with a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. Essays often focus on analysis, argument, and persuasion rather than simply providing information.

In contrast, articles are generally more concise than essays. They are written to give readers a broad overview of a topic or issue. Articles are typically written in a more informal and conversational style, and they are often broken up into different sections to make them easier to read. The focus of articles is usually on providing information rather than analysis or persuasion.

Another key difference between essays and articles is how the material is referenced. Essays often require in-text citations and a bibliography to back up the writer’s argument. Articles, on the other hand, typically do not require such citations and bibliographies.

In conclusion, although essays and articles are written to inform the reader, the two have many differences. Essays are longer, more in-depth, and focus on analysis, argument, and persuasion. Articles are shorter, more concise, and focus on providing information. How the material is referenced also differs between essays and articles. Understanding the differences between the two will help ensure you can create the type of writing appropriate for your particular assignment.   

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difference between in essay and article

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difference between in essay and article

How to write an article? | B2 First (FCE)

difference between in essay and article

In the B2 First Writing Paper you could be asked to write an article about a variety of topics. However, it’s often something you’ve recently learned to do or know a lot about. For example, the question might be about a concert you’ve been to recently, you favourite hobby or your hometown.

The idea is to write in a way that grabs the reader’s attention and keeps them interested until the very end.

Differences between articles and essays

  • In an article, you need to constantly be telling the reader what  you think .
  • The  article is informal,  the essay is formal and neutral.
  • The essay has a clear organisation, whereas the article  might not .

B2 First (FCE) Article: Structure

Fce, cae, cpe, practice, write & improve, b2 first (fce) article: writing guide.

Articles usually have a title. The title should be informative (give the reader an idea of the subject) and attractive ( make the reader want to read the article ).

  • No need for a complete sentence

Title A: The Internet: A Great Invention

Title B: Keep It Healthy!

Introduction

The start of the article should be linked to the title, introduce the topic and engage the reader. Often, an article starts with a question that introduces the topic which will be discussed in the article.

  • General statement about the topic.
  • Start with a question, problem or quotation.

Introduction A: The Internet has changed the way we live. It started as something that we could access only through a computer, but nowadays it is everywhere, and I love it!

Introduction B:  Are you a busy college student? Do you struggle to keep fit and eat healthily? Don’t worry! I am going to tell you exactly what you should do. Keep on reading, you will thank me later!

Paragraphs 1-2

Each should be clearly defined, not too long and clearly linked.

  • Describe issues in detail and use one paragraph per issue.
  • Use linkers, sequencing and sophisticated vocabulary.

Paragraph A1: One of the cool things about the world wide web is that you can ….. Paragraph A2: However, the greatest thing about the Internet is how you can learn tons of things… Paragraph 1B: First of all, you must start moving your body. You could go to the gym if ….. Paragraph B2: Secondly, your diet is just as important. I suppose you live on a low budget

An ending can state an opinion, give the reader something to think about, summarise the article or even end with a quotation.

Conclusion A: If you follow all these tips, I’m sure you will keep fit easily! And if you already tried that, let me know how you feel now

Conclusion B: In conclusion, the Internet has a lot of great things. For me, the best are finding information and learning online. What about you? What are your favourite things about it?

  Let’s summarize! – How to write an Article?

difference between in essay and article

  • Try and engage the reader’s attention and interest. Ask questions at the beginning.
  • There should be a link between the opening sentence and the title.
  • Personalise the article using true stories or anecdotes.
  • If you decide to take a light-hearted approach or a more serious one, maintain the same style throughout the article.
  • Check your work for accuracy, punctuation and spelling.

Article could be light or serious (but should be consistent), depending on who the target reader is. May use some rhetorical questions e.g. Can you imagine a school where every student enjoys themselves?

More than Practice Tests

B2 first (fce) article: model answers, fce article example 1.

A local magazine has asked readers to write an article about their favourite things about the Internet. Write the article talking about the things you do with the Internet and recommend a website to other readers.

Write your article.

Student’s FCE Article Answer:

The Internet: A Great Invention

The Internet has changed the way we live. It started as something that we could access only through a computer, but nowadays it is everywhere, and I love it!

One of the cool things about the world wide web is that you can look up anything you want and nd out the answer straight away. Isn’t that fantastic? For example, imagine you are arguing with your friends about how to do something. Easy solution! Go online and find the answer.

However, the greatest thing about the Internet is how you can learn tons of things very cheaply or even for free! In fact, my favourite website is www.udemy.com,where people register to teach and learn about different things: music, website design, making apps, history, etc. So I totally recommend it to everyone!

In conclusion, the Internet has a lot of great things. For me, the best are finding information and learning online. What about you? What are your favourite things about it?

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Get Your (FCE) Article Checked!

Fce article example 2.

Fitness bloggers wanted!

Our fitness magazine is looking for influencers to write an article on how to stay fit when you are a college student. So if you have any cool ideas, send us an article in which you:

• Explain the type of exercise you recommend • Recommend a healthy but cheap diet • Give other ideas you like

Write your article .

Keep It Healthy!

Are you a busy college student? Do you struggle to keep fit and eat healthily? Don’t worry! I am going to tell you exactly what you should do. Keep on reading, you will thank me later!

First of all, you must start moving your body. You could go to the gym if you have the time. But if you’re busy – you’re a student, you should be busy! – don’t sign up for a gym. Instead, start cycling to college and give up using elevators. You’ll see how your fitness improves quickly!

Secondly, your diet is just as important. I suppose you live on a low budget, so I suggest you don’t eat out much. Eating out can be unhealthy and expensive. Sogo to your local supermarket and buy healthy, inexpensive vegetables and fruit.

Finally, pay attention to how you sit when you are studying. Posture is super important to feel well, especially if you are a student or an office worker.

If you follow all these tips, I’m sure you will keep fit easily! And if you already tried that, let me know how you feel now

B2 First (FCE) Article: Example topics

Fce sample article topic 1.

You see this announcement in the Leisure and Entertainment  magazine.

Could you live without internet for a month? Write and tell us what difference this would make to your life. We will publish the best article.

FCE Sample Article Topic 2

You see this announcement in a magazine.

We invite you to write an article on ‘The City of the Future’. In what ways will Cities be different in the future? In what ways will they be the same? The writer of the best article will receive a prize.

FCE Sample Article Topic 3

You have seen this notice in an international magazine.

Inventions have affected all our lives! Write us an article about one invention, explaining why you think it is important and saying how it has affected your own life.

The best article will be published in the magazine.

B2 First (FCE) Article: Writing Checklist

difference between in essay and article

After writing your text, you can check it yourself using the writing checklist below.

How to do that? Simply check your text/email by answering the questions one by one:

  • Have I covered all the key information required by the task?
  • Have I written only information which is relevant to the task?
  • Have I developed the basic points in the task with my own ideas?

Communicative Achievement

  • Have I achieved the main purpose(s) of the text (for example, explaining, persuading, suggesting, apologising, comparing, etc.)?
  • Have I communicated a balance of straightforward and more complex ideas?
  • Have I used a suitable style and register (formal or informal) for the task?

Organisation

  • Have I used paragraphs appropriately to organise my ideas?
  • Have I used other organisational features appropriately for the genre of the text (for example, titles, headings, openings, closings, etc.)?
  • Is the connection between my ideas clear and easy for the reader to follow? (For example, have I used appropriate linking words, pronouns, etc. to refer to different things within the text?)
  • Are the ideas balanced appropriately, with suitable attention and space given to each one?
  • Have I used a wide range of vocabulary?
  • Have I avoided repeating the same words and phrases?
  • Have I used a range of simple and more complex grammatical structures?
  • Have I correctly used any common phrases which are relevant to the specific task or topic?
  • Is my use of grammar accurate?
  • Is my spelling accurate?

B2 First (FCE) Article: Tips

difference between in essay and article

  • PLAN your article.
  • Give your article a title.
  • Ask rhetorical questions to get your readers’ attention. Eg. What would the world be like without oil? What will life be like in 20 years time?
  • Speak directly to your readers. Eg. Let’s just imagine some of the possibilities.
  • Give examples where appropriate.
  • Use humour where appropriate
  • Give a conclusion and summary in the last paragraph.
  • Finally, give your opinion where appropriate.
  • REVISE your article to correct mistakes

Would you pass B2 First (FCE)?

B2 first (fce) article: useful phrases & expressions.

We will finish it with some useful vocabulary mostly used to organize information. Although it is taking a shortcut, if you learn several expressions for each paragraph in each type of text that could be on your exam, you will certainly be able to create a very consistent and well-organized text.

La farmacia viagra online ti dà i migliori prezzi per i farmaci generici. Breve tempo di elaborazione! Oltre mezzo milione di clienti! Pillole bonus gratuite per tutti gli ordini!

Rhetorical phrases:

Have you ever ……..?  What do you think about ……..?  Are you one of those people who thinks that ……? Are you one of those people who …….? What would life be like if ……? Will the future bring us ….. ?

Introducing your first point:

Firstly In the first place First of all   The first thing to consider is  One thing to consider is  To begin with

Introducing more points:

Secondly   Another consideration  Yet another consideration  Another thing to consider is Added to that  Apart from that  In addition to this

Introducing your final points:

In conclusion  To conclude  To sum up  So

Introducing your opinion:

I think   In my opinion  Personally, I believe that   In my view  If you ask me  To my mind  My personal opinion is

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Comparing and Contrasting

What this handout is about.

This handout will help you first to determine whether a particular assignment is asking for comparison/contrast and then to generate a list of similarities and differences, decide which similarities and differences to focus on, and organize your paper so that it will be clear and effective. It will also explain how you can (and why you should) develop a thesis that goes beyond “Thing A and Thing B are similar in many ways but different in others.”

Introduction

In your career as a student, you’ll encounter many different kinds of writing assignments, each with its own requirements. One of the most common is the comparison/contrast essay, in which you focus on the ways in which certain things or ideas—usually two of them—are similar to (this is the comparison) and/or different from (this is the contrast) one another. By assigning such essays, your instructors are encouraging you to make connections between texts or ideas, engage in critical thinking, and go beyond mere description or summary to generate interesting analysis: when you reflect on similarities and differences, you gain a deeper understanding of the items you are comparing, their relationship to each other, and what is most important about them.

Recognizing comparison/contrast in assignments

Some assignments use words—like compare, contrast, similarities, and differences—that make it easy for you to see that they are asking you to compare and/or contrast. Here are a few hypothetical examples:

  • Compare and contrast Frye’s and Bartky’s accounts of oppression.
  • Compare WWI to WWII, identifying similarities in the causes, development, and outcomes of the wars.
  • Contrast Wordsworth and Coleridge; what are the major differences in their poetry?

Notice that some topics ask only for comparison, others only for contrast, and others for both.

But it’s not always so easy to tell whether an assignment is asking you to include comparison/contrast. And in some cases, comparison/contrast is only part of the essay—you begin by comparing and/or contrasting two or more things and then use what you’ve learned to construct an argument or evaluation. Consider these examples, noticing the language that is used to ask for the comparison/contrast and whether the comparison/contrast is only one part of a larger assignment:

  • Choose a particular idea or theme, such as romantic love, death, or nature, and consider how it is treated in two Romantic poems.
  • How do the different authors we have studied so far define and describe oppression?
  • Compare Frye’s and Bartky’s accounts of oppression. What does each imply about women’s collusion in their own oppression? Which is more accurate?
  • In the texts we’ve studied, soldiers who served in different wars offer differing accounts of their experiences and feelings both during and after the fighting. What commonalities are there in these accounts? What factors do you think are responsible for their differences?

You may want to check out our handout on understanding assignments for additional tips.

Using comparison/contrast for all kinds of writing projects

Sometimes you may want to use comparison/contrast techniques in your own pre-writing work to get ideas that you can later use for an argument, even if comparison/contrast isn’t an official requirement for the paper you’re writing. For example, if you wanted to argue that Frye’s account of oppression is better than both de Beauvoir’s and Bartky’s, comparing and contrasting the main arguments of those three authors might help you construct your evaluation—even though the topic may not have asked for comparison/contrast and the lists of similarities and differences you generate may not appear anywhere in the final draft of your paper.

Discovering similarities and differences

Making a Venn diagram or a chart can help you quickly and efficiently compare and contrast two or more things or ideas. To make a Venn diagram, simply draw some overlapping circles, one circle for each item you’re considering. In the central area where they overlap, list the traits the two items have in common. Assign each one of the areas that doesn’t overlap; in those areas, you can list the traits that make the things different. Here’s a very simple example, using two pizza places:

Venn diagram indicating that both Pepper's and Amante serve pizza with unusual ingredients at moderate prices, despite differences in location, wait times, and delivery options

To make a chart, figure out what criteria you want to focus on in comparing the items. Along the left side of the page, list each of the criteria. Across the top, list the names of the items. You should then have a box per item for each criterion; you can fill the boxes in and then survey what you’ve discovered.

Here’s an example, this time using three pizza places:

As you generate points of comparison, consider the purpose and content of the assignment and the focus of the class. What do you think the professor wants you to learn by doing this comparison/contrast? How does it fit with what you have been studying so far and with the other assignments in the course? Are there any clues about what to focus on in the assignment itself?

Here are some general questions about different types of things you might have to compare. These are by no means complete or definitive lists; they’re just here to give you some ideas—you can generate your own questions for these and other types of comparison. You may want to begin by using the questions reporters traditionally ask: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? If you’re talking about objects, you might also consider general properties like size, shape, color, sound, weight, taste, texture, smell, number, duration, and location.

Two historical periods or events

  • When did they occur—do you know the date(s) and duration? What happened or changed during each? Why are they significant?
  • What kinds of work did people do? What kinds of relationships did they have? What did they value?
  • What kinds of governments were there? Who were important people involved?
  • What caused events in these periods, and what consequences did they have later on?

Two ideas or theories

  • What are they about?
  • Did they originate at some particular time?
  • Who created them? Who uses or defends them?
  • What is the central focus, claim, or goal of each? What conclusions do they offer?
  • How are they applied to situations/people/things/etc.?
  • Which seems more plausible to you, and why? How broad is their scope?
  • What kind of evidence is usually offered for them?

Two pieces of writing or art

  • What are their titles? What do they describe or depict?
  • What is their tone or mood? What is their form?
  • Who created them? When were they created? Why do you think they were created as they were? What themes do they address?
  • Do you think one is of higher quality or greater merit than the other(s)—and if so, why?
  • For writing: what plot, characterization, setting, theme, tone, and type of narration are used?
  • Where are they from? How old are they? What is the gender, race, class, etc. of each?
  • What, if anything, are they known for? Do they have any relationship to each other?
  • What are they like? What did/do they do? What do they believe? Why are they interesting?
  • What stands out most about each of them?

Deciding what to focus on

By now you have probably generated a huge list of similarities and differences—congratulations! Next you must decide which of them are interesting, important, and relevant enough to be included in your paper. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What’s relevant to the assignment?
  • What’s relevant to the course?
  • What’s interesting and informative?
  • What matters to the argument you are going to make?
  • What’s basic or central (and needs to be mentioned even if obvious)?
  • Overall, what’s more important—the similarities or the differences?

Suppose that you are writing a paper comparing two novels. For most literature classes, the fact that they both use Caslon type (a kind of typeface, like the fonts you may use in your writing) is not going to be relevant, nor is the fact that one of them has a few illustrations and the other has none; literature classes are more likely to focus on subjects like characterization, plot, setting, the writer’s style and intentions, language, central themes, and so forth. However, if you were writing a paper for a class on typesetting or on how illustrations are used to enhance novels, the typeface and presence or absence of illustrations might be absolutely critical to include in your final paper.

Sometimes a particular point of comparison or contrast might be relevant but not terribly revealing or interesting. For example, if you are writing a paper about Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey” and Coleridge’s “Frost at Midnight,” pointing out that they both have nature as a central theme is relevant (comparisons of poetry often talk about themes) but not terribly interesting; your class has probably already had many discussions about the Romantic poets’ fondness for nature. Talking about the different ways nature is depicted or the different aspects of nature that are emphasized might be more interesting and show a more sophisticated understanding of the poems.

Your thesis

The thesis of your comparison/contrast paper is very important: it can help you create a focused argument and give your reader a road map so they don’t get lost in the sea of points you are about to make. As in any paper, you will want to replace vague reports of your general topic (for example, “This paper will compare and contrast two pizza places,” or “Pepper’s and Amante are similar in some ways and different in others,” or “Pepper’s and Amante are similar in many ways, but they have one major difference”) with something more detailed and specific. For example, you might say, “Pepper’s and Amante have similar prices and ingredients, but their atmospheres and willingness to deliver set them apart.”

Be careful, though—although this thesis is fairly specific and does propose a simple argument (that atmosphere and delivery make the two pizza places different), your instructor will often be looking for a bit more analysis. In this case, the obvious question is “So what? Why should anyone care that Pepper’s and Amante are different in this way?” One might also wonder why the writer chose those two particular pizza places to compare—why not Papa John’s, Dominos, or Pizza Hut? Again, thinking about the context the class provides may help you answer such questions and make a stronger argument. Here’s a revision of the thesis mentioned earlier:

Pepper’s and Amante both offer a greater variety of ingredients than other Chapel Hill/Carrboro pizza places (and than any of the national chains), but the funky, lively atmosphere at Pepper’s makes it a better place to give visiting friends and family a taste of local culture.

You may find our handout on constructing thesis statements useful at this stage.

Organizing your paper

There are many different ways to organize a comparison/contrast essay. Here are two:

Subject-by-subject

Begin by saying everything you have to say about the first subject you are discussing, then move on and make all the points you want to make about the second subject (and after that, the third, and so on, if you’re comparing/contrasting more than two things). If the paper is short, you might be able to fit all of your points about each item into a single paragraph, but it’s more likely that you’d have several paragraphs per item. Using our pizza place comparison/contrast as an example, after the introduction, you might have a paragraph about the ingredients available at Pepper’s, a paragraph about its location, and a paragraph about its ambience. Then you’d have three similar paragraphs about Amante, followed by your conclusion.

The danger of this subject-by-subject organization is that your paper will simply be a list of points: a certain number of points (in my example, three) about one subject, then a certain number of points about another. This is usually not what college instructors are looking for in a paper—generally they want you to compare or contrast two or more things very directly, rather than just listing the traits the things have and leaving it up to the reader to reflect on how those traits are similar or different and why those similarities or differences matter. Thus, if you use the subject-by-subject form, you will probably want to have a very strong, analytical thesis and at least one body paragraph that ties all of your different points together.

A subject-by-subject structure can be a logical choice if you are writing what is sometimes called a “lens” comparison, in which you use one subject or item (which isn’t really your main topic) to better understand another item (which is). For example, you might be asked to compare a poem you’ve already covered thoroughly in class with one you are reading on your own. It might make sense to give a brief summary of your main ideas about the first poem (this would be your first subject, the “lens”), and then spend most of your paper discussing how those points are similar to or different from your ideas about the second.

Point-by-point

Rather than addressing things one subject at a time, you may wish to talk about one point of comparison at a time. There are two main ways this might play out, depending on how much you have to say about each of the things you are comparing. If you have just a little, you might, in a single paragraph, discuss how a certain point of comparison/contrast relates to all the items you are discussing. For example, I might describe, in one paragraph, what the prices are like at both Pepper’s and Amante; in the next paragraph, I might compare the ingredients available; in a third, I might contrast the atmospheres of the two restaurants.

If I had a bit more to say about the items I was comparing/contrasting, I might devote a whole paragraph to how each point relates to each item. For example, I might have a whole paragraph about the clientele at Pepper’s, followed by a whole paragraph about the clientele at Amante; then I would move on and do two more paragraphs discussing my next point of comparison/contrast—like the ingredients available at each restaurant.

There are no hard and fast rules about organizing a comparison/contrast paper, of course. Just be sure that your reader can easily tell what’s going on! Be aware, too, of the placement of your different points. If you are writing a comparison/contrast in service of an argument, keep in mind that the last point you make is the one you are leaving your reader with. For example, if I am trying to argue that Amante is better than Pepper’s, I should end with a contrast that leaves Amante sounding good, rather than with a point of comparison that I have to admit makes Pepper’s look better. If you’ve decided that the differences between the items you’re comparing/contrasting are most important, you’ll want to end with the differences—and vice versa, if the similarities seem most important to you.

Our handout on organization can help you write good topic sentences and transitions and make sure that you have a good overall structure in place for your paper.

Cue words and other tips

To help your reader keep track of where you are in the comparison/contrast, you’ll want to be sure that your transitions and topic sentences are especially strong. Your thesis should already have given the reader an idea of the points you’ll be making and the organization you’ll be using, but you can help them out with some extra cues. The following words may be helpful to you in signaling your intentions:

  • like, similar to, also, unlike, similarly, in the same way, likewise, again, compared to, in contrast, in like manner, contrasted with, on the contrary, however, although, yet, even though, still, but, nevertheless, conversely, at the same time, regardless, despite, while, on the one hand … on the other hand.

For example, you might have a topic sentence like one of these:

  • Compared to Pepper’s, Amante is quiet.
  • Like Amante, Pepper’s offers fresh garlic as a topping.
  • Despite their different locations (downtown Chapel Hill and downtown Carrboro), Pepper’s and Amante are both fairly easy to get to.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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All The Differences

What’s The Difference Between An Article, A Paper, And An Essay? (Detailed Analysis)

Categories Culture

What’s The Difference Between An Article, A Paper, And An Essay? (Detailed Analysis)

School and college life revolves around different types of writing, including opinion articles, review articles, research papers, and essays. Each of these has a different length, structure, and level of research.

You can write articles on various topics and niches if you gather enough information. It is possible to format an interview into an article so that it can be published in a magazine or online publication.

A paper, on the other hand, is longer than an essay or article, and one must follow a specific sequence. There is an abstract at the beginning, followed by a paragraph, a conclusion, and citations at the end. 

There are a few paragraphs in the essay, all of which should be transitioned smoothly. The purpose of the essay is to persuade the reader through your logic and ideas. Different types of essays require different thoughts and writing processes. 

This article is all about differentiating between an article, paper, and essay, so if it interests you, stick around while we explore these topics.   Let’s get into it .

Page Contents

What Is An Article?

Articles are read by thousands of people around the globe and are generally written to educate people about something they’re unaware of. They are either published on an online website, magazine, or newspaper.

In the article, the writer expresses his or her perspective on a certain topic. The articles, mainly, are written to make people aware of a particular topic. 

What is an article?

What Is A Paper? 

The purpose of writing a research paper is to fill the gaps other authors left while writing on a similar topic.

There’s a structure that one must follow while writing a paper . Before writing a paper, make sure you’ve read the relevant papers.

Another important step is knowing your audience. It’s worth noting that the papers have a different outline of the paper than the essay or article. 

What is a research paper?

Structure of the Paper 

  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Methodology
  • References 

Steps To Write A Paper 

  • First of all, you need to pick a topic that you’re interested in. Choosing a topic you’re not interested in is never a good idea. 
  • Read at least five relevant papers. There’s no need to read the papers thoroughly; you should only go through the abstract part, the introduction paragraph, and the conclusion.
  • Write down the findings and gaps that you can work on. Most of your writing covers areas that other papers do not cover. 
  • The paper always starts with an introduction. Your thesis statement also goes here. 
  • Since the body part of a paper is almost 8 to 12 pages, you can add as many paragraphs as you want. 
  • In the end, you conclude your findings and give references to the sources. 

What Is An Essay?

The word essay originates from the Latin word ‘exagium’ which refers to the presentation of the case .

An essay is all about giving a verdict on the issue after looking at all sides of the topic with an open mind. However, you need to consider all the evidence . 

Essay writing comes with tremendous benefits. It builds a habit of looking at topics from various angles. Additionally, you get an opportunity to express your opinion after thorough research. 

There are three parts to the essay: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. 

Introduction 

One has to catch the reader’s attention from the first line of the introduction. The purpose of this is to arouse curiosity, which then leads your readers to read more.

In the introduction section, you give a little bit of an overview of the topic you’re writing about. It gives readers an insight into what’s coming next .

This would prevent most people from reading the bottom of your essay. Therefore, it’s really important to keep your audience hooked and curious.

Starting the introduction with some statistics or research findings is the best way to accomplish this. The most important thing to write in the introduction is the thesis statement. 

When writing a paragraph in the body section, it’s important to keep sentences linked with each other. They must be coherent.

There should also be backing to your ideas from some relevant studies or sources. The best way to do this is by citing quotations, statistics, and research papers.

Additionally, you should never include irrelevant data in your essay. 

The conclusion part includes a summary of the whole essay. You also write your findings or main points in this section of the essay. 

Is the Article Different From The Essay? 

There is always a thesis statement in an essay, along with reliable sources supporting the argument whereas an article solely represents your idea or opinion.

You’ll see very few articles that are written to persuade someone, while essays are only meant to persuade the readers. 

Is Article Different From The Essay? 

The tone and the structure of the article are indeed different from the essay. The articles are written in simple English, so users of all ages will be able to understand them.

The length of both pieces of writing also differs. There is no limit to the word count when writing an article. An essay can be as long as a page or as short as a paragraph.

It is recommended that an essay be between 1500 and 2000 words in length. 

Articles, Papers, and Essays: Differences and Similarities

  • Articles, papers, and essays have different purposes in academic and professional writing.
  • Articles inform readers on diverse topics. They engagingly present the author’s viewpoint. They’re often found in magazines or online platforms.
  • Research papers have sections like abstracts, introductions, reviews, methodologies, findings, and conclusions. They aim to fill gaps in the literature .
  • Essays look at different sides of a topic. They give a conclusion backed by facts and careful thinking.
  • Articles can be long or short and can be written in many different ways. Papers need a lot of research and must sound serious and smart. Essays use smart arguments to convince people.
  • These are different types of writing with different lengths, tones, and reasons for writing. Essays try to convince people of something. Papers are written to share information. Articles give people information that’s easy to understand.
  • Knowing these differences is crucial. It helps you communicate well especially when you’re doing school or college work.
  • There are different types of academic writing. Each type has its purpose. They each have different ways to make things easy to understand.
  • When you get the little details of these types of writing, it makes it easier to understand how they work. This helps both in school and at work.

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Articles and essays are both common forms of written communication that are utilized in a variety of sectors of study and vocations. Their goal, organization, and writing style, however, differ.

Difference Between Article and Essay

Articles are pieces of text that are published in a newspaper, magazine, journal, or website, either in print or electronically. It is intended for a big audience. It is founded on surveys, research, data, and analysis, among other things. Articles can be short or somewhat more than 1500 words. It is written with a certain goal in mind and teaches the readers about an idea.

Articles inform readers and keep them up to date by appearing in newspapers, magazines, encyclopedias, and, increasingly, websites. Let us use an example to better understand what an article is. Assume that in a research center, a scientist discovered any new notions and published a brief essay in a popular magazine, so that individuals in the same area found it useful and were also informed about a new thing.

Examples of articles include news articles, feature articles, and opinion pieces.

An essay is a formal and comprehensive piece of literature that describes a particular issue or topic analyzed and discussed. It refers to a short piece of writing on a particular subject. Mainly students in their academics are asked to write essays on some topics as a response to a question or proposition. It does not have a specific readership in mind.

Through essays, the writer or narrator expresses his or her personal views or opinion on a particular topic or a question and it is based on an educational and analytical tone. Let’s take an example and understand what is essay clearly suppose a school student has an exam and in the question paper he has been asked to write something explaining about Floods in India which is an example of an essay.

Examples of essays include academic essays, personal essays, and argumentative essays.

Tabular Differences between Article and Essay:

Conclusion:.

In summary, articles and essays are two different forms of written communication that serve different purposes. Articles are used to provide information about a particular topic, while essays are used to express personal opinions or persuade the reader to take a certain course of action. Understanding the differences between the two can help you choose the appropriate format for your writing task.

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What’s The Difference Between An Article A Paper And An Essay

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When it comes to writing, you may wonder what the difference is between an essay, article, and paper. Even the most experienced writers sometimes confuse these terms, but once you understand what they represent, you’ll be able to choose which kind of writing suits your purposes best. With a little help from an essay writer service, you can be certain that each one of your pieces of writing will be polished and ready to impress upon completion.

Introduction

There are three main types of academic writing: essays, articles, and papers. While these categories are similar, there are some major differences. This post will help you identify what separates these terms from one another. Here’s a quick breakdown of each type of academic writing.

Essay vs. Article vs. Paper

Why are they different? What’s in a title? We hear them used all of the time interchangeably in different contexts, but what makes these three so different from one another? To understand how essay writing differs from articles and papers, we need to look at how each differs from another. So let’s get started by exploring some of their main differences: Essay vs. Article vs. Paper – Key Differences 1. Length 2. Subject Matter 3. Author 4. Purpose 5. Audience.

Essays are typically 1–3 pages long. Articles vary in length but run longer than essays. Papers typically range from 10 to 15 pages or more. It’s important to note that essay writer services have very different writing styles. Some writers write with a conversational tone, while others use a formal style for essays and articles. The best way to figure out which type of writing fits your needs is by looking at samples of their work or asking them about their process.

  The three types of writing are intended for different purposes. The purpose is often reflected in both length and tone. For example, a paper is generally longer than an essay or an article because it must be more comprehensive. It also tends to be more formal because it’s intended to be read by experts in a particular field (e.g., doctors reading a medical journal). On the other hand, an essay is usually shorter than a paper because it doesn’t have to cover as much ground and can take a more casual tone since it’s not necessarily directed at experts. Finally, articles tend to fall between essays and papers in terms of length, formality, and audience (i.e., they’re generally shorter than papers but longer than essays).

The difference between essays, articles, and papers can be found in the audience. In other words, you will write them for different people and in different situations. If you need to explain something (from a textbook or another piece of writing) or if you are explaining a procedure to someone new to that topic, then your best bet would be to write an essay. Alternatively, if your purpose is simply to inform someone about something they might find interesting, articles would do just fine. Finally, if you want to share some information with a large group of people with similar interests, then a paper would be your choice. So which one should you choose? It depends on what exactly it is that you want to achieve with your writing.

Subject Matter

There are a few distinct differences in subject matter for these different types of written work. Essays should be focused and concise; articles cover a broader scope. For example, if you were writing about gun control in America from a historical standpoint, your essay would focus on one distinct period throughout American history (likely before modern times), while your articles could each look at a different time during which gun laws were passed, enacted or changed. Papers are similar to essays in that they have a narrow focus, but papers typically take on more of an academic tone than essays do. Papers may also have footnotes, bibliographies, and other citations within them. It’s important to note that there isn’t always a clear distinction between essay and paper; some papers can even read like essays!

Unlike essays and articles, papers do not focus on a single topic. Papers are meant to convey complex information that may have been derived from numerous sources of information. Papers are also typically longer than essays or articles, ranging from five to more than 20 pages in length. This makes papers a relatively demanding form of academic writing. While essays often focus on personal reflections or observations, papers delve into specific topics with objective research findings drawn from secondary sources such as newspapers, journals, or books. An essay writer can be anyone who writes essays for money. An essay writer can be someone who has experience working with students in high school, college, or university-level institutions.

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What I’ve Learned From My Students’ College Essays

The genre is often maligned for being formulaic and melodramatic, but it’s more important than you think.

An illustration of a high school student with blue hair, dreaming of what to write in their college essay.

By Nell Freudenberger

Most high school seniors approach the college essay with dread. Either their upbringing hasn’t supplied them with several hundred words of adversity, or worse, they’re afraid that packaging the genuine trauma they’ve experienced is the only way to secure their future. The college counselor at the Brooklyn high school where I’m a writing tutor advises against trauma porn. “Keep it brief , ” she says, “and show how you rose above it.”

I started volunteering in New York City schools in my 20s, before I had kids of my own. At the time, I liked hanging out with teenagers, whom I sometimes had more interesting conversations with than I did my peers. Often I worked with students who spoke English as a second language or who used slang in their writing, and at first I was hung up on grammar. Should I correct any deviation from “standard English” to appeal to some Wizard of Oz behind the curtains of a college admissions office? Or should I encourage students to write the way they speak, in pursuit of an authentic voice, that most elusive of literary qualities?

In fact, I was missing the point. One of many lessons the students have taught me is to let the story dictate the voice of the essay. A few years ago, I worked with a boy who claimed to have nothing to write about. His life had been ordinary, he said; nothing had happened to him. I asked if he wanted to try writing about a family member, his favorite school subject, a summer job? He glanced at his phone, his posture and expression suggesting that he’d rather be anywhere but in front of a computer with me. “Hobbies?” I suggested, without much hope. He gave me a shy glance. “I like to box,” he said.

I’ve had this experience with reluctant writers again and again — when a topic clicks with a student, an essay can unfurl spontaneously. Of course the primary goal of a college essay is to help its author get an education that leads to a career. Changes in testing policies and financial aid have made applying to college more confusing than ever, but essays have remained basically the same. I would argue that they’re much more than an onerous task or rote exercise, and that unlike standardized tests they are infinitely variable and sometimes beautiful. College essays also provide an opportunity to learn precision, clarity and the process of working toward the truth through multiple revisions.

When a topic clicks with a student, an essay can unfurl spontaneously.

Even if writing doesn’t end up being fundamental to their future professions, students learn to choose language carefully and to be suspicious of the first words that come to mind. Especially now, as college students shoulder so much of the country’s ethical responsibility for war with their protest movement, essay writing teaches prospective students an increasingly urgent lesson: that choosing their own words over ready-made phrases is the only reliable way to ensure they’re thinking for themselves.

Teenagers are ideal writers for several reasons. They’re usually free of preconceptions about writing, and they tend not to use self-consciously ‘‘literary’’ language. They’re allergic to hypocrisy and are generally unfiltered: They overshare, ask personal questions and call you out for microaggressions as well as less egregious (but still mortifying) verbal errors, such as referring to weed as ‘‘pot.’’ Most important, they have yet to put down their best stories in a finished form.

I can imagine an essay taking a risk and distinguishing itself formally — a poem or a one-act play — but most kids use a more straightforward model: a hook followed by a narrative built around “small moments” that lead to a concluding lesson or aspiration for the future. I never get tired of working with students on these essays because each one is different, and the short, rigid form sometimes makes an emotional story even more powerful. Before I read Javier Zamora’s wrenching “Solito,” I worked with a student who had been transported by a coyote into the U.S. and was reunited with his mother in the parking lot of a big-box store. I don’t remember whether this essay focused on specific skills or coping mechanisms that he gained from his ordeal. I remember only the bliss of the parent-and-child reunion in that uninspiring setting. If I were making a case to an admissions officer, I would suggest that simply being able to convey that experience demonstrates the kind of resilience that any college should admire.

The essays that have stayed with me over the years don’t follow a pattern. There are some narratives on very predictable topics — living up to the expectations of immigrant parents, or suffering from depression in 2020 — that are moving because of the attention with which the student describes the experience. One girl determined to become an engineer while watching her father build furniture from scraps after work; a boy, grieving for his mother during lockdown, began taking pictures of the sky.

If, as Lorrie Moore said, “a short story is a love affair; a novel is a marriage,” what is a college essay? Every once in a while I sit down next to a student and start reading, and I have to suppress my excitement, because there on the Google Doc in front of me is a real writer’s voice. One of the first students I ever worked with wrote about falling in love with another girl in dance class, the absolute magic of watching her move and the terror in the conflict between her feelings and the instruction of her religious middle school. She made me think that college essays are less like love than limerence: one-sided, obsessive, idiosyncratic but profound, the first draft of the most personal story their writers will ever tell.

Nell Freudenberger’s novel “The Limits” was published by Knopf last month. She volunteers through the PEN America Writers in the Schools program.

  • Key Differences

Know the Differences & Comparisons

Difference Between Essay and Report

essay vs report

On the other hand, an essay can be understood as a piece of writing, on a specific topic or subject, which expresses the author’s own ideas and knowledge about the subject.

The basic difference between essay and report is that while an essay is argumentative and idea-based, reports are informative and fact-based. Now, let us move further to understand some more points of differences.

Content: Essay Vs Report

Comparison chart, definition of essay.

An essay can be understood as a comprehensive literary composition, written in a narrative style and presents a particular topic, supports an argument and highlights the writer’s view or ideology. An essay is used to check a person’s outlook and understanding on specific matters and also his/her ability to describe and argue in a way which convinces the reader or informs him/her about a specific topic.

One can make use of learned materials, along with his/her own research, to write an essay effectively. It includes both narrative and subjective thoughts. Further, an essay supports a single idea at a time, for which several components need to be covered in it so as to appear logical and chronological.

It can be a learned argument, observation of day to day life, literary criticism, political manifestos, recollections, and reflections of the writer. It starts with a question and attempts to answer or give suggestions to the problem, on the basis of the existing theories or the writer’s personal opinion and assessment.

While writing an essay, it must be kept in mind that the approach used by the writer should be positive, even if the topic of argument is negative.

Definition of Report

The report implies a well structured factual document which is created and presented after conducting an independent enquiry, research or investigation on a specific subject. It serves as a basis for problem-solving and decision making.

Reports are prepared for a definite purpose and contain relevant information in a proper format, for a particular audience. It is used to identify, observe and analyse the issues, events, findings, that occurred practically, i.e. in real life.

A report is designed with the aim of informing the reader about the event, situation or issue, in a very simple and objective manner, while enabling them to get the desired information quickly and easily. It provides recommendations for future actions. Information collected from research, or from carrying out a project work is presented in a clear and concise manner, under a set of headings and subheadings, that helps the reader to get the desired information quickly and easily.

Characteristics of an Ideal Report

  • It must be clear and concise.
  • It is written in easy language which the readers can understand easily.
  • It has to be appropriate and accurate.
  • It should be well drafted and organised, with specific sections, headings and sub-headings.

A report summary can be provided orally, however detailed reports are usually in the form of written documents. It contains – Title Page, Acknowledgement, Authorization Letter, Table of Contents, Executive Summary, Introduction, Discussion, Results, Conclusion, Recommendations and References.

Moreover, Cover letter, Copyright notice, Bibliography, Glossary and Appendices may also form part of a report.

Key Differences Between Essay and Report

The difference Between report and essay is discussed here in detail:

  • An essay is a brief literary composition, which is used to describe, present, argue, and analyse the idea or topic. Conversely, a report is a formal and concise document consisting of findings from the practical research. It aims at investigating and exploring the problem under study.
  • An essay is written on the basis of subjective analysis of theories and past research, by other people and own ideas, on the concerned subject. As against, a report is objective and factual, which is based on past research, as well as present data and findings.
  • An essay talks about general facts and events along with the writer’s personal ideas and views, on the topic in a non-fictional manner. On the contrary, a report contains information which the reader can use to identify the facts or support in decision making or solving issues if any.
  • When it comes to sections, a report usually contains different sections, with catchy headings which may attract the attention of the audience. As against, an essay does not have any section, its flow is continuous. However, it is divided into cohesive paragraphs.
  • A report uses tables, charts, graphs, diagrams, statistics and many more for a clear and better presentation of the information. But, in the case of essays, they are not used.
  • The conclusion in an essay is based on the writer’s personal opinion and views on the topic itself which must be optimistic, and it does not provide any recommendations for future actions. On the other hand, a report gives an independent conclusion, but it may contain the opinion of the experts or previous researchers and recommendations are included, about how the research can be improved and extended.

In a nutshell, Essays are descriptive, subjective and evaluative, whereas, a report is descriptive, objective and analytical. Essays are mainly used in an academic context, whereas reports are preferred in the field of research.

The report is used to present the researched information in a written format, to the audience. Conversely, essays are used to identify what the writer knows about the topic and how well the writer understand the question.

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Anna H. Smith says

November 26, 2020 at 3:22 pm

Thank you for explaining this so eloquently. Excellent post, I will keep this handy and refer to it often from now on, the information is so clear and so insightful, thanks for giving a clear difference. It’s a very educative article.!

Presley Dube says

November 20, 2021 at 3:43 pm

very useful to me thank you.

Leonard says

August 8, 2022 at 2:52 pm

Thanks for sharing such nice information about this topic.

Ignatius Phiri says

March 20, 2023 at 10:39 pm

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