Whether you write essays, business materials, fiction, articles, letters, or even just notes in your journal, your writing will be at its best if you stay focused on your purpose. While there are many reasons why you might be putting pen to paper or tapping away on the keyboard, there are really only four main types of writing: expository, descriptive, persuasive, and narrative.
Each of these four writing genres has a distinct aim, and they all require different types of writing skills. You may also have heard them referred to in an academic setting as modes of discourseor rhetorical modes. Institutions of higher learning teach nine traditional rhetorical modes, but the majority of pieces we are called upon to write will have one of these four main purposes.