What Type of Writing Style Do You Use: A Brief Guide to the Main Styles

We often hear the expression “writing style.” What is style in writing? How do the styles differ from each other? What are they for? Can someone be professional at one style but absolutely helpless at another? This article will answer these questions and give you an understanding of the features of the main styles. 

4 Major Styles of Writing Which Are Commonly Met in Life: Reasons to Use

In general, style is a way of conveying information with the help of words. Different linguistic, syntactic, and figurative language tools form different texts. But this definition is incomplete. Style is determined not only by the tools but, first of all, by the purpose it is used for. The most common classification divides all writing into 4 styles:

  • The expository style is the most specific. It contains peculiar facts about an object, whatever it is. The purpose is to give an explanation and a clear view to readers. 
  • The descriptive style is mainly used in fiction. It gives a detailed description of objects using sensory words, sometimes metaphors. Often, these descriptions are based upon the author’s opinion. The purpose is to make the readers imagine and “see” the depicted objects. 
  • The persuasive style is more complicated than the two above-mentioned styles. It relies on the author’s point of view. This style is aimed to convince readers with the help of argumentation, examples, citation, and other tools. 
  • Basically, narrative style writing is telling a story. The mandatory feature of the style is text structure, which usually consists of a beginning, main part, and conclusions. But surely, it can be much more complex. 

Narrative Writing Style: A Close Friend of Fiction Writers 

It is worth taking a closer look at the narrative style. The storytelling which it uses can be appropriate for almost any genre: from novels and poetry to research articles. In scientific articles, it is particularly fitful for descriptions of historical events or, for example, sociological research.

However, mostly the narrative writing style is used in novels and other fiction texts. Each talented author adjusts the common features of the style to their own creative ideas. For example, for experienced readers, such an expression as the Hemingway writing style is well known. It is characterized by distinctiveness, clarity, and minimal use of adjectives and adverbs. Ernest Hemingway writing style is clearly revealed in his shortest story. The writer bet that he would write a story with only six words. Here it is: “For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.” 

Though, the narrative style may be quite different. For example, what is Gabriel Garcia Marquez writing style? This Columbian author was a founder of magical realism. It is much more descriptive and rich than Hemingway’s style. None of the magical realists could come close to mastery of the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude. 

If we turn to the Old English writing style, we can recall such unusual for our time genres as epic poetry, sermons, and riddles. Literature historians study a great number of texts to correctly classify them and find interconnections. For example, asking, ”Upon what source did John Bunyan model his writing style in The Pilgrim’s Progress?”, scientists undoubtedly answer: “The English Bible.” It is also an example of a narrative style of writing. Old English style writing helps us understand the appearance of many other styles.

Academic Writing and Other Non-fiction Writing Styles 

In writing, there are many styles that are completely different from the narration. First, academic writing should be mentioned. It causes many problems for students all over the world. Academic writing rarely uses stories or informal expressions. It is clear, structured, and usually aimed at explaining or proving one particular idea. But there is an even more specific writing style, which is called an army writing style. Its peculiarity is that the main conclusions and ideas are located at the beginning of the text.

Such a large number of writing styles is not accidental. Every industry, every field of knowledge, and especially every creative generation, invents new styles or renovates old ones. This evolution is undoubtedly a positive factor in developing the written language.


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