Let’s talk about four types of essays, namely;




Argumentative essays

Narrative Essays Tell a Story

Example: “An Unforgettable Day in My Life”.

Descriptive Essays Give Details of a Set Topic

Example: “Life in the City”.

Descriptive essays can also tell a story. For instance, the form of an essay on a masquerade festival you witnessed will largely be descriptive but may also include a story to make it more entertaining and possibly achieve a specified word count.

Compare these topics:

(1) The Zoo

(2) A Memorable Day at the Zoo

Topic (1) is a descriptive essay because the writer will mostly define a zoo, its features and set up.

Topic (2) is a narrative essay as the emphasis is on “memorable day”, which requires the writer to create a story that demonstrates that emphasis.

Expository Essays Explain a Given Topic

Example: “Importance of Proper Waste Disposal”

Expository essays are based on facts and require research.

An Argumentative Essay is a Written Debate

The writer chooses one of the perspectives and marshals facts to support it.

Example: “Boarding Schools are better than Day Schools”.

Argumentative and Expository essays may look similar at first glance.


(1) Effects of Stewardship as School Prefects on Students’ Academic Performance.

(2) School Prefects Perform Better Academically Than Regular Students.

Points to Note

Narrative and descriptive essays are similar in the sense that they tell stories which may be real or imaginary.

Expository and Argumentative essays are more factual.

In writing essays in general:

(a) Pay attention to the content; do not wander far off the subject. If, for example, you are writing a narrative essay on the topic “An Unforgettable Day in My Life”, the story must begin and conclude within a day. Do not continue to events of the next day or the day after that.

(b) Maintain whatever tense is necessary for the type of essay you are writing; avoid moving back and forth between present and past tense.

(c) Make use of synonyms instead of repeating the same word two or more times in a given paragraph.

Exam Bodies Such as NECO’s Guide for Marking

  1. Contents/Context:       This checks your understanding of the question and the way you treated it.
  2. Grammar:                   This area focuses on the use of correct sentences.
  3. Expression:                  the structure of your sentences and proper use of English
  4. Spelling:                      Spelling of words must be done correctly

Example of an Argumentative Essay

Question: You are the chief speaker in a school debate the topic of which “public secondary schools are better than private ones”. Write your speech for or against the topic.

Public Secondary Schools Are Better Than Private Ones

Public schools are schools owned and administered by the government with the aid of tax payers contributions, while private schools are schools owned by individuals, corporate entities, religious bodies, etc.

Public secondary schools are better than private secondary schools in many ways which include the following.

Better Facilities/Equipment

The government has various education trust funds dedicated to providing modern equipment to public schools it operates. The facilities in an average public school are considerable as the government does not have to purchase the lands it builds the schools on. This encourages the expansion and growth of the public schools. But most private schools lack the formidable resources it would take to acquire such vast facilities.

Better Organisation

A private secondary school is as good as its owner. Where the owner is a half-interested party in the affairs of the school, the quality of service provided by the school would also be below standard. However, public schools are better organized with a head who is answerable to another head of department, up to the point of the Minister of Education.

Better Remuneration

Teachers in public secondary schools enjoy a higher salary structure that their counterparts in the private schools. Private schools are business enterprises set up to enrich the proprietor. Therefore, the goal is to make profit for the owner by all means necessary, even if it entails cutting corners. Better salaries encourage a higher dedication to duty while the reverse does the opposite.

Better Opportunities

Students in public secondary schools enjoy the fruits of collaborations between the government and foreign bodies. New technologies and equipment are often first deployed to public secondary schools before others. Donors who may wish to perform their corporate social responsibility through donations to schools also pick public secondary schools for such donations


Public secondary schools still maintain a stringent discipline regimen where bad behavior is summarily punished. Private secondary schools are at the mercy of the parents who often disapprove of any disciplinary measures against their wards. Since the private schools are dependent on the patronage of parents, they have no choice but to bend to the wishes of parents. This method of training often results in entitled, ill-mannered, young members of the society.

Better scholars

Public secondary schools have produced and are still producing many eminent scholars such as the late Chinua Achebe, Tai Solarin, etc,


From the foregoing paragraphs, it is abundantly clear that public secondary schools are better than private secondary schools.


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