The difference between essays and compositions

Difference between essays and compositions

In order to get a high grade for your coursework, you need to follow the rules of writing. It is possible if you know clearly what the purpose of different types of work is. For example, such seemingly similar creative assignments as an essay or composition. Unfortunately, no official website or educational document gives an exhaustive answer to the question about the differences between essays and compositions, so let’s sort it out together.

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Definition of essays and compositions

A few decades ago, schoolchildren and students knew only one type of creative work – a composition. Later on, another type – essays – came into the study plans and even examination programs. They are often confused not only by students but also by inexperienced teachers. An essay is a type of outline, which reflects the author’s subjective position, and provides arguments on which it is based. It often provides an answer to some “eternal” or topical issue. An essay is a creative work on a given topic, which can be done in the form of:


  • description;
  • narrative;
  • reasoning;
  • analysis.


What is the difference between an essays and compositions?

essays and compositions


Purpose of Works

The main difference between an essay and a composition is the purpose of the work. Composition papers are assigned so that students or pupils:


  • Develop writing skills;
  • Learn to formulate their thoughts;
  • Analyze pieces of fiction;
  • Work with the text;
  • identify cause-and-effect connections.


The purpose of an essay is to create a fiction-publicistic text that will show the author’s opinion and make the reader share or challenge it. This makes the essay similar to expository composition, but the essay should have more arguments, and you can take them not only from literature but also from social life.


Essay and composition: differences in structure

The composition is structured according to the following plan:


  • The introductory part (formulation of the problem).
  • The main (analysis).
  • The final part (conclusions).


Unlike the composition, the essay does not have a clear plan and form, everything depends on the topic of the work and its understanding by the author. It may start both with the formulation of the problem and with a ready solution for it, which the author argues in detail afterwards.


Difference in Stylistics

There is a difference between an essay and composition in stylistics as well. The essay uses mostly neutral vocabulary and a small number of artistic means. The essay, on the contrary, allows the author to show themselves more fully, in such works are used:


  • Rhetorical questions and appeals.
  • Phraseological expressions
  • Archaisms, neologisms, professional slang.


Different volume essays and compositions

Works can also vary in volume. Composition assumes a full disclosure of the topic, which usually suffices 250-400 words. An essay can be both much shorter (150 words) and longer (1500-2000 words). It all depends on the specificity of the topic and the author’s perception of it.


What is more difficult to write

An essay is more authorial than composition, and therefore it is more difficult to prepare. Not everyone can handle it, so students often turn to services that write essays for money to help them get a good grade. You can replace your thoughts in a composition with the position of the critic, noting only your agreement or disagreement with his arguments. This is impossible in an essay: it is built on the author’s core and personal opinion about the problematic situation. To write your composition, it is enough to know the plot of a literary work and its critics’ assessment of it. To write an essay, you need to have a good idea of the meaning of the problem, understand its importance to society, and have your vision of dealing with it. The essay requires not only knowledge of the program text, but also a broad outlook, familiarity with current events, erudition, and literary talent, so it is more difficult to prepare it. Working on both the essay and the composition requires the student to be creative and takes a lot of time