Difference between written narration and essay (high school)

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  • ErinD

    Ok, high school CM-ers, what is the difference between a written narration and an essay in high school? Is there a difference? Do you distinguish between the two and require both? Interested in hearing others’ opinions about this.


    Hi Erin! To me the difference in an essay and a written narration is that an essay has an opening and a closing paragraph and is at least a page or so long.

    Essays are also more focused on a certain area unless they are simple, narrative essays. For example, compare/contrast these two characters, or books, or plot lines, write a character analysis, form an opinion on this or that from the book and persuade me that your opinion is the right one, etc.




    An essay gives the writer’s thoughts and opinions, while a narration is basically retelling the text that you’ve read or heard.

    I would also add that, in high school, students need to learn to write essays because they will generally be asked to write them throughout life, not just for exams in college, but also for college admissions applications, job applications, scholarship/grant applications, competitions, etc.

    Sonya Shafer

    That’s right, an essay is just one style of written narration that can be asked of a high school student. It usually sets forth a personal opinion/assertion and gives supporting arguments and evidence from the passage read.

    You can require other styles of written narrations from a high school student too: journal entries, scripts, letters, poems, etc.


    Thanks for these replies.

    Do you give more time to write an essay than a narration? My 10th grade son can write a narration in about half an hour (about a page) but I was thinking of giving him more time for essays to do the whole draft, revise, and final copy thing.

    Rachel White

    Some types which come to mind are: Narrative, Expository, Compare and Contrast, Persuasive, Literary Analysis, Opinion,  basic 5- paragraph, and then those additional styles which Sonya mentioned.

    I’d recommend Power in Your Hands


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