Difference Between Narrative & Descriptive Essays

Narrative vs Descriptive Essay

Narrative and descriptive essays are two distinct types of essay writing that differ primarily based on the writer’s objective. In a narrative essay, the writer’s goal is to share their experiences with the reader, allowing the reader to immerse themselves in a story composed of a sequence of events. In contrast, a descriptive essay’s purpose is to provide a descriptive account of something or someone without engaging in a narrative. This article will explore the differences between these two types of writing.

What is a Narrative?

A narrative or narrative essay is an account of an individual’s experience, detailing a personal experience that significantly impacted the person’s life. Examples include a journey, the first day of school, a marriage, or an unforgettable day. The narrative allows the individual to express and share something special with the reader. Narratives often entail a sequence of events presented in chronological order. A narrative can be told in the first person, using words such as “I,” “myself,” and “me,” or in the third person, with various characters and a specific plot.

A narrative enables the reader to understand the narrator’s point of view, attitudes, perspectives, and construction of reality. The reader can not only be part of the experience but also comprehend the narrator’s personality. In social sciences, narratives are often used as empirical evidence for research purposes, as they allow researchers to understand people’s subjective experiences and interpretations of events.

Key Takeaways

  • A narrative essay is an account of an individual’s personal experience, usually presented in chronological order.
  • A descriptive essay is used to describe or explain a place, person, or emotion, using sensory information to create an image for the reader.
  • A narrative essay typically involves a story with a plot and characters, while a descriptive essay focuses solely on providing a detailed account without a storyline or characters.

What is a Descriptive Essay?

Unlike a narrative essay, a descriptive essay is used to describe or explain a place, person, or emotion. The writer can use sensory information, such as sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste, to fully describe an object. The language used in descriptive essays is extensive and highly descriptive. In some cases, descriptive essays may not present a complete sensory picture but only focus on one or two aspects. A well-written descriptive essay can build a connection with the reader by immersing them in the described environment.

What is the difference between Narrative and Descriptive Essay?

  • Definition: A narrative is an account of an individual’s personal experience, while a descriptive essay provides a detailed description of a place, person, or emotion.
  • Content: A narrative usually relates a story, while a descriptive essay only provides a highly descriptive account without a story.
  • Point of View: A narrative often uses first-person narration, while a descriptive essay usually avoids first-person narration, aiming to present an image of something instead.
  • Action: A narrative is full of action and follows a chronological order, while a descriptive essay does not have these qualities.
  • Plot and Characters: A narrative has a plot and characters that revolve around the story, while a descriptive essay does not include a plot or characters.
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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