4 Key Differences Between Critical and Descriptive Essays

4 Key Differences Between Critical and Descriptive Essays

There are so many different categories of essays in academia. Sometimes, students might end up overwhelmed from trying to know the particularities of every single one. There are some that are more similar to each other, so it’s key to draw out and emphasize their differences to have clarity.

This guide will show you just that. We’ll be exploring what makes critical and descriptive essays different. On that note, if you need any sort of writing help, you can get a custom essay order for any type of essay at Studyfy. Visit the website and get in touch with a seasoned professional who can finish your coursework in the time period you need.

Overview: The Critical Essay

In an essay like this, a student’s writing has to demonstrate critical thinking, critical analysis, and synthesis of information. A general feeling that the writing is trying to persuade the reader to accept the writer’s perspective using evidence-based arguments and well-rounded analysis is present.

If you’re a college student, you’d have written your fair share of critical essays. It’s fundamental for most students across the majority of almost any branch to be able to use critical thinking to assess information. You can expect to find the following elements in this essay:

  • Main claim/thesis statement: The central claim and topic. The writer needs to provide evidence-based arguments to add value and legitimacy to their claim.
  • Evidence/proof: Usually found in the body paragraphs, these excerpts of the essay provide proof that the claim is not fake or lofty but can be backed by substantial evidence in order to persuade the reader to accept it.
  • Conclusion: Reinstates the main points and leads the reader to conclusive and crucial thoughts.

Overview: The Descriptive Essay

A critical essay serves to analyze, synthesize information, and persuade. A descriptive essay differs because descriptive writing does not require the writer to persuade but merely to inform the reader. The information isn’t synthesized or changed to prove a point, it stays factual, and it stays mostly pure to the source. Depending on the context, descriptive writing can be colorful and less formal, or it can simply be informative.

Descriptive writing can feature one’s own experiences, observations, and so forth. It can equally be about someone else’s experiences; again, context and prompt are taken into consideration.

Crucial elements you should typically find in a descriptive essay:

  • Background information and thesis statement: Includes relevant background information. Moreover, it presents the subject you intend to inform about in the thesis statement.
  • Sensory details and factual information: Found in the body paragraphs. You can find descriptions of sensations and information true to the source.
  • Clincher statement: A clincher statement is a concluding statement that serves to reinforce the paper’s main claim. It can also introduce an intriguing thought to the reader, so they can further think about the topic on a deeper level.1. Critical Writing Features Analysis, Synthesis, And Discussion

Analysis and evaluation are key elements found in this type of writing. You need to commit your claim to your evidence. Objectivity is needed. Reason and evidence are presented for the chosen topic. It is synthesized with the writer’s own perspective in some way. It can additionally provide a fresh perspective to the reader.

  1. Descriptive Writing Presents Information

Descriptive writing can feature facts and figures that revolve around the chosen topic. It can describe details of a case study and its background information. It can feature how a particular work of research was done. It can feature a summary of events. It can even feature a description of an event, or as we stated below, it can present information about a person.

The one thing we can take from this is that it serves to inform through the description. In this sense, critical writing is more complex in a sense than descriptive writing. Descriptive writing’s purpose is found in the name and it’s to describe. However, depending on the context, writing a descriptive essay can still be challenging.

2. Critical Writing Is Essentially Trying To Persuade

Essentially, when you’re writing a critical essay, on some level, you are persuading readers to agree with your claims. That’s why you go through the process of researching credible information, synthesizing it, analyzing it, and so on. This is one of the key differences between critical essays and descriptive essays.

3. Descriptive Writing Serves To Inform

No matter if the language is colorful or more dry and informative, descriptive essays serve to inform and convey the sequence of events without changing up the information given. This crucial difference is what truly separates critical and descriptive.


If you need a clearer sense of all of the info we’ve just provided, let’s go through examples so you can potentially grasp the concept better.

Critical Essay Sample Excerpt

As you can see in the example below, the writer presents information. The writer does not write solely to present it but to move on to the next point, which directly challenges the former and proves alternative evidence. This could be to support their main claim:

“The unregulated business potential in the market found in the United States is due to the free market economy system that allows for competition to thrive without much interference or intervention from government, but this is a positive claim, to say the least (Example, 2014).”

Descriptive Essay Sample Excerpt

Evidently, you can see that the reader is trying to present unbridled information about their topic:

“Holistic alternative medicine features many different herbs usually ground to a powder from countries with a rich history of using herbs and plants as medicine. These practices are ancient and can typically be found in spiritual and religious scripture (Example, 2019).”

Final Thoughts

We hope this comparison article has helped you distinguish the differences between our two contenders. At the end of the day, what distinguishes them from others is pretty straightforward and not too abstract to grasp.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here