Difference Between Essay and Composition

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: October 11, 2023


Difference Between Essay and Composition

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We often get confused between an essay and a composition because they generally sound the same. So, we end up using the terms interchangeably. Essay and composition are components of writing skills, but they are slightly different from each other even if they seem the same. This is why they cannot be used interchangeably while speaking because they serve different writing purposes. Essays are writing pieces that follow a particular structure and are mainly written to express opinions on a particular subject. Compositions, on the other hand, refer to any kind of creation, which can include writing pieces or music compositions. They do not follow any particular structure, and their structure primarily depends on the kind of creation. A composition can be created on any particular topic. The structural pattern of an essay generally consists of a paragraph on introduction, after which comes the body, and lastly a paragraph on conclusion. So, an essay follows a uniform structure. But this is not the case with composition, and an interesting fact about composition that should be noted is that composition is a huge category under which an essay lies as a subcategory.

Essay vs Composition

Essay and composition are different types of writing pieces that have their purposes. An essay is a piece of writing where an author expresses himself in his opinions or arguments regarding a particular topic. It follows a uniform structure from the beginning to the end, starting with an introduction paragraph, then a body, and then a conclusion paragraph. An essay can be of a few paragraphs or can extend up to several pages. So, an essay can be a quite long medium of self-expression. Moreover, the opinion expressed here can be either about world affairs, which means formal, or it can be about the writer's personal life, which means informal.

Composition is a general term that refers to any type of creation. It is a very broad concept, and an essay also comes under composition. Any piece of writing is a composition that includes stories and poems. It primarily means a creation, and any form of writing is indeed a writer's creation. So, compositions cannot be separately categorized as structured or unstructured.

Difference Between Essay and Composition in Tabular Form

Parameters of ComparisonEssayComposition
MeaningA self-expressive piece of writing.It refers to any form of writing.
StructureAn essay follows a specific structural pattern having an introduction, body, and conclusion.Composition refers to any kind of writing which is why the format also varies accordingly.
Writing ToneEssays can have a formal or informal tone of writing depending on the topic.Composition can also be formal or informal but it mainly depends on the writing format.
VolumeEssays can be of a few paragraphs or several pages.Compositions can be shorter or longer than essays depending on the kind of type of writing.
Prose or VerseEssays are usually written in prose forms.Compositions can be in prose or verse formats since it is a general term used for all kinds of writing.
AimEssays mainly aim to present a writer’s perspectives or educate the audience on a particular subject.Compositions are created either for spreading information, for entertainment, or for expressing one's emotions.
LinkAn essay is a type of Composition.Compositions include various other forms of writing along with essays.

What is an Essay?

Essays originated in the 16th century. It is a piece of writing where a writer conveys his opinion on a particular matter of interest. Today, essays as a genre have become very popular, and they are given as assignments in schools and colleges. A writer writes essays mainly to make the audience think over a particular topic of concern, and essays can have a formal or informal tone of writing. So, whether essays are formal or informal, they express the writer's opinion about something, which means that essays are written with a subjective approach. This is because subjective means personal emotions and feelings, and a writer's personal opinions can be found in an essay. Moreover, essays can be romantic or factual. Factual essays are when a writer writes about world affairs or daily life topics, but romantic essays consist of information about a writer's personal life, such as Charles Lamb's romantic essays.

Essay writing is a very good habit that enhances one's writing skills, improves the organization of information and thoughts, and improves one's expression of ideas. Essays follow a particular structural pattern, which includes an introductory paragraph, a body consisting of one or many paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph. An essay can be of a few paragraphs, or it can extend up to several pages. Writing an essay is difficult since it conveys a writer's personal opinion, so essays should be authentic in providing information so that readers can believe a writer and the facts presented by a writer. So, a trustworthy relationship should be present between a writer and his readers or rather it should be built through an essay. Students often use essays to present their learning of a particular subject and the writing skills that they have developed. Scholars also use essays in academic fields to present their research on a particular topic. Essays are mainly written in prose format.

Types of Essays

Various types of essays can be found today, depending on the topic on which the essay is written and the writing style of an essayist. Some of them are: -

  • Critical Analysis Essays
  • Narrative Essays
  • Descriptive Essays

Critical Analysis Essays

Critical analysis essays are primarily based on literature subjects. They provide a deep analysis of a particular piece of literature. Here, the author tries to make an argument or prove a point about the literary piece. It is very similar to argumentative or persuasive essays and follows the argument format by providing evidence in the form of quotations and citations.

Narrative Essays

An essay that is written in a storytelling format is a narrative essay. This kind of essay generally narrates some personal experiences of the writer or his imagination of what he wanted to experience. Hence, this kind of essay is romantic and extremely subjective. These kinds of essays are written in a well-structured way and should be engaging to the readers such as Charles Lamb's essays are extremely personal essays where he shares some instances of his personal life. So, these essays can also be called autobiographical essays.

Descriptive Essays

Descriptive essays may seem like narrative essays, but they are slightly different. They tend to provide vivid sensory descriptions about an object or an event, but they do not give full details of the entire story. Just some specific points are provided, and they are more focused than narrative essays. They are also creative, like narrative essays.

What is Composition?

Composition is a very broad concept and is used to refer to any kind of creation such as a poem, short story or a novel. A piece of music is also composed so, it is also a composition. It is a much broader term than an essay. Moreover, since compositions include such a wide range of writing, the purpose of a composition solely depends on the kind of writing that is written. A composition, which is an essay, is a self-expressive piece of writing. Similarly, if the composition is a music composition, it has the purpose of entertaining the audience. There can be articles that have educational intent. So, compositions have a variety of purposes depending on the piece of creation.

It is also to be noted that essays are a type of composition because composition is a broad term and includes a wide variety of creations. So, essays come under compositions, but that does not mean that all compositions are essays. Compositions also have a pattern and structure, just like essays, but this again depends on the type of creation that a creator has produced because composition is not any particular type of writing. The tone of a composition also depends on the same factor. However, it should be known that since compositions involve any kind of creation, compositions can be longer or shorter than essays such as novels or short poems. Compositions, unlike essays, put more focus on the presentation of information. Compositions are expected to fully cover a topic, providing a detailed analysis of a topic.

Types of Composition

Compositions like essays can also be subdivided into various types. The different types of compositions are: -

  • Poems
  • Short Stories
  • Novels
  • Articles


A poem is a piece of writing where a poet pens down his collection of ideas in a creative way. Poems are usually written following a particular rhyme scheme and metrical pattern, but gradually, with time, poets started moving away from traditional patterns. They started writing poems in free verse, which does not have any particular rhymical pattern. Here, thoughts can continue from one line to another without any restriction. Poems are creative pieces serving multiple purposes, such as narrating a particular story, expressing one’s desires, sharing information, or recording one’s memory. Poems that provide a universally true message are the most appealing to readers.

Short Story

A short story is also a kind of composition. A short story is very similar to a novel because it is also a work of fiction. But a short story, as the name implies, is a short fictional tale. The main aim of a short story is to provide a conflict, compelling characters and everything else within a short and compact package. A short story is usually set in one particular location to keep things simple, and one or two main characters may be introduced. Their background is generally not provided to keep the short and simple, and subplots are not used here. Moreover, short stories arouse the interest of readers because they are open-ended. Short stories are usually between 1000 to 7500 words.


A novel is a longer version of a short story that has originated many years ago before short stories were a thing. It holds a significant status in the field of literature. A novel is a lengthy prose fiction, which is why it consists of a main plot with several subplots, several significant characters who develop throughout the course of the novel, and a particular theme. Novels are usually close-ended and explore a variety of issues, such as social and political issues, and complexities of human emotions and relationships. The characters here should be round and well-developed characters. The different genres of novel are thriller, romance, science fiction and fantasy novels.


An article is also a kind of composition, but it is a non-fictional piece of writing. An article primarily aims to educate its readers on a particular topic of discussion. Articles use formal language for writing. An article is similar to an essay in structure as it consists of an introduction, a body and a conclusion. Articles are generally short and concise, containing factual information regarding a particular topic.

Main Difference Between Essay and Composition in Points

  • People often confuse the terms essay and composition. Essay and composition have many similar aspects. But they are also essentially different. An essay is a type of writing where the writer expresses his opinions or perspective on a particular subject of interest. So, essays are self-expressive. Composition, on the other hand, is a broad concept and is generally used to refer to any kind of creation, such as poems or short stories. Music compositions are also a kind of composition. Any kind of creation that is being created by a creator comes under composition. A musician composes music, so composition refers to any type of creation, and even essays come under composition. This is because an essay is also a type of writing piece, which means it is also a creation, and composition refers to any kind of creation. So, the essay comes under compositions. But that does not mean that every composition is an essay.
  • The tone of essays can be both formal and informal. But whatever the tone is, essays are always subjective because the writer expresses his puts his voice in an essay and tries to justify his perspective. It does not completely consist of facts, and hence it cannot be called objective. Formal essays are those essays where the writer expresses his views regarding world affairs, but informal essays contain a writer’s description of the events of his personal life. Charles Lamb’s essays are examples of informal essays where Lamb has described events of his personal life. Compositions, on the other hand, do not have any definite tone, and the tone of a composition depends on the type of creation. This is because compositions broadly refer to every type of creation. So, a poem can have a personal and informal tone, whereas an article will have a formal tone. Concerning this, it should also be noted that compositions can have either an objective approach or a subjective approach, and this entirely depends on the writing format. If it is a short story, it will have a subjective approach, and research papers or formal essays will have an objective approach.


Hence, it can be said that essays and composition are both different kinds of creation. An essay is a self-expressive piece of writing where an author expresses his judgments on a particular issue, whereas composition is a general term that is used to refer to any kind of creation. It happens many times that an essay and a composition are considered the same, and so, people use the terms interchangeably, but this is completely wrong. A Composition refers to any kind of creation that includes poems, short stories, novels, articles, and essays. Music pieces are also creations, so they also come under the category of composition. So, essays are a part of composition since composition is a broad term, but not all compositions are essays. An essay can have a formal or informal tone of writing and is usually subjective because a writer expresses his opinions here, but the tone of a composition depends on the kind of writing, whether it is a poem or an article. Moreover, similar to the tone, the approach of a composition also depends on the kind of writing. So, an essay and a composition may seem the same, but they are essentially very different.


  • https://thecontentauthority.com/blog/essay-vs-composition
  • https://www.grammarly.com/blog/types-of-essays/
  • https://www.masterclass.com/articles/guide-to-common-types-of-essays
  • https://www.scribbr.com/academic-essay/essay-types/
  • https://poemanalysis.com/genre/poem/
  • https://www.blurb.com/blog/what-is-a-short-story/
  • https://www.studiobinder.com/blog/what-is-a-novel-definition/
  • https://www.toppr.com/guides/english/writing/article/ 


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"Difference Between Essay and Composition." Diffzy.com, 2024. Mon. 13 May. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-essay-and-composition>.

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