Difference Between Essay and Composition

Main Difference – Essay vs Composition

Many students think that the two words Essay and Composition mean the same and can be used interchangeably. While it is true that essay is an essay a type of composition, not all compositions are essays. Let us first look at the meaning of composition. A composition can refer to any creative work, be it a short story, poem, essay, research paper or a piece of music. Therefore, the main difference between essay and composition is that essay is a type of composition whereas composition refers to any creative work.

What is an Essay

An essay is a literary composition that describes, analyzes, and evaluates a certain topic or an issue. It typically contains a combination of facts and figures and personal opinions, ideas of the writer. Essays are a type of commonly used academic writing in the field of education.  In fact, the essay can be introduced as the main type of literary composition written in school level.

An essay typically consists of a brief introduction, a body that consists of supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion. However, the structure, content and the purpose of an essay can depend on the type of the essay. An essay can be classified into various types depending on the given essay title, or the style of the essay writer. Narrative, Descriptive, Argumentative, Expository, Persuasive, etc. are some of these essay types. The content, structure and style of the essay also depend on the nature of the essay. The complexity of the essay also depends on the type of the essay. For example, narrative and descriptive essays can be written even by primary school students whereas argumentative and persuasive essays are usually being written by older students.

It is interesting to notice that sometimes people, especially those involved in the education field use the term composition to refer to essay. So let us now discuss what a composition is.Difference Between Essay and Composition

What is a Composition

The term composition can refer to any creative work. A composition can be a piece of music, art of literature. For example, Symphony No. 40 in G minor is a composition by Mozart.

The term literary composition can refer a poem, short story, essay, drama, novel or even a research paper. It refers to an original and creative literary work.

We use the term composition to refer to essays written by college/school students. This is why many students assume that essay and composition are synonymous. Now that you have read about these two terms separately, you’ll notice that there is a distinct difference between essay and composition.Main Difference - Essay vs Composition

Difference Between Essay and Composition


Essay is a relatively short piece of writing on a particular topic.

Composition is a creative work.


Essay is a type of composition.

Not all compositions are essays.


Essay can be categorized as narrative, descriptive, persuasive, argumentative, expository, etc.

A composition can be a short story, novel, poem, essay, drama, painting, piece of music, etc.

Prose vs verse

Essay is always written in prose.

Composition can be prose or verse.                     Difference Between Essay and Composition- infographic

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