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The difference between an article and an essay


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Academic writing has many forms, including articles, essays, research papers, journals, and others. Generally, articles and essays are often used interchangeably. However, there are subtle differences in both these formats.

Regardless of the level of education, every student writes numerous essays in their academic career. Moreover, certain advanced degrees require students to publish articles in journals as part of their syllabus. Thus, it’s beneficial to know how articles and essays differ from each other.

To achieve academic excellence, it’s essential to understand the basics and also have strong writing skills. Therefore, if you need assistance to write an article, essay, or any other academic paper, you can always rely on a paper writing service to accomplish the task.

Essays and articles are the most common types of academic papers that students encounter. They are customarily descriptive and lengthy. The aim of essays and articles is for students to exhibit their understanding of a subject or provide readers with a comprehensive overview of the subject matter.

This article will help you understand the nuances of each of the formats. So, let’s dissect and compare the fundamentals of an essay vs. an article.

What is an article?

An article is a research-based literary work written for a newspaper, magazine, or online publication. They play a significant role in contributing to ongoing research and existing literature. Articles are generally non-fiction, informative or descriptive in nature, and peer-reviewed. It can be editorial, scholarly, feature, letters, or reports.

An article is written for a broader target audience. As a result, it is written in a way that keeps the readers’ attention. Depending on the demographic, it discusses trending stories, reports and explains the news, presents balanced arguments, expresses an opinion, provides facts, offers advice, compares and contrasts, etc.

What is an essay?

An essay is a formal and thorough piece of literature that describes or discusses a specific issue or topic. Essays could be explanatory, argumentative, descriptive, or narrative in nature. Students in their academics are frequently requested to produce essays on various themes in response to a question or proposition. It is not written with a specific audience in mind.

Essays usually emphasize the writer’s point of view, knowledge, and experiences on the subject. It is a brief literary composition that elucidates, argues, and explores a particular issue. Thus, writing an essay involves stating the reasons or causes of something, or why something should be done or be the case, to verify a specific viewpoint, experience, stories, facts, analysis, or interpretation.

Essay vs. Article


  • An article is produced to inform readers about a particular idea. It is meant to be an unbiased piece of composition based on facts, research, and analysis.
  • An essay is written as an answer to a specific question or statement. It aims to either entertain or inform the reader. Moreover, it can be an opinion-based piece of writing that demonstrates the writer’s point of view.


  • Depending on the publication, articles can be structured in numerous ways. Most articles use headings and subheadings to make the content more skimmable. All the headings and subheadings are accompanied by relevant information or explanations corresponding to the topic at hand. Articles also include photographs, charts, and graphs that enable the reader to grasp the concepts or theories better.
  • Essays follow a rigid structure, and it depends on the type of essay being written. It consists of three parts- an introduction, the main body, and a conclusion. There will often be an introductory paragraph with a thesis statement, body paragraphs with subject sentences that tie back to the thesis statement, and a conclusion with the author’s perspective on the facts presented.


  • Articles are objective literature that describes an event. It’s primarily written in a formal or conversational tone. Writing an article does not always necessitate the creation and expression of an opinion, nor does it require any analysis of facts or evidence.
  • The difference between essays and articles is that, unlike an article, an essay is a subjective piece of writing. Essays usually contain the author’s analysis or criticism regarding a subject or topic. In most cases, the tone of an essay is formal. However, a narrative essay can be conversational as it’s a more personal piece of writing.


  • Articles are not accompanied by citations or references.
  • Essays require proper citations and references. Depending on the field of the study, the citation guidelines vary. Essays are usually formatted in APA, MLA, or Chicago citation styles.


Academicians and students would frequently encounter articles and essays as part of their curriculum. Knowing the difference between essay vs. article is key to perfecting one’s writing ability. In both formats, the idea is to deliver complex topics, theories, and concepts into simplified, digestible content for the audience. So, keep the distinctions mentioned above in mind when you’re writing an article or essay. These pointers will help you write better and more accurate academic literature.

Story by Harvey Specter

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