Top 20 ESL Essay Topics in 2020


Whether it’s for academic purposes or just to keep up with the world’s news, nowadays, it is essential for almost all students around the world to learn English. According to the latest data released by SIL International, English is the most spoken language in the world with English as a second language (ESL) speakers more than double the number of native speakers.

In order to master a new language, it is important to develop your writing skills. That is why in all ESL courses there is a large focus on essay writing. However, many students struggle with writing ESL essays, not to mention coming up with topics to write about. If you are struggling with your essays and deadlines academic writing experts can help you achieve your goals.

In this article provided by a professional essay writer Lauren Bradsaw, from Custom Writings, we will explore the different types of essays and give you examples of the best ESL essay topics in each.

How to Choose an ESL Essay Topic

Although learning how to write proper English requires a lot of practice, if you do not write about things that interest you, it can discourage you from the language and slow down your progress. However, most writing prompts or essay topics provided in class or on the internet are very broad in order to target a wider range of people.

It is essential for you as an ESL student to be able to connect with the topic personally in order to focus and be more expressive in your writing. For example: writing about your favorite social media platform or your favorite video on YouTube would be much more beneficial for you than writing about your favorite football team if you do not follow football.

Types of ESL Essay Topics

There is more to choosing a topic for your essay than just finding something that interests you. The purpose of an ESL essay is to assess and refine your skills in different areas of English writing. When you exercise you need to train different muscles in order to have a balanced and healthy body. Similarly, your writing skills also need to train on different aspects of writing in order to master the written language, and that can be achieved by practicing different types of ESL topics.

There are many types of essays you can write on, but we can group these types into 5 main categories:

Narrative Essays

Narrative essays are when you write a story based on a real-life experience. You can recognize a narrative essay when the topic is about describing something that happened to you or something you did. In these kinds of ESL essays, you will have to write in the first person, which means you have to begin your sentences in your own point of view using “I” sentences. The purpose of narrative essays is to help you express yourself comfortably in English.


  1. Describe the best party or event you have ever attended. Who did you go with? What did you do there?
  2. What did you do last weekend? Describe as many details as possible.
  3. What is a day you will never forget? Why is it memorable?
  4. Describe a time you helped a friend with a problem. What was the problem? How did you help?

Description Essays

Descriptive essays are very similar to narrative essays, but the difference is that in the description essays your main focus will be not on yourself but on the description of a person, object, place, or event. Here you will have to create an image with your words. The point of this kind of essay is to test and improve your vocabulary and your visual description.


  1. What do you like to do in your spare time? Talk about any hobbies or sports you like to do.
  2. Describe your favorite food. Why is it your favorite?
  3. Imagine you are organizing a day out with your favorite fictional character. Where will you go? What will you do?
  4. What is your favorite movie? Describe the movie to a friend.

Factual Essays

Factual essays (sometimes known as expository essays) are not based on your personal experience but on facts. The purpose of this type is to help you develop your ability to explain a certain concept without the influence of your emotions. Usually, in this kind of essay, you will write in the third person, meaning not in your own point of view.


  1. Explain basketball to your young cousin.
  2. Explain to your friend, step by step, how to cook a meal for two.
  3. Give a stranger directions from your school to the nearest shopping center.
  4. Compare the two sports you like. What are their differences and similarities?

Persuasive Essays

The importance of persuasive essays is to develop your reasoning skills. In other words, you will have to convince the reader of a certain point of view within the topic.


  1. Is the rapid advancement of technology good or bad for the environment? Why or why not?
  2. Are you with or against the opening of fast-food chains in all cities around the world? Explain your answer.
  3. Convince your skeptical friend to read your favorite book.
  4. Should physical exercise be mandatory for children in school? Explain your point of view.

Verb Tense Practice

In this type of essay, you focus on the proper usage of verbs and the tense of every sentence. You will notice that the question itself contains the verb tense you will be required to write your essay in.


  1. Where in the world would you like to live in the future?
  2. Explain to your friend how they could have gotten better grades in their math test.
  3. Describe a situation in the past when you had to make a hard decision.
  4. What are your goals for the next year?

Need Further Help with Your Essays?

Practicing your written English with ESL essays can greatly improve your English, but some students find difficulty in keeping up with their tasks. If you need immediate assistance with your ESL essays can help you make your deadlines with custom essays for every student.

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