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Transcript of Expository Essay
What Is Expository Writing?
In composition, exposition typically refers to writing with the primary purpose of sharing information. Purdue OWL states:
The expository essay is a genre of essay that requires the student to
investigate an idea
, evaluate evidence, expound on the idea, and set forth an argument concerning that idea in a clear and concise manner. This can be accomplished through comparison and contrast, definition, example, the analysis of cause and effect, etc.
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Basic Expository Essay Organization
Strategies for Explaining
Expository Essay Elements
Strategies for Interpreting
Strategies for Analyzing
Scholarly Expository Essays
Writing to Inform
Discuss the topic in detail
How / why the topic became significant
Draw conclusion about the topic
Narrative & Description
Narratives engage audiences in the topic through story telling
Useful for clarifying unfamiliar concepts and ideas.
Back up claims
Clarify by illustrating ideas
Make abstract ideas feel more concrete
Represent large concepts with a
single "for instance."
Provide a chronology: gives a timeline or sequence to events
Recount a biography/ autobiography: gives a view into
the life of key people
Clarifies key terms
Eliminate confusion/ ambiguity
Challenge conventional meaning
Building or Providing Your Own Definition
Enlarge/ restrict a term's meaning
Reflect on a term's significance
Vivid description make topics more clear and easy to follow
Create a picture with words: Ekphrasis!
Makes the reader feel like they are there
Create a visualization of a setting: This can draw the reader into a "story" to grab their attention.
Supports points you want to make by referring to an expert
Engages through well said statements
Provides clear explanation of difficult topics
Lends authority to your position
Compare & Contrast
Draw Independent Conclusions
Cause and Effect
Divide into key parts
Arrange in order
Show different sides
When you make comparisons, you highlight meaningful similarities or differences. You do this by:
Point-by-point: reveals disparities or commonalities
Express preference for one position/ thing
After you explain and analyze the topic, you will use your understanding and evidence to provide your own perspective.
Based in the evidence presented
Seldom needs "I think", "I conclude", "I believe"
Explain cause of event
Assign credit, blame, or responsibility
In the introduction to an expository essay, your key goals are to engage the readers' attention and explain the central idea. Therefore, introductions tend to contain:
A thesis describing the purpose
Throughout the body, you move from
your topic, to
why the ideas discussed are significance. Your body should make the reader
care about your topic and perspective. This is the longest and most complicated portion of an essay.
Each body paragraph should be devoted to developing one main idea that helps support your thesis.
The Body: Part I
The first body paragraph or two is usually
Give the reader background information to situate their understanding.
Useful tools for helping the reader understand include:
describing the specific topic,
defining key terms,
providing expert testimony,
The Body: Part II
After laying out requisite background information, the next paragraphs work
to analyze key aspects of the topic.
Examples and quotes are useful!
Overall, through your analysis you
develop your unique perspective and help the reader see the significance
Classification-helps establish unique perspective.
Comparison-helps establish significance.
The Body: The Nitty Gritty
While there are no die hard rules for structuring expository papers, in general:
Introduce each major areas of support with a clear topic sentence.
For our purposes, you will probably have anywhere from 3 to 6 major areas.
Strive for a balance between facts (evidence) and analysis (explaining how the facts work to support your thesis).
End the paper by
the ideas developed in your paper and then
based on your interpretations.
In this section, show the reader why they should care!
This make take several paragraphs.
It is fine to have more than one big, concluding thought.
Avoid simple summaries or trite conclusions.
Ground the conclusions in the evidence you present.
BUT, keep the focus on YOUR thoughts and ideas.
Clarifying Cause and Effect relationships can be beneficial.
MLA format for composition papers
Contain parenthetical citations
Works Cited Page
Use scholarly sources
Expository Essay Organization Ideas:
In our first unit we focused on personal writing. Now, we are going to focus on expository writing. Expository writing's primary purpose is to inform the reader. Academic expository writing aims to engage the reader on both a personal and intellectual level. To accomplish this goal, expository writing asks you to develop a thesis, and then: explain the topic, analyze key elements, and interpret your findings.
What writing skills that we learned in our previous unit will help you be successful at expository writing? Are there any you do not see transferring to this unit? Why or why not?
Expository essay introductions tend to contain:
An attention getter/ hook--this is a great place to use a narrative, cool quote, interesting example, or unique definition.
Thesis--Even when an essay is informative, there should be a sentence or two dedicated to establishing the central idea.
The body paragraphs are the "core" of the essay and contain:
Each major idea discussed should be introduced by a topic sentence that states how this idea relates to the thesis.
There should be a balanced mix of facts (evidence supported by sources and analysis of how the facts support the topic.)
The conclusion of the essay should contain your conclusion(s):
In other words, your interpretation of the significance of all the information presented.
Strive to end with an "a ha!" moment, or something intriguing or perplexing.
Try an outline!
If you like clear structures and facts, an outline can be a useful tool for organizing your thoughts.
If you are a creative thinker and writer, try "talking onto the page". Just write all your ideas in free form/ free write format. Your voice will sing!
Note: Switching typical writing patterns can be a great way to deal with writer's block, build weak areas.
Strategies for Analyzing
Communities and Places:
Homemaking: despite recent efforts to downplay the term in Church doctrine, no term comes closer to defining a women’s role in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Early on, LDS girls are taught that their duty is to marry and have children in order to “to be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Abraham 4:28). Growing up LDS in Provo, Utah, the cultural bedrock of Mormonism, I couldn’t really conceive of women as being other than mothers and homemakers. My mom had a little part time job at a local community college, but she clearly told us she did that to pay for our activities, and having this little job outside the home was a vast source of guilt for my mom. After all, no other women I knew worked outside the home. In fact, it was understood that the family should make sacrifices to ensure the woman in the house could stay home.
Example Expository Essay Paragraph
3 Stages of
When you classify, you:
This is Useful to:
You Compare in order to: