Expository Writing
  1. Definition
  2. Basic Structure
  3. Developmental Patterns
  4. Writing Guidelines
  5. References
  6. External links
An 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 some developmental patterns including comparison and contrast, definition, example, the analysis of cause and effect. [1] The creator of an expository text can not assume that the reader or listener has prior knowledge or prior understanding of the topic that is being discussed. [2]
Basic Structure
Usually a clear, concise, and defined thesis statement will appear in the first paragraph of the eassy. Narrowing the thesis statement to follow the guidelines set forth in an assignment is very important. If one fails to do so, it will be very difficult to compose an effective and persuasive essay.
When working on the body paragraphs, one usually provides evidence and examples to support the thesis and help readers to understand better. In order to persuade readers, one discuss the topic in a comprehensive way by offering evidence in different aspects. Consequently, one has many paragraphs in his eassy. It is very important that each paragraph is limited to the exposition of one general idea, and this idea should be logical connected to the thesis statement
When dealing with the conclusion, one should notice that a conclusion is not a simple restatement of the thesis but a reassertion of the thesis in the light of evidence provided. Conclusion is the the part that leaves the most immediate impression on the mind of readers. Therefore, it must be effective and logical. One should synthesize and come to a conclusion concerning the information presented in the body of the essay rather than introduce any new information into the conclusion.
In addition, one must be aware of a point that introduction, body and conclusion should be clearly and logically transitted. Without proper transitions, readers are unable to follow the argument so that the structure collapses.[3]
Developmental Patterns
There are five most frequently used patterns in the composing of an expository essay: description, sequence or process, comparison, cause and effect, problem and solution.
1.Description [4] [5]
Description is one of the rhetorical modes the author uses to describe a topic by providing sensory details like how something looks, feels, tastes, smells, feels, or sounds.
Cue word:
for example, the characteristics are...
Graphic Example:
external image 5348284520110527212047088.gif

Written Example:
The Olympic symbol consists of five interlocking rings. The rings represent the five continents - Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America - from which athletes come to compete in the games. The rings are colored black blue, green, red, and yellow. At least one of these colors is found in the flag of every country sending athletes to compete in the Olympic games.
2.Sequence or Process [6] [7]
The author lists items or events in numerical or chronological order when using this pattern.
Cue word:
first, second, third; next; then; finally
Graphic Example:
external image 5348284520110527212216080.gif
Written Example:
The Olympic games began as athletic festivals to honor the Greek gods. The most important festival was held in the valley of Olympia to honor Zeus, the king of the gods. It was this festival that became the Olympic games in 776 B.C. These games were ended in A.D. 394 by the Roman Emperor who ruled Greece. No Olympic games were held for more than 1,500 years. Then the modern Olympics began in 1896. Almost 300 male athletes competed in the first modern Olympics In the games held in 1900, female athletes were allowed to compete. The games have continued every four years since 1896 except during World War II, and they will most likely continue for many years to come.
3.Comparison [8] [9]
When using comparison, the author trys explaining how two or more things are alike and/or different. Under most circumstances, a comparison essay focuses on the similarities between two things, while the contrast essay pay close attention to the differences.
Cue word:
different; in contrast; alike; same as; on the other hand
Graphic Example:
external image 5348284520110527211957041.gif

Written Example:
The modern Olympics is very unlike the ancient Olympic games. Individual events are different. While there were no swimming races in the ancient games, for example, there were chariot races. There were no female contestants and all athletes competed in the nude. Of course, the ancient and modern Olympics are also alike in many ways. Some events, such as the javelin and discus throws, are the same. Some people say that cheating, professionalism, and nationalism in the modern games are a disgrace to the Olympic tradition. But according to the ancient Greek writers, there were many cases of cheating, nationalism, and professionalism in their Olympics too.
4.Cause and Effect [10] [11]
A cause-and-effect essay concentrate on the relationship between two or more events. It can discuss both cause and effect or simply points out causes or effects.
Cue word:
reasons why; if...then; as a result; therefore; because
Graphic Example:
external image 5348284520110527211836061.gif

Written Example:
There are several reasons why so many people attend the Olympic games or watch them on television. One reason is tradition. The name Olympics and the torch and flame remind people of the ancient games. People can escape the ordinariness of daily life by attending or watching the Olympics. They like to identify with someone else's individual sacrifice and accomplishment. National pride is another reason, and an athlete's or a team's hard earned victory becomes a nation's victory. There are national medal counts and people keep track of how many medals their country's athletes have won.
5.Problem and Solution [12] [13]
In problem-and-solution essay, the author points out a problem and offers one or more solutions for it. Question-and-answer format is a variation of this pattern.
Cue word:
the problem is; the dilemma is; puzzle is solved; question... answer
Graphic Example:
external image 5348284520110527212156043.gif

Written Example:
One problem with the modern Olympics is that it has become very big and expensive to operate. The city or country that hosts the games often loses a lot of money. A stadium, pools, and playing fields must be built for the athletic events and housing is needed for the athletes who come from around the world. And all of these facilities are used for only 2 weeks! In 1984, Los Angeles solved these problems by charging a fee for companies who wanted to be official sponsors of the games. Companies like McDonald's paid a lot of money to be part of the Olympics. Many buildings that were already built in the Los Angeles area were also used. The Coliseum where the 1932 games were held was used again and many colleges and universities in the area became playing and living sites.
Writing Guidelines
Usually professors will allow students to choose their own essay topic or professors will let students choose a paticular facet of a larger subject proposed by them.
It is very important to narrow the topic according to the essay length requirements before one start writing, because it is hardly possible to cover an expansive topic like "The History of the Civil War" in a two-page essay. [14]
There are various ways of developing a expository essay. One can use them flexibly according to need. [15]
The choice of organizational pattern depends on the length of the essay. If the essay is short, teachers may suggest using the "five paragraph" organizational pattern including one introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and one concluding paragraph. If it is a longer essay, using the "five paragraph" organizational pattern is not feasible, but a introduction and a conclusion are still needed. [16]
There is one thing to remember that the "five paragraph" organizational pattern is not a rule that one has to obey. If your writing includes a coherent, structured argument and an orderly presentation of ideas, it could be a good one. [17]
Students often begin writing expository essays without first having learned about their subject. It is vital to perform reseach and learn more about the subject. Good research contributes to a stronger essay. [18]
[1] http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/685/02/
[2] http://www.stanford.edu/~arnetha/expowrite/info.html
[3] http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/685/02/
[4] http://www.stanford.edu/~arnetha/expowrite/info.html
[5] http://web.gccaz.edu/~mdinchak/ENG101/expository_writing.htm
[6] http://www.stanford.edu/~arnetha/expowrite/info.html
[7] http://web.gccaz.edu/~mdinchak/ENG101/expository_writing.htm
[8] http://www.stanford.edu/~arnetha/expowrite/info.html
[9] http://web.gccaz.edu/~mdinchak/ENG101/expository_writing.htm
[10] http://www.stanford.edu/~arnetha/expowrite/info.html
[11] http://web.gccaz.edu/~mdinchak/ENG101/expository_writing.htm
[12 http://www.stanford.edu/~arnetha/expowrite/info.html
[13] http://web.gccaz.edu/~mdinchak/ENG101/expository_writing.htm
[14] http://custompapers.com/essays-articles/expository-essay/
[15] http://custompapers.com/essays-articles/expository-essay/
[16] http://custompapers.com/essays-articles/expository-essay/
[17] http://www.arcaneknowledge.org/writing/expository.htm
[18] http://custompapers.com/essays-articles/expository-essay/
External links
1.A video about the Expository Writing Program at OU
2.A sample essay of exposition
3.Tips for Expository Writing
4.Comparison/Contrast Essay Overview (PowerPoint)
5.Cause and Effect Essay Overview
6.Rhetorical modes
7.Basic essay structure
8.Linking of Paragraphs
9.Transitional Sentence
10.Transitions in Essays

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