Expository Essay Style Of Writing

Information about Expository Writing

 

What is Expository Writing?

What are some Expository Organizational Patterns?

Why Teach Exposition?

 

What is Expository Writing?

Exposition is a type of oral or written discourse that is used to explain, describe, give information or inform. 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. One important point to keep in mind for the author is to try to use words that clearly show what they are talking about rather then blatantly telling the reader what is being discussed. Since clarity requires strong organization, one of the most important mechanisms that can be used to improve our skills in exposition is to provide directions to improve the organization of the text.

 

What are some Expository Organizational Patterns

In order to give you more information about oral and written exposition we have provided you with eight different examples of expository organizational patterns. You will find that most of these organizational patterns are very familiar to you. You may have never really considered them to be "kind" of organizational patterns. As you read through the different types of organizational patterns that are presented below, try to figure out how many of these organizational patterns do you already find yourself writing or speaking on a daily basis?

Circumlocution

Depicts a pattern in which the speaker discusses a topic, then diverts to discuss a related but different topic.

Narrative Interspersion

A pattern or a sub-pattern imbedded in other patterns in which the speaker or writer intersperses a narrative within the expository text for specific purposes, including to clarify, or elaborate on a point or to link the subject matter to a personal experience.

Recursion

When the speaker discusses a topic, then restates it using different words or symbolism. It is used to drive home a point and to give special emphasis to the text.

(Ball, 1991, "Organizational Patterns in the Oral and Written Language of African American Adolescents", adapted from dissertation submitted to Stanford University.)

 

Description

The author describes a topic by listing characteristics, features, and examples

 

for example, char- acteristics are

Sequence

The author lists items or events in numerical or chronological order.

first, second, third; next; then; finally

Comparison

The author explains how two or more things are alike and/or how they are different.

different; in contrast; alike; same as; on the other hand

Cause and Effect

The author lists one or more causes and the resulting effect or effects.

reasons why; if...then; as a result; therefore; because

Problem and Solution

The author states a problem and lists one or more solutions for the problem. A variation of this pattern is the question- and-answer format in which the author poses a question and then answers it.

problem is; dilemma is; puzzle is solved; question... answer

(permissions pending, Tompkins)

 

 

 

Why teach exposition?

Let's think about the type of writing that most of us encounter in our daily lives. When you pick up and read a non-fiction book, magazines, or newspaper article the author uses expository writing to inform you, the reader, about the topic. At school, students are required to submit school exams and research papers as a means for their teachers to grade their progress. Finally, at work, people are required to produce business reports and memorandums to inform their superiors and co-workers about the occurrences that take place at other levels of the company. In addition, oral exposition is primarily observed in oral academic presentations, business talks, and speeches that are delivered to a group of people. As each of these different cases illustrate, expository writing and speech surround us in our everyday lives. The primary intent of the Expository Writing Program contained at this web site will be to help move students closer to mastering the hows, whens, and wheres to select different oral and written expository styles for a variety of real world contexts.

 

Students will greatly benefit from understanding the varying types of oral and writing styles they can use for academic and workplace activities. The following information discusses the different types of writing that can be used and provides you with examples of some expository writing prompts that you may expect to encounter.

 

Descriptive writing's main purpose is to describe. It is a style of writing that focuses on describing a character, an event, or a place in great detail. It can be poetic when the author takes the time to be very specific in his or her descriptions.

Example:

In good descriptive writing, the author will not just say: “The vampire killed his lover.”

He or she will change the sentence, focusing on more details and descriptions, like: “The bloody, red-eyed vampire, sunk his rust-colored teeth into the soft skin of his lover and ended her life."

Key Points:

  • It is often poetic in nature
  • It describes places, people, events, situations, or locations in a highly-detailed manner.
  • The author visualizes what he or she sees, hears, tastes, smells, and feels.

When You Would Use Descriptive Writing:

  • Poetry
  • Journal or diary writing
  • Nature writing
  • Descriptive passages in fiction

Example:

The iPhone 6 is unexpectedly light. While size of its screen is bigger than those of the iPhones that came before, it is thinner, and its smooth, rounded body is made of aluminum, stainless steel, and glass. The casing comes in a whitish silver, gold, or a color the company calls “space gray,” the color of the lead of a pencil, with darker gray accents.

This is an example because it describes aspects of the phone. It includes details such as the size, weight, and material.

Non-example:

So you just brought home a shiny new smartphone with a smooth glass screen the size of your palm. The first thing you will want to do when purchasing a new cell is buy a case. Cracking your screen is an awful feeling, and protection is inexpensive when you compare it to the costs of a new phone.

Even though this example uses adjectives, you can tell that this is not an example of descriptive writing because the purpose is not to describe the phone—it’s to persuade you to buy a case.

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