Exposition is all around us. In fact, most people read exposition before reading fiction. It is their first choice of reading, such as picking up a magazine.
The main idea about exemplification is to state a position and back it up. That way, your assertion is clearer, more believable, and worth paying attention to -- rather than simply a string of opinions that have no support.
For audience, you need to figure out how much they know versus what they don’t know. You might alter your message, or at least the words you use, depending upon the audience you’re addressing. Each group, each profession has its own jargon, so you want to keep that in mind as well. How much do you need to educate your audience and how much can you assume is already known? Figuring out your purpose helps you focus your thinking and keep it focused from the beginning to the end of the essay.
You may not use everything you come up with, but it’s better to start with lots of stuff rather than too little stuff. It’s easier to pare down rather than add to something insufficient.
Personal experience is vivid, immediate, and makes a strong connection to the reader. Typical situations: Objective in nature: can be especially convincing. About an actual event/situation, but you didn’t directly experience it. Source could be newspapers, magazines, television Hypothetical: Speculative, but be sure it’s conceivable Might ask the reader to imagine a scenario Be sure to acknowledge that your example is invented Ex: “ suppose that …” or “ let’s for a moment assume that…” Generalized: Composite of the typical and usual Ex: “ all of us , at one time or another, have been driven to distraction by a trivial annoyance like the buzzing of a fly or the sting of a paper cut.” Ex: “when most people get a compliment, they perk up, preen, and think the praise-giver is blessed with astute power of observation.”
A.Gather the examples and write a paragraph for each. B.Establish through examples the validity of the thesis. Three examples, at least, may be enough. C.Use relevant examples, those that represent a reasonable cross-section of the subject. D.Use specific examples that make the meaning clear. Don’t add other generalizations. E.Arrange the examples to produce the greatest impact F.Establish a clear connection between your examples and the point you are trying to make.
How to write exposition
What is exposition?• Longer works: • Shorter works: • Memoir • Essay • Biography • Speech • Autobiography • Letter • History • Memorandum • Research report • Note • Newsletter • Advertisement • Brochure • Instructions • News or feature article
Why?• The overall purpose of writing exposition has two parts: • You state your assertion (your opinion, perspective, your point of view, or how you’re going to treat your subject). • You support or back up your assertion with evidence.
Specific uses• To inform/To explain • To compare or• To clarify contrast• To persuade • To show cause• To entertain and/or effect • To report
How do you do it?• First, figure out who your audience is -- that will affect what you say and how you say it.• Second, figure out what your purpose is -- that is the end result, the reaction you want to get from your audience.
Then what? • You need to generate as many pieces of support (evidence) as you can to help back up your assertion.
What is evidence?• Personal experience or • References to authorities observation • Experts• Typical situations • Documents• Hypothetical situations • Anecdotes• Generalized situations • Explanations and interpretations• Facts • Extended or brief• Names • Quotations• Statistics
Evidence must be:• Accurate• Supportive, not contradictory• Relevant• Specific, detailed, precise, vivid• Interesting• Clear and easy to understand• Representative (not the exception)• Cited, if necessary.
Choose a point of view• First person P.O.V. • Third person P.O.V. • Uses “I” as the • Uses “She,” “He,” narrator. “They,” or “It” to relay • Is personal, which may information. be an advantage or • Is more distant, which disadvantage. may be an advantage or disadvantage.
Thesis statement• A good thesis statement is clear, opinionated, and specific.• It relays: • The topic of discussion. • How you will treat that topic. • Perhaps the focus of the discussion about that topic.• It includes every major idea in the essay.
A special note on structure• An exemplification essay is usually highly structured.• It has a stated, clearly identifiable thesis statement. • Alas, if I cannot identify your thesis, the highest grade the paper will receive is a “D,” so this is important!
Ways to organize• Chronological • You need:• Spatial • Strong thesis • Clear topic sentences --• Emphatic that support the overall• Moderate-Weak- thesis. Strong • Evidence that supports• Simple to complex each topic sentence • A clear conclusion
Transitions• Use suitable transitional words and phrases. • For instance • For example • To illustrate • A classic example • Also • In addition • Additionally • A case in point is• Avoid unimaginative transitions like “My first example is…”
Never!• Never write the following types of sentences: • “In this paragraph, I will explain…” • In this essay, I will discuss…”• Those are fine, even expected, in a scientific or mathematical paper, but for the typical English paper they are simply terrible, absolutely horrible!• Additionally, you never really need to write: • “I feel…” “I believe…” or “I think…” If it’s your paper, then the reader already knows they’re your thoughts, beliefs or feelings.
Significance• Good essays have importance; they answer a need, a question or problem that has been posed.• The reader never puts down the essay and says, “So what?”• You need to convey to your reader why your essay is important to read.
Citing sources• Within the text: • At the end of the text: • After a quotation or a • Create a “Works Cited” page paraphrase, give credit to your where you give all of the source of information. detailed information where a • That credit goes within reader could find your specific parenthesis and has a name source. and a page number, such as (Jones 6-7). • This brief reference should point the reader to the more detailed reference at the end of the text.
Thoughts on quotations• The MLA suggests that you limit your use of quoted material to no more than 10% of your entire essay. Try to quote or paraphrase only when the original author says something better than you can.• Always: • Lead in to your quotation • Cite your quotation correctly • Explain and/or interpret your quotation • Show us why your quotation is significant
Thoughts on paraphrases• When you paraphrase, you take someone else’s words and put them into your own words.• You still must cite the source where you got your ideas. Both name(s) and page numbers should be mentioned within the text of the essay, as well as in the Works Cited page.
Sample in-text citation …Human beings have been described as "symbol-using animals" (Burke 3). The sentence above shows the writer using a brief quote -- in order to make a point -- from someone named Burke. The quotation, “symbol-using animals” was found on page 3 of Burke’s original work.
Sample Works Cited entry Burke, Kenneth. Language as Symbolic Action: Essays on Life, Literature, and Method. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966. The above entry would be one entry on a page full of entries, all at the end after the last page of the essay. This entry would allow the reader to find the specific source for the quotation or paraphrase cited (mentioned) within the text of the essay.
Possible essay beginnings• Broad statement narrowing to a limited subject (end introduction with thesis statement)• Brief anecdote leading up to thesis• Comparative or opposite ideas leading up to thesis• Series of short questions leading to thesis• Quotations leading to thesis• Refutation of a common belief leading up to a thesis• Dramatic fact or statistic leading to thesis
Possible essay endings• Summary of information presented• Prediction based on information presented• Quotation leading to concluding statement• Statistics leading to concluding statement• Recommendation or call for action• Echo of the introduction• Please do not write, “In conclusion…”
Be aware of your language• Transitions show relationships between ideas, so make sure you’re clear and you make the choices you intend.• Be wary of jargon• Avoid slang and profanity.• Remember that almost all words have a denotation and a connotation.
Some additional thoughts• Exposition is very descriptive and uses many of the same techniques as fiction.• Be aware of the tone you convey.• Vary sentence structure.• Vary sentence length.• Vary paragraph length.
Some final thoughts• I assure you your first draft will be lousy.• Subsequent drafts improve your writing.• You make your writing worth reading by revising: • Adding • Subtracting • Reorganizing • Substituting
The end of the process• First, concentrate on your message -- what you have to say.• Second, concentrate on your organization -- how you say it.• Third, concentrate on surface features -- spelling, grammar, mechanics, usage.• Always do your best work -- every draft.