English 104: Expository Writing


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English 104: Expository Writing

  1. 1. Expository Writing
  2. 2. What is Expository Writing? Purely informational, objective writing Written to inform, explain, or describe Author assumes the reader has no prior knowledge of the topic Unlike argumentative/persuasive writing, the primary goal of expository writing is to deliver information about the topic, not to persuade the reader
  3. 3. Types of Expository Writing Description Topic is described using details, characteristics, features, and examples. Summary Topic is summarized in your own words Sequence Items are listed in a numerical order Comparison Compare and contrast that explains how various items are alike and/or different
  4. 4. Examples of Expository Writing Newspaper articles, journals, textbooks, interviews, studies, letters, memos New York Times article:
  5. 5. Using Expository Writing Where to use exposition in an argumentative paper Introduction: At the 2011 TED Global convention, Mark Pagel, professor at the University of Reading and head of the Evolution Laboratory, presented an interesting theory regarding the impact of language on humans as a species. Pagel states that language is unique to humans and the defining factor in our evolutionary success. Although Pagel makes a convincing case regarding language’s transformative power, his logic is flawed since it is confined to verbal language; it is not verbal language but written language that has enabled the technological growth of the human species.  Expository writing is used to introduce the reader to background information about the topic
  6. 6. Using Expository Writing Where to use exposition in an argumentative paper As supporting evidence in the body of your essay: While other species may not have human language, all species have a method of verbal or visual communication, which can even be similar to human verbal language. For example, studies show that “dolphin whistle repertoires contain higher-order internal structure or organizational complexity. This suggests their whistle ‘language’ contains elements loosely analogous to grammar or syntax in human language” (Dorminey). Verbal communication, then, is not a uniquely human gift as Pagel claims. However, written communication is specific to humanity.  Expository writing is used to inform the reader of the results of a study
  7. 7. Using Expository Writing Make sure that your argumentative essay is not actually an expository essay Expository writing should be embedded within an overall argumentative framework Ask yourself:  Is my entire essay a compare and contrast?  Does the majority of my essay merely summarize the topic?  Does my essay only describe the events?  If the answer to any of the above is ‘yes,’ then you have written an expository essay, not an argumentative essay
  8. 8. Works Cited Dorminey, Bruce. “Researchers Closer to Decoding Dolphin Speak.” Forbes. Forbes Media, 18 Oct. 2012. Web. 19 Dec. 2014. Pagel, Mark. “How Language Transformed Humanity.” TEDGlobal. Edinburgh International Conference Center, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. 13 Jul 2011. Conference Presentation.