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Expository Writing. diagnosing the diagnostic. WHAT IS AN EXPOSITION?. DEFINITION Exposition is a type of written or spoken text in which the writer takes a position on an issue and argues or explains the case or presents a point of view . PURPOSE

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Expository Writing

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expository writing

Expository Writing

diagnosing the diagnostic

what is an exposition


  • Exposition is a type of written or spoken text in which the writer takes a position on an issue and argues or explains the case or presents a point of view.


  • It is to persuade the reader or listener to support your point of view on an issue by providing a set of arguments* or points that elaborates on why you hold the particular viewpoint.
common problems
Common Problems
  • Missing parts (poor macro organisation)
  • Informal tone
  • Poor engagement of the quote/issues/terms
  • Argument, argument, wherefore art thou, argument?
  • Logic fail!
      • Unqualified generalisations, poor micro organisation (lack of thesis statement/topic statement, lack of linkage, lack of explanations/elaborations/examples, tendency to veer off-topic)

But before we dive into the nitty gritty…

h ere s a burger
Here’s a burger…

The Fifth Third Burger

A 5/3 of a pound beef patty with lettuce, tomato, salsa, sour cream, chili and Fritos on an eight-inch sesame seed bun.


and another
And another…

9 Decker Filet-O-Fish Sandwich


and another1
AND another…

The Mega Mel Burger

Burger consisting of five pounds of beef, one pound of bacon and a quarter pound of cheese.


what does a hamburger and an essay have in common
What does a hamburger and an essay have in common?
  • The ‘meat’ (or main substance) of your essay should be sandwiched between the two fluffy buns of the introduction and conclusion
parts of an expository essay
Parts of an expository essay


Main body


What are the pros and cons of the following introductions?“A living civilization creates; a dying, builds museums.”

Martin Fischer once said, “A living civilization creates; a dying, builds museums.” What I think he means to say is that a civilization that is flourishing would want to create their own artworks and structures and other grand things, while a dying civilization only looks back on past glories and accomplishments and builds museums to celebrate them. And I must say, I agree.

Why is it that in the movies, the “intellectual” visits museums? Surely the intellectuals are smart enough to know the value of culture.

Life would be boring without it. Society would turn gray and dusty like the cities of the future. How can we celebrate life when all we do is frame up artifacts of the past?

a great introduction should
A great introduction should…
  • be an interesting lead-in to your essay
  • engage the core issues in the essay topic
    • defining and delineating the parameters of your argument
    • giving context to the issue
  • state your position on the issue
    • do you agree/disagree fully/to a certain extent?
  • avoid simply regurgitating the topic/question
  • avoid waffle
what is an argument according to monty python
What is an argument?according to Monty Python…
  • An argument isn't just contradiction (neither is it blind assertions)
  • An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition
  • Argument is an intellectual process
arguments need
Arguments need…
  • Logic. Beware of:
    • Unqualified assertions
    • Throwing around loaded concepts
    • Analogies that are a little too contrive
  • Elaboration and examples
    • Prove, argue, persuade your reader that what you are asserting is valid
what s the difference
What’s the difference?

If one does not accept himself for he is, he will end up with esteem issues, and an overall unhappy outlook of life. This pessimism will then lead to a lower quality of life, thus the lack of comfort.

Some one who is not confident in their identity will probably be someone insecure. Insecurities will usually lead the person to follow the crowd and what the majority does.

what is wrong here
What is wrong here?
  • Everyone wants to be famous, who doesn’t?
  • Hence Mark Twain tells us that if we do not think that we are good at or comfortable with something then it is confirmed that we will not be so, thus creating our identity in the minds of others as such.
  • Our identity enables us to do the things we do and approve of ourselves. Without our identity, without that approval, our lives would have been wasted and meaningless. Identity allows us to set our own targets, aim to fulfill our goals, and presents us the ability to make our own unique choices and decisions, depending on our personal taste and likings for particular things.
what is wrong here1
What is wrong here?
  • How a person is like, his or her character, appearance and deeds is part of the person’s identity just like what determines the inside of a watermelon and other fruit. By looking at its outer skin, green or yellowish-green, and looking closer, knocking it a little, he can roughly gauge the inside, the real sweetness of the fruit. So that outer skin appearance can only be so fresh-looking because of the succulent, juicy and unique flesh of the watermelon.
so what should be in the meat
So, what should be inthe meat?
  • Argument
    • State why you support your stand
    • Give evidence
    • Explain how the evidence supports the topic sentence
  • Counter-argument
    • State a possible argument against your stand
    • Refute this argument
    • Give evidence
    • Explain how the evidence supports your rebuttal
how to end well
How to end well…
  • Conclusions should…
    • Reiterate the thesis statement
    • If there was a ‘hook’ used in the introduction, it should try to link it back
    • Not suddenly introduce new points
how does this conclusion fare
How does this conclusion fare?
  • In conclusion, it is not a bad thing to look back towards the past, but we must never forget what Fischer said. In this day and age when history has become so important and museums are everywhere, we must remember not to become too caught up in past glories and stagnate in our wonder. I believe the future can be even more wondrous, as long as we keep creating and keep improving, so that unlike what Fischer said, we will be a living civilization that builds museums.
building your own burger
Building your own burger…
  • Read widely
    • You can’t argue for/against something you don’t know!
    • Learn from other people’s style (what separates a good essay from a great essay)
  • Build vocabulary
    • Use nuance with precision
    • Avoid awkward phrasing
  • Plan, plan, plan ahead
    • Always draft your essays with topic sentences so you’ll know if your essay links together
    • Know where you’re coming from and where you’re going to