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Expository Writing. An Introduction. Ideas Borrowed From:. Writer’s Inc . by Sebranek, Kemper, and Meyer ERWC course of study, California State University Mark Keppel High School English Department Resource Manual for Successful Writing Step Up to Writing by Aumen

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expository writing

Expository Writing

An Introduction

ideas borrowed from
Ideas Borrowed From:
  • Writer’s Inc. by Sebranek, Kemper, and Meyer
  • ERWC course of study, California State University
  • Mark Keppel High School English Department Resource Manual for Successful Writing
  • Step Up to Writing by Aumen
  • Maria Garcia at San Antonio College


expected outcomes
Expected Outcomes
  • Modes of Discourse with particular focus on Expository Writing
  • General Information on Expository Writing
    • The importance of structure
      • Writing Introductions, Body paragraphs Conclusions and Thesis statements
      • Using the Claim, Evidence and Elaboration format/structure in body paragraphs
        • Ways to make claims
        • Types of Evidence
        • The Use of Rhetorical Appeals
expected outcomes cont
Expected Outcomes, cont.
  • How to Write a Process, Comparison, Cause/Effect & Definition Essay
modes of discourse
Modes of Discourse
  • Exposition
  • Persuasion (Argument)
  • Narration
  • Description
  • This presentation will focus specifically on Expository Writing.
general information expository writing
General InformationExpository Writing
  • The expository essay is the basic form of writing used in most academic classes.
  • Expository essays inform, explain, examine, discuss, or illustrate.
  • Expository essays follow the thesis statement plus support structure.
the importance of structure
The Importance of Structure
  • An expository essay should be tightly structured with
    • an introductory paragraph (beginning)
    • several supporting/body paragraphs (middle)
    • a concluding paragraph (end)
metacognitive reflection
Metacognitive Reflection
  • Talk to Your Neighbor
    • What expository reading have you done previously?
    • This is called metacognitive reflection, “thinking about your thinking.” It makes knowledge stick to your brain like peanut butter sticks to bread!
beginning introduction
Beginning -- Introduction
  • Gain your reader’s interest &identify the thesis
  • To get a reader’s interest:
    • Provide an interesting story about the subject
    • Present a significant fact or statistic
    • Quote an expert on the subject
    • Define an important term
characteristics of a thesis statement
Characteristics of a Thesis Statement
  • A sentence
  • Names the topic of your paper and contains an assumption about your topic
    • It is debatable -- it is not merely factual or obvious but requires convincing proof of its validity.
  • It is specific.
  • It controls everything that goes into your paper.
sample thesis formulas
Sample Thesis Formulas

Process analysis

• OUTCOME involves ____, ____, and ____.

Creating a fabulous meal involves planning, planning and more planning!


• A look at _____(objects of comparison) in terms of _____(the points of comparison) shows that (general finding).

A look at the PC and the Mac in terms of functionality shows that the Mac is a superior computer.

• Looking at _____(object A) and _____(object b) shows that although they seem (similar/different), they are really quite (different/similar).

sample thesis formulas1
Sample Thesis Formulas


• {Effect} happens as a result of {Cause}.

Poverty happens as a result of lack of education.

• {Effect} (verb) {Cause A, Cause B, and Cause C}.

Lack of Education impacts people’s lifetime finances, their career choices, and the overall quality of their lives.

• {Cause} brings about {Effect}.

Lack of education brings about a nation of ill informed citizens, many of whom are poor.

• {Cause} (verb) {Effect A, Effect B, and Effect C}.

Lack of education impacts one’s ability to participate in society, to provide for one’s family, and to move up in the world.

middle body
Middle -- Body

Supporting paragraphs present the reasons supporting your thesis.

Structure of the supporting paragraphs should include:




how to make a claim
How to make a Claim
  • A claim is the topic sentence.
    • You can make a claim by beginning each paragraph in one of the following ways:
      • Using a quotation
      • Semicolon Claim
      • A Rhetorical question
      • A List of Phrases
      • A List of Words
      • Occasion/Position Statements
    • (see “Topic Sentence” handout for further explanations)
occasion position
Occasion & Position
  • Occasion - Intro reason for writing
  • Can be any event, problem, idea, solution, or circumstance that gives you a reason to write
  • Position - states what you plan to prove or explain in your paragraph
  • Even though bike helmets are sometimes unfashionable and uncomfortable, all cyclists should wear them.
types of evidence used to support a claim
Types of Evidence Used to Support a Claim
  • Factual Example
  • Expert Testimony
  • Statistic
  • Personal/Anecdotal Experience
  • Commonly Held Assumption/Belief
  • Author Opinion
  • Elaboration is your commentary on how the evidence supports the claim.
  • Your elaboration should leave the reader thinking about and contemplating the claim you made in the paragraph.
reflective practice
Reflective Practice
  • Talk to your neighbor.
    • Explain to them what is meant by claim, evidence, and elaboration.
    • Then have them explain it back to you.
      • Consider
        • What part of the essay contains the claim, evidence, elaboration structure.
        • What types of evidence can be used to support a claim.
        • What is the function of elaboration? What does it mean to elaborate on your claims and evidence?
a conclusion should
A Conclusion Should:
  • Stress the importance of the thesis statement.
  • Give the essay a sense of completeness.
  • Draw conclusions about all evidence presented
  • Leave a final impression on the reader.
suggestions cont
Suggestions, cont.
  • Synthesize, don’t summarize
    • Don’t simply repeat things that were in your paper.
    • Show them how the points in you made and the support and examples you used were not random, but fit together.
suggestions cont1
Suggestions, cont.
  • Redirect your readers
    • Give your readers something to think about, perhaps a way to use your paper in the “real” world.
    • Your conclusion should go from specific to general.
    • Think globally.
strategies for concluding your essay
Strategies for Concluding Your Essay
  • Echoing the introduction:
    • Echoing the introduction can be a good strategy if it is meant to bring the reader full circle.
    • If you begin by describing a scenario, you can end with the same scenario as proof that your essay was helpful in creating a new understanding.
why do writers use process analysis
Why do Writers use Process Analysis?
  • Directional process analysis:
    • To give instructions that a reader is expected to perform and that lead to the same result every time.
  • Informational process analysis:
    • To explain a cycle that readers can understand, but are not expected to perform.
process analysis steps
Process Analysis Steps
  • Outline the steps of the process.
  • Write each step as one clear action.
  • Make sure all of the major & minor steps are there.
  • Make sure all of the steps are in the correct order.
  • Explain the reasons for steps
  • Define all technical terms briefly.
  • Describe special equipment.
  • Use time order transitions.
essay of comparison
Essay of Comparison
  • What is comparison?
    • The method of development in which the writer examines the similarities and/or differences between persons, objects, or ideas to support a point.
    • A way of thinking that we use unconsciously to make decisions
why do writers use comparison
Why Do Writers Use Comparison?
  • To show that things which appear similar are really different
  • To show that things which appear different are really similar
  • To evaluate
  • To explain the unfamiliar in terms of the familiar
how does a writer compose a comparison essay
How Does a Writer Compose a Comparison Essay?
  • Decide whether a block or a point by point organization works best for the purpose selected.
thesis pattern s for a comparison essay
Thesis Pattern(s) for a Comparison Essay
  • A look at ______ (object of comparison) in terms of _____(the points of comparison) shows that _____ (general finding).
  • Looking at _____(Object A) and ____ (Object B) shows that although they seem _______(similar/different), they are really ____(different/similar).
how does a writer compose a comparison essay1
How Does a Writer Compose a Comparison Essay?
  • Finally,
    • Make sure that you explain what one learns from making the comparison you are making in your essay.
cause effect essay
Cause/Effect Essay
  • What is cause/effect?
    • The method of development in which the writer analyzes the reason(s) for an action, event, or decision, or analyzes resulting consequences to support a point.
why do writers use cause and effect
Why Do Writers Use Cause and Effect?
  • To discover order in a reality that is in apparent chaos.
  • To inform.
  • To speculate.
  • To change behavior.
how does a writer compose a cause effect essay
How Does a Writer Compose a Cause/Effect Essay?
  • Choose a manageable subject that a specific group of people needs information on.
  • Decide on a thesis and state it in one of the prescribed patterns below.
  • Compose the examples and organize them with transitions to support each point.
  • Make sure you don’t oversimplify the subject/topic.
  • Make sure your argument makes sense.
  • Make sure you neither overstate or understate the position.
thesis pattern for a cause effect essay
Thesis Pattern for a Cause/Effect Essay


• {Effect} happens as a result of {Cause}.

• {Effect} (verb) {Cause A, Cause B, and Cause C}.

• {Cause} brings about {Effect}.

• {Cause} (verb) {Effect A, Effect B, and Effect C}.