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essay writing as another kind of art

The Main Kinds Of Expository Essay: A Short Manual For Students


To be an effective essay writer, it’s really important to know exactly what is required in the type of paper you are writing. Expository essays are commonly assigned; they come in a variety of types and you can choose the one best suited to the topic you have chosen and the field of study you are in.

To write in the expository style, you will basically be:

  • Investigating an idea
  • Evaluating the evidence
  • Expounding upon the idea
  • Setting forth an argument

Some types of this kind of writing include:

  1. Descriptive. This type of paper is loaded with details, it describes a person, event, place or thing. In a sense you are an artist painting a picture for the reader with words. Be precise about details and features. Write clearly and concisely. Show your artistic freedom in language. You might describe something like a famous person, your first kiss, the spaghetti you had for supper last night, the fireworks you saw while on holiday.
  2. Process or how-to-do-something. You will be providing a step by step guide that shows the reader how to do something. It should have sufficient detail so the person reading your paper could complete the task you are describing. You might give details on how to bake a cake, how to build a tree house, how to play a card game.
  3. Cause and effect. The explanation you would be giving would describe how a certain action causes a particular effect to take place. You might write about the causes of WWI, how eating junk food leads to obesity, or how pollution causes acid rain. For this style of paper to be successful, you must always keep clear in the writing what is the cause and what is the effect.
  4. Compare and contrast. In this style of writing you need two or more topics that can be compared or related in some way. You need to find at least two main elements in each that you can find similarities between or focus on the differences. Comparing is for similarities and contrasting is for differences. You can present your findings point by point or you can write in block style, where you use one section per topic. Some examples may be comparing dogs and cats as indoor pets, contrasting 2 different brands of walking shoes, comparing 2 different world leaders, or giving the similarities and differences between painting using oils versus acrylic paints.

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