Standard w 3 – Write expository compositions, including analytical essays and research reports

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Expository Writing

  • Exposing your Thoughts about Non-Fiction . . .
  • English 10
  • 8 February 2012
  • 22 days until CAHSEE!

Standard WA2.3 – Write expository compositions, including analytical essays and research reports:

  • Marshal evidence in support of a thesis and related claims, including information on all relevant perspectives.
  • Convey information and ideas from primary and secondary sources accurately and coherently.
  • Make distinctions between the relative value and significance of specific data, facts, and ideas.
  • Include visual aids by employing appropriate technology to organize and record information on charts, maps, and graphs.
  • Use and address readers' potential misunderstandings, biases, and expectations.
  • Use technical terms and notations accurately.

Purpose for an Expository Essay

  • The purpose is always to inform. You can have additional purposes (like to persuade) but to inform is always the main purpose.
  • This primary purpose includes a need to:
    • Convey information about a topic from primary and secondary sources
      • Primary source – a firsthand account of an event
      • Secondary source – a source that presents information compiled from or based on other sources
    • Inform your audience about important and relevant details about a topic
    • Anticipate possible misunderstandings, biases, and expectations from your audience

Two Types

  • Writing With Text
  • There are two possible types of Expository Essay prompts that could be on the CAHSEE. We will learn both today, practice “From your Head” types today, and practice “Writing with Text” at a later date.

Like in All Essays, You Must Include the Following:

  • A Thesis Statement
  • Introduction and Conclusion paragraphs
  • Three (3) Body Paragraphs (for a total of 5 paragraphs in the essay, including the introduction and conclusion)
  • Evidence to support your thesis

Outline of an Expository Essay

  • Introduction
    • Hook
    • TAG (only if a text is provided)
    • Thesis
  • For Each Body Paragraph #1,#2, and #3
    • Topic Sentence
    • Evidence – Statistics, quotes, and/or information from the text (primary or secondary), use technical terms in your evidence
    • Anticipation of misunderstandings, bias, or expectations.
    • Interpretation of this evidence (Your thoughts and why the evidence is important to the topic sentence and thesis)
    • Concluding sentence – wrap up your thoughts.
  • Conclusion
    • Revisit your Hook
    • Subtle restatement of thesis statement.

Anticipation of Misunderstanding

    • This is much like a counterargument in a persuasive essay.
    • You need to anticipate (def: think or be fairly sure that something will happen) that your reader will have a bias (def: unfair preference), misunderstanding, or expectation about your argument.
    • Be ready to state a bias, misunderstanding, or expectation and address it with evidence from the reality of the situation.
    • To anticipate misunderstandings, biases and expectations, use one of the following:
      • One may think that . . . ;however, [reality].
      • It may seem natural that . . . , but [reality].
      • One may be tempted to think that . . . , but [reality].

Example Body Paragraph

  • Thesis – The 2008 presidential election of Barack Obama will be written about in the history books because he became our first African-American president.
  • Just seeing Obama as a candidate for President was important in the United States. The 2008 election was the first election to have a an African-American as a candidate for president. In 2008, Obama’s election to the presidency broke down the stereotype that only white men can be president of the United States. One might consider it natural for Americans to embrace an African-American for president; however, many Americans were hesitant to do. This may have opened the door for other people from ethnic minorities to run for higher political office , including the presidency, in the future.
  • Topic Sentence Evidence
  • Anticipation of Misunderstanding, Bias, or Expectation
  • Interpretation Concluding Sentence

Expository with Non-fiction Text

  • Sort of like a Response to Lit. with non-fiction texts
  • Accurate Source = the text provided for you
  • Uses “quoted” facts, statistics, data, and ideas from text
  • Draws conclusions from “quoted” facts, statistics, data, and ideas from text

From Your Head

  • Sometimes the Expository prompt does not come with a text.
  • You have to use information that you already know about.
  • Usually it is about your own experience, so you are your own credible primary source.
  • In this case, you do not have to quote exactly, but you do have include as much detail as possible.


  • History is happening all around you.  Although you can't know for certain which events will end up in the history books, you probably have a sense about which current events will have a significant effect on the future.
  • Think of an important current event, and write an essay describing the event and why you think it will be historically important to future generations.  Make sure you provide a detailed description of the event and use examples to support your ideas about its importance.
  • Pre-write for this using the ABC2 Strategy. Remember:
  • Thesis Statement
  • Evidence
  • Accurate Source (You)
  • Technical Terms

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