An introduction in this section the topic to be discussed is clearly stated

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Discursive/Expository Essays

The discursive/expository essay is a genre of essay that requires the student to investigate an idea, evaluate evidence, expound on the idea, and set forth an argument concerning that idea in a clear and concise manner. This can be accomplished through comparison and contrast, definition, example, the analysis of cause and effect, etc.

Please note: Some confusion may occur between the argumentative essay and the expository essay. These two genres are similar, but the argumentative essay differs from the expository essay in the amount of pre-writing (invention) and research involved. The argumentative essay is commonly assigned as a capstone or final project in first year writing or advanced composition courses and involves lengthy, detailed research. Expository essays involve less research and are shorter in length. Expository essays are often used for in-class writing exercises or tests.


  • An introduction – in this section the topic to be discussed is clearly stated.

  • A main body – it consists of several paragraphs each presenting a particular point exemplified or justified.

  • A conclusion – here the main points of the essay are summarized, the author’s opinion is stated/restated, a balanced consideration of the topic is given.

Discursive/Expository Essays: Main Types.

Opinion Essay. It requires the author’s opinion on a topic which is stated in the introductory paragraph. It should be stated clearly and followed by reasons and/or examples supporting it. The essay should also contain an opposing argument which comes before the conclusion. The writer should explain the reader why he finds this argument unconvincing. The writer’s opinion is restated/summarized in the conclusion.

For And Against Essay. It presents a reader with a thorough consideration of the topic from opposing points of view. Each point should be discussed objectively and in equal detail. The introductory paragraph states the topic under consideration. Arguments for and against supported by justifications, examples, reasons are presented in the main body. The author’s own opinion with a balanced consideration of the topic is presented only in the conclusion.

Essay suggesting solution to a problem. It discusses problems and finds their solutions. The introduction paragraph states clearly the problem, analyses its causes and consequences. The main body presents some suggestions to the problem and their consequences or results expected. In the conclusion the author’s opinion is summarized.

Basic Do’s

  • Write in formal, impersonal style

  • Introduce each point in a separate paragraph

  • Use topic sentences for each paragraph

  • Write well-developed paragraphs

  • Give reasons and examples for each point

  • Use sequencing

  • Use linking words and phrases

  • Make references to other sources

  • Identify the source used

Basic Dont’s

  • Don’t use short forms

  • Don’t use informal/colloquial language

  • Don’t use very emotional language

  • Don’t use over-generalizations

  • Don’t express your personal opinion too strongly

  • Don’t refer to statistics without a proper referencing it

  • Don’t use personal examples

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