Purpose of Expository Writing



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Purpose of Expository Writing

  • Explains
  • Describes
  • Illustrates
  • Defines
  • Informs

Expository Essay Structure

  • Introductory Paragraph
  • Body Paragraphs (2 or more)
  • Concluding Paragraph

Introductory Paragraph

  • Attention Grabber / Hook
  • Background Information about the Central Idea
  • Thesis
  • General
  • Specific

Introduction: Attention Grabber / Hook

  • What it is NOT
    • Unrelated to prompt
    • Not a sentence or question with “you” in it
    • Not too specific
    • Not a sentence with title/author in it (literary)
  • What’s Its Purpose?
    • Hooks reader’s attention
    • 1st sentence(s) of intro. paragraph
    • General/broad concept related to some aspect of prompt

Introduction: Background Information

  • What it is NOT
    • Not too specific to prompt yet
    • Not analysis
    • Not a sentence with subtopics in it
    • Not a quote from text
    • Not extensive plot summary
  • What’s Its Purpose?
    • Provides context for reader (historical)
    • Provides link between grabber and specifics of prompt
    • LITERARY: TAGG statement (title, author, genre, gist of the story)

Introduction: Central/Controlling Idea

  • What it is NOT
    • Not plot detail
    • Not a basic fact
    • Not something that cannot be proven or already is proven
    • Not a quote from text
    • Not unrelated to prompt
  • Function/Purpose
    • Connected directly to analysis part of prompt and commentary
    • Provides analysis writer is asserting/ can be proven
    • If about literature, usually about theme, purpose, impact on reader, tone, etc.
    • Can be combined with the thesis

Introduction: Thesis

  • What it is NOT
    • Not a plot detail
    • Not a basic fact
    • Not a quote from text
  • Function/Purpose
    • Provides content and organization of paper
    • Includes subtopics that will be used to prove central idea (subtopics will be topics of body paragraphs)
    • Belongs in last sentence of introduction

Body Paragraph

  • Topic Sentence
    • Support A (Major)
      • Evidence (Minor)
      • Evidence
      • Commentary
    • Support B
      • Evidence
      • Evidence
      • Commentary
  • Concluding Sentence
  • This is your analysis.
  • Restates / reaffirms your topic sentence.
  • Your assertion the paragraph
  • will prove with evidence.

Body Paragraph: Topic Sentence

  • What it is NOT
  • Not a plot detail
  • Not a basic fact
  • Not a quote from text
  • Not a sentence that cannot be or already is proven (ie, “Scout is one of the main characters in the novel.”) Bad!
  • Function/Purpose
  • States main idea AND assertion for each body paragraph
  • Tied directly to thesis
  • First sentence of body paragraph
  • Should be able to read T.S. and ask, “How so?”

Body Paragraph: Support

  • What it is NOT
  • Not too specific
  • Not a quote
  • Not analysis
  • Function/Purpose
    • At least two per paragraph
    • Ways in which the assertion given in topic sentence can be proven
    • Answers, “How so?” from topic sentence

Body Paragraph: Evidence

  • What it is NOT
  • Not a question
  • Not analysis
  • Not irrelevant examples or details
  • Function/Purpose
  • Specific quotes, concrete details, anecdotes, etc. to illustrate each support
  • 2 pieces of evidence for each support in HSPE/MSP-style essay
  • 1 quote in literary analysis minimum for each support

Body Paragraph: Commentary

  • What it is NOT
    • Not plot summary or detail
    • Not restatement of majors/minors/quotes
    • Not unrelated to prompt
    • No critique of book or advice to the reader
  • Function/Purpose
  • Writer’s analysis connecting evidence to the topic sentence/claim
  • If about literature, usually about theme, purpose, impact on reader, tone, etc.
  • A “This shows that…” statement

Tips for Commentary

  • When writing commentary, ask yourself:
  • Why did I choose this evidence?
  • Why is it significant to prove my topic/claim?
  • How does this evidence prove my topic/claim?
  • What effect does this evidence have on my reader?

Body Paragraph: Concluding Sentence

  • What it is NOT
    • No quote from text
    • No introduction of new idea
    • Not exact wording as topic sentence
  • Function/Purpose
    • Provides closure for body paragraphs
    • Last sentence of body paragraphs
    • Restates topic sentence
    • May be optional in shorter essays
  • Minor
  • Topic 1
  • Topic Statement
  • Major Topic A
  • Major Topic B
  • Concluding
  • Statement
  • Minor
  • Topic 1
  • Minor
  • Topic 2
  • Minor
  • Topic 1
  • Minor
  • Topic 2
  • Comm
  • Comm
  • Another Useful Organizer for an Expository Body Paragraph

Concluding Paragraph

  • Restate Thesis
  • Summarize main ideas
  • Conclude with final
  • thought-provoking, memorable insight
  • Specific
  • General

Concluding Paragraph

  • What it is NOT
    • Does not start with “In conclusion…”
    • Not word-for-word restatement of thesis/ central idea
    • No new information introduced
    • Do not end on a question
    • Do not include “lesson” for your readers
  • Function/Purpose
    • Provides closure for essay
    • Restatement of thesis/ central idea using different wording
    • Brief summary of main ideas presented in essay (esp. in longer essay)
    • Final thought-provoking/ memorable (relevant) insight

Things to AVOID in your essay

  • First person pronouns (“I,” “me,” etc.)
  • Second person pronouns (“you,” “your,” etc.)
  • Contractions (“It’s,” “They’re,” etc.)
  • Slang


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