Expository Writing
diagnosing the diagnostic
 Exposition is a type of written or spoken text in which
the writer takes a position on an issue and argues or
explains the case or presents a point of view.
 It is to persuade the reader or listener to support your
point of view on an issue by providing a set of
arguments* or points that elaborates on why you hold
the particular viewpoint.
Common Problems
 Missing parts (poor macro organisation)
 Informal tone
 Poor engagement of the quote/issues/terms
 Argument, argument, wherefore art thou, argument?
 Logic fail!
 Unqualified generalisations, poor micro organisation (lack of thesis
statement/topic statement, lack of linkage, lack of
explanations/elaborations/examples, tendency to veer off-topic)
But before we dive into the nitty gritty…
The Fifth Third Burger
Here’s a burger…
A 5/3 of a pound beef patty with lettuce,
tomato, salsa, sour cream, chili and Fritos
on an eight-inch sesame seed bun.
And another…
9 Decker Filet-O-Fish Sandwich
The Mega Mel Burger
AND another…
Burger consisting of five pounds of beef, one
pound of bacon and a quarter pound of
What does a hamburger
and an essay have in
The ‘meat’ (or main
substance) of your essay
should be sandwiched
between the two fluffy buns
of the introduction and
Parts of an
expository essay
• Introduction
• Main body
• Conclusion
What are the pros and cons of the
following introductions?
“A living civilization creates; a dying, builds museums.”
Martin Fischer once said, “A
living civilization creates; a
dying, builds museums.” What I
think he means to say is that a
civilization that is flourishing
would want to create their own
artworks and structures and
other grand things, while a
dying civilization only looks
back on past glories and
accomplishments and builds
museums to celebrate them.
And I must say, I agree.
Why is it that in the movies, the
“intellectual” visits museums?
Surely the intellectuals are
smart enough to know the value
of culture.
Life would be boring without it.
Society would turn gray and
dusty like the cities of the
future. How can we celebrate
life when all we do is frame up
artifacts of the past?
A great introduction should…
 be an interesting lead-in to your essay
 engage the core issues in the essay topic
 defining and delineating the parameters of your
 giving context to the issue
 state your position on the issue
 do you agree/disagree fully/to a certain extent?
 avoid simply regurgitating the topic/question
 avoid waffle
What’s in the meat?
What is an argument?
What is an argument?
according to Monty Python…
 An argument isn't just contradiction
(neither is it blind assertions)
 An argument is a connected series of
statements intended to establish a
 Argument is an intellectual process
Arguments need…
 Logic. Beware of:
 Unqualified assertions
 Throwing around loaded concepts
 Analogies that are a little too contrive
 Elaboration and examples
 Prove, argue, persuade your reader that what
you are asserting is valid
What’s the difference?
If one does not accept
himself for he is, he
will end up with
esteem issues, and an
overall unhappy
outlook of life. This
pessimism will then
lead to a lower
quality of life, thus
the lack of comfort.
Some one who is not
confident in their
identity will probably
be someone
insecure. Insecurities
will usually lead the
person to follow the
crowd and what the
majority does.
What is wrong here?
 Everyone wants to be famous, who doesn’t?
 Hence Mark Twain tells us that if we do not think that
we are good at or comfortable with something then it is
confirmed that we will not be so, thus creating our
identity in the minds of others as such.
 Our identity enables us to do the things we do and
approve of ourselves. Without our identity, without that
approval, our lives would have been wasted and
meaningless. Identity allows us to set our own targets,
aim to fulfill our goals, and presents us the ability to
make our own unique choices and decisions, depending
on our personal taste and likings for particular things.
What is wrong here?
 How a person is like, his or her character, appearance
and deeds is part of the person’s identity just like what
determines the inside of a watermelon and other fruit.
By looking at its outer skin, green or yellowish-green,
and looking closer, knocking it a little, he can roughly
gauge the inside, the real sweetness of the fruit. So
that outer skin appearance can only be so fresh-looking
because of the succulent, juicy and unique flesh of the
So, what should be in
the meat?
 Argument
 State why you support your stand
 Give evidence
 Explain how the evidence supports the topic sentence
 Counter-argument
State a possible argument against your stand
Refute this argument
Give evidence
Explain how the evidence supports your rebuttal
How to end well…
 Conclusions should…
 Reiterate the thesis statement
 If there was a ‘hook’ used in the
introduction, it should try to link it back
 Not suddenly introduce new points
How does this conclusion fare?
 In conclusion, it is not a bad thing to look back towards
the past, but we must never forget what Fischer said. In
this day and age when history has become so important
and museums are everywhere, we must remember not
to become too caught up in past glories and stagnate in
our wonder. I believe the future can be even more
wondrous, as long as we keep creating and keep
improving, so that unlike what Fischer said, we will be a
living civilization that builds museums.
Building your own burger…
 Read widely
 You can’t argue for/against something you don’t know!
 Learn from other people’s style (what separates a good
essay from a great essay)
 Build vocabulary
 Use nuance with precision
 Avoid awkward phrasing
 Plan, plan, plan ahead
 Always draft your essays with topic sentences so you’ll
know if your essay links together
 Know where you’re coming from and where you’re going to

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