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Characteristics and distinctions of expository writing


Expository writing is characterized by its purpose to inform, explain, or describe a topic clearly and logically. It is distinguished from other writing forms by its focus on providing factual information, structured format, and lack of personal opinion. Common features include a clear thesis, evidence-based arguments, and logical transitions to guide the reader through the content.

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What is expository writing?

Expository writing is informational writing. It follows the formal essay pattern. Descriptive writing is a type of expository writing. Cause and/ or effect is a type of expository writing. "How to" essays are forms of expository writing.

Tenth graders across the nation use expository writing for their tenth grade state mandated writing test. These students may write to inform by using descriptive writing, comparison writing, cause and effect writing, sequence writing, and problem and solution writing.

Expository writing is a type of explanation writing. It is used to explain a topic. It is used to describe a topic. It is used to compare a topic. It is used to explain how to perform a process. Expository writing does not assume that the reader has prior knowledge of the topic at hand. Details are used to explain the topic thoroughly.

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What is expository writing?

Exposition is a type of non-fiction writing that is used to explain, describe, or inform the reader. It differs from creative writing in that the use of excessive adjectives and adverbs are avoided, and it has a strong organizational format to it (ie: transition words like first, second, next are common). First person is usually not used, and the writer's opinion should be left out of an expository paper. Examples of expository writing include directions, instructions, lab reports, and book reports.

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What distinguishes expository writing from other forms of writing?

Essays are generally categorized into four groups: narrative, expository, descriptive, and persuasive.  These categories distinguish between the different purposes of a piece of a writing.  Narrative writing tells a story.  It has a clear beginning, middle, and end, and most often moves chronologically.  Descriptive writing is exactly that: descriptive.  Often scientific in nature, descriptive writing gives details about the subject in order to provide a full explanation.  Persuasive writing attempts to argue a point and persuade an audience to agree.

Compared to each of the above forms, expository writing has the most broad definition.  Its purpose is to explain, inform, describe or define a subject for the reader.  In this way, expository writing can take on many of the characteristics of the other three modes (from above).  Expository writing can incorporate stories and figurative language, making it somewhat narrative.  It can be very detailed in description and even have minor elements of persuasion (as it is often difficult for an author to be completely emotionless or without personal opinion).  On the whole, the expository writing mode is meant to inform.

Common essay assignments which fall under the category of expository essay are compare-contrast, how-to, and extended definition essays.

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