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Julieofsardis

I need a definition for expository writing

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I have just thoroughly confused myself here. I have been trying to make sure I'm covering all the different types of writing necessary for my upcoming 9th grader. I have narrowed down that I need to cover narrative, descriptive, expository, and persuasive. I think I have a handle on all of them except expository. I understand the definition to be writing to explain or define something. My confusion comes in that I ran across some things that say that an expository essay requires a thesis statement.

 

Now, I've got SWB's Writing Without Fear, Writer's Inc., Warriner's Grammar and Comp, Smarr's Writing, Grammar, and Style, and R&S grammar up through 7th grade. After pouring through all of those, I'm more confused than ever.

 

I guess my question is, what constitutes an expository essay? Does it need a thesis statement? Where can I go online to learn more about this?

I'm not willing to add another resource.

 

See, to me, having a thesis statement would mean I'm trying to convince you of something, therefore turning my essay into persuasive. What am I missing here?

 

Thanks

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Quote:

 

"Expository Writing is just a fancy phrase for things like reports of information, essays, book reports, biographies, and what not. An expository writing is meant to inform the reader!"

http://www.geocities.com/fifth_grade_tpes/nonfiction_genre.html

 

******************************************************************

 

Each paragraph has a topic sentence. However, if you write a report or an essay, the introduction paragraph will have a thesis statement for the entire essay.

 

Click on this site for sample

http://lklivingston.tripod.com/essay/sample.html

 

Youtube Outline

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gQwZpJjips

 

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Thanks Marianne,

 

Okay, here's the deal. I love the essay sample that you gave. I actually already had it printed out. I love it because it has the different parts marked so I can see what's what. But, this essay is attempting to persuade you that cats are great pets. That is where I'm getting hung up. If I include a thesis statement, I'm no longer just trying to inform, now I'm trying to convince.

 

That is where I'm getting confused. What would be an expository essay with a thesis statement that is only to inform? Or, what's the difference?

Would you consider the essay that you linked an expository essay?

 

Thanks again!

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I was just reviewing this area in a new program I found for my boys called Write With the Best. In this program a persuasive essay is defined as a composition of related paragraphs in which the author tries to convince the readers to believe his viewpoint.

 

An expository essay is a written composition that informs the reader about a meaningful subject. Types of expository essays:

-written composition that describes how something works or how to do something

-comparative paper wherein you examine the similarities and/or differences between two or among more than two subjects or ideas

-composition where a problem and its solution are presented

-descriptive paper about a person, place, or thing that it important to you

-composition where you define or explain a word or term

 

For my own clarification, I usually differentiate the two by remembering that a persuasive essay generally has an opinion on the subject and an expository essay just exposes the subject.

 

ETA: The literary example of a persuasive essay is Thomas Paine's Common Sense, and the literary example of an expository essay is Francis Bacon's Of Studies.

 

HTH!

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I guess my question is, what constitutes an expository essay? Does it need a thesis statement? Where can I go online to learn more about this?

 

 

Here's another definition of an expository essay with a list of specifics that are included, from Essay Wizard: http://www.geocities.com/soho/Atrium/1437/expo.html'>http://www.geocities.com/soho/Atrium/1437/expo.html'>http://www.geocities.com/soho/Atrium/1437/expo.html'>http://www.geocities.com/soho/Atrium/1437/expo.html Here's the home page to the website: http://www.geocities.com/soho/Atrium/1437/

 

Some more online helps about Expository Writing:

- Study Guides and Strategies: Writing Expository Essays: http://www.studygs.net/wrtstr3.htm

- About.com: Expository Essays: What Are They: http://homeworktips.about.com/od/essaywriting/a/expository.htm

- Essay Info: The Expository Essay: http://essayinfo.com/essays/expository_essay.php

 

Also, don't get too hung up on keeping the types of writing completely separate; in the real world they often overlap. The dog/cat example listed by an above poster is a persuasive essay -- but it uses facts (expository writing) to support and sway the reader to the essay's contention (thesis). Having labels for the different types of writing is just to help understand what the *main emphasis* or focus of that type of writing is.

 

Many articles at http://www.wikipedia.com are examples of expository writing -- they present information and facts on a specific topic. Expository writing is informational -- without being emotional. As the writer, you present the facts without involving your emotions and opinions. However, NO expository essay is completely objective or unbiased. Just by choice of which facts, examples, and details a writer chooses to include or discard will subtly reveal the author's point of view. We expect journalists to write "just the facts, ma'am" -- but a journalist's choice of verbs, the order of facts, what is included/excluded -- what questions they asked and got answers to vs. what they *didn't* ask and get information about -- makes reports and articles inherently biased. So, while reports and articles are examples of expository writing, it doesn't mean they are devoid of point of view.

 

In fact, an expository essay HAS to have some sort of point of view -- to help the writer organize and give structure to the essay. That is the title of the expository essay; it is the topic sentence or thesis statement of the essay. In an expository essay, a writer uses the title and the introductory paragraph to signal the readers what they can expect to find down in the body of the essay.

 

The expository writer may use descriptive words and phrases to help the reader visualize the topic. Here are some examples: a report on Abraham Lincoln could include a physical description of his distinctive appearance. A science report may include color/smell/viscosity changes in a chemical reaction. An article on training pets would include specific verbs and adjectives/adverbs to help visualize the behavior of dogs in certain situations. The expository writer may also use narrative writing to narrate the life story of Lincoln's childhood to relate a short anecdote, or to explain why the dog behaves in a certain way.

 

Similarly, narrative and persuasive writing will also include elements of the other types of writing in them -- though always in support of the main type of writing.

 

 

In contrast, an expository writer will NOT use persuasive writing to bring the reader around to the writer's opinion about the topic in the expository essay. In fact, the writer will NOT include their opinion about the topic reported on in the expository essay -- the writer is informing on facts, not his/her own opinion. However, in the concluding paragraph of an expository essay, the writer will usually make some sort of assessment or "summing up" at the end of an expository essay which usually ties back in with the expository essay's title and/or introductory paragraph.

 

For example, an expository essay on Thomas Edison could be entitled "The Wizard of Menlo Park". The topic sentence in the introductory paragraph might read: "What famous American was an inventor, scientist and businessman and was responsible for developing devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb? The answer is: Thomas Alva Edison." The essay would then go on to give supporting facts, details and examples about his inventing, his scientific work, and his business aspects, and would also go into detail about specific inventions, especially the phonograph and light bulb. That essay could then conclude with an assessing or summing up statement which ties back into the title/opening thesis statement, such as: "With well over a thousand patents for devices used in revolutionize the media, telecommunications, industry, and the medical fields, Thomas Edison truly was a wizard of invention."

 

 

 

And, by the way, the SAT essays are inherently persuasive essays -- the student has to take a position, make a contention (state a point of view), that they will then attempt to persuade the reader to through specific supporting details, examples and facts. Literary (and film) analysis is also a form of persuasive essay -- the writer attempts to show the reader that a particular theme exists in the work by using specific details and examples from the work and shows how those details/examples bring out the particular theme.

 

 

Finally, here is how I like to think of the 4 main types of writing:

 

- Descriptive = describes

Focus = on words, phrases and details that involve most if not all of the 5 senses.

Purpose = to vividly help a reader/listener picture something; to draw in the reader; to help the reader feel as though he/she were experiencing what is being written about.

 

 

- Narrative = narrates

Focus = on story and characters, action/reaction, events/consequences

Purpose = to coherently tell the reader a story

 

 

- Expository = exposes the facts

Focus = facts, examples, and details about the main topic (thesis statement)

Purpose = to inform the reader about a topic through specific details, examples, and facts; to report non-emotionally

 

 

- Persuasive = persuades

Focus = the details, examples and facts that support the writer/speaker's contention or point of view

Purpose = to "win over" the reader/listener; to convince the reader/listener to a certain mindset and/or action

 

 

 

Whew! Now, if I could only figure out how to teach this to my OWN writing-hating DSs! :tongue_smilie: I'm actually considering the Stack the Deck and Fan the Deck writing programs for them this year. I need to get a better look at them to see for sure... Anyways, hope something here was of help! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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Julie,

 

If I am understanding you correctly, your confusion is over the definition of a thesis statement. I require all of my high school essays to have a thesis (or a contention) that they are proving in their essays. It does not mean that they are writing a persuasive essay. It simply means that they have to prove whatever their contention is.

 

A student can not write a "fact" for their thesis statement b/c then there is simply nothing to prove! ;) Even expository writing needs a purpose behind the essay. That overall purpose is their "thesis."

 

ETA: A quick google for the definition of thesis statement came up with: a thesis statement is the key sentence of the student’s paper on the basis of which a research is done and supportive arguments are developed. This link has examples http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/545/01/

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You all have been more than helpful. I wish I weren't so thick-headed. I think I'm straining at gnats here, but let me see if I can adequately describe my confusion.

 

I understand the difference between a persuasive paper and an expository paper -- by definition that is. I also understand what a thesis statement is. My confusion is in the difference between a thesis statement for a persuasive paper and a thesis statement for an expository paper.

 

I read the examples that Momof7 linked and it still appears that the example about college students is an opinion. Maybe the difference is that it isn't trying to get me to actually do anything or change my mind about something. Is that it?

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I've always thought of a thesis statement as a statement of purpose. Again in Write With the Best, a thesis statement is defined as a statement that identifies the main focus and purpose of the written work. A persuasive essay thesis statement is further defined as an arguable statement--one that can be realistically argued, having at least two sides.

 

The thesis statement for Paine's Common Sense is: "I challenge the warmest advocate for reconciliation, to shew, a single advantage that this continent can reap, by being connected with Great Britain."

 

The thesis statement for Bacon's Of Studies is: "Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability."

 

HTH!

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Hey Beth,

 

That does help. I think it's slowly starting to sink in, even though I don't think I can put words to it yet.

 

I appreciate your patience with me.

 

Julie

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I have narrowed down that I need to cover narrative, descriptive, expository, and persuasive. I think I have a handle on all of them except expository. I understand the definition to be writing to explain or define something. My confusion comes in that I ran across some things that say that an expository essay requires a thesis statement.

 

- Descriptive = describes

 

- Narrative = narrates

 

- Expository = exposes the facts

 

- Persuasive = persuades

 

I'm so glad you asked about this...it's stuff I've puzzled about for awhile, too.

 

It seems to me that descriptive, narrative, and expository writing are more fact-based writing skills, but when the student is comfortable with using them, any combination of them can be used to write persuasively from one thesis.

 

?? maybe?

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You all have been more than helpful. I wish I weren't so thick-headed. I think I'm straining at gnats here, but let me see if I can adequately describe my confusion.

 

I understand the difference between a persuasive paper and an expository paper -- by definition that is. I also understand what a thesis statement is. My confusion is in the difference between a thesis statement for a persuasive paper and a thesis statement for an expository paper.

 

I read the examples that Momof7 linked and it still appears that the example about college students is an opinion. Maybe the difference is that it isn't trying to get me to actually do anything or change my mind about something. Is that it?

 

In an expository thesis you state only the facts. You are not trying convince or persuade.

 

Quote:

 

 

"Example of an expository (explanatory) thesis statement:

 

The life of the typical college student is characterized by time spent studying, attending class, and socializing with peers.

 

 

Example of an argumentative thesis statement:

High school graduates should be required to take a year off to pursue community service projects before entering college in order to increase their maturity and global awareness."

 

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/545/01/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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