Expository Writing

[WRITING FOR SCHOOL]

I.  Expository Essays.  Follow these steps.  Yes, you need steps.

Step 1: Articulate your point.  State your message as clear as possible; the clearer, the better.
First, state your point.  It should be phrased so that it is morally compelling, begging your audience’s response.

Step 2: List your points.
Make a list of the points/reasons that you’ll use to support your message.  Remember, your statement is not neutral.  Your reader will have an opinion, often times a strong opinion, for or against your argument and how well your reasons carry your argument from beginning to end.   Some people will want to attack your messages.  That’s okay.  Address their objections in advance.  Your argument will invite opposition.  Your job is to defend your argument against those attacks in advance.

Step 3: Write your points out.  You need to see and hear them.
Third, state the points of your argument in full, complete, and logical sentences. Write a paragraph for each point just to flesh out all of the related ideas to your main one.  Next, check the arrangement or sequence of your ideas to make sure that they flow and lead into solid concluding message.

Step 4: Proof.  You’ll need proof.  Without proof, you have no defense.
Find proof to back up your statements.  Use the Internet.  Simply Google the statements that you wrote in step three.  Proof is essential for anyone to take your writing serious.  Without it your argument becomes just another opinion grabbed from thin air.  You want people to take you seriously?  Get proof.  And explain the importance of your proof.

Step 5: Tone.
Though you are arguing a point with your audience, you don’t have to be argumentative.  Use a tone that sounds helpful or teacher-like.  Or, you can write using a funny or ironic tone or one that is engaging and has your audience laughing and thinking about key points without making light of your topic.

Step 6: Read your paper out loud.
Before you submit your paper for evaluation, you must read your paper out loud.  Reading your paper out loud allows you to hear logical inconsistencies, incorrect sentence structure, erroneous or omitted punctuation.  Reading your paper out loud is extremely beneficial to every writer.

Note: interesting and engaging essays contain commentary or observations about your claims that makes your writing sound like it’s a private but important discussion you’re having with a friend . . . but in writing.  So consider adding brief commentary to your paragraphs.  Do you need more visual guidance on the overall look and structure of your essay?  Try this video.

Your Introduction should sell the benefits of your message.  You have options.
1.  Start with a question.  The question can often be a statement of your main point inverted into a question. One more reminder on the structure of your essay.  Remember, too, that this is an academic assignment.  All essays are not like this.  You might be tasked one day with writing a newspaper article, a press release, or a story.

Pretend that a millionaire’s hands and eyes will be on your paper.  That means that you must take care to make sure that everything is just right.  Spelling must be accurate.  Punctuation has to be exact.  Punctuation serves like stage directions on meaning, so make sure it is accurate.  Ask yourself, too, who your audience is.  If it is your teacher, then write like your life depends on it.  Your teacher can and will make recommendations of you to other people based on your writing.

This is a pretty decent clip on how to write a 5-paragraph essay.

This isn’t bad either:

This is pretty good, too, on writing a hook as the beginning point of your introduction.

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