Axia College Material
Characteristics of the Expository Essay
What Is an Essay?
An essay, or personal-opinion paper, is an important part of your college experience because it requires critical thinking as well as organization and research. Essay is a broad term. Sometimes an essay is just a page long; sometimes, essays are five pages or longer. Essays, however, focus on a single subject and idea. They also have different purposes: to persuade, explain, or entertain.
Consider the following essay titles:
• “Why You Should Never Vote for a Democrat”
• “My Friend Harry Reasoner”
• “Cells Phones: Getting the Most for the Least”
• “Gay Marriage Does Not Hurt ...view middle of the document...
|Literary Analysis |Analyzes one or more parts of a literary piece |“Horse Symbolism in James Joyce’s Novel |
| |or writing |Ulysses” |
|Division |Takes a subject and separates its elements into |“How Parts of a Television are Connected” |
| |smaller pieces to examine the relationships | |
| |between or among the elements | |
|Classification |Separates a large group into smaller groups |“The Wonder of Bears” |
| |based on the specific characteristics of the | |
| |items | |
|Narrative |Retells a story or event |“My Summer Vacation Disaster” |
|Descriptive |Uses sensory details to show exactly how |“The Red Rock Country of Sedona, Arizona” |
| |something feels, looks, smells, and so forth | |
|Definition |Defines or specifies a word or subject |“The Beauty of Greed” |
|Process |Shows how to complete a process, usually in |“Steps to Making the Perfect Pumpkin Pie” |
| |steps | |
For more information and details about the types of essays described above, go to “Types of Essays” at http://hrsbstaff.ednet.ns.ca/engramja/essaytyp.html.
Focusing on the Expository Essay
Expository essays are common college assignments because they build on both critical thinking and research. Therefore, this course focuses on the expository essay—the foundation for all other types of academic writing, including research paper writing.
Originally, the purpose of an expository (explanatory) essay was to explain (“How to Win at Five-Card Draw”, for example). Now, it is a more general term. Characteristics of the expository essay include:
• A defined and narrowed thesis in the introduction
• Evidence, examples, statistics, or facts in each paragraph in the body of the paper to support the thesis
• Information presented fairly and in a...