Difference between Expository & Argumentative Essays
When your teacher tells you to write an ‘expository’ or ‘argumentative’ essay, you might just freak out, clamp up, and say “What does the word expository even mean!?”
Sometimes these words just make it harder to understand what you need to do. So, in this article, I’m going to show you the exact difference between an expository and argumentative essay .
Let’s first look at what each of these essay types are and some examples of essay questions for each. Then, I will present you with a table clearly breaking down the differences into columns.
What is an Expository Essay?
This is the most common form of essay at university level.
‘Expository’ means, simply, to give an explanation of something.
But, it’s not that easy. If you just give a dictionary definition of an idea and move on, you’re not going to get a very good mark. Read on to learn how to get a top mark on an expository essay.
An expository essay presents an informative and balanced exploration of an issue. This type of essay does not require you to take a stance on an issue. Instead, you should present a range of evidence, facts and statistics on a topic.
Your teacher will ask you to write an expository essay in order to prove your deep knowledge and understanding of an issue. This is why these essays are so common at university level.
Let’s say the topic of your course is “Depression amongst Elderly People”. Your teacher will ask you to write an expository essay about depression amongst elderly people not to convince them that it is an issue (they already know that). The teacher just wants you to show-off how deep your knowledge is about the topic.
Therefore, you’re going to want to delve very deeply into the topic and explore some major themes. Here’s some tips the help go deep in your expository essay:
- Get Great Information. Use your lecture notes , assigned readings and readings you find from google scholar to show that you have a very deep and detailed understanding of the issue;
- Compare Ideas. Ensure you present two sides of an argument and compare them. Use critical thinking strategies like pros and cons lists and Venn diagrams to assist you in thinking deeply about the topic;
- Avoid dictionary definitions. Instead, use scholarly definitions from textbooks or journal articles . If there are multiple definitions of a term or topic , compare each of them.
- Be objective. You should avoid using first person language (I, we, us, you, our) and do not take a position on the issue. Your job is to inform, not convince.
The essay question in an expository essay usually asks you to compare, contrast, explain how things work, define concepts, or classify them. Note that it does not ask you to ‘convince’ or ‘take a side’, because all you’re doing is presenting your knowledge in an unbiased manner.
Read Also: What is an Illustration Essay?
Expository Essay Examples
Here is a list of potential expository essay questions:
The ‘How To’ Expository Essay
- Explain how emergency room nurses triage patients based on need.
- Provide a clear explanation of how an internal combustion engine produces motion.
- Explore with evidence how carbon dating approximates the age of the earth.
- Examine, with examples, the ways in which nuclear engineers prevent nuclear meltdowns in power plants.
- Explore how the judicial system is designed to ensure justice is served in western democracies.
- Provide a clear and detailed explanation of how subjective mental health disorders are diagnosed and treated.
- Examine the process behind ensuring the structural integrity of bridges in the United States.
The ‘Classification’ Expository Essay
- What are the major types of rocks within the earth’s crust?
- What are the key fields of study under the broad umbrella of ‘Psychology’?
- Identify and classify the different animal species on earth today.
- What are the five most influential approaches to art theory in European history?
- Explore and explain the different learning styles proposed by Howard Gardner.
- How can the Bristol Stool Chart help to categorize and diagnose illness and disease?
- What are the main categories of financial assets that help produce wealth in Capitalist societies?
The ‘Cause and Effect’ Expository Essay
- How does the cash bail system in the United States disadvantage minorities?
- What are the effects of inserting fluoride into public water systems?
- What are the multiple projected effects of lowering the corporate tax rate?
- What impact does lowering the age of voting have on participatory democracy?
- What are the long-term impacts of the death of a parent when a child is very young?
- What are the impacts of stereotypical gender representations in Disney films?
- How would a carbon tax of $40 a tonne impact the economy?
The Comparative Expository Essay
- Compare modernist and post-modernist approaches to art.
- What are the major differences between socialism and communism?
- What are the key differences between string theory and quantum mechanics?
- Examine the advantages and disadvantages of moving from a manufacturing economy to a services economy.
- Explore the two major competing explanations for the fall of the Soviet Union.
- What are the core differences between Catholicism and Protestantism?
- Compare the healthcare systems of Canada and the United states on the key metrics of value for money, social justice, life expectancy and individual liberty.
The Problem and Solution Expository Essay
- Examine five potential solutions to the problem of automation taking the jobs of truck drivers in the mid-west.
- What solutions are on the horizon for bureaucratic bloat in the European Union?
- What are the three key ways society can overcome resource scarcity in the coming century?
- What are the major viable solutions to the opioid crisis in the United States?
- Which approaches to foreign policy could present a solution to the oppression of women in some East African nations?
- How can society help to increase the democratic participation of children?
- Explore three potential diets that could help prevent diabetes among middle-aged men.
What is an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay is also often called a persuasive essay. Persuasive / argumentative essays take a position on an issue and try to convince their readers to accept your arguments.
In other words, the major difference between expository and argumentative essays is that argumentative essays try to convince, while expository essays do not.
In an argumentative essay you can take a position. You can say things like:
- “This essay will show that the best course of action is…”
- “It is evident that the best course of action is…”
- “The position of this essay is that…”
Argumentative Essay Tip #1: Avoiding Bias
Just because you need to take a position, that doesn’t mean you can be biased in an argumentative essay. ‘Bias’ means to be prejudiced or narrow-mindedly convinced by only one side, despite evidence to the contrary.
To avoid bias in argumentative essay, you need to convince your reader that you have taken a close and open-minded look at the evidence on both sides of an issue, weighed them up, and come to your conclusions based on an informed understanding of all the issues.
Argumentative Essay Tip #2: Going Deep
You should show deep insights into the topic to avoid bias in both expository and argumentative essays. To show an in-depth understanding of the topic in an argumentative essay, you can compare and contrast two ideas and then make a value judgement after showing all sides of the issue.
My favourite approach to help you go deep is to use a pros and cons list for each of the different sides of an argument. You could, for example, brainstorm different perspectives like this:
Here, you can brainstorm a ton of different things to discuss about the topic. Then, once you have shown a thoughtful discussion of both perspectives, you can take an informed position.
Showing deep understanding and comparing perspectives before taking a position makes your argumentative essay … more persuasive !
Argumentative Essay Examples
- Take a position on the argument between raising and lowering taxes on the wealthy.
- What is the best course of action for obtaining peace in Syria?
- Persuade your reader about the importance of decreasing the voting age to 16.
- Take a position on the statement: “There should be more men in nursing.”
- Are current drug laws good or bad for young men of colour?
- Who should be the next nominee for the Supreme Court and why?
- What is the most appropriate management style for improving productivity, health and job satisfaction in your workplace?
- What is the best course of action for decreasing the amount of plastics in the Pacific Ocean?
- Should there be laws mandating the installation of solar panels on all new homes built in California?
- Should GMOs be banned?
- Should there be limits to freedom of speech?
- Should Pluto’s status as a Planet be reinstated?
- How many refugees should the United Kingdom accept per year, and why?
- Convince your reader of the relevance or irrelevance of Freud’s ideas about child development for the 21 st
- Should financial advisors be forced to take a course on ethics before taking clients?
- After weighing up the benefits and negatives of the issue, take an issue on whether we should colonize Mars.
What’s the difference between Argumentative and Expository Essays?
Now, let’s take a look at a summary of the key differences and similarities between expository and argumentative essays:
As you can see, there are more similarities between an argumentative and persuasive essay than differences. Remember, your argumentative essay and expository essay both provide in-depth, balanced information on the topic. However, the argumentative essay goes one step further and lets you take a personal position on the issue once you have presented the key information.
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Expository vs Argumentative Essay: What are the Differences?
by Antony W
November 2, 2021
One of the most commonly asked questions about essay writing is on the differences and similarity between expository essay vs argumentative essay.
While they both have some common elements, the two essays have a number of attributes that set them far apart.
That’s what we’re going to look at in this guide. Before we get deeper into the topic, let’s first make sure you understand, in summary, what each type of these essays focus on.
What is the Focus Angle of an Expository Essay?
If asked to write an expository essay, your focus angle will be to explain a subject in a clear and concise manner. Unlike with an argumentative essay, an expository assignment doesn’t have to make an argument.
However, you have to be as objective as possible in your approach to writing, while making sure you present a balance exploration of a topic.
In expository essay writing, students shouldn’t take a position on an issue. Rather, your writing needs to include a set of evidence, facts, and statistics for the entire topic.
More often than not, your instructor will ask you to write this type of essay primarily to test your knowledge and understanding of a given issue, which explains why they are a lot more common in the universities than argumentative essays are.
If you check the prompt of an expository essay, part of the instruction will ask you to classify concepts, compare and contrast a subject, explain how something works, or simply give a clear definition and explanation.
Notice here that you don’t have a room to take a side and therefore you shouldn’t try to convince your audience on anything.
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What is the Focus Angle of an Argumentative Essay?
The focus of an argumentative essay is to make a claim and give an original argument based on a given subject.
You will have to do a lot of independent research to come up with a claim. Besides making a strong claim in the thesis statement of your argument , you will have to provide objective, statistical, and factual evidence to defend your position.
While the length of an argument writing tends to vary depending on the topic, the essay will be longer than an expository. Your primary goal with this assignment is to try to convince your audience that your side of an issue is the correct one so that they can agree with you even if they initially hadn’t.
When it comes to writing an argumentative essay , the number one mistake you need to avoid is being biased.
Keep in mind that while you have taken a position and you’re willing and able to convince your readers that your position on an issue is the correct one, it doesn’t mean the other side is wrong.
If you make your entire essay look so, you end up portraying yourself as prejudiced and narrow-minded. But this is something you can avoid. You do that by including counterclaims in the persuasion, so you show that you have looked at both sides of an issue before arriving to your conclusion.
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Now that you know the focus angle of an argumentative and expository essay, it’s time to look at how the two differ from each other. Knowing the difference will enable you to handle each assignment with the right approach.
Expository vs Argumentative Essay: Arguments
An expository essay doesn’t require you to make a value judgment. As such, the essay shouldn’t reflect a personal position on an issue in question.
On the other hand, an argumentative essay requires that you take a personal position on an issue and then use reasonable evidence and arguments to convince an audience that your stand on a subject is the right one. It’s here that you can even make valuable judgments.
Expository vs Argumentative Essay: Writing
These two essays even differ in terms of writing, so it’s important to know the rules to get the writing concept right.
When it comes to writing an expository essay, the general rule of thumb is that you should use third person pronoun.
Also, you need to analyze an issue in question in-depth and then look at the topic from all the possible angles. In other words, instead of being taking a side, look at the issue from multiple perspective.
It’s different with an argumentative essay. Sometimes your professor may instruct you to use a first person language.
An argumentative essay also requires you to look at an issue in-depth and explore it on multiple perspective.
However, you eventually do have to take a position which you feel the most appropriate for the subject and then support your stand with reasonable, objective evidence.
Expository vs Argumentative Essay: What are the Similarities?
There are some similarities between argumentative and expository essays that we’d like you to know before you start writing either assignment.
Frist, both essays must have an introduction, which should include a thesis statement, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Make sure that every paragraph covers one primary idea, each starting with a topic sentence and ending with a strong closing link.
Second, your essay should include referencing to back any point that you make in the assignment. You can learn more about sources and citations .
Third, an important rule to observe when writing either essay is to make sure you refrain from using subheadings in the essay. This is something you shouldn’t even do in the first place.
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You now know the difference between an argumentative essay and an expository essay. And you can comfortably write either assignment given that you have all the knowledge and resources to do so.
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About the author
Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.
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The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.
What is an expository essay?
The expository essay is a genre of essay that requires the student to investigate an idea, evaluate evidence, expound on the idea, and set forth an argument concerning that idea in a clear and concise manner. This can be accomplished through comparison and contrast, definition, example, the analysis of cause and effect, etc.
Please note : This genre is commonly assigned as a tool for classroom evaluation and is often found in various exam formats.
The structure of the expository essay is held together by the following.
- A clear, concise, and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay.
It is essential that this thesis statement be appropriately narrowed to follow the guidelines set forth in the assignment. If the student does not master this portion of the essay, it will be quite difficult to compose an effective or persuasive essay.
- Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion.
Transitions are the mortar that holds the foundation of the essay together. Without logical progression of thought, the reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument, and the structure will collapse.
- Body paragraphs that include evidential support.
Each paragraph should be limited to the exposition of one general idea. This will allow for clarity and direction throughout the essay. What is more, such conciseness creates an ease of readability for one’s audience. It is important to note that each paragraph in the body of the essay must have some logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph.
- Evidential support (whether factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal).
Often times, students are required to write expository essays with little or no preparation; therefore, such essays do not typically allow for a great deal of statistical or factual evidence.
- A bit of creativity!
Though creativity and artfulness are not always associated with essay writing, it is an art form nonetheless. Try not to get stuck on the formulaic nature of expository writing at the expense of writing something interesting. Remember, though you may not be crafting the next great novel, you are attempting to leave a lasting impression on the people evaluating your essay.
- A conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided.
It is at this point of the essay that students will inevitably begin to struggle. This is the portion of the essay that will leave the most immediate impression on the mind of the reader. Therefore, it must be effective and logical. Do not introduce any new information into the conclusion; rather, synthesize and come to a conclusion concerning the information presented in the body of the essay.
A complete argument
Perhaps it is helpful to think of an essay in terms of a conversation or debate with a classmate. If I were to discuss the cause of the Great Depression and its current effect on those who lived through the tumultuous time, there would be a beginning, middle, and end to the conversation. In fact, if I were to end the exposition in the middle of my second point, questions would arise concerning the current effects on those who lived through the Depression. Therefore, the expository essay must be complete, and logically so, leaving no doubt as to its intent or argument.
The five-paragraph Essay
A common method for writing an expository essay is the five-paragraph approach. This is, however, by no means the only formula for writing such essays. If it sounds straightforward, that is because it is; in fact, the method consists of:
- an introductory paragraph
- three evidentiary body paragraphs
- a conclusion
Home » Language » English Language » Difference Between Argumentative and Expository Essay
Difference Between Argumentative and Expository Essay
Main difference – argumentative vs expository essay.
Argumentative essay and Expository Essay are two types of essays that deal with facts and information. The main difference between Argumentative essay and expository essay is that Argumentative essay is a genre of writing that attempts to convince the reader to accept writer’s point of view while expository essay is a genre of writing that provide information and explanations in a straightforward manner to the readers .
What is an Expository Essay
Expository Essay is a type of writing that evaluates and explains a certain issue or a topic. A writer should always maintain an objective, neutral tone throughout the essay. In this type of an essay, the writer should refrain from pointing out his personal ideas and beliefs. The structure of an expository essay includes an introduction containing a thesis/opening statement, a body that contains sufficient facts, information to cover the topic and a conclusion that briefly summarizes all the points explained in the body. Some expository essay topics include, ” The role of social media in contemporary society”,”Causes for Global Warming”, “Analysis of a piece of literature,” “The economic growth of the country in the last 10 years.”
What is an Argumentative Essay
An Argumentative Essay is a type of writing in which the writer attempts to convince his audience that his argument is valid. An argumentative essay contains a combination of facts and writer’s personal ideas. A writer preparing to start an argumentative essay have to do a lot of research and gather evidence to prove as well as to defend his point. An argumentative essay is biased and subjective, although the writer has to be aware of the opposing views on the subject. This type of essay appeals to the logic and the reasoning. Examples for some argumentative essays are “Should English be the official language in the United States?”, “Is dieting useless ?” ,”Should cigarettes be banned from the society?” etc.
The main difference between argumentative and expository essay is that an expository essay contains only information, explaining the topic, whereas an argumentative essay contains statistics, facts and writer’s personal ideas. Another vital difference between argumentative and expository essay is that an expository essay always give a balanced account of a subject while an argumentative essay may be unbiased and subjective. First person point of view is usually used in an argumentative essay (I strongly believe, In my opinion, I do not agree with…, etc.) while, in an expository essay, third person narration is preferred. It should be also noted that an argumentative essay can contain elements of an expository essay, as argumentative essays also state explanations and information. Another central difference between argumentative and expository essay can be noted in the opening sentence in the essay; the opening sentence in an argumentative essay states the argument, and the opening line in an expository essay introduces the topic.
What are the Types of Essays
How to write an essay.
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Expository Essay vs. Argumentative Essay: Similarities and Differences
Expository and argumentative essays involve research, strong thesis statements, factual body paragraphs, and well-thought-out conclusions. And when asked to write an expository essay, the key is to thoroughly understand the topic and research to inform the readers of new information.
But while the two writing pieces are similar in the work that creates them, they differ extensively in many other aspects. Their differences are diverse, and without proper scrutiny, it is possible not to tell these essays apart.
Conversely, expository essays provide coherent information and explanations about a specific issue. On the other hand, argumentative essays aim to convince readers the writer’s point of view is correct and for them to agree with you.
The definitions provide a clear path for their distinction such that you can easily tell them apart. But overall, the main difference can be seen in their names. One exposes an issue, while the other provides for an adoption of a specific position.
Let us now look at the expository essay vs. argumentative essay analysis to help you understand them better.
What Is an Expository Essay?
An expository essay is a type of writing that explains, describes, or illustrates something. It is not a persuasive essay and does not have a specific purpose other than to explain something in detail. It’s not a research paper, although it requires some research, and the information generated gives the reader information on a particular topic.
These essays can be written about anything from the history of your town to how to bake bread. They are used in many academic disciplines, including science, business, and social sciences. Their purpose is to inform the reader about something rather than persuade them to do something.
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In addition, an expository essay provides facts and evidence rather than opinion or conjecture. It should also be objective and neutral rather than subjective in its approach. Despite these essays aiming to educate readers, they also offer an opportunity for a writer to show their subject mastery. However, as mentioned, you should not show bias in the information you portray.
Expository essays classification
Compare and contrast.
These essays entail analyzing similarities and differences between a topic or issue
This essay type involves defining a concept through facts and figures.
They describe a step-by-step guide on how to do something or a particular procedure.
are those describing things in a category.
Cause and effect
These essays show how and why something occurs due to a previous action.
What Is an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay is a kind of academic writing that requires an author to develop a position on a specific topic. This type of paper aims to convince the reader that your point of view is correct based on your provided evidence.
Ideally, you take a side and defend it by presenting evidence. The most important thing about an argumentative essay is that it is not just a story or narrative but an explanation of why you believe certain things. It is also not merely stating your opinion but proving your point with facts and evidence.
Also see: How Do You Write a Toulmin Argumentative Essay
Additionally, an argumentative essay should be clear and concise. It should also be organized logically and clearly with an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. The introduction states the main idea of the essay as well as gives some background information related to the topic being discussed.
The body paragraphs explain why you believe your thesis statement to be accurate, using evidence from your research sources. Each paragraph should have its topic sentence that clearly states what you are trying to prove with each paragraph.
Similarly, the final paragraph should summarize your points and restate your thesis statement to leave your reader with a lasting impression of what you have said throughout the essay.
These essays have three main ways to write them;
- You can argue in favor of something (pro)
- You can argue against something (con)
- You can argue for two sides at once (both pro and con)
What is the Difference Between Expository and Argumentative Essays?
An expository essay is a writing piece that explains some idea or concept. It is not an opinion piece but rather a piece that presents information clearly and concisely. For example, if you were to write about the history of Western culture, your goal would be to give information about this topic without bias or prejudice.
On the other hand, an argumentative essay presents its point of view on a particular topic. It does not present facts but offers opinions on how things should be done by giving evidence supporting their position.
For instance, if asked to write about whether or not children should be allowed to play football, you would write about why it is good for them or bad for them based on your beliefs and research.
Both essays vastly differ in purpose. The primary purpose of an expository essay is to explain something, such as a concept or theory. You can also use an expository essay to describe a situation or event in detail. In either case, the purpose of an expository essay is not to persuade people to agree with you. It’s simply to inform them about something they don’t know much about.
In contrast, the purpose of an argumentative essay is to prove why you’re right. For example, if there is an article describing cats as better pets than dogs, you could write an argumentative essay about why dogs are better than cats. Your goal would be to convince your reader that dogs are better than cats as pets by using evidence from personal experience and research findings.
Thesis statements are the backbone of an essay and offer a clear direction for the rest of your paper. It also helps you to organize your thoughts and decide what points to include in the body paragraphs.
An expository essay’s thesis statement introduces the topic broadly and generally but specifically to serve as a starting point for further research. For example, an expository essay on the history of the automobile industry could begin with a broad statement like “The automobile industry has changed significantly over time.” This statement allows you to explore many aspects of car manufacturing, including technological changes, manufacturing processes, and marketing strategies.
On the other hand, an argumentative essay’s thesis statement comes in the form of stating your argument. It gives your readers a clear idea about which side of an issue you will take and how you will argue for that position. For example, if you are writing about whether or not gun control laws should be stricter, your thesis might look like this, “Gun control laws should be stricter because they help prevent crime.”
Point of View
In an expository essay, a writer explains a concept or idea in detail, providing evidence and examples to support the position taken. An argumentative essay, on the other hand, presents an opinion or position on a topic and supports it with evidence and reasoning.
With these different purposes, their viewpoints are also different. Expository essays typically use a third-person point of view (he/she) because they are factual and objective rather than personal. Argumentative essays often use the first-person point of view (I) because they are personal interpretations of events or issues rather than objective descriptions.
Further, expository essays are usually non-biased because the writer neutrally provides information without any emotional attachment aiming to inform or explain.
On the other hand, argumentative essays try to persuade the readers about their point of view by using facts and logical reasoning. Thus they are biased and subjective.
The Opening Line
The opening line of an expository essay is a general statement about your topic and presents your case. For example, if you’re writing about the history of baseball, you might write: “Baseball has been played in America since the nineteenth century.”
On the other hand, the opening line in an argumentative essay introduces your topic. For example, if you’re writing about whether or not schools should have dress codes for male students who wear athletic shorts and tank tops, your first sentence might be, “Dress codes are necessary to ensure school safety.”
An argumentative essay also uses logical, emotional, and ethical appeals. These appeal to logic, emotion, and ethics to persuade readers that your position is correct. On the other hand, an expository is devoid of such appeals.
The two essays differ in judgment emanating from their purposes. An expository essay does not give any decision because it aims to inform. But an argumentative ends by challenging or asking readers to agree with the writer’s position based on the reasons given.
In a nutshell, an expository essay summarizes the information provided by a factual source or source material. An argumentative essay, on the other hand, bases its claims on evidence and asserts the truth value of that position. It is worth noting here, though, that both essays rely on facts to prove the point the writer wants to make.
And with that, we know you can now clearly differentiate between the two essays.
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Expository Thesis Statements vs. Argumentative Thesis Statements
Fleming, Grace. “How to Write a Solid Thesis Statement.” ThoughtCo, Feb. 11, 2020, thoughtco.com/thesis-statement-examples-and-instruction-1857566.
A thesis statement provides the foundation for your entire research paper or essay. This statement is the central assertion that you want to express in your essay. A successful thesis statement is one that is made up of one or two sentences clearly laying out your central idea and expressing an informed, reasoned answer to your research question.
Usually, the thesis statement will appear at the end of the first paragraph of your paper. There are a few different types, and the content of your thesis statement will depend upon the type of paper you’re writing.
Key Takeaways: Writing a Thesis Statement
- A thesis statement gives your reader a preview of your paper’s content by laying out your central idea and expressing an informed, reasoned answer to your research question.
- Thesis statements will vary depending on the type of paper you are writing, such as an expository essay, argument paper, or analytical essay.
- Before creating a thesis statement, determine whether you are defending a stance, giving an overview of an event, object, or process, or analyzing your subject
Expository Essay Thesis Statement Examples
An expository essay “exposes” the reader to a new topic; it informs the reader with details, descriptions, or explanations of a subject. If you are writing an expository essay , your thesis statement should explain to the reader what she will learn in your essay. For example:
- The United States spends more money on its military budget than all the industrialized nations combined.
- Gun-related homicides and suicides are increasing after years of decline.
- Hate crimes have increased three years in a row, according to the FBI.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) increases the risk of stroke and arterial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat).
These statements provide a statement of fact about the topic (not just opinion) but leave the door open for you to elaborate with plenty of details. In an expository essay, you don’t need to develop an argument or prove anything; you only need to understand your topic and present it in a logical manner. A good thesis statement in an expository essay always leaves the reader wanting more details.
Types of Thesis Statements
Before creating a thesis statement, it’s important to ask a few basic questions, which will help you determine the kind of essay or paper you plan to create:
- Are you defending a stance in a controversial essay ?
- Are you simply giving an overview or describing an event, object, or process?
- Are you conducting an analysis of an event, object, or process?
In every thesis statement , you will give the reader a preview of your paper’s content, but the message will differ a little depending on the essay type .
Argument Thesis Statement Examples
If you have been instructed to take a stance on one side of a controversial issue, you will need to write an argument essay . Your thesis statement should express the stance you are taking and may give the reader a preview or a hint of your evidence. The thesis of an argument essay could look something like the following:
- Self-driving cars are too dangerous and should be banned from the roadways.
- The exploration of outer space is a waste of money; instead, funds should go toward solving issues on Earth, such as poverty, hunger, global warming, and traffic congestion.
- The U.S. must crack down on illegal immigration.
- Street cameras and street-view maps have led to a total loss of privacy in the United States and elsewhere.
These thesis statements are effective because they offer opinions that can be supported by evidence. If you are writing an argument essay, you can craft your own thesis around the structure of the statements above.
Analytical Essay Thesis Statement Examples
In an analytical essay assignment, you will be expected to break down a topic, process, or object in order to observe and analyze your subject piece by piece. Examples of a thesis statement for an analytical essay include:
- The criminal justice reform bill passed by the U.S. Senate in late 2018 (“ The First Step Act “) aims to reduce prison sentences that disproportionately fall on nonwhite criminal defendants.
- The rise in populism and nationalism in the U.S. and European democracies has coincided with the decline of moderate and centrist parties that have dominated since WWII.
- Later-start school days increase student success for a variety of reasons.
Because the role of the thesis statement is to state the central message of your entire paper, it is important to revisit (and maybe rewrite) your thesis statement after the paper is written. In fact, it is quite normal for your message to change as you construct your paper.
This video covers: • Review of Expository Essays and Elements • What a Thesis is • Important parts of a Thesis • Tips for writing a quality thesis
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- How to write an argumentative essay | Examples & tips
How to Write an Argumentative Essay | Examples & Tips
Published on July 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.
An argumentative essay expresses an extended argument for a particular thesis statement . The author takes a clearly defined stance on their subject and builds up an evidence-based case for it.
Table of contents
When do you write an argumentative essay, approaches to argumentative essays, introducing your argument, the body: developing your argument, concluding your argument, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about argumentative essays.
You might be assigned an argumentative essay as a writing exercise in high school or in a composition class. The prompt will often ask you to argue for one of two positions, and may include terms like “argue” or “argument.” It will frequently take the form of a question.
The prompt may also be more open-ended in terms of the possible arguments you could make.
Argumentative writing at college level
At university, the vast majority of essays or papers you write will involve some form of argumentation. For example, both rhetorical analysis and literary analysis essays involve making arguments about texts.
In this context, you won’t necessarily be told to write an argumentative essay—but making an evidence-based argument is an essential goal of most academic writing, and this should be your default approach unless you’re told otherwise.
Examples of argumentative essay prompts
At a university level, all the prompts below imply an argumentative essay as the appropriate response.
Your research should lead you to develop a specific position on the topic. The essay then argues for that position and aims to convince the reader by presenting your evidence, evaluation and analysis.
- Don’t just list all the effects you can think of.
- Do develop a focused argument about the overall effect and why it matters, backed up by evidence from sources.
- Don’t just provide a selection of data on the measures’ effectiveness.
- Do build up your own argument about which kinds of measures have been most or least effective, and why.
- Don’t just analyze a random selection of doppelgänger characters.
- Do form an argument about specific texts, comparing and contrasting how they express their thematic concerns through doppelgänger characters.
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An argumentative essay should be objective in its approach; your arguments should rely on logic and evidence, not on exaggeration or appeals to emotion.
There are many possible approaches to argumentative essays, but there are two common models that can help you start outlining your arguments: The Toulmin model and the Rogerian model.
The Toulmin model consists of four steps, which may be repeated as many times as necessary for the argument:
- Make a claim
- Provide the grounds (evidence) for the claim
- Explain the warrant (how the grounds support the claim)
- Discuss possible rebuttals to the claim, identifying the limits of the argument and showing that you have considered alternative perspectives
The Toulmin model is a common approach in academic essays. You don’t have to use these specific terms (grounds, warrants, rebuttals), but establishing a clear connection between your claims and the evidence supporting them is crucial in an argumentative essay.
Say you’re making an argument about the effectiveness of workplace anti-discrimination measures. You might:
- Claim that unconscious bias training does not have the desired results, and resources would be better spent on other approaches
- Cite data to support your claim
- Explain how the data indicates that the method is ineffective
- Anticipate objections to your claim based on other data, indicating whether these objections are valid, and if not, why not.
The Rogerian model also consists of four steps you might repeat throughout your essay:
- Discuss what the opposing position gets right and why people might hold this position
- Highlight the problems with this position
- Present your own position , showing how it addresses these problems
- Suggest a possible compromise —what elements of your position would proponents of the opposing position benefit from adopting?
This model builds up a clear picture of both sides of an argument and seeks a compromise. It is particularly useful when people tend to disagree strongly on the issue discussed, allowing you to approach opposing arguments in good faith.
Say you want to argue that the internet has had a positive impact on education. You might:
- Acknowledge that students rely too much on websites like Wikipedia
- Argue that teachers view Wikipedia as more unreliable than it really is
- Suggest that Wikipedia’s system of citations can actually teach students about referencing
- Suggest critical engagement with Wikipedia as a possible assignment for teachers who are skeptical of its usefulness.
You don’t necessarily have to pick one of these models—you may even use elements of both in different parts of your essay—but it’s worth considering them if you struggle to structure your arguments.
Regardless of which approach you take, your essay should always be structured using an introduction , a body , and a conclusion .
Like other academic essays, an argumentative essay begins with an introduction . The introduction serves to capture the reader’s interest, provide background information, present your thesis statement , and (in longer essays) to summarize the structure of the body.
Hover over different parts of the example below to see how a typical introduction works.
The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.
The body of an argumentative essay is where you develop your arguments in detail. Here you’ll present evidence, analysis, and reasoning to convince the reader that your thesis statement is true.
In the standard five-paragraph format for short essays, the body takes up three of your five paragraphs. In longer essays, it will be more paragraphs, and might be divided into sections with headings.
Each paragraph covers its own topic, introduced with a topic sentence . Each of these topics must contribute to your overall argument; don’t include irrelevant information.
This example paragraph takes a Rogerian approach: It first acknowledges the merits of the opposing position and then highlights problems with that position.
Hover over different parts of the example to see how a body paragraph is constructed.
A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.
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An argumentative essay ends with a conclusion that summarizes and reflects on the arguments made in the body.
No new arguments or evidence appear here, but in longer essays you may discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your argument and suggest topics for future research. In all conclusions, you should stress the relevance and importance of your argument.
Hover over the following example to see the typical elements of a conclusion.
The internet has had a major positive impact on the world of education; occasional pitfalls aside, its value is evident in numerous applications. The future of teaching lies in the possibilities the internet opens up for communication, research, and interactivity. As the popularity of distance learning shows, students value the flexibility and accessibility offered by digital education, and educators should fully embrace these advantages. The internet’s dangers, real and imaginary, have been documented exhaustively by skeptics, but the internet is here to stay; it is time to focus seriously on its potential for good.
If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!
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An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.
An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.
At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).
Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.
The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .
The majority of the essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Unless otherwise specified, you can assume that the goal of any essay you’re asked to write is argumentative: To convince the reader of your position using evidence and reasoning.
In composition classes you might be given assignments that specifically test your ability to write an argumentative essay. Look out for prompts including instructions like “argue,” “assess,” or “discuss” to see if this is the goal.
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Purdue Owl - Organizing Your Expository/Persuasive Essay
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Organizing You Expository/Persuasive Essay
How can I effectively present my argument?
Use an organizational structure that arranges the argument in a way that will make sense to the reader. The Toulmin Method of logic is a common and easy to use formula for organizing an argument.
The basic format for the Toulmin Method is as follows:
Claim: The overall thesis the writer will argue for.
Data: Evidence gathered to support the claim.
Warrant (also referred to as a bridge): Explanation of why or how the data supports the claim, the underlying assumption that connects your data to your claim.
Backing (also referred to as the foundation): Additional logic or reasoning that may be necessary to support the warrant.
Counterclaim: A claim that negates or disagrees with the thesis/claim.
Rebuttal: Evidence that negates or disagrees with the counterclaim.
Including a well thought out warrant or bridge is essential to writing a good argumentative essay or paper. If you present data to your audience without explaining how it supports your thesis they may not make a connection between the two or they may draw different conclusions.
Don't avoid the opposing side of an argument. Instead, include the opposing side as a counterclaim. Find out what the other side is saying and respond to it within your own argument. This is important so that the audience is not swayed by weak, but unrefuted, arguments. Including counterclaims allows you to find common ground with more of your readers. It also makes you look more credible because you appear to be knowledgeable about the entirety of the debate rather than just being biased or uniformed. You may want to include several counterclaims to show that you have thoroughly researched the topic.
Claim: Hybrid cars are an effective strategy to fight pollution.
Data1: Driving a private car is a typical citizen's most air polluting activity.
Warrant 1: Because cars are the largest source of private, as opposed to industry produced, air pollution switching to hybrid cars should have an impact on fighting pollution.
Data 2: Each vehicle produced is going to stay on the road for roughly 12 to 15 years.
Warrant 2: Cars generally have a long lifespan, meaning that a decision to switch to a hybrid car will make a long-term impact on pollution levels.
Data 3: Hybrid cars combine a gasoline engine with a battery-powered electric motor.
Warrant 3: This combination of technologies means that less pollution is produced. According to ineedtoknow.org "the hybrid engine of the Prius, made by Toyota, produces 90 percent fewer harmful emissions than a comparable gasoline engine."
Counterclaim: Instead of focusing on cars, which still encourages a culture of driving even if it cuts down on pollution, the nation should focus on building and encouraging use of mass transit systems.
Rebuttal: While mass transit is an environmentally sound idea that should be encouraged, it is not feasible in many rural and suburban areas, or for people who must commute to work; thus hybrid cars
Additional Information on Organization and Content of the Expository/Persuasive Essay from Other Areas of Purdue OWL
The structure of the argumentative/expository/persuasive essay is held together by the following:
A clear, concise, and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay.
In the first paragraph of an argument essay, students should set the context by reviewing the topic in a general way. Next the author should explain why the topic is important (exigence) or why readers should care about the issue. Lastly, students should present the thesis statement. It is essential that this thesis statement be appropriately narrowed to follow the guidelines set forth in the assignment. If the student does not master this portion of the essay, it will be quite difficult to compose an effective or persuasive essay.
Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion.
Transitions are the mortar that holds the foundation of the essay together. Without logical progression of thought, the reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument, and the structure will collapse. Transitions should wrap up the idea from the previous section and introduce the idea that is to follow in the next section.
Body paragraphs that include evidential support.
Each paragraph should be limited to the discussion of one general idea. This will allow for clarity and direction throughout the essay. In addition, such conciseness creates an ease of readability for one’s audience. It is important to note that each paragraph in the body of the essay must have some logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph. Some paragraphs will directly support the thesis statement with evidence collected during research. It is also important to explain how and why the evidence supports the thesis (warrant).
However, argumentative/expository/persuasive essays should also consider and explain differing points of view regarding the topic. Depending on the length of the assignment, students should dedicate one or two paragraphs of the essay to discussing conflicting opinions on the topic. Rather than explaining how these differing opinions are wrong outright, students should note how opinions that do not align with their thesis might not be well informed or how they might be out of date.
A conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided.
It is at this point of the essay that students may begin to struggle. This is the portion of the essay that will leave the most immediate impression on the mind of the reader. Therefore, it must be effective and logical. Do not introduce any new information into the conclusion; rather, synthesize the information presented in the body of the essay. Restate why the topic is important, review the main points, and review your thesis.
A Complete Argument
Perhaps it is helpful to think of an essay in terms of a conversation or debate with a classmate. If I were to discuss the cause of World War II and its current effect on those who lived through the tumultuous time, there would be a beginning, middle, and end to the conversation. In fact, if I were to end the argument in the middle of my second point, questions would arise concerning the current effects on those who lived through the conflict. Therefore, the argumentative essay must be complete, and logically so, leaving no doubt as to its intent or argument.
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Expository Essay Vs Argumentative Essay
Table of Contents
Objectivity vs. subjectivity.
If there is one major difference between argumentative and expository essays, it is that the former is subjective whereas the latter is objective to its core. But this will be at the cost of oversimplification. As a student, you will not be able to write good argumentative and expository essays based on this piece of information.
The change in approach transcends the premise and is incorporated in the major sections and elements of the respective essays. This resource aims to help students understand the differences at both theoretical levels. This will help you in translating your knowledge into exceptional essays without spending too much time with unknown variables.
We will cover each essay type in depth, one by one, and then share some common tips to write excellent argumentative and expository essays.
Definition of Expository Essay
It is not hard to define expository essays now that we have set the tone in the opening. For the uninitiated, an expository essay is about conveying factual information to the readers without being opinionated and suggestive. This is one of the hallmarks of these types of essays. They follow a clear structure and formatting so that readers can understand the arguments and the supporting evidence following them. Based on the topic demands and scope, there are many types of expository essays. The most common ones include classification essays, definition essays, process essays, compare and contrast essays, and so on. Writers use the main body section to provide actionable information to the readers so that they can reach a predictable conclusion in real life. That’s why newspaper stories, how-to articles, and manuals are written in expository format.
Characteristics of Expository Essays
To better understand the nature of expository essays in a vacuum and concerning argumentative essays, we will take a look at some of their characteristics. Students should keep in mind that this is what makes the whole difference. If an expository essay is missing a crucial element, it can be anything but an expository essay.
With that thought in mind, let us dive into this.
Objective Approach Toward The Subject
One of the major hallmarks of expository essays is their inherent objectivity toward the subject matter. Where narrative essays can be extremely subjective, to a point of unreliability, and descriptive essays can be over the top, expository essays treat the subject with utmost objectivity. That’s why the information is always crisp and the points raised by the authors are backed by references from credible sources. For instance, if the topic is about different types of CPUs, the author would not care about his preferences and inclinations but keep the contents of the essay to facts only.
Unbiased Voice And Tone
Not only the language but the intent behind those words is reflected through the language. In the case of expository essays, the writers can’t provide suggestions, comments, and opinions in a biased tone and voice. When we compare this with other essay types, including argumentative essays, they can be charged and lean toward personal likes and dislikes.
That’s why students cannot use any suggestive comments in an expository essay because it will not help the case and turn the essay into something else. An unbiased voice and tone is the key to acing expository essays and adding a command to the actionable contents.
Factual Information With Evidence
Narrative essays can have details and riddles for the readers to solve to understand the key message. Similarly, descriptive essay writers can dabble in flowery prose and leave the readers with enough to figure out on their own. This is not the case with expository essays. The bulk of the essay is its main body. That section of expository essays is dedicated to providing factual information that readers can rely on. Everything is backed by empirical evidence, such as references and citations from credible sources. That’s why newspaper stories, manuals, and how-to articles follow the expository format.
Structure And Organization
This is another hallmark of expository essays that helps them stand out from the rest of the types. There is room for chaos and disorganization in essays like narrative and descriptive because it can add to the character and potency of the story. But it is not acceptable in expository writing. Whatever structure a writer deems fit, there should be one.
The most common is a chain structure where each argument or reason is followed by evidence or effect. But writers can also use the block method where they list all the reasons in one go and then explore their effects separately.
Definition of Argumentative Essay
Argumentative essays, also called persuasive essays, can be the true antithesis of expository essays when it comes to a writer’s stance and arguments. One of the major differences between the two types of essays is their approach toward the subject, as discussed in the opening paragraph.
Persuasive essays are supposed to be charged with emotions and personal biases. But it is upon writers to provide the necessary evidence to back up their claims. The purpose behind writing argumentative essays is to convince or persuade the readers, hence the name persuasive essays.
These essays also follow the structure but it is less brittle and more flexible compared to expository essays. It also follows a single argument throughout the essay and provides the necessary evidence to back up the claims.
Characteristics of Argumentative Essays
Argumentative essays are among the common types of essays that are written by students in schools and colleges. Instructors gauge their research, writing, and thinking abilities by providing them with topics that require opinion-making.
Writers need to take a stance early on and show the readers their take. In the main body, it is necessary to cover the arguments with quotes and references from reliable texts and personnel.
The characteristics of argumentative essays are discussed in the section below.
Personal Opinions With Evidential Support
This is the thing that makes or breaks an essay for the readers since the biases and personal likes and dislikes are commanding everything else. The writer is tasked to state his personal opinions and beliefs academically. Then, these should be backed up by evidential support so that readers can make up their minds about whether they want to accept the argument or reject it. Whatever the result, the writer has to provide the basis for the claims.
Emotionally-Charged Language And Tone
Argumentative essays are called persuasive essays for a reason. The language of these essays differs from expository essays on many levels. Where objectivity and unbiased tone are the currency in expository essays, writers need to suggest and comment on developments to help readers see their side. Also, they can employ literary devices and techniques such as similes, metaphors, and so on to make a point for the readers. By keeping the primary purpose in mind, writers can do a lot!
Reasonable Transitions Among Different Sections
In an expository essay, there is usually more than one argument to make for the writer, and then provide support for each. That is not the case with argumentative essays. Writers pick up an argument and then provide multiple supporting pieces of evidence to get the readers on their sides. To carry a single argument across different sections lines, it is necessary to compose logical and exceptional transitions. These are necessary for other essays too but they play a key role in these essays.
A Clear Thesis Statement In the Opening Paragraph
Since writers are tasked to take a side, it is best to take one as soon as possible. The best way to provide a clear stance to the readers is through a thesis statement. A thesis statement is the essence of the main idea or theme of the essay.
It comes in the introduction, usually in its closing lines to bridge the introduction with the main body. A thesis statement can be the part and parcel of the argumentative essay.
Tips To Write Exceptional Argumentative And Expository Essays
Narrative and descriptive essays can be written from the sheer power of imagination and memories but that is not the case with argumentative and expository essays. They require extensive research and outlining so that writers can set up a course in the beginning. This will help them with the conclusion and how all things unfold in the meantime. There is no foul in writing intuitively but it can lead to frustration and writer’s block.
The whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts when each part is true to its purpose. Argumentative and expository essays share the same structure, so the aim for each section in these essays is well-defined according to the topic and the type of the essay. So, the introduction is there to introduce and provide context to the thesis statement. The main body covers the main arguments and their pieces of evidence. The conclusion concludes the whole essay.
Many students believe that their work is finished the moment they complete the initial write-up. This is not true because it will have a lot of errors and inconsistencies, including grammatical, contextual, and syntactical. It is the writer’s job to edit and proofread extensively and ensure that the final copy is free of all errors. They can use automated tools to make this process quick and efficient. Whatever way they want to pursue this part, the end product should be error-free.
What are the differences between argumentative and persuasive essays?
Argumentative and persuasive essays are different names of the same type of essay. These essays are about taking a stance and then providing the necessary evidence to make them stick in readers’ minds.
Can I use sentimental language and approach in an argumentative essay?
Yes, you can. Argumentative essays are about persuading readers and making them see the side of the author. If this takes charged language and biased tone and voice, then writers can employ them for their benefit.
What is the major difference between argumentative and expository essays?
The major difference between argumentative and expository essays is the approach toward the subject. Expository essays are about being objective and unbiased in stance and presentation. Whereas argumentative essays can be sentimentally charged and emotional to appeal to the readers.
How do different sections work in expository essay writing?
Expository essay writing is about providing factual information. The introduction opens the essay with a hook and provides some context to lead to the thesis statement. The main body takes care of the crucial information through arguments, postulates, and pieces of evidence. The conclusion sums up the discussion without adding to the main points.
Do I have to carry a single argument through the whole argumentative essay?
When it comes to argumentative essays, that is the norm in most cases. The topics for these essays usually distill the whole discussion into one stance. Writers go in favor or against it and then provide evidential information to make it understandable.
What are the distinguishing traits of expository essay writing?
The following are the hallmarks of expository essay writing:
- Objective approach toward the subject matter
- Neutral voice and tone
- Structured information
The different types of essays can be confusing for writers who do not have enough experience in writing and understanding them. Argumentative essays are about taking a stance and then providing arguments and evidence for the stance. In expository essays, writers need to provide factual information based on references and citations from credible sources.
This blog has covered the definitions and characteristics of the two types of essays. We have also shared some practical tips that can help writers compose exceptional essays without spending too much time and effort.
If students are having a hard time with argumentative and expository essays, whether understanding or writing one or the other, this is the place to get a resolution!
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Last updated on: Jun 19, 2023
Argumentative Essay Guide - Steps by Step Guide
By: Barbara P.
17 min read
Reviewed By: Melisa C.
Published on: Apr 14, 2020
You're a busy person and don't have time for a long, drawn-out essay.
Argumentative essays require you to state your position, back it up with evidence and refute the arguments of those who disagree with you. This process can be incredibly tedious and time-consuming.
But fear not! Writing an argumentative essay doesn't have to be a challenge anymore. With a bit of guidance, you'll be crafting compelling and convincing arguments in no time.
In this guide, we'll take you through the ins and outs of writing an argumentative essay. We'll cover everything from choosing a topic to structuring your essay to supporting your arguments with evidence. By the end of this guide, you'll have all the tools you need to write a good argumentative essay.
So, let’s begin with the blog!
On this Page
What is an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay is a type of academic writing that presents a debatable topic and argues a particular point of view. The essay presents evidence and supporting details to persuade the reader to accept the writer's position.
Writing an argumentative essay requires research and defending a position on a debatable topic. The purpose is to convince the reader to accept your point of view using empirical evidence, such as surveys or experiments.
Your essay should have a strong thesis and use reasoning to prove your argument.
While similar to persuasive essays, argumentative essays rely on logic and evidence, rather than emotional appeals. This is the main difference between argumentative and persuasive essay .
Qualities of a Good Argumentative Essay
Argumentative essays are common high school and college assignments, so important to know how to write one. A well-articulated argumentative essay has the following characteristics:
- Concise yet comprehensive thesis statement: Clearly convey your stance on the topic in a brief statement placed at the end of the introduction paragraph.
- Effective use of transition words: Utilize transition words to connect ideas and ensure a smooth flow between paragraphs. It allows the reader to follow your arguments easily.
- Reason-based body paragraphs: Each body paragraph should focus on one reason supporting your stance, backed up by facts and figures. Avoid mixing different reasons within paragraphs to maintain coherence.
- Use of relevant evidence: Thoroughly research and provide data to support evidence such as facts, statistics, and other credible sources to strengthen your arguments.
- Strong conclusion: Summarize key points, emphasize the significance of your topic, and connect them back to your thesis. Leave the reader with a compelling final impression and end on a positive note.
Types of Argumentative Essays
Here are two major types of argumentative essays.
Five-Paragraph Argumentative Essays
A five-paragraph essay approach is very straightforward. It consists of an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
Each paragraph should focus on a specific point related to the topic and provide evidence to support the argument. This format is usually used for less complex topics.
By following five-paragraph format, you can create a well-structured argumentative essay in just five paragraphs.
Long Argumentative Essays
A long argumentative essay includes more than five paragraphs. When writing about complex issues, it is important to provide a detailed explanation. If the essay requires evidence from research sources or empirical data, five paragraphs will not suffice.
There are too many details that need to be mentioned. Authors may have to discuss different contexts and arguments before concluding their thoughts on the main topic. So, a long argumentative essay gives you the space to write all the detailed arguments.
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Types of Argumentative Claims
There are five major types of argumentative claims that are further described below:
1. Factual Claims
This type of claim relies on facts or evidence found in research.Factual claims rely on hard data to support and facts rather than opinion.
Examples include “the average temperature has been increasing over the past 100 years” or “the unemployment rate dropped by 2% last year”.
These types of claims are often used when debating science-related topics or economics.
2. Definition Claims
These types of claims involve defining a term or concept and then using this definition as your main point in the argument.
Examples include “love is defined as feeling deeply connected to someone else” or “success is measured by achieving one's goals”.
It's important to note that definition claims also require supporting evidence for why your interpretation is correct.
3. Cause and Effect Claims
These types of claims look at how one thing causes another thing to happen and then use this connection as part of your argument.
Examples include “an increase in taxes leads to less spending power for citizens” or “not getting enough sleep leads to poor performance at work” .
When making causal claims, it's important to look at both short-term effects and long-term implications. This way readers can understand the full scope of your argument.
4. Value Claims
These types of claims focus on establishing the value or importance something has, either positively or negatively, and then using this value as part of your argument.
Examples include “social media has had a negative effect on mental health” or “education plays an important role in achieving success” .
Value claims should not be confused with opinion pieces. These types of arguments require thought-out analysis backed up by facts.
5. Policy Claims
Policy claims involve taking a stance on proposed policies and their effectiveness at achieving certain goals.
Policy statements often use words such as “we should…” or “the government must…”
For example, you were advocating for increased funding for mental health services in low-income communities. Now you might make a policy claim such as:
“The government must invest more money into mental health resources for low-income areas so that everyone has access to quality care regardless of their financial status.”
3 Ways to Present Your Claim in an Argumentative Essay
An argumentative essay format will be according to any of the below-mentioned three styles.
- Classical Style: State your main claim and its subsequent arguments. Then, justify your claim by providing supporting evidence. It is the most widely used style of argumentation.
This strategy is also called Aristotelian. It is effective when people are not much aware of your topic. The facts are clear and concise in this type of argument, so people can easily understand them.
- Rogerian Style: Describe the problem first, then acknowledge both sides of the argument. Next, say your point of view and explain why it is better than the other. This is the Rogerian style, which is mostly employed for polarized topics.
- Toulmin Style: Write your argument first and then tell the readers why you think it is true. Then, write how your reasons are linked to your argument.
This style is used when a topic can be approached through multiple views. So, you will state your view and support the claim with strong evidence.
Argumentative Essay Outline
An argumentative essay could be tricky, but not so much if you write it through a structure. You can learn about the structure of an argumentative essay by reading the description below.
Argumentative Essay Outline Template
Argumentative Essay Introduction
“How to start an argumentative essay?”
- Start with Hook: Start your introductory paragraph with a compelling attention grabber. For example, a good hook for an argumentative essay can be a startling fact or a famous quotation supporting your topic.
- Background Details: Discuss the topic briefly. Add important background details and the significance of your topic. Add the thesis statement at the end of the introduction.
How to Write an Argumentative Essay Thesis Statement?
The thesis statement is extremely important because it can make or break your essay. A powerful thesis statement will inform the readers what your essay is about.
Here is how you can structure your thesis statement:
Thesis Statement Example for Argumentative Essay
Argumentative Essay Body
The body of an argumentative essay has three or more paragraphs. These paragraphs can be distributed into three categories.
- Thesis Paragraph: The thesis paragraph describes your argument. You present a reason or an argument to justify the stance that you wrote in the thesis statement. You also mention adequate evidence to support your argument.
- Antithesis Paragraph: The antithesis paragraph is used to write the opposing points of view. For instance, if your essay is about the causes of global warming . Your stance is that human activities cause it. The antithesis paragraph will state that it is caused due to natural causes and give evidence accordingly.
- Synthesis Paragraph: The synthesis paragraph points out the limitations of the opposing argument mentioned in the antithesis paragraph. Basically, you will counter-argue the opposing argument. You will prove how your argument is better and prove it through facts.
The order of these paragraphs remains the same in all argumentative essays. You have to mention the thesis first, then the antithesis, and the synthesis at the end.
This will make your writing process simpler and your essay more coherent.
Argumentative Essay Conclusion
“How to write a conclusion for an argumentative essay?”
- Restate the Key Points: The conclusion of the argumentative essay should be impactful. Start this paragraph by reiterating your main stance through a rephrased thesis statement.
Mention all the arguments that justify your stance. These arguments should be only those that have been previously mentioned in the essay.
Do not include any new information, evidence, or argument here.
- Discuss Significance: Finally, end the conclusion paragraph by writing about the topic’s significance. Your conclusion paragraph should leave the reader thinking about the topic.
A sample outline of an argumentative essay structure is as follows:
Check out our blog to learn how to craft a detailed argumentative essay outline .
How to Write an Argumentative Essay Step by Step?
Here is a step-by-step guide for college students to learn to write this type of essay.
Step#1 Find a Suitable Topic
Choose a topic that allows you to form an opinion. Another key to choosing a topic is to select the topic that interests you or is related to your field.
Step#2 Research on the Topic
Now you need to research what you have to write in the essay. Read other papers related to your topic. Collect evidence, facts, examples, etc. Form the points for your essay accordingly.
Step#3 Make an Outline
Make an outline to organize all the information that you have researched. See which points you want to write and which should be omitted. A sample outline for an argumentative essay is given ahead.
Step#4 Write the Essay
Once you are done outlining, you have to follow it to write your essay. Write the introduction, body, and conclusion. Make sure you include appropriate evidence to support your arguments.
Step#5 Get the Essay Proofread
After writing the essay, get it proofread by an expert. They will point out the mistakes in the essays. Or, they will suggest improvements that will make your argument better.
Step#6 Create the Final Draft
Accommodate the suggestions of the expert. Correct the errors that they pointed out and make the necessary revisions. After this, your final draft will be ready.
Check out this video and get all of the information you need to compose an argumentative essay!
Best Argumentative Essay Topics for Students
Following is a list of good argumentative essay topics for middle school and college that you may choose from to write your essay.
- Should standardized tests be the primary measure of student knowledge and ability?
- Is social media beneficial for mental health ?
- Should the use of cell phones be allowed in classrooms?
- Is capital punishment an effective deterrent against crime?
- Should college education be free for all students?
- Is online learning more effective than traditional classroom education?
- Should the voting age be lowered to 16?
- Is censorship justified in certain circumstances?
- Should the government regulate the sale and consumption of sugary drinks?
- Is animal testing necessary for scientific and medical advancements?
- Should the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) be banned?
- Is climate change primarily caused by human activity?
- Should the legal drinking age be lowered or raised?
- Is the death penalty morally justifiable?
- Should marijuana be legalized for recreational use?
These topics will give you argumentative essay ideas that will get you started. Remember to choose a topic that you find interesting or is directly linked to your field of study.
You should also consider your strengths and weaknesses and your instructor’s requirements in topic selection.
Still can’t decide on a topic? Check out our list of argumentative essay topics to find inspiration for your next essay!
Good Argumentative Essay Examples
If you are looking for an argumentative essay example, then look no further.
Here is a sample argumentative essay on social media:
Analysis of Sample Essay
Here's a simple analysis of the essay:
Points that make this essay good:
- The essay clearly presents an argument on the topic of social media and provides examples and evidence to support this argument.
- The essay is well-organized, with a clear introduction, body, and conclusion.
- The essay uses a range of sentence structures and vocabulary to create variety and maintain the reader's interest.
- The essay acknowledges potential counterarguments and responds to them in a thoughtful and convincing manner.
Points that could be improved:
- The essay does not explicitly state the thesis or main argument until the second paragraph, which may make it less clear for some readers.
- The essay could benefit from additional sources or research to support its claims, rather than relying solely on the author's opinions and observations.
By following such a practice of analyzing your essay for good and bad points, you can easily write polished essays.
Check out the free argumentative essay examples below in PDF format:
Abortion Argumentative Essay
Argumentative Essay for or Against Healthcare for Everyone
Argumentative Essay Introduction Examples
Conclusion for Argumentative Essay
Covid-19 Vaccine Argumentative Essay
Argumentative Essay on Co Education
Still confused? Check out our comprehensive blog on argumentative essay examples and learn from the best examples!
Argumentative Essay VS. Expository Essay
The figure below shows a comparison table highlighting the key differences between an argumentative essay and an expository essay:
While both essay types have their own distinct characteristics, they both aim to engage the reader and present information. The argumentative essay focuses on convincing the reader to accept a particular viewpoint, whereas the expository essay focuses on providing objective information.
Tips to Write an Impressive Argumentative Essay
Reading these tips will help you create an impressive piece of writing.
- Always draft an outline before writing the actual essay. It will make your essay well-structured and coherent.
- The thesis statement of your essay should reflect your stance.
- Every paragraph of the essay should have a topic sentence highlighting the argument that you will explain in the paragraph.
- Each topic sentence should relate to the thesis statement. That means your arguments should justify your claim.
- Make smooth transitions between paragraphs. You can use transition words to do this.
- Get your essay proofread by an expert and make the necessary revisions.
Read our blog on Argumentative essays about gun control to take some inspiration for your due assignment!
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Here are some common mistakes to avoid when writing an argumentative essay:
- Unclear thesis statement: Ensure your thesis statement clearly states your stance and provides a roadmap for your essay.
- Emotional appeals without evidence: Back up your arguments with credible facts and logical reasoning, rather than relying solely on emotional appeals.
- Ignoring opposing viewpoints: Engage with counterarguments and provide a rebuttal to strengthen your overall argument.
- Insufficient research and evidence: Conduct thorough research and use credible sources to support your claims.
- Inadequate organization and structure: Organize your essay with clear topic sentences, transitions, and a coherent structure.
- Lack of editing and proofreading: Edit and proofread your essay to eliminate errors and enhance clarity.
- Overgeneralization and sweeping statements: Avoid making broad claims without sufficient evidence.
By avoiding these mistakes, you can improve the effectiveness and persuasiveness of your argumentative essay.
Let’s Wrap Up!
This comprehensive guide provides you with the necessary steps, types, and topics to write an outstanding argumentative essay. Whether you're a high school or college student, this resource equips you with the tools to tackle your next essay assignment successfully.
If you are still unsure about which topic to write your essay on or how to write it, feel free to ask for help from our skilled writers at MyPerfectPaper.net.
You will not find a better option than our paper writing service . So, order now to get a high-scoring essay tailored according to your requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should you avoid when writing an argumentative essay.
Following are some don’ts of an argumentative essay:
- Don’t forget to provide evidence for your argument.
- Don’t write multiple points of view in a single argument.
- Write a topic-specific argument with proper evidence.
What is the best place to find evidence for an argumentative essay?
You can find the best evidence from an original source. That means the reports, papers, articles that have originally reported a fact or information that you can use as evidence.
- Published opinions of writers and experts
What is a counter argument in an argumentative essay?
The counterargument in an argumentative essay is the opposing stance. For instance, you could have the opinion that human activities cause global warming, then the counterargument will be that natural phenomena cause it.
Do you have to have a counterargument in an argumentative essay?
Yes, you should write the counterargument. It will help to validate your opinion. Write the counterargument and then mention its limitations to tell how your argument is better.
What is the evidence in an argumentative text?
The evidence is the information that proves your argument. It is of the following types:
How long is an argumentative essay?
An argumentative essay should at least be five-paragraph long, having an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The number of body paragraphs can increase according to the requirement of the topic.
What is the main goal of an argumentative essay?
The main goal of an argumentative essay is to prove your stance on the topic. You write your opinion and then justify it through reasoning and evidence.
What are the 4 parts of an argumentative essay?
The four parts or features of an argumentative essay are:
How do I write an argumentative essay?
You can write an argumentative essay in three steps.
- Write the introduction paragraph.
- Write the body paragraphs having your arguments and their proofs.
- Write the conclusion paragraph.
Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.
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O Level English: The Difference between Argumentative and Expository Essays
When it comes to Essay Writing in O level English, argumentative and expository essays are commonly feared as the most challenging types of writing.
In this guide for O Level English essay writing, we explore the key differences between argumentative and expository essays. Whether you're a student preparing for your O Level English exams or an enthusiast looking to enhance your understanding of essay writing, this article will provide valuable insights to help you excel in your English assignments.
Understanding the dissimilarities between argumentative and expository essays is crucial for effective communication and achieving desired outcomes in your writing. Below, we explore the characteristics that set these two essay types apart.
Argumentative essays aim to persuade the reader to adopt a specific viewpoint or take a particular action. They require the writer to present compelling arguments supported by evidence, logic, and reasoning. These essays typically involve a clear thesis statement, followed by well-structured paragraphs that present and defend various supporting points. Counterarguments are also addressed to strengthen the overall argument.
In O Level English, mastering the art of constructing persuasive arguments is vital in crafting impactful argumentative essays. A common framework adopted by students is the use of 'PEEL' - Point, Evidence, Explain and Link. While that is just one of the methods to present your arguments, it is crucial to structure and formulate your ideas effectively, to convince your readers and make a persuasive case.
Expository essays, on the other hand, focus on presenting information, explaining a concept, or providing an analysis of a particular subject. The primary objective is to educate the reader, shedding light on a topic with clarity and objectivity. Unlike argumentative essays, expository essays require factual information rather than personal opinions.
To excel in writing expository essays in O Level English, it is important to have accurate information and background knowledge to support your claims. Before sitting for the O level exams, you should prepare and organize your knowledge according to commonly tested themes and train yourself to incorporate them into your writing practices. Beyond content, employing a clear and organized structure is also key to facilitating a smooth flow of ideas, allowing your readers to comprehend the subject matter effectively.
Key Pointers for O Level English Essay Writing:
Thesis Statement: Both argumentative and expository essays require a well-defined thesis statement that encapsulates the main idea of the essay.
Supporting Evidence: While argumentative essays rely on evidence to support the writer's viewpoint, expository essays emphasize factual information to provide a comprehensive understanding of the topic.
Structure and Organization: Both essay types benefit from a logical and coherent structure. Utilize paragraphs effectively to present distinct ideas and maintain a consistent flow throughout your essay. Reading Model Essays is a great way to learn and adopt a clear structure in essay writing.
Tone and Language: Consider your audience and adopt an appropriate tone and language for your essay. Argumentative essays may employ persuasive techniques, while expository essays should maintain an objective and informative tone.
Use of Literary Devices: The use of literary devices such as metaphors, personification, hyperbole, similes, are an effective way to express ideas and convey meaning, while adding color into your writing.
By mastering these key elements, you will be able to produce impressive essays in your O Level English examinations.
In conclusion, understanding the difference and knowing the marking requirements for argumentative and expository essays, are essential for O Level English essay writing success. Armed with this knowledge, you can tailor your writing approach to meet the requirements of each essay type, effectively conveying your thoughts and ideas. Targeted Practice across various themes and adopting a consistent framework to writing will enhance your skills and empower you to craft top quality essays in the O level exam.
We hope this guide has provided valuable insights into the dissimilarities between argumentative and expository essays. Good luck to all students taking the O Level English exam!
If you are looking for help in Essay Writing for O level English, our O level Final Sprint Program will help. Click here for more info .
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What Is Expository Writing?
How to Write an Expository Essay
- Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia
- M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester
- B.A., English, State University of New York
Expository writing is used to convey factual information (as opposed to creative writing, such as fiction). It is the language of learning and understanding the world around us. If you've ever read an encyclopedia entry, a how-to article on a website, or a chapter in a textbook, then you've encountered examples of expository writing.
Key Takeaways: Expository Writing
- Just the facts, M'am: Expository writing is informational, not creative writing.
- Anytime you write to describe or explain, you use expository writing.
- Use a logical flow when planning an expository essay, report, or article: introduction, body text, and conclusion.
- It's often easier to write the body of your article first, before composing the introduction or conclusion.
Expository writing is everywhere in everyday life, not just academic settings, as it's present anytime there's information to be conveyed. It can take form in an academic paper, an article for a newspaper, a report for a business, or even book-length nonfiction. It explains, informs, and describes.
Types of Expository Writing
In composition studies , expository writing (also called exposition ) is one of the four traditional modes of discourse . It may include elements of narration , description , and argumentation . Unlike creative or persuasive writing , which can appeal to emotions and use anecdotes, expository writing's primary purpose is to deliver information about an issue, subject, method, or idea using facts.
Exposition may take one of several forms:
- Descriptive/definition: In this style of writing, topics are defined by characteristics, traits, and examples. An encyclopedia entry is a kind of descriptive essay.
- Process/sequential: This essay outlines a series of steps needed in order to complete a task or produce something. A recipe at the end of an article in a food magazine is one example.
- Comparative/contrast: This kind of exposition is used to demonstrate how two or more subjects are the same and different. An article that explains the difference between owning and renting a home and the benefits and drawbacks of each is one such an example.
- Cause/effect: This kind of essay describes how one step leads to a result. An example is a personal blog chronicling a workout regimen and documenting the results over time.
- Problem/solution: This type of essay presents a problem and possible solutions, backed by data and facts, not just opinion.
- Classification: A classification essay breaks down a broad topic into categories or groupings.
Tips for Expository Writing
As you write, keep in mind some of these tips for creating an effective expository essay:
Start where you know the information best. You don't have to write your introduction first. In fact, it might be easier to wait until the end for that. If you don't like the look of a blank page, move over the slugs from your outline for the main body paragraphs and write the topic sentences for each. Then start putting in your information according to each paragraph's topic.
Be clear and concise. Readers have a limited attention span. Make your case succinctly in language that the average reader can understand.
Stick to the facts. Although an exposition can be persuasive, it should not be based on opinion only. Support your case with facts, data, and reputable sources that can be documented and verified.
Consider voice and tone. How you address the reader depends on the kind of essay you're writing. An essay written in the first person is fine for a personal travel essay but is inappropriate if you're a business reporter describing a patent lawsuit. Think about your audience before you begin writing.
Planning Your Essay
- Brainstorm: Jot down ideas on a blank piece of paper. Connect them with arrows and lines, or just make lists. Rigor doesn't matter at this stage. Bad ideas don't matter at this stage. Just write down ideas, and the engine in your head will lead you to a good one. When you've got that idea, then repeat the brainstorming exercise with ideas that you want to pursue on that topic and information you could put in. From this list, you'll start to see a path emerge for your research or narrative to follow.
- Compose your thesis: When your ideas coalesce into a sentence in which you can summarize the topic you're writing about, you're ready to compose your thesis sentence. Write down in one sentence the main idea that you'll explore in your paper.
- Examine your thesis: Is it clear? Does it contain opinion? If so, revise that out. For this type of essay, you stick to the facts and evidence. This isn't an editorial. Is the thesis' scope manageable? You don't want your topic too narrow or too broad to be covered in the amount of space you have for your paper. If it's not a manageable topic, refine it. Don't be dismayed if you have to come back and tweak it if your research finds that your initial idea was off-kilter. It's all just part of the process of focusing the material.
- Outline: It may seem inconsequential, but making even a quick outline can save you time by organizing your areas of pursuit and narrowing them down. When you see your topics in an organized list, you may be able to discard off-topic threads before you research them—or as you're researching them and you find they just don't work.
- Research: Find your data and sources to back up the areas you want to pursue to support your thesis statement. Look for sources written by experts, including organizations, and watch for bias. Possible sources include statistics, definitions, charts and graphs, and expert quotes and anecdotes. Compile descriptive details and comparisons to make your topic clear to your reader, when applicable.
What Is an Expository Essay?
An expository essay has three basic parts: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Each is crucial to writing a clear article or effective argument.
The introduction: The first paragraph is where you'll lay the foundation for your essay and give the reader an overview of your thesis. Use your opening sentence to get the reader's attention, and then follow up with a few sentences that give your reader some context for the information you're about to cover.
The body: At a minimum, include three to five paragraphs in the body of your expository essay. The body could be considerably longer, depending on your topic and audience. Each paragraph begins with a topic sentence where you state your case or objective. Each topic sentence supports your overall thesis statement. Then, each paragraph includes several sentences that expand on the information and/or support the topic sentence. Finally, a concluding sentence offers a transition to the following paragraph in the essay.
The conclusion: The final section of your expository essay should give the reader a concise overview of your thesis. The intent is not merely to summarize your argument but to use it as a means of proposing further action, offering a solution, or posing new questions to explore. Don't cover new material related to your thesis, though. This is where you wrap it all up.
An expository article or report about a lake, for example, could discuss its ecosystem: the plants and animals that depend on it along with its climate. It could describe physical details about its size, depth, amount of rainfall each year, and the number of tourists it receives annually. Information on when it was formed, its best fishing spots, or its water quality could be included, depending on the audience for the piece.
An expository piece could be in third person or second person. Second-person examples could include, for example, how to test lake water for pollutants or how to kill invasive species. Expository writing is useful and informative.
In contrast, someone writing a creative nonfiction article about a lake might relate the place to a defining moment in his or her life, penning the piece in first person. It could be filled with emotion, opinion, sensory details, and even include dialogue and flashbacks. It's a much more evocative, personal type of writing than an expository piece, even though they're both nonfiction styles.
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