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Essential Writing Types 101: Expository Writing


Writing entertains, informs, persuades, explains, clarifies, and gives the author an avenue for creative and intelligent expression. Writers always have a purpose or goal, which dictates the style a writer must use when approaching composition. Essential Writing Types 101 aims to educate readers on six types one will encounter throughout their academic and professional writing careers. Each chapter will outline textual examples associated with the style and describe the characteristics that make these writing styles distinct. Due to the diversity of rhetorical contexts and audiences, understanding each writing style and the relationship between the purpose and its communicative function will facilitate more effective writers and communicators.

The following is divided into six main chapters:

  1. Descriptive Writing

  2. Narrative Writing

  3. Expository Writing

  4. Persuasive Writing

  5. Expressive & Poetic Writing

  6. Technical & Scientific Writing

Essential Writing Types 101: Expository Writing

The third installment of the Essential Writing Types 101 series will discuss Expository Writing and how the crucial sub-writing types, analytical and critical, can be often utilized in an expository piece. Critical thinking is one of the most essential skills in academia, professional careers, and interpersonally. It is not merely enough to listen to information. Rather, one must take what is learned and analyze, dissect, and even question ideas when necessary. A writer must research and apprehend a concept or idea before exemplifying that idea and constructing a reasonable agreement for it or counterargument against it. Thus, expository writing is a writing type that one must practice to make thoughtful contributions to their respective industries. This article will define the goal of expository writing, how analytical and critical writing sub-types strengthen expository works, and lastly, explore expository writing examples and how they impact discourse across all fields.

Figure 1: Writing Match. Fylyshchuk, L. 2019.

First, the basic purpose of expository writing is quite general and allows for flexibility in writing, admitting other writing types to fulfill its purpose. J. Augustus Richard (2016), an Assistant Professor at PPG College of Education imparts the following definition of expository writing and its purpose as:

To give complete and accurate information on a specific topic/issue which may explain a process or explain cause/effect or compare/contrast or analyse interpret or provide problem/solution (p. 147).

Expository writing allows a writer to introduce and inform on a topic, but the execution is much more complex, because the term expository writing functions as an umbrella term for different essay sub-types that a writer can approach depending on their purpose. For the context of this essay, one can take expository writing one step further by including critical and analytical writing, two sub-types of writing which also have distinct definitions. Merriam Webster defines analysis as: “a detailed examination of anything complex in order to understand its nature or to determine its essential features: a thorough study” (2022), and criticize is defined as: “to consider the merits and demerits of and judge accordingly” (2022). Therefore, in the context of an expository piece, critical and analytical writing provides an analysis of the given media or idea before deconstructing it. Commonly, they are integral to expository works depending on the purpose and goal.