Tag Archives: expository writing

Blog Post 10 – Expository Writing: An Unspoken Argument

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What is exposition? I think even as English majors it is difficult for many of us to produce a precise definition for any category of writing. I think that different forms of writing blend together. For example, some people may say that expository writing is any writing that does not convey an argument. Truly, though, informative writing can serve as a rhetorical argument simply by the way the way the words are organized on the page.

This class opened up my eyes to the vastness of the category called expository writing. At another college, I took a course called Expository Writing 101. There, we practiced writing narratives, explanatory, and exploratory essays. I began to realize then that I thrive in this writing environment. My satisfaction in writing comes from telling people the facts, potential reasons, and then let them draw conclusions for themselves.

I think that is what expository writing is - stating the facts, providing evidence for these facts, and offering possible reasons/explanations. Unlike most forms of academic writing, expository writing allows us to state what we know while offering multiple explanations, instead of only one right answer. I personally hate that in most of my papers I feel "forced" to take a drastic position on a topic I could go either way with.

Throughout this course, I felt as though I could allow the audience to participate in my investigative process through my writing. Sometimes it was almost as if I was talking out my thoughts through my writing. That is what I appreciate about this form of writing - I am able to take my audience exactly through what I am thinking. While writing, we are able to discover so much... It is a learning process. I think that is where expressive discourse has such a place in life and academia.

As mentioned earlier in the post, although expository writing does not typically strive to produce an argument, and argument can be made "unspoken." I will give an example. In my object analysis, I did not come right out and say what I thought the reader should conclude about my doll head. I am sure I did, however, influence the reader's viewpoint in the way I presented the evidence and explained the evidence. I believe expository is linked to persuasion, but in a more indirect way than other forms of writing.

Through our object studies we are able to see the connection between material study and exposition as a rhetorical activity. In our class, we not only found out about our objects, but also composed writing to share findings and explanations to influence the way others think about these objects. As we have discussed in class discussions, objects have stories that do not always align with cultural interpretations. Through our writing, we held the power to try to clear up some misconceptions by offering a new story for our objects.

My main point is that expository writing allows us to inform without having all of the right answers. Through this type of writing we are essentially able to learn together, writer and reader. I think there is something so real about such a personal form of writing, where the rules don't always have to be followed. Importantly, expository writing can make a loud statement with an unspoken argument.

Picture credit:  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2004-02-29_Ball_point_pen_writing.jpg

#10: Expository Writing & Its Importance

(Process of expository writing)

Expository writing is..

a type of writing that is used to explain, describe, give information, or to inform.

It is organized around one topic and developed according to a pattern or combination of patterns.  You cannot assume that the reader or listener has prior knowledge or prior understanding of the topic that is being discussed.  Since clarity requires strong organization, one of the most important mechanisms to improve skills in exposition is to improve the organization of the text.

At the start of our course, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. All my prior English classes consisted of reading and writing multiple page papers. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that in this course, we would be doing more than just those two. There was almost a sense of freedom in having the ability to incorporate different forms of writing to express what I wanted to say. Instead of just telling through words; I was able to describe my topic using pictures, videos, and sounds; the whole multimodal process.

It wasn’t until we got towards the end of our project when I able to notice a pattern and process with expository writing. There was a reason why our project was divided into multiple parts; each component curcial for the next step.

One of the most important parts of expository writing is to describe our subject in as much detail as we can. These may include characteristics and features, which provides information on how something looks, feels, tastes, smells, makes one feel, or sounds. The difference between creative writing (for example) and expository writing is that creative writing focuses on entertaining the audience, while expository writing aims to inform. This was a significant process in our object analysis and description, where we laid our focus on how our objects looked visually, and felt. Another important step of expository writing is the sequence, which is listing items or events in numerical or chronological order, which we did this through our timeline.

What I learned during this course was the importance of multimodality. Expository writing is sort of a slow gradual process of informing an audience. Like a 5 paragraph essay, it requires an introduction (our description of our artifacts), some type of a visual (including pictures or videos into our Twitter essays), a timeline, and a reflection. We use muultimodality on a daily basis, whether we notice it or not; so I think it’s important to notice how we use exposition in our daily lives.

What is Expository Writing?

Expository writing is the process of unraveling an image through words. Whether that image is of a teapot, a campus, or the ramifications of communism on the global economy, expository writing begins with a simple premise and ends with a more complicated perspective of the subject at hand. It peers behind the clock face and details the inner-workings of the world around us.

When I first signed up for this class, to be completely honest, I was not super excited to be taking it. That is not to say that I was dreading the course by any means, but as a rhetoric and composition major, my primary focus so far had been on persuasive writing. The idea of writing pieces that were not focused on an argument seemed...trivial? I'm can't say exactly what I felt at the time--nor was it anything particularly drastic--I simply didn't think this class would be wildly enlightening. My initial perceptions could not have been more wrong.

Even just from the twitter essay project we started the semester with, I was already growing a deeper understanding for what expository writing entailed. The process of experimenting with our personal definitions of what objects are helped to open my eyes to an entire art of writing I had had little real practice or exposure to. The process of working with our artifacts to create an entire object analysis using Prounian analysis took the seeds of that understanding and gave me a true appreciation for what expository writing is.

In a sense, there are similarities between persuasive writing and expository writing. I suppose it could be argued that expository writing is a practice in persuasion of one's opinions. But expository writing does not hinge upon whether the audience is convinced by what is being said. In fact, expository writing is unique in that it seems to be much more personal in its execution. These are observations based out of personal experience rather than arguments based out of research. If a piece of expository writing does not resonate with a reader, that does not mean the piece cannot still succeed in its goals. It is invested in the process of discovery, of coming to understanding rather than applying its products in a broader lens. Expository writing lives in itself rather than the reader, and that is not something I even truly understood until the end of this semester. In a sense, this post itself is a microcosm of the practice itself: a slow unraveling in the pursuit of some unknown truths.