How to write an exemplification essay

The exemplification essay is a type of argumentative essay. The purpose of an exemplification essay is to prove a point through the use of examples. Instead of using scholarly sources to support the main point, the writer makes use of examples. These examples may be hypothetical, or they could be real examples pulled from the news or from real life.

Audience

The audience for an exemplification essay, like most argumentative essays, is those people who disagree with the author's thesis. For example, if the author's thesis is "Most people are robbed because of inadequate home security,"the audience would be those people who disagree with this statement. The goal of the essay is to sway these people through the use of examples.

Planning

The exemplification essay should be carefully planned to avoid getting off topic. To do this, many writers find it useful to begin with a prewriting technique called clustering. In clustering, a writer begins by jotting down the problem in the center of the page. In the home robbery example, the writer would write "causes of home robbery" in the center of the page. Then, the writer jots down the various causes for home robberies surrounding the main cause. Finally, the writer can draw lines to make connections between interrelated ideas, such as lack of an alarm system and lack of surveillance cameras.

Once the writer has found the connections between the ideas, he or she can create an outline. The outline helps to keep the writer on task. This is especially important with the exemplification essay because writers tend to get off track and just provide a series of unconnected examples. This lack of organization fails to persuade the reader because it doesn't lead to a coherent argument.

Parts of The Essay

The introduction of the exemplification essay should present the problem. It should explain what the problem is, the scope of the problem, and present relevant statistics and facts. The introduction should also contain a thesis statement. The thesis should make an assertion that the author intends to support through the use of examples.

The supporting paragraphs should each make a point that supports the thesis. Each paragraph should contain one or more relevant examples. For instance, in the home robbery example, one point might be "Home owners fail to take basic security measures." The examples might include failing to lock the doors, leaving windows open, or placing spare keys in obvious places where robbers can find them.

Finally, the conclusion should reiterate the main point. It can also provide basic suggestions for solving the problem or look to the future and guess at how the problem might change.

Revising

Like all essays, the exemplification essay should be revised for clarity and to ensure that the essay does not contain any grammatical or syntactical errors. It is often a good idea to have a friend or a classmate review your paper. It is usually easier for someone else to catch your errors than it is to find them yourself.

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