At this point in your academic career, you’ve gone through the main three types of essays—argumentative, narrative, and descriptive. And you have to admit, you’ve gotten pretty good at them. But now your teacher wants you to write an exemplification essay, and you feel a little lost.
Don’t worry. That’s what I’m here for. I’ll show you not only what an exemplification essay is, but how to write one so well your teacher might think you have super-mutant writing powers.
The Exemplification Essay Explained
When you first heard the term exemplification essay, you might have freaked out a little bit. But there’s no need to. If you’re familiar with the argumentative essay, you’re already halfway there.
An exemplification essay is like a more involved version of an argumentative essay. You’re trying to prove a point, but you must use very specific examples. Facts and numbers will get you far, yes. But you have to effectively incorporate them into your writing.
If you’re writing the essay in class, your teacher will probably be pretty lenient about exact figures or using citations.
However, if this is a take-home assignment, it’s always good practice to include information about where you got your information. Be sure to ask your teacher about what style guide (APA, MLA, or Chicago) to follow.
Excellent (and Not So Excellent) Exemplification Essay Topics
Because exemplification essays are like argumentative essays, you want to pick topics that are similar to argumentative topics. Topics that have at least two arguable sides—you don’t want to choose a topic that has one obvious right side.
In addition, you want topics with hard facts to back up your argument. If you try to persuade the reader of your position with ambiguous reasoning, guess what? You’re no longer writing an exemplification essay.
Here’s a handful of examples of good exemplification essay topics:
Should drugs be decriminalized?
Are classes separated by gender more conducive to learning?
Is a college degree necessary in today’s society?
Should healthcare be free for everyone?
Are gun regulations strict enough?
Each of these topics has research supporting the opposing viewpoints. This makes it easier to defend your own position. Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to agree with your argument to write a good essay. You just have to defend your argument well.
Here’s a few bad examples of these exemplification essay topics (and why they’re bad):
What’s your favorite type of music?
This topic is something that’s too personal. It cannot be backed up with facts or figures.
Are opiates dangerous?
This topic is very obviously one-sided.
Explain the process of making maple syrup.
This would make for a great process essay. But it cannot possibly be an exemplification essay.
Now you know what an exemplification essay is. And you’ve seen some examples of good (and bad) topic choices. Let’s get into the actual writing process.
I’m going to make it a little fun. I’m going to write about the best X-Men character, Professor X. Keep in mind, this isn’t a topic you’re likely to see. But it’ll certainly get the point across.
Steps to Writing an Exemplification Essay
As with any essay, you don’t want to just dive right into writing. While that can work for some people, it’s a risky bet. Instead, a little bit of planning will make your exemplification essay easier and faster to write. It will also make it flow better in the end.
Below are the four steps to writing an exemplary exemplification essay. As an example, my topic is Who is the best X-Men character? While this sounds more like personal opinion, I’m going to back it up with some facts.
1. Brainstorm and outline
I included brainstorming and outlining as one step because, for some, it’s the same process. You want to get all of your ideas down on paper first. Then put them in order before you start the more in-depth writing process.
Your outline should include a section for the introduction and conclusion. These can include as little or as much information as you want.
The most important part of your outline is the body section. This is where you’ll include your main points and some supporting arguments. My outline is a little short. But it’s only meant as an example.
My outline might look something like this:
- Thesis statement
- Uses telepathy to mimic other powers
- Can learn foreign languages almost instantly
- Communicates with aliens
- Can manipulate minds of others
- Appears invisible by creating illusions in others’ minds
- Leader in promoting mutant-human relations
- Started Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters
- Formed X-Men team of heroes
2. Write your introduction
Your introduction will have two main parts: the hook and the thesis statement. The hook is exactly what it sounds like. It’s what “hooks” the reader in to keep reading your essay.
The thesis statement explains what your exemplification essay will be about. It presents a brief description of the main points of your body paragraphs.
For my introduction, I would write something along these lines:
Many people dream of having mutant super powers, but don’t realize the responsibility that comes with those special talents. One man, Professor Xavier, stands above all other mutants. He is a shining example of what they can accomplish and who they can become. Professor X uses his one power to mimic various other powers, and he serves as a leader in promoting friendly relationships between mutants and humans.
3. Move to your body paragraphs
Now that you have your introduction down, you can move to the body paragraphs. This doesn’t need to be a 5-paragraph essay format (unless your teacher specifically says so).
This is where making an outline first really comes in handy. You can just fill in the blanks, so to speak.
For my example, I’m going to work with my second main point—the promotion of human-mutant relations.
Through his work with mutant children and team of heroes, Professor Xavier has taken great strides in improving the relationships between mutants and humans. His School for Gifted Youngsters helps mutant children and teens learn how to control their powers and use them to benefit others. It also keeps them separated from humans during their teenage years when hormones can have unpredictable consequences. Professor Xavier’s team of superheroes, the X-Men, also promotes good human-mutant relations. It shows humans that mutants don’t have to be feared and that they can improve the lives of everyone.
4. Wrap it up
The last thing you have to do is write your conclusion. This involves a summary of your main points. However, you don’t want to simply restate your thesis statement.
Instead, include some more information that you wrote about in your body paragraphs. After the brief summary, you want to finish nicely. Your exemplification essay needs to feel complete.
My conclusion would look like this:
Although many people may fear the powers of mutants, they can actually benefit both humans and other mutants. Professor Xavier has proven this by becoming exceptionally skilled at telepathy. He uses both his powers and his influence to promote better relationships between human and mutant communities. He and his band of heroes fight daily, not only against evildoers, but also against the prejudices aimed at his people.
Once you’re finished with your exemplification essay, if you still don’t think it’s as super as it could be, send it to the Kibin editors to look over. They can give you the feedback you need to make your essay shine.
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In its essence, an exemplification essay is an essay in which the writer proves its thesis with the help of various examples. An exemplification essay is also sometimes referred to as an illustrative essay. No matter how it is called though, here are some useful tips on how to write an exemplification essay.
Essence of exemplification essay
First, you need to choose a topic, although very often it is given explicitly. The most important thing in writing an exemplification essay is to find the right examples which will clarify, enhance and intensify the topic and the content of the whole essay. Once the topic and its supportive examples are clarified and carefully chosen, you have to actually start writing the essay.
Opening of exemplification essay
It is a principal rule in all types of essay writing, including the exemplification or illustrative one, that the beginning of the essay should be strong; it has to state the defended thesis and direct the reader to what is following. A good way to start an exemplification essay is with a famous quote, an anecdote, a question or by stating a common fact or statistics. For example, let’s say you have decided to write an exemplification essay on genetic engineering; you may start with the question: What comes first, the chicken or the egg? After that, you can use and state different statistics results and researches which will help you reveal the benefits or disadvantages of using genetic engineering depending on whether you are writing about pros or cons of genetic engineering. A good opening of any essay, including the exemplification one, guarantees that the readers will focus, examine and reflect on it.
Body of exemplification essay
After you have finished writing the opening of the exemplification essay, you need to move forward to its body. Again, the body of the essay must include strong and clear ideas, arguments and points, details and brief examples, and of course information to support the topic. It is very important to use arguments and information that will make the thesis of the exemplification essay sound valid. In order to do that, you must consider its audience. The facts and research that you will have to do in case you decide to write an exemplification essay on genetic engineering or on the effect of fashion in our daily life will be completely different. So, in order to write a good and influential essay you must first think about your audience.
Once you have already decided on the thesis, identified your audience and conducted proper research of examples, facts, arguments and points, you have to categorize them by importance and influence in relation with the thesis. The strongest and the most influential example should be stated and examined in the first paragraph of the body of the essay. After that, you must continue stating its examples and evidence which support your thesis depending on how they are categorized. Sometimes, instead of presenting facts you can use a story to prove your point in one of the paragraphs. It is very important to use transitional sentences between the paragraphs of the exemplification or illustrative essay.
Conclusion of exemplification essay
The last but not least important part in writing an exemplification essay is the conclusion. In general, the conclusion summarizes the opening or the introduction of the essay, its thesis and body, adds a final touch and convinces the audience to accept the thesis. In other words, in the conclusion you restate your thesis and pinpoint the main arguments proving it. Statistics and facts should be kept out. The information in the conclusion has to be served in a reflective or philosophical manner. The conclusion is the place of the essay where you create and shape the final conclusion of the work. Apart from restating the thesis of the exemplification essay and its strongest arguments, that part of the essay must establish a sense of closure and completeness of the whole work. It’s recommended to link the first paragraph with the last one by repeating certain words or phrases. Simple grammar structure and sentences are preferable in that part of the exemplification or illustrative essay. Restating what you have proven in the essay with simple and strong sentences can only further the audience’s feeling of closure and completeness of the subject. For additional cogency you can use a reference or quotation. Also, it is important to note that you should not simply summarize the essay but should try to strengthen its thesis for one last time.