What Is An Expository Essay?

What Is An Expository Essay?

Assignment Objectives

Students’ essays should 1) have a thesis statement that directly makes a claim about what the text they are analyzing communicates and why, 2) use specific, detailed examples from the text to support that claim and the reasons why, and 3) summarize, paraphrase, and quote from the text adequately to complete the task.


This essay will ask you to choose a single text from a provided list and write an exposition of it. Exposition is the act of explaining what a text says and how it says it, and how it attempts to persuade or influence its readers, viewers, or participants. Practicing this kind of assignment can help you understand how texts of all varieties attempt to persuade you, from scholarly articles to advertisements to posts on social media.


Write an essay that presents your explanation of how the text you have chosen works to influence its readers. Make sure to focus more on how the piece works than on summarizing what it says. You may choose any one of the following texts:

Rhetorical Situation

Assume the audience for this essay is academic—your professor and peers in the classroom.

Do I need a works cited page?

Yes. Because you will be quoting, paraphrase, and summarizing from a source, you will need to parenthetically cite it when you use it in your essay and include an MLA works cited page with an entry for source. Please ask if you have questions regarding citation, and remember that all essays will go through the Turnitin Originality Check in the D2L Dropbox.

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