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Reference sites


Expository Writing Techniques

Expository texts are non-fiction texts designed to argue, inform, persuade or teach.  The writers of these texts seek to SHAPE meaning and reader understanding.

Major things to consider when analysing expository writing

  • Genre
    (what form of writing ie newspaper article, magazine feature article, biography, autobiography, journal, diary, political or social commentary etc);

  • Style
    Includes language elements such as descriptive writing, figurative language (using figures of speech), word choice (diction), sentence structure, paragraphing, tone of address etc;

  • Point of view;
    From what point of view is the piece written? Is it first person; third person; both 1st and third?

  • Structure.
    How is the text constructed? Are there chapters, headings, sub-headings? What about page layout - that is where are items palced on the page and why? Are there graphs, charts, figures, graphics, drawings, photographs, maps etc?


To shape reader understanding and position readers to agree or disagree with his/her ideas, opinions, views, values, attitudes etc, writers of expository employ at least some of the following : (An example of such a text would be a feature article.)

  1. Selection of detail;
  1. Sequencing of events, ie order in which info presented;
  1. Structure of information ie format and presentation;
  1. Use of persona;
  1. Expanding boundaries of factual reporting ( exaggeration, embellishing, expanding);
  1. Anecdotes, analogies, allusions, metaphors;
  1. Descriptive language;
  1. Figurative language and imagery;
  1. Word choice;
  1. Colloquialisms ;
  1. Connotative /emotive language;
  1. Tone (author’s attitude to subject);
  1. Dialogue;
  1. Use of humour, satire;
  1. Interpretation of events, facts; opinionative response; versions of reality;
  1. Use of facts, data, statistics,
  1. Experts or authority figures;
  1. Foregrounding; use of repetition and rephrasing;
  1. Rhetorical argument and user of rhetorical devices; questions, rhetorical questions;


Narrative or literary elements used in fiction :

Writers of  non-fiction texts may  include narrative elements:

  1. plot (story) with narrative structure;
  1. characterisation;
  1. point of view;
  1. setting;
  1. theme;
  1. dialogue;
  1. tone.

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Feel free to access these resources for study purposes or classroom use. However where they have been directly dowloaded for distribution or copied and provided as notes, please acknowledge as a courtesy. John Watson