Clues to Identifying Exposition Styles

Many styles of expository writing sound the same. Some even have the same, or overlapping, purposes. So how can you tell the difference between them? One of the easiest ways to differentiate the styles is to look for telltale transition words that are specific to a particular style. Check out the most easily identified transitions for the most common styles below.

Illustration: for example, for instance, another, the most/least, for one thing…

Process analysis: first, next, then, after, before, eventually, finally, when, while…

Classification: another kind, first, second, the next category, one type…

Definition: a factor, another factor, defining characteristic, trait…

Comparison: both, neither, similarly, alternately, in contrast, now/then, like/unlike…

Cause and effect: causes, some effects of, as a result, because, as a consequence, consequently, resulting in…

The consistent use of effective transitions will help ensure that YOUR exposition style is recognizable and communication is clear.



  1. January 31, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Nice. I might pass this along to my comp students!

    • February 5, 2013 at 9:49 am

      That would be great, Danny! Feel free to use anything you find useful; and I appreciate you getting the word out to students about this blog. Thank you!

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