Definitions of the Most Common Expository Writing Styles

Academic writing focuses on expository writing styles, meaning writing that explains, sets forth point-by-point, or informs. Although straight-forward narrative is sometimes used, more precise writing styles are sometimes preferred to meet specific purposes. Some of the most common expository styles are listed and detailed below for your reference.

Illustration: writing that uses examples to support a point.

Classification: writing that sorts things into groups or categories.

Cause and effect (causal analysis): writing that explains reasons or results.

Comparison: writing that shows similarities and differences.

Process analysis: writing that explains how things happen or how to do something.

Definition: writing that tells what something means.

Proposal (problem solution): writing that offers a solution or answer to a stated challenge.

Argument: writing that persuades and which, often, uses a combination of the styles listed above to do so.

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