12 Tips for Writing an Exemplification Essay

tips for writing
An exemplification essay isn’t the kind of academic assignments you encounter every day, and it is exactly what makes it so dangerous for college students. If you are suddenly given a job to write one (as an application essay, for example), you may find yourself incapable of doing so due to the lack of experience or even basic understanding of what is expected of you. In this article, you will find all the necessary information to make the easy and quick process of writing a custom exemplification essay.

First, you will need to understand what an exemplification essay is. Its definition goes as follows – it is a subtype of an argumentative essay that focuses its persuasive effort on using one or more detailed examples. In other words, it supports its thesis not so much with a logic argumentation but with an example demonstrating why this or that point of view is right. And now for the actual writing tips.

1. Use Exemplification Essay Examples to Learn More about the Writing Conventions

Just like writing all the other types of essays, like comparative, descriptive, narrative, and cause & effect essays, exemplification essay writing has its own principles and conventions that you should follow – often not because they are rules set in stone but because they make writing a good essay of this subtype easier. Some of them we will cover in this guide, but many are too subtle to be expressed in words, and the best way to learn them is to get your hands on a couple of exemplary samples and read them carefully. You may also want to refer to them as you write your own essay to make sure you don’t steer away from these principles.

2. Study Exemplification Essay Topics to Know What to Cover

Another type of exemplification essay help you may benefit from comes down to asking a skilled writer to prepare a list of topics well-suited for writing an essay of this type. When you just start out, it is a bit difficult to see the contrast between exemplification and argumentative essays. Not all topics that are suited for one subtype are suited for another. Here are a few topics you may consider for your own example essay:

  • Pollution and Its Effects on the Natural Environment;
  • Do We Need Stricter Immigration Legislation?
  • The Role of Personal Charisma in Leadership;
  • Is War against Drugs in Any Way Effective?
  • Flaws and Advantages of Free Healthcare System.

Compare these topics with the ones that you have in mind. You will see that sometimes, it is necessary to do a little bit of research before you start to write your paper.

3. Choose a Topic with at Least Two Supportable Sides and Enough Facts to Back up

An exemplification essay is very similar to an argumentative essay in this respect – you shouldn’t select an essay topic that has a too obvious right side of the argument (unless you disagree with a commonly expressed point of view); otherwise, there won’t be too much ground for an argument.

Another important point to consider is the amount of evidence you can mass up for each argument in question. Exemplification essays are even more particular about it than argumentative ones. While in argumentative essays you can sometimes get away with ambiguous and insufficient reasoning, exemplification essays demand definite, clear and obvious examples in support of your point. Before you choose a topic to cover and a point to support, make sure you can amass enough examples and information about each of them to amount to a persuasive argument.

4. Follow the Basic Structure of an Exemplification Essay

An exemplification essay has more or less the same composition structure as the other kinds of essays. But there are a few finer points that make it a bit different. As usual, you start with an introduction aimed at attracting the reader’s attention and introducing your thesis statement (i.e., the main idea of your essay is boiled down to a single sentence).

However, body paragraphs are written with an emphasis on examples. This can be done in a few different ways:

  • Each paragraph can be a separate argument backed up with a few short examples;
  • The entire body of the essay can be dedicated to a single large example, with individual paragraphs covering its different aspects;
  • Each paragraph can contain a single well-developed example to support your thesis.

Finally, in conclusion, you should state your thesis one more time, reiterate in short how your examples support it and why you believe your main point to be true. Look through the following checklist to make sure that every essential point is included in your essay.
exemplification essay checklist

5. Write an Outline before Starting the Essay

Having an outline before you start working on an essay in earnest is useful for any kind of writing, but doubly so when you deal with exemplification essays. You should see how to arrange your examples and how they work in collaboration with each other. Take a look at the structure we’ve described above and think about everything that has to be in each part of your essay.

Write down some things word for word – for example, the hook (the first couple of sentences of the essay – their primary goal is to grab the reader’s attention and lead him/her smoothly to body paragraphs) and your thesis statement. Other elements can be described in short – a couple of words for each point and supporting examples.

6. Differentiate between Brief and Extended Examples

Brief (or short) and extended examples serve their own specific purposes and shouldn’t be mixed up. Brief examples occupy relatively little space. Their usage is useful because a few of them can be gathered together to illustrate a common point. For example, if you are talking about the inapplicability of normal education methods when teaching children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), you may introduce several small examples to prove your point, using just a few sentences on each of them. This way you demonstrate that your point isn’t limited to one isolated sample but is a common occurrence.
brief examples
Extended examples include more details and can be discussed at much greater length, introducing distinctiveness and specificity that short examples are incapable of. For example, you can use a detailed discussion of a report about the activities of a single organization as your extended example of why horizontal hierarchy is effective in a specific type of business.
extended examples

7. Use a Mix of Brief and Extended Examples

There are no strict rules about how your point should be exemplified, but a good rule of a thumb is to include both types of examples in your essay. Your entire paper shouldn’t outline a single example. This way of writing may make your readers feel as if you have nothing else to support your point. At the same time, spattering the essay with dozens of small examples while only spending a sentence or two discussing each of them may seem like you don’t want to delve deeper into the essay topic. These examples will contain details that do a poor job of supporting your thesis statement. Thus, combining one or two bigger examples with many short ones makes for an optimal format of an exemplification essay.

8. Avoid Relying on Personal Examples

Depending on the topic of your essay, your own personal experience may seem like a free source of examples. However, remember that examples, just like any other type of evidence, are different in their level of trustworthiness – personal examples are about at the bottom of the hierarchy. They aren’t supported by anyone else’s testimonial, thus cannot be considered reliable. You may use them to supplement other, more solid sources of information, but don’t put them at the forefront of your paper.

9. You Can Use Examples to Check if a Statement Is Correct

The use of examples would help you find out if a certain point is correct. For example, the assumption may be that foreign students coming to the UK can rapidly improve their proficiency in English by being engaged in conversations with the locals. The examples in body paragraphs will introduce a few cases demonstrating this statement to be either true or false, testing the assumption.

10. Make Sure Your Examples Are Applicable and Relevant

Before introducing an example, make sure it is truly relevant for what you are talking about. It is all too easy to steer away from your main point and start discussing less important ideas. Sometimes, these examples are completely unrelated to the prompts you should be following in your essay. This is another reason to reread your essay carefully after you’ve finished writing it – when you look at it in its entirety, it is much easier to spot logical inconsistencies and irrelevancies than it is in the process of writing.

11. Make Sure You Get the Formatting Right

Formatting is an important aspect of any writing assignment, including exemplification essays. It doesn’t matter how excellent the content of your paper is, if it is formatted incorrectly, it is going to play a huge role in its grading and may even get you a failing grade. An online generator of citations can help you fill in your bibliography page, but you still have to possess certain skills to write the paper per se properly. Make sure you look up everything you are not 100% sure about in a style guide – a couple of minutes spent doing this, can mean all the difference between good and bad grades.
right formatting

12. Proofread Your Essay or Get it Perfect

Proofreading your exemplification essay is just as important as it is for any other type of writing. Put your paper aside for, at least, a couple of days and reread it later, asking yourself:

  • Would be I persuaded to read the essay till its end if it was written by somebody else?
  • Would I have some remarks if I assessed this essay?

Better yet, ask a friend or a professional proofreader to do it for you – as the author, you will always be subjective in evaluating your own writing, while other people don’t have this flaw. When proofreading, ask yourself (or instruct the proofreader to ask himself/herself) these questions:

  • Are all my examples relevant to the topic in question?
  • Are all the examples connected to each other logically?
  • Have I done enough research on each of the examples I have used?
  • Have I missed anything that should have been mentioned?
  • Do I jump to conclusions too soon in any part of my essay?
  • Have I used too many personal examples in my essay?

Writing an exemplification essay is quite different from dealing with argumentative essays, but there is nothing esoteric about it. Prepare carefully, follow this guide, and we are sure you will be able to do any writing assignment of this kind on time and get an excellent grade along the way!

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