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How Are Persuasive & Expository Alike?


Persuasive and expository are two writing styles -- more specifically, two types of essay writing. In fact, a persuasive essay is a type of expository essay. An expository essay simply lays out an argument about a topic, whereas a persuasive essay seeks to convince a reader to agree with an argument. Though persuasive and expository essays serve different purposes, there are many similarities in their content and construction.

Essay Structure

Persuasive and expository essays follow a similar essay structure consisting of an introduction, a definitive thesis statement, supporting body paragraphs and a strong conclusion. The introduction should present the topic of the essay and include the thesis statement, which summarizes the essay's argument. The body paragraphs provide facts supporting the argument, and the conclusion brings the essay to a close.

Defining Argument

Effective essays, both persuasive and expository, state a clear and supportable argument. The point of both types of essays is to present logical evidence supporting this argument. The essay's argument is usually stated in the introduction, often times in a thesis statement, and the bulk of the essay relates back to the original argument.

Supportive Facts

Both types of essays rely on a body of support facts to prove an argument. The support facts, or supporting evidence, are found in the middle portion of an essay, or the body paragraphs. The supporting evidence can cite studies, statistics, experiment results, professionals or any other valid sources of unbiased factual information that helps to prove a point.

Nonfiction Style

In order to successfully make an argument, both persuasive and expository essays make use of an informational tone and a nonfiction style of writing. Relying on facts rather than subjective opinions makes an essay more convincing and professional, enhancing the legitimacy of its argument. However, this does not mean there's no room for creative writing. Mixing up the writing style in an essay can sometimes make an argument more convincing.

Big Differences

The main difference between persuasive and expository writing is the author's purpose for writing the essay. In a persuasive essay, the writer goes into great detail about why a reader should agree with a given argument. In contrast, the writer of an expository essay is not expected to persuade a reader of anything but simply to present facts.

About the Author

Camille Beredjick is a recent graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University working in the nonprofit sector. She is the sole writer and manager of GayWrites, an LGBT news blog.

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