Expository Writing Vs. Informative Writing
The purposes of most genres of writing are to communicate information or experiences. Expository and informative writing are no exceptions. While these styles share similarities, they are also highly distinct. Understanding many different types of writing allows you to tailor your approach to best suit your content and goals, helping you craft the perfect essay for any purpose.
Expository writing is designed to explain, inform and describe. This style revolves around an argument the writer makes as a result of research and observation. If you are taking a college course, you will most likely be required to conduct expository writing during class essays and exams. Informative writing, meanwhile, is intended to thoroughly present information without conveying the writer’s opinion. While the writer may address pros and cons, give them equal attention regardless of your own stance since the purpose of informative writing is to share information without suggesting a correct conclusion.
Expository writing sometimes incorporates elements of creativity. While the purpose of this writing style is to convince rather than to experiment with interesting or beautiful wordings, it is easier to make an effective argument if you first capture the attention of your audience. Therefore, expository writing often incorporates a playful tone or an experimental turn of phrase as an attempt to deliver an argument in a memorable way and therefore win over the reader. Informative writing, meanwhile, is purely functional rather than creative. Since you are merely conveying information, keep your tone formal and straightforward when writing an informative piece.
Expository writing is designed to communicate in a clear and convincing manner. Therefore its organization is very important. Some common organization patterns of expository essays include circumlocution, in which the writer introduces the topic and supports it with a similar example, and narrative interspersion, where the writer introduces a shorter story, such as an anecdote, within the larger story and is intended to add clarity and make the information more convincing. Informative writing is flexible in its organization. Since it is designed to present information rather than an argument, informative essays do not strictly require an introduction, supporting body paragraphs and a conclusion. Instead it is best to present the information in the order that makes the most sense. For example, a writer crafting a piece on changes in deer migration might first present an informative paragraph on the habits of these animals. However, despite the more freestyle of writing, it is important to place a statement of purpose early in the essay so readers know what information they can expect to learn from the informative piece.
When crafting an expository piece, the writer cannot assume the reader has any previous knowledge of the subject. Therefore although the writing can be creative, it must remain very clear and should not become convoluted or flowery. When approaching a subject in expository form, writers craft an introduction, body and conclusions linked by smooth and logical transitioning thoughts and phrases. Since the purpose of expository writing is to convince the reader to agree with an argument, body paragraphs offer convincing evidence and support conclusions. Informational writing is based on research such as gathering facts. You cannot write a successful informative piece without a thorough command of all relevant information on the topic. Writers seeking to write informative essays become experts on their subjects as part of the writing process.
Emma Rensch earned her B.A. in writing for contemporary media from Scripps College in 2011. Currently, she lives and writes in San Diego.