Although expository and informative writing may easily be mistaken for the same genre, as they both function to impart information to the reader, there are several differences between the two styles. These differences include structure, delivery and the application of opinions. Knowing how to differentiate between the writing styles will allow you to successfully communicate your ideas and knowledge to the reader.
Expository writing imparts information, shares ideas and provides explanations and evidence. Some examples of expository works include magazine and newspaper articles, textbooks, autobiographies and persuasive college essays. According to Stanford University, when composing an expository piece, it should not be assumed that readers already possess prior knowledge of the subject matter. Answers to any questions the reader might have about your topic must be provided. For example, when writing an expository essay claiming that consuming honey is a better alternative to sugar, you would not just tell the reader about the health benefits of honey, but would compare the health advantages and disadvantages of both substances, supporting your arguments and claims with the necessary evidence.
Informative writing educates readers by imparting straightforward information and facts, but never personal opinions. This article, for instance, is an example of informative writing. Other examples include college course descriptions, how-to articles and essays that help a reader understand how something works, such as "How to Clean a Polyester Shirt," "Understanding the Link Between Lung Cancer and Cigarettes" and "The Health Benefits of Drinking Green Tea."
An expository essay contains a thesis statement within the first paragraph, informing the reader of the main argument of the text. The rest of the essay should provide relevant evidence to prove your argument and persuade your reader that your argument is creditable.
An informative text is not intended to persuade your reader, but to educate. Providing a thesis statement depends on the type of text. For instance, if you are writing an article about the health benefits of walking 20 minutes each day, you should include a thesis statement in the opening paragraph, followed by relevant facts and statistics that tell the reader what health benefits a brisk walk provides. Course descriptions, recipes and lists do not always need a thesis.
An expository piece can still be creative in the sense that it leaves an impact on the reader. For instance, to hook the reader's attention, an expository piece may deliver a bit of humor or an interesting anecdote related to what the text is about. Informative writing, however, is primarily utilitarian and operates as an instructional or educational piece.