Published on March 4, 2014
ENGLISH 104 Expository vs. Argumentative
PURPOSE • Expository – • Used to inform, describe, explain, compare, or summarize in a neutral and objective way Argumentative Used to persuade the reader that your opinion is correct – Opinion is clearly stated, rather than appearing neutral – • Expository = Facts Argumentative = Opinion
FOCUS • Expository – – – Focused on information Main point: To tell the reader of the facts Consider: • • • What does the reader need to know about the topic? How can I clearly summarize the topic? Argumentative – – – Focused on an opinion, a debatable claim Main point: Convince the reader of the validity of your opinion using concrete evidence (studies, news articles, expert opinion, statistics, etc.) Consider: • • • What real-world examples can I use to support my thesis statement? What experts in the field might agree with me? How can I address and refute the opposition’s claims?
STRUCTURE • Expository – – – • Introduction: Introduces the reader to the topic Body: Describes, explains, informs, classifies, summarizes, and/or compares various issues regarding the topic Conclusion: Reminds the reader of main points and gives sense of closure Argumentative – – – Introduction: Leads the reader to your opinion on the topic, which is clearly stated in a thesis statement of 1-3 sentences Body: Discusses the ways in which external sources (ex. studies, news articles, journals, interviews, etc.) are evidence that support your thesis statement. Refutes opposing arguments, saying why counterarguments are incorrect. Conclusion: Restates overall argument and gives sense of closure. (Do not introduce a new argument.)
ARGUMENTATIVE • Example: – Thesis: “Mark Pagel is correct that language is uniquely human and all his claims are true.” • – Paper then goes on to summarize Pagel’s speech, inserting quotations from Pagel – A weak thesis statement that demonstrates little insight or individual thought, and an overall essay that is highly expository in merely summarizing what Pagel has already said. Thesis: “As Mark Pagel says, language is uniquely human; although other species have their own forms of communication, none are as sophisticated as human communication so cannot be classified as ‘language.’” • Paper then goes on to explain why Pagel is correct, using studies of human and animal communication as evidence that human communication is more complex, and therefore other species do not have language the way humans have language. – A strong thesis statement that clearly states why the author agrees with Pagel, addressing the counterargument that other species also have language. Overall essay supports the thesis statement using concrete evidence from external sources. – Does not simply repeat Pagel’s claims, since Pagel never examines the languages of other species in-depth.
REMEMBER It is not enough to simply state whether you agree/disagree with the author or speaker. Instead, you must clearly articulate why you agree/disagree. Always provide evidence from valid external sources (newspaper articles, studies, interviews, statistics, etc.) to support your thesis.
CHECKLIST o o o Thesis statement: Clear Focused Takes a position Body paragraphs: Thesis statement is supported using external sources (newspaper articles, interviews, studies, statistics, etc.) How these external sources support your thesis statement is clearly articulated Quotations and paraphrases are accurately documented in the MLA style Counterarguments are refuted General: Free of spelling, grammar, and citation errors Avoids first person narration Overall paper is not expository Does not extensively summarize the text or speech Is not a mere repetition of what the author or speaker has already stated Is not just a compare and contrast
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