38 Modes of Exposition


A type of essay or composition offering information on a topic, concept, process, or issue. Logic, facts, and examples support a thesis or main clam.

Example: The United States military is an all-volunteer force consisting of five main branches. The divisions are the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and the Coast Guard.



This storytelling composition might inform, entertain, or even instruct through example. Narration uses sensory description but may also use figurative language to add to the intensity of the story.

Example: My father was drafted in to the United States Army in May of 1969. He told me often of his
sadness at receiving the draft notice. But he also felt a sense of pride in getting a chance to serve his country.



A type of composition giving the reader details about an object, person, or experience. It can also describe a topic or the particular components of a concept.

Example: The diving board at the old Jonesberg city pool was ancient and sad. The rust that spotted the steel base was flaking and fell into the pool like dead skin.



This essay type goes beyond mere informative writing. The writer must take a stand on a topic or thesis and attempt to sway the reader to agree with the claim. Logic, examples, and rhetorical devices support the writer’s stance.

Example: Steinbeck used symbolism to great effect in the Grapes of Wrath. Grapes are a recurring motif in the story and they have several symbolic meanings.



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Introduction to Literature Copyright © by William Stewart is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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