At this point in your academic career, you’ve gone through the main three types of essays—argumentative, narrative, and descriptive. And you have to admit, you’ve gotten pretty good at them. But now your teacher wants you to write an exemplification essay, and you feel a little lost.
Don’t worry. That’s what I’m here for. I’ll show you not only what an exemplification essay is, but how to write one so well your teacher might think you have super-mutant writing powers.
The Exemplification Essay Explained
When you first heard the term exemplification essay, you might have freaked out a little bit. But there’s no need to. If you’re familiar with the argumentative essay, you’re already halfway there.
An exemplification essay is like a more involved version of an argumentative essay. You’re trying to prove a point, but you must use very specific examples. Facts and numbers will get you far, yes. But you have to effectively incorporate them into your writing.
If you’re writing the essay in class, your teacher will probably be pretty lenient about exact figures or using citations.
However, if this is a take-home assignment, it’s always good practice to include information about where you got your information. Be sure to ask your teacher about what style guide (APA, MLA, or Chicago) to follow.
Excellent (and Not So Excellent) Exemplification Essay Topics
Because exemplification essays are like argumentative essays, you want to pick topics that are similar to argumentative topics. Topics that have at least two arguable sides—you don’t want to choose a topic that has one obvious right side.
In addition, you want topics with hard facts to back up your argument. If you try to persuade the reader of your position with ambiguous reasoning, guess what? You’re no longer writing an exemplification essay.
Here’s a handful of examples of good exemplification essay topics:
Each of these topics has research supporting the opposing viewpoints. This makes it easier to defend your own position. Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to agree with your argument to write a good essay. You just have to defend your argument well.
Here’s a few bad examples of these exemplification essay topics (and why they’re bad):
This topic is something that’s too personal. It cannot be backed up with facts or figures.
This topic is very obviously one-sided.
This would make for a great process essay. But it cannot possibly be an exemplification essay.
Now you know what an exemplification essay is. And you’ve seen some examples of good (and bad) topic choices. Let’s get into the actual writing process.
I’m going to make it a little fun. I’m going to write about the best X-Men character, Professor X. Keep in mind, this isn’t a topic you’re likely to see. But it’ll certainly get the point across.
Steps to Writing an Exemplification Essay
As with any essay, you don’t want to just dive right into writing. While that can work for some people, it’s a risky bet. Instead, a little bit of planning will make your exemplification essay easier and faster to write. It will also make it flow better in the end.
Below are the four steps to writing an exemplary exemplification essay. As an example, my topic is Who is the best X-Men character? While this sounds more like personal opinion, I’m going to back it up with some facts.
1. Brainstorm and outline
I included brainstorming and outlining as one step because, for some, it’s the same process. You want to get all of your ideas down on paper first. Then put them in order before you start the more in-depth writing process.
Your outline should include a section for the introduction and conclusion. These can include as little or as much information as you want.
The most important part of your outline is the body section. This is where you’ll include your main points and some supporting arguments. My outline is a little short. But it’s only meant as an example.
My outline might look something like this:
- Thesis statement
- Uses telepathy to mimic other powers
- Can learn foreign languages almost instantly
- Communicates with aliens
- Can manipulate minds of others
- Appears invisible by creating illusions in others’ minds
- Leader in promoting mutant-human relations
- Started Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters
- Formed X-Men team of heroes
2. Write your introduction
Your introduction will have two main parts: the hook and the thesis statement. The hook is exactly what it sounds like. It’s what “hooks” the reader in to keep reading your essay.
For my introduction, I would write something along these lines:
Many people dream of having mutant super powers, but don’t realize the responsibility that comes with those special talents. One man, Professor Xavier, stands above all other mutants. He is a shining example of what they can accomplish and who they can become. Professor X uses his one power to mimic various other powers, and he serves as a leader in promoting friendly relationships between mutants and humans.
3. Move to your body paragraphs
Now that you have your introduction down, you can move to the body paragraphs. This doesn’t need to be a 5-paragraph essay format (unless your teacher specifically says so).
This is where making an outline first really comes in handy. You can just fill in the blanks, so to speak.
For my example, I’m going to work with my second main point—the promotion of human-mutant relations.
Through his work with mutant children and team of heroes, Professor Xavier has taken great strides in improving the relationships between mutants and humans. His School for Gifted Youngsters helps mutant children and teens learn how to control their powers and use them to benefit others. It also keeps them separated from humans during their teenage years when hormones can have unpredictable consequences. Professor Xavier’s team of superheroes, the X-Men, also promotes good human-mutant relations. It shows humans that mutants don’t have to be feared and that they can improve the lives of everyone.
4. Wrap it up
The last thing you have to do is write your conclusion. This involves a summary of your main points. However, you don’t want to simply restate your thesis statement.
Instead, include some more information that you wrote about in your body paragraphs. After the brief summary, you want to finish nicely. Your exemplification essay needs to feel complete.
My conclusion would look like this:
Although many people may fear the powers of mutants, they can actually benefit both humans and other mutants. Professor Xavier has proven this by becoming exceptionally skilled at telepathy. He uses both his powers and his influence to promote better relationships between human and mutant communities. He and his band of heroes fight daily, not only against evildoers, but also against the prejudices aimed at his people.
Once you’re finished with your exemplification essay, if you still don’t think it’s as super as it could be, send it to the Kibin editors to look over. They can give you the feedback you need to make your essay shine.