Exemplification Essay: Definition & Examples

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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ann Casano

Ann has taught university level Film classes and has a Master's Degree in Cinema Studies.

In this lesson, we will explore the components of the exemplification essay and how it uses specific examples in order to try and convince your audience that your side is the right side.

Definition of an Exemplification Essay

An exemplification essay is a type of argumentative essay that provides specific examples to prove a point. If you're writing a thesis paper on the negative effects of global warming, it's not enough to say that it is bad for the environment. You have to be able to show definitive reasons that will convince readers that global warming is dangerous. Some examples would be:

  • Glaciers melting can lead to water shortages.
  • Climate change causes severe weather, like hurricanes and heat waves.
  • Changing ecosystems can lead to species extinction.

How to Write an Exemplification Essay

There are several steps to writing an exemplification essay. First, choose a topic. Remember that when selecting a subject to write your paper on, you are going to have to use examples to prove your point, so don't choose a topic that is too broad or too narrow.

For example, if your teacher asked you to write an essay that explored the writing career of a specific author, you would not choose someone like Harper Lee, even if your favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird. Lee only published one book and did not have a prolific career in literature. For this particular assignment, a writer like Ernest Hemingway, who published about 15 books, would be a much better choice. So, even though you might want to write about Scout and Atticus Finch, you have to be sure to select a topic where you can use several different examples.

Next, decide what examples you're going to use. It's important to have a rough outline of your essay before you begin the writing process. This step will save you time later on. It forces you to look at your examples before you start writing, to see if they help prove your thesis. It also helps weed out the weaker examples.

Begin your essay by establishing the main idea or thesis statement. Let the reader know exactly what point you're going to prove and how you are going to prove it. The first paragraph will be a sort of road map for the rest of the essay.

Write your essay. The examples that you use will make up the main body of your paper. Each new example should have its own paragraph. Be sure that all your examples reinforce your thesis statement; essentially, you should always stay focused on your point. If you're writing an essay on why you think Hank Aaron was the best power hitter in baseball, don't stray from that point. Don't start discussing his personal life or what he did when he retired from the game.

Finally, wrap up your essay with a conclusion that restates your thesis statement. You should not be bringing up any new information in your closing paragraph. Instead, an effective ending paragraph will wrap up the points from your example paragraphs and give the reader one last opportunity to see your thesis statement.

Tips for Writing an Exemplification Essay

Here are a few tips for writing an exemplification essay:

1. Make examples simple and easy to understand.

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