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Exemplification: Writing Essays With Vivid Examples and Illustrations

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1 Exemplification: Writing Essays With Vivid Examples and Illustrations

2 Why We Use Examples To persuade skeptical readers who are reluctant to accept your viewpoint To show a causal relationship To be more interesting and take the reader beyond a telling statement Help to explain or clarify an abstraction To avoid unintended ambiguity

3 Forms of Examples Specific names (people, places, products) Anecdotes
Personal observations Expert opinions (from outside sources, interviews) Facts Statistics Case studies via research

4 Example Types Personal-case examples Typical-case examples
Hypothetical examples Generalized examples Extended examples

5 1. Personal-experience Examples
From your own life Lend personal authority Create drama

6 2. Typical-case Examples
Objective in nature: can be especially convincing About an actual event/situation, but you didn’t directly experience it. Source could be newspapers, magazines, television

7 3. Hypothetical Examples
Speculative, but be sure it’s conceivable Might ask the reader to imagine a scenario Be sure to acknowledge that your example is invented Ex: “suppose that…” or “let’s for a moment assume that…”

8 4. Generalized Examples Composite of the typical and usual
Ex: “all of us, at one time or another, have been driven to distraction by a trivial annoyance like the buzzing of a fly or the sting of a paper cut.” Ex: “when most people get a compliment, they perk up, preen, and think the praise-giver is blessed with astute power of observation.”

9 5. Extended Examples Employ many details and specifics
Last an entire paragraph Sometimes can encompass the entire essay, but must be significant to stand alone as the only example

10 Effective Examples Should:
Be relevant; Have direct bearing on the subject Be dramatic Be accurate (esp. When using facts, figures, statistics) Be non-contradictory Avoid sweeping generalizations at all costs, for they do not convince readers

11 Effective Examples Should:
Be representative: avoid oddball or one-in-a-million types of examples; They distort and are not honest Ex: if writing a paper on the difficulties of getting through college and you use the example of a student who works 35 hours a week and still gets straight A’s, that’s not typical or representative. It does not exemplify what MOST students experience.

12 Effective Examples Should:
Use an organizational approach: Chronological Spatial Simple to complex Emphatic sequence

13 Recognize & Use Key Words
For example, For instance, First, second, third Next, in addition

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