How to write an exemplification essay: Topics and outline samples

How to write an exemplification essay: Topics, outline, and writing tips

You have probably used exemplification in your school papers many times without even thinking about it. But when you’re faced with an exemplification essay assignment, you feel lost and anxious, not knowing how to go about it. Not to worry, this post will answer all your questions about how to write an exemplification essay, walk you through choosing the perfect topic, and provide actionable tips you can use immediately.

What is an exemplification essay?

An exemplification essay is an argumentative assignment designed to test your ability to argue your point using compelling examples as evidence. The primary differences setting this paper type from other argumentative essays are:

  1. The well-researched generalization at the beginning
  2. The greater number of examples
  3. The use of academic and anecdotal evidence


Basic exemplification essay outline

Writing any paper should always start with an outline, as it provides a roadmap for you to follow. A clear plan prevents you from straying off topic and keeps the writing focused and cohesive. So, while this step may take a few hours and seem redundant, do not skip it. Instead of speeding up your writing, it will rob you of valuable time once you start editing the paper.

Here’s a basic exemplification essay outline with several options for body paragraph structures, depending on the number of examples you wish to include:

  • Introduction
  1. Hook
  2. Background information
  3. Thesis statement
  • Body paragraph 1
  1. Topic sentence
  2. Extended example
  3. Analysis of the example
  4. Transition sentence
  • Body paragraph 2
  1. Topic sentence
  2. Brief example 1
  3. Brief example 2
  4. Brief example 3
  5. Analysis of the examples
  6. Transition sentence
  • Body paragraph 3
  1. Topic sentence
  2. Brief example
  3. Extended example
  4. Analysis of the examples
  5. Transition sentence
  • Conclusion
  1. Reiteration of the thesis
  2. Summary of major points
  3. Final thoughts

Exemplification essay topics

Most professors will provide you with a specific prompt or several questions to choose from when it comes to exemplification papers. But sometimes, you’ll get the option to develop an original idea for the assignment. In this case, you can use recommended reading, your interests, or current events to fuel your muse. Besides, there are lots of ready-made topic suggestions in our collection.

If you have a free choice on an exemplification essay topic, check out a few ideas SpeedyPaper experts developed for you:

  1. The effectiveness of populist slogans in modern-day political campaigns
  2. The impact of social distancing and social media on personal communication skills
  3. Creativity and self-expression are more important than research in academic assignments
  4. Race and gender-bending in film and television promote discrimination and hate speech
  5. Outdated laws and regulations hamper positive social change
  6. The increase of religious argumentation in political discourse
  7. Direct democracy is the next logical step in government development
  8. Strict immigration policies hamper the economic growth of developed countries
  9. Learning foreign languages as an effective tool for combating prejudice
  10. Gender transition and de-transition effects on physical and mental health
  11. Live performances by popular artists have a positive impact on the local economy
  12. The use of music as a mood-altering tool in schools and medical institutions

Before settling for one of the exemplification essay topics, run it past your professor or TA. We recommend having a couple of backup options in case they don’t like your first choice. After your topic is approved, you can dive straight into research, outlining, and writing.

Criteria for grading an exemplification essay

A writing guide defines the exemplification essay as a type of argumentative writing that uses examples to explain a generalization or prove a point. Most professors use this definition as a guide for assessing your exemplification writing, but that’s not the only thing they evaluate.

We analyzed several grading rubrics to come up with this checklist of critical components your essay must include to receive a high mark:

  1. Structure. The introduction includes a thesis statement, the body paragraphs support it, and the conclusion wraps up the paper effectively. Transitions are present to ensure a smooth flow.
  2. Exemplification. Body paragraphs include relevant and specific examples that effectively support the claim or clarify the point.
  3. Grammar and spelling. The paper is free of most grammar, punctuation, spelling, and usage mistakes.
  4. Writing style. The essay uses the tone of voice and word choice appropriate for the topic for the most impact while remaining engaging.
  5. Fluency. The sentence structure is varied enough to create a consistent rhythm and make oral reading comfortable.
  6. Formatting. The paper uses the required formatting style throughout, including the title page, headings, and reference section.

Creating an exemplification essay: a detailed step-by-step guide

Writing an exemplification essay isn’t much different from any other writing assignment. It consists of three stages:

  1. Prewriting. At this point, you analyze the prompt, choose a topic, find credible references, formulate a thesis statement, and create an outline to follow.
  2. Writing. This stage involves making the most of the groundwork laid in the previous step to complete the assignment to get to the required word count.
  3. Post-writing. The final stage requires time for editing, proofreading, and formatting the piece, so you need to have enough time before the submission deadline to complete it.

This post is too short to get into the details of each small step, so let’s focus on the critical aspects of these three stages that will have the most impact on your grade.

Formulate a thesis statement

Developing a controversial thesis is the first step, whether you’re wondering how to write a scholarship or an exemplification essay. Much like an outline, a thesis statement makes you focus on the main idea without taking unnecessary detours. You can think of a thesis statement as a one-sentence abstract of your paper. It should include your generalization or your take on the issue and provide a short overview of the supporting points you will make throughout the paper.

The biggest mistake you can make when working on a thesis is making it factual or obvious. For example, “smoking is bad for teenagers’ health” is not a thesis statement but a fact. “Smoking in movies, TV shows, and video games encourages teenagers to try smoking” is a better thesis, as it is controversial and it includes several examples you can use throughout the paper.

Complete introduction, body, and conclusion

With your outline, thesis statement, and research materials at hand, finishing the paper should give you no trouble. To make the process smoother, consider the overall word count requirement and split it between different paragraphs. For instance, if you need a 1000-word essay, the introduction and conclusion can be around 150 words each, leaving 700 words for three body paragraphs (around 230 words each). You can also mix things up by using extended examples in one of the body paragraphs and make it longer (around 300 to 350 words), while keeping the other two more concise.

Edit, proofread, and format the paper

As we’ve mentioned, structure and the use of examples are not the only things professors evaluate when grading papers. They also account for writing style and flow, grammar, spelling, and formatting. So you cannot skip the post-writing routine of revising the piece after a short break to catch illogical arguments, choppy transitions, and weird word choice.

Ideally, you want a second pair of eyes to catch small mistakes and bigger issues. But if you don’t have a study buddy to swap papers with, you can use our paper help to review and edit the paper for you and ensure a higher grade.

Final thoughts

As a type of argumentative writing, an exemplification essay is a complex academic assignment that requires research, planning, and writing skills. We hope our recommendations, along with a list of excellent exemplification essay topics and a basic outline, will help you complete this task quickly and painlessly. But if the deadline is too close or you have no energy to deal with the paper, let SpeedyPaper experts help. We can assign the right expert to your case in minutes and deliver the finished piece to your inbox in under 24 hours. All you need to do is fill in the order form or contact us to learn more.

Besides, SpeedyPaper is also a descriptive essay writing service, an editing and proofreading company, and much more. Whatever schoolwork troubles you have, we’re here to help.

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