How to Approach Expository Writing

Cause and Effect

As you look at the picture below, think about what we call this design of nature. Of course, this is a desert. If someone asked you what caused the desert to have the features that it does, what would you say? Most of us would agree that the hot sun and lack of water helped to cause the dry conditions that resulted in the formation of a desert.

When you answer the question, "why?" in your writing, you are using the process of cause and effect. You can explain something logically by showing how one action results in something else. Finish this sentence:

A camel can survive longer than a human in the desert…


A word that is often used to describe a desert is arid. Can you define it? Imagine that you are trying to explain arid to a person from the South Pole. You need to be specific. Try it.

The word arid means…


When we put things into categories, we classify them. For example, animals are classified as dogs, cats, horses, birds, etc. They are further classified as house pets or farm animals. The desert is a member of a classification system.

Using your geography skills, think about what the classification for desert is.

Deserts, mountains, valleys, plains and oceans are…


The last type of structuring to be discussed in this lesson is explaining a process. You do this when you show a person how to do something. You must tell the procedure step by step. Think about how you would survive in the desert if you had to. Let your mind think about the things you would need to do to protect yourself.

To survive in the desert…

Practice on Your Own:

Select one of the following topics and experiment with structuring.

  • Makeup Tips
  • Types of Exercise
  • Latest Fads in Music
  • Hobbies
  • Vitamins
  • Latest Fads in clothes
  • Expense of Technology

Below, tell how you could structure the paragraph using each of the methods explained in the lesson.


Cause and Effect:


In this lesson, we have discussed how to write with a specific type of structure. When possible, determine the method after selecting the topic. However, many times you will write the rough draft and then decide what type of structure will work best. You can always go back and make revisions later.

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