Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Exemplification—Using Examples to Support a General Statement

Uses of Exemplification:

Clarify a point
Add interest

Your purpose for Exemplification is to write a 300-word paragraph about a person and a characteristic of this person. You will provide several examples that illustrate this person exhibiting this characteristic.

You will choose from the characteristics on p. 185-186.

Once you choose a topic, you will do the prewriting activity brainstorming/listing to come up with as many examples as you can that show the person possesses the quality you have selected.
Once you have a good amount of examples, try to group the examples into categories that you can easily organize in your paragraph.

Example Prewriting

My boyfriend Tom is very irresponsible
Spends too much money when we are at the mall
Sometimes drinks and drives
Forgot his dentist appointment three times
Doesn’t pay his bills on time
Forgot he had a job interview
Doesn’t do his homework for his English 98 class
Missed a test for his math class

Now that there are several examples to work with, what categories can each of these be grouped into?

There are three categories: Tom is irresponsible in his finances, school and appointments.

Once you have three categories or more, arrange them in a scratch outline, preferably in order of increasing importance, or emphatic order.

Example scratch outline in emphatic order:

My boyfriend Tom is very irresponsible.
A. Spends too much money
B. Doesn’t pay bills on time.
II. School
A. Homework for English 98
B. Missed math test.
III. Appointments
A. Forgot dentist appt. 3 X
B. Forgot job interview

Tips for organizing in emphatic order:

l Choose which category shows this characteristic the best.
l Put that category last in outline.
l Of the remaining two or three categories, what percentage each show the characteristic?
l List them in lesser to greater order before the final category
l What order should examples for Tom go in?

Things to remember for Exemplification:

l Must choose representative examples—those that show this person truly possesses this quality and not chance or isolated occurrence.
l Choose a range of examples—from various time periods (if you have known this person for a long time) or from various aspects of this person’s life.
l Choose a sufficient number of examples—enough so that you can prove your point. One or two do not show the person to truly possess this characteristic.

l Exemplification is done well only if the examples you provide are clear and specific.
l Ask yourself: what daily things does this person do to exhibit this characteristic?
l What recent instance of this characteristic do you recall?
l Once you can think of examples, you then must clearly retell these specific examples.

l Once you have done an outline and are satisfied with it, you are ready to draft.
l To draft, simply follow the outline and be specific about the examples you provide.
l You are not simply creating a long list of examples but showing how these examples illustrate a certain characteristic.
l Remind your readers of your purpose through transitional phrases

l Transitions for Exemplification indicate that you are moving from one example to another and one category to another.
l Transitions also indicate what order you have organized your examples in
l For example, for instance, specifically, in fact, in addition, one example, another example, finally
l Also, you can be more specific with transitional words such as:
l In addition to Tom being irresponsible in school, he also cannot manage his money.
l Another instance that shows Tom’s lack of responsibility is…
l The clearest indication of Tom’s irresponsibility is his forgetfulness when it comes to appointments

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