Exemplification Illustration Definition Essay

Exemplification / Illustration Essay

What is an exemplification/illustration essay?

Exemplification is a mode of writing that uses examples to show, explain, or prove a point.

Steps for Developing an Exemplification Essay:

1. Make a point.

2. Give detailed and specific examples to show, explain, or prove a point.

3. Give enough examples to get the point across.

Giving Examples:

This is a key step in writing an exemplification essay. Use a variety of specific, detailed examples that appeal to readers and helps them understand your main point. Effective examples add vitality to your writing and make your essay stand out.

Types of Examples:

Essays often combine both brief and extended examples.


  • Brief. These examples appear rather frequently within the essay, and they usually function as concrete examples of straightforward ideas.

  • Extended. These examples contain more detail. Such detail is needed because extended examples function as concrete illustrations of ideas that are too complex to be made clear by a brief example.


Note: Whether brief or extended, the examples must be representative, meaning they must reflect the majority. For example, a writer may attempt to refute the hazards of smoking by citing the example of a man who smoked two packs of cigarettes a day until he was eighty-nine, without ever having had a health problem. However, this example is not valid, for it does not represent the fate of the majority of heavy, lifetime smokers. Thus, it is not representative.

Thesis Statement of an Exemplification Essay:

The thesis statement usually includes the topic and the main point the writer wants to make about it.

(topic) (main point)

Ex: Bus drivers in my city have no sense of direction.

How to Write an Effective Exemplification Essay:

1. Find your main point. The main point is the main idea you want to get across about your topic. To find a main point, review your ideas about your topic and look for the strongest message. An effective main point is interesting; can be shown, explained, or proven; and is limited to one idea.

2. Use examples, whether extended, brief, or both. Make sure the examples are representative and do support your main point. Sometimes one extended example is sufficient, but often, writers use a series of brief examples. Your exemplification essay is only as strong as its examples.

3. Examine the examples. Reread your examples to see if they are specific and detailed enough to get across the main point. Eliminate any examples that do not fit or are too vague. Your examples are only as strong as their details.

Remember: Exemplification is a mode of writing that uses examples to show, explain, or prove a point. When writing an effective exemplification essay, remember to make a point; to give detailed and specific examples to show, explain, or prove a point; and to provide enough examples to get the point across.

See:Exemplification / Illustration Essay Sample
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Creating An Illustration Essay: 25 Great Writing Prompts


An illustration essay is actually the starting point for most essay writing. Whether you are trying to convince your reader through a persuasive essay, or highlight differences and similarities in a compare and contrast essay, or are simply writing to explore a topic, you will call on the basic building blocks of illustrating ideas with examples. We like to keep even these basics lively rather than simply regurgitating dry facts. So here are our writing prompts that will lead you to stimulating, edgy, illustrative essays.

  1. Workplaces routinely discriminate against women by promoting them to seniority less frequently, paying them less, and not supporting their roles as mothers.

  2. The right to carry concealed weapons has saved lives.

  3. Minimum drinking age laws reduce the rates of teenage alcohol abuse.

  4. Global temperatures are rising.

  5. The richest candidates win presidential elections.

  6. The legalisation of drugs reduces the rates of family abuse, homelessness, and violent crime.

  7. Austerity measures reduce gross domestic product and harm economies.

  8. Mega-retailers are driving smaller players out of business.

  9. The portrayal of violence on TV encourages violence in children.

  10. The police employ racial profiling against minorities to disproportionately target them for random searches, or consider them as suspects in violent crimes.

  11. It’s good to be king.

  12. Advances of science and technology always carry some harm.

  13. Mainstream media is demonstrating increasingly favourable portrayal of homosexuals.

  14. The rate of broken marriages is increasing, and has never been higher.

  15. Global stock markets are overvalued.

  16. Illegal immigrants contribute positively to society.

  17. Fathers make significant positive impacts in the development of children.

  18. Advanced nations have fewer children, smaller families, and declining rates of population growth.

  19. Drug abuse is common throughout all sports.

  20. People tend not to change their minds on emotive issues, even when faced with strong evidence that contradicts their views.

  21. Cultures strongly rooted in religion need fewer laws and have lower rates of crime.

  22. History is written by the victors.

  23. Where trade does not cross borders, armies surely have.

  24. Capitalism has become softer and gentler as it has aged, and would be unrecognisable to socialist and communist economists of old.

  25. As more women are educated in societies, fertility rates drop, and child literacy rates rise.

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