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What Is an Analytical Exposition?

Meghan Perry
Meghan Perry

An analytical exposition is a type of text in which the purpose is to persuade the audience by making an argument. It can be either written or spoken; when written, it is often called an analytical exposition essay. This type of text often uses expert sources or personal experiences as evidence to support the argument being made. A written analytical exposition is often organized using a five-paragraph structure, in which the first paragraph is the introduction, the middle paragraphs are the supporting evidence, and the final paragraph is the conclusion.

In an analytical exposition, as its name suggests, the writer often analyzes a topic to persuade the reader that the thesis is true. This type of text is common in academia and often appears in academic journals or scientific texts. Analytical expositions also can be found in articles, magazines and speeches — basically, in any scenario in which an argument is being made.

Woman standing behind a stack of books
Woman standing behind a stack of books

When the analytical exposition follows the five-paragraph organization, the first paragraph not only introduces the topic, it also states the thesis. The thesis is the author's position or argument. It is what the remaining paragraphs of the exposition aim to support.

The main section of an analytical exposition, often referred to as the body, is usually no shorter than three paragraphs, which is often considered the minimum amount of evidence required to successfully support a thesis. The body might be longer if necessary. Transitional words, such as "first," "second" and "third," are commonly used to help the reader understand when a new point or piece of evidence is being presented. The types of evidence used to support an argument could include research conducted by other people or personal experiences; it often depends on what the writer's argument is.

The final paragraph of an analytical exposition is the conclusion. In this paragraph, the thesis is generally restated. The conclusion might begin with a restatement of the thesis, which is very specific, and might become more general as the paragraph continues. The general rule is that new information should not be included in the conclusion; if that is the case, then adding another paragraph in the body would be more appropriate.

Rich, descriptive language is common in an analytical exposition, because the writer might try to appeal to the emotions of the reader as well as present factual supporting evidence. If the writer is able to persuade the reader that the thesis is true, then the exposition is a success. Analytical expositions are also sometimes called evaluative essays or argumentative essays.

Discussion Comments


I think that short analytical expositions make great letters to the editor. I read my local newspaper every day, and I always enjoy reading these letters when they are full of solid proof that something needs to be done about a situation.


I love writing this type of essay. Any time that I can use facts and statistics to prove that I'm right about something, I feel great doing it.

I wrote a paper about the parking problem in our town, and it was easy to analyze. I showed how the growing population caused a dire need for more parking spaces on the square, but these had not grown in proportion to the population in years.


@giddion – Yes, you aren't kidding! I didn't learn this until I got a “D” on my first analytical exposition. Apparently, writing at a high school level isn't accepted in college.


I had no idea how to write an analytical exposition when I started college. To me, this type of writing sounded a lot like the opinion pieces I had written in high school.

I remember being in tenth grade and writing papers on my strong opinions. I had a little bit of evidence to support my thesis, but really, the papers were based largely on my personal views, and back then, that was okay.

In college, I had to have all kinds of supporting evidence, plus solid references. Writing an analytical exposition required much more time and planning than composing my old papers had.

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      Woman standing behind a stack of books