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Snap Language

Getting Smarter through Language

5 Rhetorical Modes of Writing
Expository Mode

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In expository or informative writing, your main goal is to teach or explain something to your readers.

For that purpose, you typically present facts and objective information and provide examples, definitions, illustrations, and so on.


Expository or informative mode of writing

Impact on readers. Expository writing focuses on conveying information to readers who want to learn something objectively.

Tone. In general, the tone of expository writing is objective, logical, and instructional though writers have creative freedom to change the tone for their own purpose.

Type of materials. Expository writing is typically found in news articles; textbooks and training materials; scientific and business reports; and instructional, how-to articles, and explainers.

Students answering exam questions would likely choose an expository mode of writing when the purpose of the answer is to demonstrate what they have learned.

Examples of expository writing

Example 1

Synchronous and asynchronous online courses are two formats of online instruction. Synchronous online courses require students to attend virtual lectures, discussions, and other activities in real-time. This means that students must log in at specific times to participate in online activities. In contrast, asynchronous online courses do not require students to attend live sessions. Instead, students can access course materials and complete assignments at their own pace and on their own schedule.

Example 2

Infectious illnesses can be transmitted through various common modes of transmission. Direct contact occurs when a person comes in physical contact with an infected person such as touching or kissing. Indirect contact involves the transmission of the infectious agent through a contaminated object or surface. For example, you may get sick if you touch a doorknob or share utensils with infected people. Airborne transmission occurs when an infected person releases infectious particles into the air, which can be inhaled by others. This can happen when someone sneezes or coughs and even when they talk near you. Waterborne transmission is another common mode of transmission. It occurs when an infectious agent is transmitted through contaminated water. Foodborne transmission occurs when an infectious agent is transmitted through contaminated food. This is why it is important to avoid eating undercooked meat and to wash your hands and surfaces when handling food. Finally, vector-borne transmission occurs when an infectious agent is transmitted through an insect bite. Understanding the modes of transmission of infectious illnesses is crucial in preventing the spread of diseases.

Note. As you can see, the above examples are purely instructional in nature. The writers present information in a neutral, scholarly tone to teach their readers about the topics.

Up Next: Narrative Mode

Continue the course to learn about the narrative mode of writing.