How to Write an Exemplification Essay

Examples are powerful communication tools. They help to explain our point of view, get our message across to the audience, and convince our readers. One of the most common phrases in an everyday conversation between friends or colleagues is “for example”. We provide examples to explain our ideas, even when our listener (reader) should not have trouble understanding us.

Examples are similar to templates or patterns – they are an important element of human intelligence. The ability to distinguish patterns from the environment gives us undisputed benefits compared to animals. This is why modern artificial intelligence (AI), the so-called narrow AI, has a hard time learning to distinguish simple patterns, such as password security (CAPTCHA).

What is an Exemplification Essay

Enough for the theory. Technically speaking, an exemplification essay is a special type of academic essay, where the main emphasis is made on examples. While in other types of essays you have to prove your point (thesis statement) with arguments, statistics, and facts, in an exemplification essay you need to do it with examples.

Exemplification Essay

College students are regularly asked to write on various exemplification essay topics, including college life, social activities, science, politics, economics, arts, and much more. Further down this article, we will provide some of the best examples of exemplification essay topics for you to find inspiration.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing an Exemplification Essay

  1. The topic. The key to a good exemplification essay is a good topic. There are many exemplification essay topics out there, but the topic of your essay has to be something you know well, something where your passions are, and where you can find lots of good examples. In case when the topic is given to you in the assignment, your first step should be a thorough analysis and understanding of what it is and what is required of you.
  2. Outline. This is a quick plan for your exemplification essay. It can either be put on a sheet of paper, smartphone, or PC note-taking app or even drawn in your mind – a sort of cognitive map. The key is to envisage what is it that you are going to write about, including:
  3. Your thesis statement – the main point you are going to support with examples;
  4. The hook – what you will capture the reader’s attention with (it can be either a catchy assumption, famous quote, interesting statistics, a joke, or an intriguing question to be answered);
  5. Examples that you will use to support your claim (thesis statement).
  6. Introduction. The introduction to an exemplification essay doesn’t have to be perfect from the first try – it’s enough to place your opening sentence or two, a thesis statement, and a hook. Later, when writing the main body and conclusion, you can come back to this part and adjust it to perfectly match the rest of the paper.
  7. The main body. This is the essence of your paper. Here you should give your examples and describe them accordingly. Start with the catchiest examples, the ones you feel most passionate about. Allow for one paragraph to each example, and try not to make them overly heavy – sometimes less text is better.
  8. Conclusion. The conclusion is the place to draw the bottom line, articulate the correctness (rightness) of your point or thesis statement, and show why your findings are important.  Please mind that different exemplification essay topics require different conclusions. You can read about exemplification essay topics in the next chapter.
  9. Resting. If your schedule allows, you should take a break from writing before the final check-up or even during the main writing phase (for instance, a break after the main body). Give your thoughts and body a rest to come back energized and with a fresh mind.
  10. Edit and proofread. In the final stage of the writing, we suggest students should edit and proofread their initial drafts. This stage is equally important in college research work and in a simple creative task as an exemplification essay. Make sure the examples you used perfectly fit the assumptions made. Don’t be afraid to get rid of some odd examples or to add something new. In the final editing stage, check the grammar and spelling of your essay.  

 Exemplification Essay Topics

Check out our list of the best 25 exemplification essay topics:

  1. How moral is the use of animals in scientific research?
  2. Imagine that one day you woke up in a world without rules. People can do whatever they want! Explain what the world would be like. Use your examples!
  3. Gadgets have turned people into zombies – how addicted are we to computers and smartphones?
  4. In your opinion, what factors can make a film interesting? Use examples of your favorite movies.
  5. Should all people get a university education? Why yes and why not?
  6. Should modern education get rid of evaluation systems?
  7. Video games for kids – a cause of reduced concentration or an opportunity for self-development and learning?
  8. What qualities must a good leader possess? Give examples of famous leaders
  9. Top causes of high unemployment in the US today.
  10. A phrase that changed my life.
  11. If you lived 200 years earlier, what would you do for a living?
  12. My hidden talent – how it helped me in life.
  13. If you could create a cure for one disease, what would it be and why?
  14. Which books do you want to read again and again, and why?
  15. How does music affect the way we live?
  16. Big money in sports destroys the essence of competition. Provide examples.
  17. Why do many athletes become socially active?
  18. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – how relevant is it in the 21st century?
  19. Personality tests – do they help you find yourself or drive you to nowhere?
  20. Traumatic events should be openly discussed, not hidden. Provide reasons for and against.
  21. People who love animals tend to be kinder and more optimistic. Is it true?
  22. Zoos are sometimes considered a good alternative to the natural environment. Are you for or against keeping animals in zoos?
  23. How can technology be used to save the environment?
  24. Describe how you made the decision about which education to pursue.
  25. Is money a tool or the goal of life? Provide examples supporting either claim.

How to Write an Exemplification Essay on a Literary Topic

The algorithm for writing an exemplification essay on a literary topic closely resembles the one for an exemplification essay on a general topic, though there are minor but important differences:

  1. Carefully read the formulated essay prompt and topic
  2. Formulate a thesis statement to address the topic
  3. Choose examples from literature and from history or your own life
  4. Give examples concisely: do not retell the content of the work, do not analyze plots in detail
  5. Check whether the examples really relate to your thesis and arguments
  6. Do not forget about the mandatory expressions needed to give examples
  7. Edit and proofread.

It is worth emphasizing the third point of the action plan: do not retell the content of the work, do not analyze the plot in detail. The statement itself is a piece of reflection on various (most often – moral and ethical) exemplification essay topics, not a literary one, so it is worth making sure that the statement does not turn into an analysis of a literary work.

One example is one paragraph, not a page! Examples can be started in the following way: “In connection with the raised issue, I would like to mention a famous work (by such and such a writer).”

Later add three or four sentences, either about the theme or characters, some element of the plot, or a problem raised in the work, depending on the formulated thesis and arguments.

An exemplification essay based on literature or other types of art will be complete only if the author (writer, director, artist) and the name of the work are properly referenced. It is also worth being careful with the genre: if the student is not sure (not sure if it’s a novel or a short story), it is better to write a vague “famous work” – this way the author will protect himself from losing grade points for a factual error.

The Bottom Line

Writing an outstanding exemplification essay is possible with some initial training. The key is knowing how to approach this process and how to structure your work. Our experts have done their best to help you come to this assignment fully armed by providing a quick step-by-step guide and providing you with our best exemplification essay topics. Save this guide for your future assignments, and feel free to share it with your friends and colleagues!