Assignment: Expository Essay

The word expository is defined as something that is “intended to explain or describe something.” As you might infer, expository writing aims to explain, illuminate or “expose” information about any given topic. As we think about the politics of language, the ownership of certain words, and the impact words have on us and those around us, we can also think through what things we might want to explain to people about the significance of language.


For this assignment, you will explain to your audience the significance of your chosen topic about language in music. We have discussed race, gender, and sexuality as it relates to music, but you may also choose other topics. Below are some questions you may consider:


  • How do artists talk about religion?
  • What types of words do artists use to talk about politics?
  • Why does an artist use derogatory language to talk about the police?
  • How do artists discuss socio-economic issues relevant to their communities?


Expository writing is similar to the type of writing you’ve completed before, and an effective expository essay will include some specific components you’ve heard of before. First, you will need to determine the purpose of your writing (i.e. – “What am I trying to explain to my audience?”). Think about this as the thesis/main idea for your essay: what information about language do you want your reader to walk away with? Next, you will need to include secondary sources to help explain your information. This essay will require that you include three sources in your work, and we will discuss how to effectively search for and incorporate secondary information into your writing. Your introduction should effectively outline what’s to come in your essay, and your conclusion should review the main points of the essay and help your audience understand why they need to know about what you’ve explained. We will spend the first day of peer review going through conclusions and reviewing introductions.


In addition to these elements, your essay should also consider some type of counter-perspective/argument. It will be your responsibility to identify at least one line of thought that could challenge what you present (this will be a good place to include secondary source information).


The purpose of this assignment is to apply your skills with developing argumentation and to think about how you can present an argument from various perspectives. All essays should be type-written, double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, with 1-inch margins. Please be sure to include a header with page numbers and a creative title that helps your reader anticipate the topic of your paper.

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