10 Characteristics of Expository Texts That You Have to Know

Learning to differentiate an expository text from other kinds of writing is a very useful skill for anyone.

Either to recognize which readings can be most useful, or to use them as a tool to get information to an audience more efficiently.

Those who do not know how to distinguish between expository texts and narrative, for example, are at risk of confusing reliable information with fictitious data, such as children.

If you are interested in knowing what these texts are about, you do not have to look any further!

Next I will show you 10 of its main characteristics to introduce you to the world of expository texts.

1.-Its main objective is to inform

Starting from the most basic, the fundamental objective of the expository texts is to inform about a certain topic.

What all expository texts have in common is that they are focused on reaching as many people as possible to disclose relevant and quality content.

When they are specialized, they seek to provide a large amount of data based on verifiable information, facts and historical events or scientific postulates.

In the case of informative expository texts, they offer updated information based on investigations or expert judgments.

2.-They resort to formal language

Maybe reading any other type of text, you have noticed how the rapporteur deviates towards secondary ideas to complement the main idea, before closing it.

Or that after carefully reviewing some paragraphs, you must return because you did not understand what you had read.

None of this occurs in the structure of the expository texts.

On the contrary, it is very seldom deepened in ideas that do not have a direct relationship with the subject in question, to avoid that the reader loses the idea of what is being developed.

The expository text is written using a formal but simple vocabulary that manages to explain concepts of the subject treated to any type of audience.

In addition, the use of filler or redundant content is inadmissible. The expository texts seek to emit as much information in as few lines as possible.

3.- Your Content is Objective

Absolutely everything you will read in an expository text is based on scientific theories, evidence or solid research.

Therefore, the opinions or anecdotes of the author are outside the development of the content, and can only be used in the part of the conclusions.

Other authors can be cited that address the same topic, with the intention of giving strength to the idea that is being developed.

The examples are admitted as long as they illustrate a difficult concept to explain, and it is a resource that must be administered with careful care.

4.- Logical Content Development

When the subject begins to formally develop in the expository text, the order of ideas follows a logical sequence, and may appear in the following ways:

Analyzing or deductive: Ideas start from the most general points, narrowing down to the most particular or specific.

Synthesizing or inductive: Contrary to the previous one, we begin by addressing the most specific ideas of a topic, to open the way to the more general.

Synthesis: It is used within the introduction and the conclusion, it seeks to reduce to a few lines everything exposed in the development.

Parallel structure: It seeks to develop two ideas at the same time, being both relevant to the subject and of equal importance.

5.-Uses a Denotative Lexicon

This means that the text expresses in a literal sense the ideas that the author wanted to express.

It does not present hidden messages or understandable references based on the era in which the text was written.

Therefore, you do not need to use interpretation tools to fully understand the information provided by reading, facilitating learning.

6.- Take advantage of various explanatory resources

Being informed of its main objective, it is natural to think that the authors of the different expository texts will use all the strategies they know to convey the message they are trying to convey.

Among the main strategies I can mention:

  • Definitions
  • Lists of points enumeration
  • Comparisons based on similarities and / or contrasts
  • Examples
  • Graphic support

7.- Organize the Content

The expository texts arrange the information so that the visual impression that causes the amount of continuous text is less.

This includes the use of organizational tools such as:

  • Content tables
  • Index
  • Glossaries
  • Appendices

However, not only is it limited to order. The authors also know that visual tools can still be more useful than texts.

Therefore, they take advantage of the use of graphic support such as:

  • Illustrations
  • Photographs (especially in the case of historical events)
  • Graphics
  • Boards
  • Diagrams
  • Schedules

8.- Predominant Use of the Timeless Present of the Indicative Mode

As they are objective texts, where the author does not take a narrator’s position, the verbal modes and tenses remain impersonal.

That is to say, they reflect a distance between the author and you, without this making the reading less enjoyable.

For this, they make constant use of the timeless present of the indicative mode.

These verbs can only be conjugated in the third person. Here are some examples:

  • Rains
  • Sunrise
  • It is said that
  • It does
  • It feels
  • Gets ready

9.- Content Hierarchy

Although, in part, this may depend on the order of presentation of information for each type of expository text, it always begins with the idea that is most relevant to the subject.

In this sense, the main ideas arise from the titles.

And if a main idea encompasses a series of secondary ideas, they are also organized through the subtitles.

10.- Grants Great Importance to the Use of Connectors

Although as I mentioned earlier, the text is written impersonally, this does not prevent the reading is harmonious.

To achieve this, the connectors that are placed at the beginning of a new paragraph take a leading role.

Among the most popular connectors, we can mention:

  • That is to say
  • For example
  • Unlike
  • Thus
  • Even though
  • Finally
  • In view of

Writing and reading are the pillars of the study of letters and written communication.