Expository essay in which you inform readers about a topic of general interest that you know well from personal experience. Something you do or have done, something you learned by living it or observing it, something you have confidence to explain and illustrate in specific detail–you have expertise in something your readers will agree is fascinating to learn. This “something” will be a useful topic for this essay assignment.


Writing THIS expository essay is NOT an exercise in using sources of information beyond your lived experience and current knowledge. Avoid citing statistics, referring to what “studies say” or “researchers have discovered,” or reading anything about your topic before you write this essay. This prohibition on writing from research is designed to show you that college-level writing involves original critical thinking more than a talent for finding useful content in other people’s writing. You do not need to search library or Internet sources to become adept at critical thinking or writing essays that explore the various facets and complications of their topics.




  • Double-space the text of your paper, and use a legible font (e.g. Times New Roman). Whatever font you choose, MLA recommends that the regular and italics type styles contrast enough that they are recognizable one from another. The font size should be 12 pt.
  • Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks.
  • Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Indent the first line of paragraphs one half-inch from the left margin. MLA recommends that you use the Tab key as opposed to pushing the Space Bar five times.
  • Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner, one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Purdue OWL)

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