Guide to Writing Exemplification Essays

Exemplification essays are a somewhat unusual assignment because the very name of this assignment scares students and requires them to test their knowledge and understanding of the subject matter. However, even though this task sounds complex and difficult, the truth is that it’s much easier than it seems. This type of assignment is just less common than descriptive, persuasive, or cause and effect essays because it’s more specific. Simply put, an exemplification essay is a very precise type of argumentative essay. Learn more about exemplification essays with writing guide.

An Exemplification Essay: What Is It?

The definition of an exemplification essay is very simple. An essay of this type is aimed to prove a certain argument or thesis using examples. In fact, many teachers call such essays illustrative, because they simply illustrate a certain point. Some students think that exemplification essays are similar to argumentative essays because the latter also prove a thesis. However, there is a big difference between these two types of essays.

An argumentative essay requires you to support a thesis using evidence. You may use statistics or examples from real life that prove your point. You can also provide quotes from reputable experts and use research data. This type of evidence is a good solution when writing an argumentative essay. However, you cannot use such evidence when writing an exemplification essay. Quotes allow you to support your thesis but they don’t provide specific examples from real life. Exemplification essays require you to be more specific, offering clear examples that are easy to understand.

When writing an exemplification essay, you should think about your audience. When you make a point, you must illustrate this point with specific evidence. For example, when writing an essay about social media and its negative impact on teenagers’ self-esteem, you can provide specific examples of young girls whose self-image has been damaged by the unrealistic beauty standards popularized by social media influencers. In this case, the general research data that supports your point will not be specific and clear enough.

However, you can use research data that illustrates the connection between the time women spend on social media and their low self-esteem. You can also use data from surveys that focus on the emotional state of women who are addicted to social media. Make sure to look for examples that directly support your opinion and illustrate it.

The Writing Process

It will be easier for you to write a strong exemplification essay if you figure out what points you’re going to make and create an outline. When you understand the structure of your essay clearly, you can ensure an effective logical flow of thoughts.

To start writing an essay, follow these steps:

  1. Formulate your argument. Quite often, students don’t need to search for a topic for their essay because they get it assigned by a professor. In this case, all you have to do is to pick a side.
  2. Write down several reasons why you’ve chosen such a position and select the strongest ones. We recommend that you have three strong reasons.
  3. Do your research and look for examples that illustrate the three strongest reasons. Make sure that the examples support every reason directly and specifically.
  4. Take a look at your examples and reasons and try to summarize them in one sentence. This sentence will become your thesis statement.

The Exemplification Essay Structure

The format of an exemplification essay is no different from any other essay. Papers of this kind should have an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The only thing that makes exemplification essays different from other papers that you’ve written before is that the body of your essay must be focused on examples that illustrate your point.

Here is a template that you can use when writing your outline.

  • Introduction
    • A hook that grabs attention;
    • Three sentences that introduce the topic;
    • A thesis statement.
  • 1st body paragraph
    • The 1st reason that supports the argument;
    • An example that supports the reason;
    • An explanation of the significance of the example.
  • 2nd body paragraph
    • The 2nd reason that supports the argument;
    • An example that supports the reason;
    • An explanation of the significance of the example.
  • 3rd body paragraph
    • The 3rd reason that supports the argument;
    • An example that supports the reason;
    • An explanation of the significance of the example.
  • Conclusion
    • Restate the thesis statement;
    • Summarize your main points;
    • Provide a broader perspective.

Topics for Exemplification Essays


  • Today, a college degree isn’t necessary (agree or disagree)
  • Technology and social media lead to social anxiety (agree or disagree)
  • Should the government use population control to ensure the survival of our species?
  • Features of modern society lead to higher rates of ADHD (agree or disagree)
  • Children who suffer from obesity must receive nutritional assistance from the government (agree or disagree)
  • Celebrity culture causes damage to kids and teenagers (agree or disagree)
  • Society advocates gender discrimination (agree or disagree)
  • Smoking must be illegal in public places (agree or disagree)
  • We are shaped by the historical events that happened long before we were born (agree or disagree)
  • Older forms of entertainment and art, such as classical music, ballet, or opera die out because of the technology (agree or disagree)


  • It’s better to have poor parents who actively participate in your life (agree or disagree)
  • It’s better to have rich parents who don’t participate in your life (agree or disagree)
  • The SAT exam must be abolished (agree or disagree)
  • Reality television has changed our perception of reality (agree or disagree)
  • Power corrupts people (agree or disagree)
  • Homeschooling is less effective than traditional education (agree or disagree)
  • Should the government control how much meat people consume?
  • People are a reflection of their relations with others (agree or disagree)
  • Children under 18 shouldn’t be allowed to use smartphones (agree or disagree)
  • Children shouldn’t be taught afterlife and spirituality in public schools (agree or disagree)


  • American media negatively affects other countries (agree or disagree)
  • Negative effects of social media outweigh its perceived benefits (agree or disagree)
  • The consequences of the transatlantic slave trade can still be observed today (agree or disagree)
  • Capitalism needs more strict regulation to prevent corruption (agree or disagree)
  • Election forecasts and polls affect the election process and voter decisions (agree or disagree)
  • The prison industrial complex is a modern form of Jim Crow laws (agree or disagree)
  • Technology changed the world for the better and also introduced many problems. Which consequences are more important?
  • The government must spend more money on services for the elderly (agree or disagree)
  • People who are not very successful are the happiest (agree or disagree)

For college

  • Gender bias affects all aspects of our society (agree or disagree)
  • Religious organizations must pay taxes (agree or disagree)
  • Mass shootings are caused by the mental health problems in society, not the gun problem (agree or disagree)
  • Fast food companies must be taxed at a higher rate (agree or disagree)
  • The U.S. army must be present for self-defense and shouldn’t be sent to other countries (agree or disagree)
  • Politicians shouldn’t be allowed to receive donations from big companies and people who represent them (agree or disagree)
  • Difficult childhood helps individuals later in their lives (agree or disagree)
  • The U.S. must have harsher penalties for people who violate immigration policies (agree or disagree)
  • The legalization of most drugs will have a positive impact on the economy and wealth (agree or disagree)

For high school

  • The government must introduce more strict regulations for religious organizations (agree or disagree)
  • Politicians shouldn’t be allowed to spend millions on their campaigns (agree or disagree)
  • Alternative medicine can treat anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders (agree or disagree)
  • Gender-neutral toys are necessary for gender equality (agree or disagree)
  • Animal abuse must be a felony (agree or disagree)
  • Farm animals must be protected (agree or disagree)
  • People who will become parents must take parental training classes (agree or disagree)
  • Political jobs and government positions must have mandatory quotes for race and gender (agree or disagree)
  • Marriage is an obsolete institution (agree or disagree)
  • Spanking is an appropriate form of punishment for children (agree or disagree)

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