Advantages and Disadvantages of Expository Text

Expository texts include news websites and textbooks.
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Expository texts provide information for the reader. They are nonfiction texts, and they can be written using the second- or third-person perspective. The purpose of an expository text is to inform and educate using facts and references. In the classroom, these texts include textbooks, news and magazine articles, scholarly works and articles and scientific or historical reports.

1 Informative Sources Are a Plus

Because the purpose of expository texts is to inform, they are a wealth of information that build knowledge and increase understanding of a given topic. Expository texts state facts, and valid texts contain facts based on research and reputable sources. In the classroom, expository texts, especially textbooks, can provide information and resources that lead to other sources of information, such as supplementary books or articles. Using expository texts in the classroom enhances learning and provides a well-rounded source of information.

As you're writing expository texts, you are demonstrating your ability to accurately structure an essay, and you're showing your understanding of a topic. Writing an expository essay forces you to investigate a variety of sources that will add to your knowledge and to the reader's knowledge.

2 The Advantages of Objectivity

An expository text contains research and evidence to substantiate the main idea. This research eliminates opinion and personal preference, increasing how trustworthy, or valid, the main idea is. In contrast to, for example, a political blog or commercial advertisement, an expository source is not an expression of personal opinion. True expository texts do not have an agenda and are not trying to convince the reader of anything. The research and the credibility of validating sources ensure the information is presented as fact, rather than opinion.

3 Perspective Is Limited

Even though an expository text may have multiple authors and credible research, it is limited by only one perspective. In contrast to a fictional or narrative text that may contain the perspectives of other characters, expository texts present information from one angle only. Even if the perspective of an expository text is accurate, it is limited. For example, an article about a recently discovered indigenous tribe in the Amazon may be written from the perspective of a visiting outsider. While a narrative account may try to imagine and present the perspective of a tribal member as well, an expository text only allows the reader to consider the subject from the perspective of the visitor.

4 Scope of Study Is Limited

A limited scope of study would narrow the discussion of a subject to a limited set of facts and a sequential account. Because expository texts must be organized according to a particular structure, such as cause and effect or compare and contrast, these scopes of study may miss events or significant details that occur simultaneously.

The sequential nature of expository texts is illustrated in history textbooks. By simply stating the facts about an event, such as a famous battle, the reader is limited to this battle only, and you must begin an entirely new section to discuss another event happening at the same time in another part of the country. Expository texts are limited to reporting one fact at a time.

Hannah Richardson has a Master's degree in Special Education from Vanderbilt University and a Bacheor of Arts in English. She has been a writer since 2004 and wrote regularly for the sports and features sections of "The Technician" newspaper, as well as "Coastwach" magazine. Richardson also served as the co-editor-in-chief of "Windhover," an award-winning literary and arts magazine. She is currently teaching at a middle school.