Illustration compositions are those that contain examples to illustrate an idea. Examples make abstract ideas more concrete, down to earth, and easier to understand. Examples will make your writing more interesting and attention-grabbing. Whenever you introduce an idea, you should ideally provide your readers with a number of examples to clarify that idea.
You should use specific examples in your paper. These are examples taken from your own life or the lives of people you know. They are unique examples shared by no other people. For example, if you are wanting to explain a vague and abstract concept, such as loyalty, kindness, generosity, embarrassment, fear, courage, joy, curiosity, or industriousness, you can provide a unique, illustrative incident from your own life to explain the concept. You can write a whole narrative that is, in effect, one big example, or you can provide different examples from your life - a catalogue of examples - one for each paragraph of your essay that will illustrate the one concept you are trying to explain.
An entire essay may be one long example of an abstract idea, or an essay may have five or six paragraphs, each providing a different example of one single idea. You can even have examples at the sentence level. In other words, a single sentence can contain a series or list of examples. In this case, you can use exemplifiers to introduce those examples. Do you remember what the seven exemplifiers in English are? Here are the seven: for example, for instance, namely, that is, including, such as, and like.
Do not trivialize your illustrative essay by using examples that are too trite, too obvious, or too commonplace. Of the hundreds of examples you could possibly use, choose only those that are most fitting and most interesting. If you wish to illustrate the idea of pain, telling me how you struck your thumb with a hammer by accident just is not significant enough for a meaningful essay. Telling me how you were forced to give up your child for adoption and the mental pain it caused you is a much better topic for an illustrative composition.
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