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How to Write an Illustration Essay Easily

We encounter the word "illustrate" quite often in our life - at school, in college, and simply everywhere around us. Originating from the Latin word illustrate ("illuminate," "lit up," or "shed light on"), it means to explain a general statement with one or more specific examples, such as charts, pictures, or other things that can serve as evidence thereof. Pretty easy, ha? But what about the illustration essay? How do we define it?

What is an illustration essay?

Sometimes referred to as the exemplification essay, the illustration essay explains a general principle or idea by using a number of well-chosen examples. The keyword here is "well-chosen examples" because that is precisely what makes a good illustration essay. Illustrative writing is also the basic format for other kinds of papers, such as the cause and effect, classification, and persuasive paper. The critical thing to ensure when writing the illustrative paper is that it doesn't end up sounding like a long and tedious list of examples. You're not writing a report, you're trying to showcase a particular aspect, abstract or otherwise, so you have to ascertain that each example provided is explained in great detail.

What is the purpose of examples in the illustration essay?

Each example you provide should relate to and support the general statement or topic. For instance, if you pick "Trust is the best policy" as your topic, it means that you'll need to prove the veracity of this broad statement by citing relevant examples, facts, stories, and personal experiences.

Illustration Essay Ideas and Useful Tips on Writing

In order to help you understand all the specifics involved in writing the illustration essay, we are going to analyze the above statement a little bit more. According to our topic, we consider trust to be the best policy - but why is that so? Answering this question will help you figure out the purpose of the essay or, speaking metaphorically, indicate the direction in which it will head. Keep in mind that answering this question will also require you to provide as many examples as possible because that is precisely what the illustration essay is all about.

There are some small writing tricks which can make a world of difference when you deal with this kind of essay. Let's check out some of them:

  • It's important to link your ideas and examples with the help of transitional words and phrases, such as "for example", "another instance of", "here are a few examples", "in other words", "also", "furthermore", "to illustrate", etc. The more transitional expressions you use, the more sense your paragraphs will make.
  • Choose the best examples for your illustration essay. The length of the essay is limited - only two to three pages - so don't try to cram all possible and impossible ideas and examples into it. Your task is to pick only the most important and relevant examples.
  • Make your examples specific. Include enough detail in them to make it easier for the reader to see your point. Be specific to prevent your reader from guessing what you mean by this or that statement.
  • Use phrases of illustration to provide good examples.
  • Practice your illustrative skills. There are plenty of exercises on the Internet which can help you in this task. Acquiring good writing skills requires a lot of hard work, so keep practicing until you become a real expert!

Writing an illustration essay is a challenging and yet fascinating task which requires diligence and a bit of creativity. Don't make your essay boring - use relevant examples and facts to help your readers visualize what you're trying to say.

Illustration Essay Structure and Its Basic Components

The basic structure of the illustration essay is pretty much standard: the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. However, there are some minor differences that you should keep in mind when dealing with this kind of paper: the introduction mentions your thesis, the body paragraphs describe the examples which support it, and the conclusion states your final opinion and confirms that your examples prove the point mentioned in the thesis statement. In this part of our article, we will be focusing on analyzing each of the above components.


Let's begin with the introduction part, and more specifically, with the thesis. The thesis is the idea you are going to support throughout the rest of your essay by providing examples and explanation. It should, therefore, clearly state what idea you support, as well as what message you try to convey to the audience. The thesis should also be argumentative and challenging. To make the introduction interesting or even intriguing, you can use some exciting facts, relevant statistics, quotations, and rhetorical questions.

Body paragraphs

The introduction is followed by the body paragraphs in which you should present all the evidence and examples you've come up with so far. This is the central part of your essay meant to prove, describe, and support your idea or thesis, so make sure to find some good examples and link them using transition words. Whenever you're undecided about which examples to include in your paper, try asking your professor for advice. It's always better to redo something than neglect your professor's opinion and end up getting mediocre grades.

Keep in mind that the more people read the draft copy of your essay, the less chance you have of making some serious mistakes. Set your examples in the right order - support your main point with the strongest evidence and then move on to the evidence of lesser importance. Alternatively, you can follow the opposite order - start with the least important examples and finish the body part with the most crucial ones. This will give make a good impression on the reader because a well-structured essay always makes the audience believe what the author is trying to say.


After the introduction is written and all the examples are provided in the body of the essay, it's time to write the conclusion. The purpose of this part is to reiterate the main thought and ideas from each paragraph in the body part and convince the reader that the author proved the opinion stated in the thesis. Your conclusion shouldn't include any new information - only statements based on the examples you've provided in the previous sections of your essay.

Illustration Essay Outline Is Your Guiding Star!

If you try going online and looking for different services which provide useful tips and writing guidelines, you'll end up having a bunch of them recommending you to compose an outline. "Why is that?" you may ask. The thing is that the outline is one of the most powerful tools in academic writing. Being a kind of a mini-version of the essay, it helps the writer focus on the most important points and organize the ideas, and gives them a clear sense of direction. Having an outline also lets you have a better vision of how your final paper will look like. Another benefit of having an outline is the possibility to review your ideas before writing the actual essay. As soon as you write your illustration essay outline, you can show it to your professor and get their opinion on the relevance of the information you want to include in your essay.

Let's see what a typical outline for the illustration essay may look like:

  1. Thesis: Trust is the best policy, a manifestation of true love, and the basic principle of all relationships.
  2. Body Paragraph 1: Proving that trust is the best policy.
    • Example 1: It helps people break the ice and is a way of showing their respect for one another.
    • Example 2: It makes other people feel confident about your intentions.
  3. Body Paragraph 2: Proving that trust is the manifestation of true love.
    • Example 1: True love is built on respect, trust, and readiness to seek a compromise.
    • Example 2: Absence of trust between people ruins relationships.
  4. Body Paragraph 3: Proving that trust is the basic principle of all relationships
    • Example 1: Trust is the cornerstone of all relationships, including love, friendship and even work partnership
  5. Conclusion: Sum up everything mentioned above in a strong statement which confirms and proves your initial point

Illustration Essay Topics - How Do You Choose One?

Everything you write about in your essay depends on the issue you want to explore, which is why choosing a good topic is the key to a successful essay. Having a relevant, challenging, and interesting topic also ensures that you arouse your readers' interest - and this is your primary goal.

Let's have a look at a list some good illustration essay topics that we've come up with specifically for you:

  1. Tell why some sports team is underrated.
  2. Suggest ways of dealing with annoying people in the dormitory.
  3. Illustrate how a fashion designer creates a clothing line.
  4. Explain why it is tough to work in fast food restaurants.
  5. What does it take for a teacher to prepare for classes every day?
  6. What will you do if your relationships with fellow employees aren't exactly that good?
  7. Describe the problem of global warming.
  8. How do you deal with violence on TV? How does it affect children?
  9. What are the consequences of legalizing drugs?
  10. Does the minimum drinking age help reduce the number of teenagers who consume alcohol?
  11. What is the role of the language in the life of a country?
  12. Describe the consequences of legalizing concealed weapons.
  13. Why are developed countries experiencing declining birth rates?
  14. Describe the importance of education for women.
  15. What are the disadvantages of technological and scientific development?
  16. Explain why artificial intelligence can be dangerous.
  17. Does having a lot of money means being happier?
  18. Describe the influence of the social media.
  19. Explain the pros and cons of student exchange programs.
  20. Is the inability of modern kids to study and memorize the major problem of our century?
  21. Illegal immigrants contribute positively to the wellbeing of the countries they stay in.
  22. Is there a connection between a decrease in the number of religious people and an increase in the number of divorces?
  23. A positive attitude prolongs people's lives?
  24. Can we believe history books which have been rewritten many times?
  25. The lack of empathy is one of the biggest problems of humanity.
  26. Routine tasks "kill" people's creativity and their personality.
  27. Are less technology-addicted children smarter?
  28. Domestic abuse - the reasons why it is so common nowadays.
  29. The role of commercials in people's lives. How do they influence us?
  30. People are becoming more self-centered nowadays.

We hope that our guideline will help you improve your writing skills and serve as a stepping stone toward an illustration essay of your dream! And remember - our writing company is always prepared to handle any task you might want to burden us with!

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