Demonstrative Essay

Essay Writing 1, 2, 3

Essay Types - The Demonstrative Essay

By Peter J. Francis, HGPublishing Editor

A demonstrative essay is about how to do something. Here are some ideas for demonstrative essay topics:

  • How to bake a cake
  • How to grow prize winning roses
  • How to rebuild a carburetor
  • How to replace brake pads
  • How to get elected
  • How to make peace in Iraq (OK, maybe a little complex for an essay...)


In a demonstrative essay, the thesis is very basic. "It is hard to tie one's shoes." "Tying shoes is a step-by-step process." Even when there is not a natural order, a statement which provides the structure for the essay is still a thesis. "There are many different tools needed by automotive mechanics. I will first consider the wrenches."

The key is to break the subject down into bite sized pieces. You are probably being asked to write two or three pages in an essay like this or perhaps up to five pages. But look at how detailed you can get if you are asked for a twenty page or fifty page paper on the topic.

"There are many different tools needed by automotive mechanics. I will first consider the wrenches. There are three types of wrenches: crescent, box and adjustable. The adjustable uses a thumbscrew device to change sizes. The screw is an ancient concept dating back to the Greeks. The reputed originator of the screw was...

This is almost getting into the research essay, but the point is you can provide as much extra information in a demonstrative essay as you need.


The body of the demonstrative essay follows the thesis very closely. Cover the ground thoroughly and try to imagine a person who knew nothing about your topic reading the essay. Look for jargon, words which are only used by people who are knowledgeable about your topic. All jargon should be explained or replaced by less technical language.


Since the thesis is often not much more than an organizing structure for the body of the essay, the conclusion is similarly vague. Often times it is nothing more than an explicit statement that the lesson has ended. "And with the final pull of the shoelace, the shoe is tied."

What is the marker looking for?

Clear sentences. If it's a How To essay the sentences should be "Do this... then do that..." If it describes something less linear then it should be clearly organized into different sections. Always make sure your basic punctuation and grammar are correct.

Other types of essays

Research essays involve finding information about a topic and evaluating that information. This is often the essay assigned in a history class, or poptical science. You can't fake it here. You will need to read and cite from experts, using APA or MLA style to format your citations.

More About Research Essays

Persuasive Essays: Taking a stand and using logic to get others to agree. Essentially all essays are about persuading someone to believe your point of view, but the persuasive essay is often assigned in high school, to practice the art of persuasion about current events or controversial topics;

More About Persuasive Essays

Demonstrative Essays: How to do something. This can be something as simple as how to change a lightbulb to complex instructions on replacing a car motor. Demonstrative essays are the basis for technical writing, and as anyone who has tried to write out the instructions for another person to complete a task, they are very challenging.

More About Demonstrative Essays

Response Essays: Your thoughtful reaction to a work of art. This is an essay where you get to say if you like or not, but it's important to say why. You need to have some kind of standards by which to make a judgment;

More About Response Essays

Reviews: Your critical analysis of a work of art. This is not so much about whether or not you like it, it's about what it means and how it might relate to other similar works;

More About Reviews

Science Lab Reports: Your steps to evaluate a scientific principle or experiment.

More About Science Lab Reports

Admission Essays are special kind of personal narrative. You want to persuade the admissions officer that you are the right person for their campus.

More About Admissions Essays

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The demonstrative presentation is a type of informational presentation. The main purpose of this presentation is to teach the audience how to complete a process or task. Usually the demonstrative process is shown by using a series of steps. The main elements to writing a successful demonstrative presentation are to convey clear instructions to enable persons to effectively and safely complete a task. To make an effective demonstrative speech, you should be careful to proceed chronologically, step-by-step, using visual aids and props to enhance your presentation.There are several types of demonstrative presentations, in relation to public speaking:

  • Physical demonstration: a demonstration when speaker’s body becomes the main instrument of attraction.
  • Mechanical demonstration: this refers to the type of demonstration that takes the audience through the stages of developing a task.
  • Dramatic demonstration: this type usually involves volunteers to step up the podium and show a part of the process.
  • Technical demonstration: a demonstration, when a speaker uses technical aids to visualize and present the message.

Tips for Writing a Demonstrative Presentation

  • Choose a topic that is free of technical words
  • Exhibit the objects or physical activities
  • Get one or more audience members to help out as volunteers
  • Incorporate proper visuals to your subject
  • Insure everyone is participating and following you
  • Formulate each step without complicated phrases
  • Do not make your presentation unnecessarily complex
  • Do not forget about the time limit of the assignment

Guidelines – How to Write a Demonstrative Presentation

    1. Choose a topic that you are fully confident with and genuinely interested in.
    2. Consider your audience. This will help you decide the appropriateness of humor, take an appropriate approach and choose analogies that will be fully appreciated and comprehended.
    3. Determine a demonstrative way of giving your presentation. Use visual aids to accompany your instructions and verbal descriptions. Make sure that your audience can easily see them.
    4. Start with a hook. Ask an interesting question that your presentation will answer, or relate an anecdote that will catch the audience’s attention. Motivate your audience to learn more about the subject with your introduction.
    5. Organize the information about the process into a step-by-step procedure. Show your messages in a logical order and describe the details.
    6. Include personal stories and examples to illustrate your topics in a demonstrative presentation. Make a picture of how their life will improve with this new knowledge.
    7. Involve your audience into role-play to enhance your presentation.
    8. Fulfill the presentation with enthusiasm and knowledge. It is hard to inspire the audience to want to know more about a subject without this.
    9. Provide each member of the audience with materials and ingredients to practice with, if it is appropriate to your presentation.
    10. Keep a time for questions and discussion. Depending on the time and the topic, you are speaking on, choose to either take questions throughout your demonstration, or invite questions at the end.
    11. Extend your presentation by providing a follow-up resources. This will add a guarantee that your audience will successfully practice the task or process.

Like most informative presentations, a demonstrative presentation will likely use visual aids that show the audience how to move from one step to another through a particular activity. Visuals help the audience retain what each step looks like, increasing the likelihood that they will retain the overall information of the presentation.
If you need a better understanding of how to write a demonstrative speech, check out examples on our site.


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