Expository writing might sound like a lofty term for some kind of literature, but it’s what we do every day in business: inform, clarify, simplify.

In high school, I thought the word prose was an academic term, but it actually applies to any sentence you write. Similarly, expository writing, or exposition, is a polished term for everyday business writing.

Email, formal memos, news articles and policy announcements are examples of expository writing. It informs, explains, makes requests, delivers instructions, and simplifies complex information. What do employees need to know about the new benefits policy? How did this problem originate? Expository writing answers these questions, and the clarity that is essential to it depends on a writer using exact words in tightly composed sentences.

Although there are different types of writing—descriptive, narrative, persuasive, analytical—there often is overlap. Persuasion can include narrative, and exposition can be part of all of them.