Some topics require numerous examples for adequate development. For instance, suppose the thesis statement is "Our city streets are in terrible conditions." Would three extended examples of streets in bad condition be sufficient to develop this thesis statement? Probably not. Asserting that all - or even most - of a city's streets are in terrible condition based on only three or four examples would be rather unwise. After all, a city has many streets, and most of them may in fact be in good condition. A generalization made too hastily before examining enough evidence. Making such a generalization without giving sufficient examples for support lessens your credibility with the reader. In short, thesis statements that state or imply "most" or "all" may need numerous examples for adequate support; thesis statements that are more moderate, stating or implying "some" or "a few", can often be supported with fewer, but more developed, examples.
Choices of Examples
Since an example is a "representative member" of a class or category, the examples you use to develop the thesis statement should be representative examples, examples that fairly support the thesis. For instance, let's say that you were writing an essay about the items found in mail-order catalogues, and in planning the essay you noticed that there were many items that were ridiculous. So you might have arrived at the thesis statement "Many items offered in mail-order catalogues are just superfluous, absurd trifles." If you used for your examples only items of one type such as toys, clearly the examples would be unfairly chosen - not representative of most of the items offered in these catalogues. To be fair and effective, the examples should be from a range of areas.
Organization of Examples
The examples and details in an expository paragraph can be organized according to time, familiarity, and importance. Developmental paragraphs in the example essay must be connected so that they flow...