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How to Write an Expository Essay | Structure, Tips & Examples

Published on July 14, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

“Expository” means “intended to explain or describe something.” An expository essay provides a clear, focused explanation of a particular topic, process, or set of ideas. It doesn’t set out to prove a point, just to give a balanced view of its subject matter.

Expository essays are usually short assignments intended to test your composition skills or your understanding of a subject. They tend to involve less research and original arguments than argumentative essays .

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Table of contents

When should you write an expository essay, how to approach an expository essay, introducing your essay, writing the body paragraphs, concluding your essay, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about expository essays.

In school and university, you might have to write expository essays as in-class exercises, exam questions, or coursework assignments.

Sometimes it won’t be directly stated that the assignment is an expository essay, but there are certain keywords that imply expository writing is required. Consider the prompts below.

The word “explain” here is the clue: An essay responding to this prompt should provide an explanation of this historical process—not necessarily an original argument about it.

Sometimes you’ll be asked to define a particular term or concept. This means more than just copying down the dictionary definition; you’ll be expected to explore different ideas surrounding the term, as this prompt emphasizes.

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An expository essay should take an objective approach: It isn’t about your personal opinions or experiences. Instead, your goal is to provide an informative and balanced explanation of your topic. Avoid using the first or second person (“I” or “you”).

The structure of your expository essay will vary according to the scope of your assignment and the demands of your topic. It’s worthwhile to plan out your structure before you start, using an essay outline .

A common structure for a short expository essay consists of five paragraphs: An introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Like all essays, an expository essay begins with an introduction . This serves to hook the reader’s interest, briefly introduce your topic, and provide a thesis statement summarizing what you’re going to say about it.

Hover over different parts of the example below to see how a typical introduction works.

In many ways, the invention of the printing press marked the end of the Middle Ages. The medieval period in Europe is often remembered as a time of intellectual and political stagnation. Prior to the Renaissance, the average person had very limited access to books and was unlikely to be literate. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century allowed for much less restricted circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.

The body of your essay is where you cover your topic in depth. It often consists of three paragraphs, but may be more for a longer essay. This is where you present the details of the process, idea or topic you’re explaining.

It’s important to make sure each paragraph covers its own clearly defined topic, introduced with a topic sentence . Different topics (all related to the overall subject matter of the essay) should be presented in a logical order, with clear transitions between paragraphs.

Hover over different parts of the example paragraph below to see how a body paragraph is constructed.

The invention of the printing press in 1440 changed this situation dramatically. Johannes Gutenberg, who had worked as a goldsmith, used his knowledge of metals in the design of the press. He made his type from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony, whose durability allowed for the reliable production of high-quality books. This new technology allowed texts to be reproduced and disseminated on a much larger scale than was previously possible. The Gutenberg Bible appeared in the 1450s, and a large number of printing presses sprang up across the continent in the following decades. Gutenberg’s invention rapidly transformed cultural production in Europe; among other things, it would lead to the Protestant Reformation.

The conclusion of an expository essay serves to summarize the topic under discussion. It should not present any new information or evidence, but should instead focus on reinforcing the points made so far. Essentially, your conclusion is there to round off the essay in an engaging way.

Hover over different parts of the example below to see how a conclusion works.

The invention of the printing press was important not only in terms of its immediate cultural and economic effects, but also in terms of its major impact on politics and religion across Europe. In the century following the invention of the printing press, the relatively stationary intellectual atmosphere of the Middle Ages gave way to the social upheavals of the Reformation and the Renaissance. A single technological innovation had contributed to the total reshaping of the continent.

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An expository essay is a broad form that varies in length according to the scope of the assignment.

Expository essays are often assigned as a writing exercise or as part of an exam, in which case a five-paragraph essay of around 800 words may be appropriate.

You’ll usually be given guidelines regarding length; if you’re not sure, ask.

An expository essay is a common assignment in high-school and university composition classes. It might be assigned as coursework, in class, or as part of an exam.

Sometimes you might not be told explicitly to write an expository essay. Look out for prompts containing keywords like “explain” and “define.” An expository essay is usually the right response to these prompts.

An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.

An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.

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How to Write an Expository Essay

Last Updated: December 13, 2022 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Tristen Bonacci . Tristen Bonacci is a Licensed English Teacher with more than 20 years of experience. Tristen has taught in both the United States and overseas. She specializes in teaching in a secondary education environment and sharing wisdom with others, no matter the environment. Tristen holds a BA in English Literature from The University of Colorado and an MEd from The University of Phoenix. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 563,863 times.

Expository essays are often assigned in academic settings. In an expository essay, you need to consider an idea, investigate the idea, then explain the idea. Some expository essays may include an argument, while others are purely informative. [1] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source While it may seem overwhelming, writing an expository essay is easy if you take it one step at a time.

Sample Essay Conclusion

how to start introduction in expository essay

Planning Your Essay

Step 1 Define your purpose for writing.

  • If you are writing an expository essay for an assignment, read the assignment guidelines. Ask your instructor if anything seems unclear.

Step 2 Consider your audience.

  • If you are writing your essay for a class assignment, consider what your instructor will expect you to include in your essay.

Step 3 Generate ideas for your expository essay.

  • Try listing. List all your ideas for your expository essay. Then look over the list you have made and group similar ideas together. Expand those lists by adding more ideas or by using another prewriting activity. [6] X Research source
  • Try freewriting. Write nonstop for about 10 minutes. Write whatever comes to mind and don’t edit yourself. After you finish writing, review what you have written. Highlight or underline the most useful information for your expository essay. Repeat the freewriting exercise using the passages you underlined as a starting point. You can repeat this exercise many times to continue to refine and develop your ideas. [7] X Research source
  • Try clustering. Write a brief explanation of the subject of your expository essay on the center of a piece of paper and circle it. Then draw three or more lines extending from the circle. Write a corresponding idea at the end of each of these lines. Continue developing your cluster until you have explored as many connections as you can. [8] X Research source
  • Try questioning. On a piece of paper, write out “Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?” Space the questions about two or three lines apart on the paper so that you can write your answers on these lines. Respond to each question in as much detail as you can. [9] X Research source

Step 4 Make an outline.

  • Trustworthy internet sources usually include academic institutions like universities or research labs, government websites, and non-profit organizations.

Step 6 Evaluate your sources to determine their credibility before you decide to use them.

  • Identify the author and his or her credentials. Think about what qualifies this person to write about their subject. If the source has no author or the author does not have adequate credentials, then this source may not be trustworthy.
  • Check for citations to see if this author has researched the topic well enough. If the author has provided few or no sources, then this source may not be trustworthy.
  • Look for bias. Think about whether or not this author has presented an objective, well-reasoned account of the topic. If the author seems to value a particular argument or slant that is not supported or only thinly supported by fact, then this source may not be trustworthy.
  • Consider the publication date to see if this source presents the most up to date information on the subject.
  • Cross-check some of the information in the source. If you are still concerned about a source, cross-check some of its information against a trustworthy source.

Step 7 Read your sources well.

  • Show when you have quoted a source word for word by putting it into quotation marks. Include information about the source such as the author’s name, article title or book title, and page number.
  • Write down the publishing information of each source. You will need this information for your "References," "Bibliography," or "Works Cited" pages. Format this page according to your instructor's guidelines.

Step 9 Develop your tentative thesis.

  • Make sure your thesis is arguable. Do not state facts or matters of taste. For example, "George Washington was the first president of the United States," is not a good thesis because it states a fact. Likewise, "Die Hard is a great movie," is not a good thesis because it expresses a matter of taste. [16] X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source
  • Make sure your thesis provides enough detail. In other words, avoid just saying that something is "good" or "effective." Instead, say what makes something "good" or "effective. [17] X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source

Introducing Your Essay

Step 1 Begin with an engaging sentence that gets right into your topic.

  • An engaging hook can take many forms. You could start with an anecdote, an informative and attention-grabbing quote, a bold opinion statement, or anything that will make your readers want to continue with your essay.

Step 2 Provide context.

  • If you are writing about a book, provide the name of the work, the author, and a brief summary of the plot.
  • If you are writing about a specific day in history, summarize the day's events. Then, explain how it fits into a broader historical scope.
  • If you are writing about a person, name the person and provide a brief biography.
  • Keep in mind that your context should lead up to your thesis statement. Explain everything your reader needs to know to understand what your topic is about. Then narrow it down until you reach the topic itself.

Step 3 Provide your thesis statement.

Expressing Your Main Points

Step 1 Determine how many paragraphs to include.

  • A five-paragraph essay should include three body paragraphs. Each body paragraph should discuss a piece of supporting evidence that supports your thesis.
  • Even if your essay is longer than five paragraphs, the same principles still apply. Each paragraph should discuss a piece of supporting evidence.

Step 2 Begin each paragraph with a topic sentence.

  • "Dogs played an active role in Marine Corps missions in the Pacific."
  • "The Doberman Pinscher was the official dog of the US Marine Corps during WWII, but all breeds were eligible to train as war dogs."
  • "War dogs were even eligible to receive military awards for their service."

Step 3 Elaborate on your supporting evidence.

  • Most of your evidence should be in the form of cited quotes, paraphrases, and summaries from your research.
  • Your evidence could also come from interviews, anecdotes, or personal experience.
  • Try to provide at least two to three pieces of evidence to support each of your claims.
  • For example, if a paragraph starts with, "War dogs were even eligible to receive military awards for their service," the supporting evidence might be a list of dogs who got awards and the awards they were given.

Step 4 Analyze the significance of each piece of evidence.

  • You could write, "Even though Dobermans were the most common breed used in WWII, they were not the only breed, and were not the only dogs recognized for their help."

Concluding Your Essay

Step 1 Restate and rephrase your thesis.

  • Note that the second sentence repeats the information provided in your original thesis. It just says it in a new way while also hinting at the information you included in the body of the essay.

Step 2 Summarize and review your main ideas.

  • Explain how the topic affects the reader
  • Explain how your narrow topic applies to a broader theme or observation
  • Call the reader to action or further exploration on the topic
  • Present new questions that your essay introduced

Expert Q&A

Tristen Bonacci

  • If you are unsure about anything as you work on your essay, talk to your instructor or meet with a writing tutor for help. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0

how to start introduction in expository essay

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  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/essay_writing/expository_essays.html
  • ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/expository-essay/
  • ↑ Tristen Bonacci. Licensed English Teacher. Expert Interview. 21 December 2021.
  • ↑ http://writing.ku.edu/prewriting-strategies
  • ↑ https://grammar.yourdictionary.com/grammar-rules-and-tips/tips-on-writing-an-excellent-expository-essay.html
  • ↑ http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/reading-and-researching/notes-from-research
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/thesis-statements/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/thesis-statements/
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/using_research/quoting_paraphrasing_and_summarizing/index.html
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/common_writing_assignments/argument_papers/conclusions.html

About This Article

Tristen Bonacci

Before you write an expository essay, take some time to jot down ideas for your essay. Try the clustering method by writing a brief explanation of your subject in a bubble in the center of your page. Then, draw 3 or more lines extending from the circle and jot down idea bubbles that connect to your main theme. Once you have a plan for your expository essay, write out an outline to organize what you’re going to say. Make sure to begin your outline with an engaging introduction sentence. After the introduction sentence, provide some background information and include your thesis statement, which is your main argument. If you’re writing a 5 paragraph essay, you should include 3 body paragraphs after your introduction then a conclusion paragraph that summarizes your main points. However you organize your essay, make sure to include credible sources for important information, like statistics, so your teacher knows that it’s accurate. To learn how to use transitions in your essay, read more from our Writing co-author. Did this summary help you? Yes No

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how to start introduction in expository essay

Quick and Easy Guide on How to Write an Expository Essay

how to start introduction in expository essay

Understanding What Is an Expository Essay

If you clicked on this article, then you must have recently been assigned an expository essay homework. There is also a possibility that you are here because you enjoy exploring different ideas and concepts rather than solely scratching the surface. Well, that explains why you decided to research more about expository essay writing. We won't leave you hanging, so let's delve right into the expository essay definition.

It's only reasonable to first give you a clear explanation of what is an expository essay and what this kind of paper tries to accomplish. Simply put, an expository essay presents information on a topic. It explains something about a situation, person, idea, or occurrence and communicates knowledge about it to the reader. It does not attempt to persuade the reader of a certain point of view or present a convincing case. An expository essay depends on facts rather than personal opinion since it aims to inform the reader about a subject.

Expository writing involves anything from sharing your day to outlining a job assignment. Therefore it wouldn't be unfair to say that it is the most popular type of writing in the world.

Expository Essay Topics

Speaking of the above, there must be plenty of options to write your expository paper on, right? You're correct! But one needs a properly worded title that would make great expository essay topics. That's why our research paper service covered some interesting areas below. You can browse myriads of choices and find one that is just right for your endeavor!

Expository Essay Topics About Education

  • School Dress Codes: A Physical And Mental Stress
  • The Idea Of Free Higher Education
  • The Issue With High School Massacres
  • The Importance of College Success
  • STEM versus STEAM educational approaches
  • How literate people differ from uneducated ones
  • The advantages of studying foreign languages.
  • What changes should be made to the educational system in your nation?
  • Does 'educated' have the same connotation as 'smart'?
  • Can someone receive a top-notch education at home?

Expository Essay Topics About Mental Health

  • Is it true that music impacts our mental and physical health?
  • Are acts of heroism and patriotic acts typical in terms of mental health?
  • Is there a need to increase mental health benefits under health insurance?
  • Comparatively speaking, does the American mental health system lag behind other nations?
  • Effects of mental health law
  • The connection between antisocial personality disorder and parenting methods
  • Learning-disabled kids can benefit greatly from school programs.
  • How social anxiety is influenced by digital communication
  • Patients with mental illness receiving physical care
  • Issues with mental health and grief therapy

Expository Essay Topics About Society

  • Advertisements seen via the lens of social science.
  • Prejudices towards African Americans.
  • The social implications of feminism.
  • Global refugee crisis.
  • Constructing a wall to separate Mexico and the US.
  • The psychology of implicit racial prejudice and discrimination
  • The effects of racism at work on the economy and mind.
  • Gender roles in society: shifting perspectives and effects on families.
  • Who was responsible for the cost of the War on Terror?
  • Is peace education receiving enough attention from society?

Expository Essay Topics About Politics

  • The connection between politics and religion
  • What are the pros and drawbacks of democracy?
  • How powerful are NGOs?
  • What are the UN's primary responsibilities?
  • What are the disadvantages of not having a state?
  • Has the US soured relations with its European allies?
  • What does the Human Development Index mean?
  • Celebrity Influence in political campaigning
  • What objectives does the anti-globalization movement seek to achieve?

How to Write an Expository Essay with an Expository Essay Outline

Outlining is one of the most vital steps for knowing how to write an expository essay. Many believe that creating an outline is a waste of time, but in reality, the more complete your expository essay plan is, the fewer hours you will have to devote to research and writing. An expository essay outline divides each paragraph of the essay into various components. By doing so, you may divide a more complex activity into more manageable components and better understand how various pieces of information will work together. Let's go through each section of the expository essay format prepared by our writer.

expository essay outline

I. Introduction

So, how to start expository essay on a strong note? Consider opening with a bold claim that is related to your topic. After that, go on to briefly describe your subject's significance. Finally, make a statement about your essay's core thesis or objective.

  • Background information
  • Thesis statement

II. Body Paragraphs

In your first body paragraph. introduce the first major point that backs up your primary statement. Then, support your claim with instances or facts, and then explain how these examples or evidence link to your thesis and support your core notion. Remember to include a transitional sentence that relates to the following paragraph.

If you follow a five paragraph essay format, then feel free to develop three body paragraphs with the similar order.

  • Topic sentence

III. Conclusion

In your concluding paragraph, try restating your thesis statement in a different way to successfully conclude your work. Then put your essay's essential ideas in a brief summary before concluding with a powerful remark that will stay with your readers.

  • Restate thesis
  • Closing sentence

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How to Write an Expository Essay

Even though you now know a lot about the expository essay format, there are other things to keep in mind as well. In this section, we'll go over the specific steps you should take when figuring out how to write an expository essay.

Brainstorming Ideas

The absolute first thing you should do when given an expository essay assignment is to carefully go over the guidelines. Make sure you completely understand what is required of you. If it is for class, you may be limited to certain topics and word counts, there may be restrictions on the quality of sources you can use, etc. You might write an incredible essay but get a low grade because you missed out on some small restriction or guideline.

Once you know exactly what you are supposed to do, it's time to think about different concepts you would like to explain. Make sure you are aware of the different types of expository essays so that when you brainstorm topics you have a tentative idea of what type of expository essay would be best suited for that topic.

Think about what has been covered in class, what the teacher might expect, and what you find interesting to try and come up with a list of topics. Do a little bit of research on each topic to figure out whether you can easily find reputable sources and to gain a further understanding of the topic. After keeping all these things in mind, you should end up with an expository essay topic that is appropriate, engaging, and high-scoring.

Fill Up an Outline

Once you have zeroed in on a topic it's time to do research. One of the best ways to plan your writing is to use an expository essay outline to organize interesting information. While conducting research focus on the body paragraphs rather than on the introduction or conclusion. Think about three main ways you can explain the topic and put information that fits into those subtopics under the appropriate body paragraphs.

While conducting research and filling out an outline, think about potential thesis statements. Coming up with a thesis statement too early will restrict your research, so it is better to develop a thesis statement as you find out more and more information. That being said, by the end of the planning stage you should have a finalized thesis statement

Planning out your essay beforehand will give direction to your research, cut down on the amount of time you spend on the assignment, improve the overall flow of the final essay, and make the actual writing process much easier.

Write the First Draft

Now is the time to translate your outline into full sentences. It is often useful to leave the writing of the introduction till the end because after writing the body paragraphs you will have a better idea of what to say in an introduction, but make sure that you write down your thesis statement.

Use the information you have found to create a cohesive analysis of the topic in each body paragraph. Make sure that the information you present is on topic and connects to the other facts around it. Think about what the purpose of each body paragraph is and question whether the information you are presenting fits that purpose or not. Make sure to use transition words within the paragraph and use transition sentences between paragraphs to improve overall comprehensibility and flow.

Finalize Your Draft

Go over the first draft of the essay and focus on whether the different paragraphs make sense or not. Don't be afraid to reorganize sections or completely get rid of some pieces of information. As you write your draft, new ways of expressing the information can come to mind that will make the overall essay more powerful.

Make sure that you are not trying to make a persuasive argument and that you are using facts rather than opinions as evidence.

Go over each sentence to make sure that it is clear and that it fits the purpose of the paragraph it is in. Look at the information you have included and make sure that it is useful and enhances understanding of the topic. It is better to have less information than more if the information is distracting or does not add anything to the essay.

Try and read the paper as if it is the first time you are coming across the topic to see if it makes sense or not. Congratulations, you are just one step away from being able to submit an expository essay!

Editing and Proofreading

Go over the final draft of your essay and check for formatting errors, grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, etc and make sure that it complies with all the guidelines of the assignment. Finally, ask a friend or relative to go over the paper to do the last check. If you feel like you still need to make a lot of changes, don't be disheartened, spend the extra time to make the changes or reach out to expository essay writing service .

Expository Essay Examples

One of the best ways to learn how to write an expository essay is to look at an expository essay example. Looking at expository essay examples can give you a deeper understanding of what is expected as well as how to write an essay that flows well. Make sure that you use any examples you find as inspiration rather than a place to directly source information or text!

Expository Essay Example

The shift from traditional to current methods in treating diseases has improved the quality of many services, products, and processes. However, many regions worldwide are still applying traditional medicines (Stefanov et al., 2020). Therefore, conventional western medicine and alternative Eastern medicine are two recognized approaches to treating multiple diseases. Researchers have developed the foundational differences between these two approaches that have helped establish the pros and cons of each. Each approach has advantages and drawbacks. There have been debates on which approach is cheaper in terms of time and cost of treatment. Also, there is ongoing concern on which approach is safer than the other.
As of 2019, there were over 3.5 billion social media users globally, and this figure still increases by 9% each year. It is impossible to deny that social media has become an important part of many people’s lives. There are various positive effects linked with the platforms, including better connectivity. However, addiction to social media platforms, the increased comparisons between individuals, and the fear of missing out have increased depression and sadness. Social media addiction has become rampant, which has negatively influenced the lives of many individuals in society. Checking and scrolling through the different social media platforms has become increasingly popular over time, leading to excessive and compulsive use.

FAQs on Expository Essay Writing

If the information was not quite enough for you to create an outstanding paper, our college essay writer has yet to supply you with further details about expository essays. Below you'll find the most frequently asked questions on this matter, so you won't have to spend extra time and effort researching any unanswered questions.

What are the Different Types of Expository Essays?

Since expository writing may take various forms, understanding the different sorts of essays will help you pick a topic and organize the essay's general trajectory and framework.

expository essay types

  • Process Essays - In a typical process essay, the introduction presents what you will learn, the body paragraphs offer step-by-step instructions, and the conclusion discusses the significance of what you have taken away.
  • Compare and Contrast Essays - The purpose of comparing and contrasting is to present facts and allow readers to reach their own conclusions. This is still an expository essay and not an evaluation of one over the other. A contrast essay may highlight differences, similarities, or both.
  • Cause and Effect Essays - Cause and effect essays examine the reasons behind events or speculate on possible effects. They can also draw attention to relevant connections or provide details about a cause or consequence.
  • Classification Essays - In classification essays, distinct items in the same category are compared, stressing their differences while pointing up the similarities that place them in the same category. Classification essays may be quite intriguing when attempting to classify something into a category it often does not belong to.
  • Definition Essays - Apart from an argumentative essay format , the basic objective is to define a topic by providing information. In contrast to just providing the word's dictionary definition, a definition essay also builds on the term's general notion while thoroughly defining it.

What is the Most Important Part of the Expository Essay Structure?

The core of the outline for expository essay is your thesis. It's what your essay's audience will remember. It is critical to select a thesis statement that is both intriguing and provocative yet accurate and true. It is what makes the structure of expository essay powerful and constructive.

What is the Main Idea in Expository Writing?

Identifying the core concept, or the most crucial message the author wishes to convey, is the fundamental objective for all expository papers. The text's main concepts are frequently introduced early, generally in the introductory paragraph.

Using headings, subheadings, and other emphasis techniques, you may further emphasize key ideas. Main concepts, meanwhile, can also be inferred from the text and not explicitly expressed. Occasionally, you must draw the major concept from the text's specifics, assertions, and justifications.

Now that you know whats an expository essay, you must agree that writing an expository essay is a great method to learn how to effectively communicate information while also pursuing an interest of yours. Therefore, there are many ways in which knowing how to convey ideas and explain things will help you both professionally and individually.

And if you ever feel like you need an extra push towards pursuing your dream academic life, consider us your go-to college life partner. We won't criticize you no matter how many times you need essay writing help . The EssayPro team is loyal, always reliable, and never judgmental! 

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Expository Essays

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The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.

What is an expository essay?

The expository essay is a genre of essay that requires the student to investigate an idea, evaluate evidence, expound on the idea, and set forth an argument concerning that idea in a clear and concise manner. This can be accomplished through comparison and contrast, definition, example, the analysis of cause and effect, etc.

Please note : This genre is commonly assigned as a tool for classroom evaluation and is often found in various exam formats.

The structure of the expository essay is held together by the following.

  • A clear, concise, and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay.

It is essential that this thesis statement be appropriately narrowed to follow the guidelines set forth in the assignment. If the student does not master this portion of the essay, it will be quite difficult to compose an effective or persuasive essay.

  • Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion.

Transitions are the mortar that holds the foundation of the essay together. Without logical progression of thought, the reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument, and the structure will collapse.

  • Body paragraphs that include evidential support.

Each paragraph should be limited to the exposition of one general idea. This will allow for clarity and direction throughout the essay. What is more, such conciseness creates an ease of readability for one’s audience. It is important to note that each paragraph in the body of the essay must have some logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph.

  • Evidential support (whether factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal).

Often times, students are required to write expository essays with little or no preparation; therefore, such essays do not typically allow for a great deal of statistical or factual evidence.

  • A bit of creativity!

Though creativity and artfulness are not always associated with essay writing, it is an art form nonetheless. Try not to get stuck on the formulaic nature of expository writing at the expense of writing something interesting. Remember, though you may not be crafting the next great novel, you are attempting to leave a lasting impression on the people evaluating your essay.

  • A conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided.

It is at this point of the essay that students will inevitably begin to struggle. This is the portion of the essay that will leave the most immediate impression on the mind of the reader. Therefore, it must be effective and logical. Do not introduce any new information into the conclusion; rather, synthesize and come to a conclusion concerning the information presented in the body of the essay.

A complete argument

Perhaps it is helpful to think of an essay in terms of a conversation or debate with a classmate. If I were to discuss the cause of the Great Depression and its current effect on those who lived through the tumultuous time, there would be a beginning, middle, and end to the conversation. In fact, if I were to end the exposition in the middle of my second point, questions would arise concerning the current effects on those who lived through the Depression. Therefore, the expository essay must be complete, and logically so, leaving no doubt as to its intent or argument.

The five-paragraph Essay

A common method for writing an expository essay is the five-paragraph approach. This is, however, by no means the only formula for writing such essays. If it sounds straightforward, that is because it is; in fact, the method consists of:

  • an introductory paragraph
  • three evidentiary body paragraphs
  • a conclusion

Expository Essay

Caleb S.

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11 min read

Published on: Jul 29, 2018

Last updated on: Nov 14, 2023

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Writing essays can be a real challenge for many students. They often struggle to organize their thoughts and convey them clearly in expository essays.

This struggle leads to essays that lack clarity and fail to captivate the reader’s interest.

But worry not! This guide is your go-to helper. We're going to break down the ins and outs of expository writing using simple steps. Plus, we’ve included some tips and topic ideas, so you can craft essays that are both clear and engaging!

So, keep reading!

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What is an Expository Essay?

An expository essay is a type of essay that seeks to inform, describe, or explain a particular subject or topic. 

It's distinct in its approach as it emphasizes presenting facts, analyzing information, and providing a comprehensive understanding without incorporating personal opinions or biases.

Why Write an Expository Essay?

The purpose of writing an expository essay extends beyond academic requirements. 

This form of writing nurtures the ability to research deeply, logically organize thoughts, and articulate information coherently. 

Developing these skills not only enhances academic performance but also prepares individuals for effectively communicating complex ideas in various real-world scenarios.

Expository Essay Vs. Argumentative Essay

Expository and argumentative essays vary in their purposes and approaches. 

Expository essays aim to inform or describe a topic without personal opinions, using a neutral, informative tone. 

On the other hand, argumentative essays seek to persuade by presenting a clear viewpoint and supporting it with evidence. 

Expository essays follow a simpler structure, providing information, while argumentative essays involve complex structures, presenting and countering arguments. Understanding these differences helps in choosing the right essay type for specific writing goals.

Types of Expository Essay

Before we dive into the different types of expository essays, let's check out five common ones:

Descriptive Essays

Descriptive essays aim to create a detailed image or sensory experience in the reader's mind by vividly describing a particular place, object, person, or event. 

They use rich language and sensory details to paint a clear picture and evoke emotions, making the reader feel like they're experiencing what's being described.

Process Analysis Essays

In a process analysis essay , the writer breaks down a series of steps needed to achieve a specific task or goal. 

They provide a clear, step-by-step guide, making complex tasks easy to understand. For example, they might explain how to bake a cake, fix a bicycle, or perform a scientific experiment.

Compare and Contrast Essays

Compare and contrast essays focus on exploring the similarities and differences between two or more subjects. 

They present a balanced view, showing how things are alike and how they're different. Whether it's comparing different cultures, products, historical events, or ideas, these essays aim to offer insights into relationships and contrasts.

Cause and Effect Essays

Cause and effect essays delve into examining the causes that lead to specific effects or the effects that arise from certain causes. 

They analyze the relationship between events, explaining why things happen and what outcomes result from those actions or occurrences. They aim to provide a clear understanding of the connections between different elements.

Problem and Solution Essays

Focused on a specific issue, problem and solution essays identify a problem, its causes, and effects, and propose solutions to address and resolve the problem. 

They aim to offer practical, effective solutions to real-life issues, providing a roadmap for solving problems or improving situations.

Structure of an Expository Essay

An expository essay typically comprises three main parts: the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Here's what the general structure of an expository essay looks like:

Introduction

The introduction of an expository essay is where the writer presents the topic, provides background information, and ends with a clear thesis statement . 

This section aims to grab the reader's attention and set the stage for the discussion that follows.

Body Paragraphs

The body of the essay contains a series of paragraphs that delve deeper into the topic. 

Each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence that introduces the main idea or argument. 

These paragraphs present evidence, examples, or explanations supporting the thesis statement. Smooth transitions between paragraphs ensure a coherent flow of information.

The conclusion of an expository essay restates the thesis statement using different wording. It summarizes the key points discussed in the body paragraphs. 

Finally, it offers a sense of closure, wrapping up the essay's main ideas. It's not just a repetition of earlier information but rather a synthesis of the key points to leave a lasting impression on the reader.

How to Write an Expository Essay?

Writing an expository essay involves a step-by-step process to effectively communicate information. Here's a guide to crafting an expository essay:

Select a Topic

When selecting a topic for an expository essay, it's crucial to choose something that's not only interesting but also suitable for an informative discussion. 

Consider the following pointers while choosing an expository essay topic:

  • Select a topic that personally interests you.
  • Choose a topic that can be explained within the essay's scope
  • Choose subjects allowing for an objective, fact-based analysis.
  • Consider prevalent issues or areas of curiosity for discussion.

Conduct Research

When researching for your expository essay, explore diverse and credible sources like books, scholarly articles, and reputable websites. 

Ensure the information gathered directly relates to your topic and is from reliable sources. Verify the credibility by checking the author's credentials and publication dates. 

Consider various perspectives to present a well-rounded view. Organize your findings systematically, keeping detailed notes for citation. This approach helps in crafting a well-informed and supported expository essay.

Create an Outline

Develop a structured outline for your essay. Organize your thoughts, decide on the main points, and arrange them logically. 

Here's what the general structure of an expository essay looks like:

This outline template provides a clear structure, allowing for a well-organized and coherent expository essay.

View this in-depth guide on creating an expository essay outline for a structured essay!

Write The Introduction

The introduction of an expository essay plays a pivotal role in engaging the reader and setting the stage for the discussion. Here are the essential components:

  • Engaging Hook : Begin your essay with a captivating fact, question, quote, or story related to the topic to captivate the reader's attention and encourage them to continue reading.
  • Background Context: Offer essential background information about the topic, providing the necessary context for the reader to understand its relevance and importance.
  • Clear Thesis Statement: End the introduction with a clear thesis statement. It should express the main idea or argument of your essay. This statement helps guide the reader, indicating the purpose and direction of your essay.

Compose Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs serve as the essay's core. 

Each paragraph starts with a topic sentence introducing the main idea. Back up this idea with evidence or examples to support your point. 

Make sure each paragraph smoothly connects to the next for a logical flow of ideas. This structured approach ensures a coherent and well-supported discussion throughout your expository essay.

Write the Conclusion

In the conclusion of your expository essay, recap the main points without introducing new information. 

Restate the thesis in different words to reinforce the main argument. Additionally, offer closing thoughts or discuss the broader implications related to the topic. This section serves as a summary, emphasizing the significance of the essay's ideas and their broader relevance.

Revise and Edit

Revision and editing are crucial steps in the essay writing process. 

Review the content for coherence and logical flow, ensure the essay structure is smooth and well-organized, and focus on clear, concise language. 

Check for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors, verify citations, and seek feedback for improvements. Finally, perform a final proofread to ensure the essay is error-free and polished for submission.

Expository Essay Example

Below is an example illustrating the concept of climate change and its effects, exploring the causes, impacts, and potential solutions.

This essay serves as a basic example of how an expository essay on climate change might be structured, offering insights into its causes, effects, and potential solutions.

Need more examples? Check out these expertly crafted expository essay examples on multiple topics and themes!

Tips for Writing a Good Expository Essay

Here are some tips for writing a good expository essay:

  • Ensure the essay has a clear and narrowly defined topic for effective exploration.
  • Present facts, statistics, and evidence without incorporating personal opinions or biases.
  • Utilize a well-structured format with logical sequencing of ideas and paragraphs.
  • Provide detailed and comprehensive explanations to support each point or idea.
  • Use diverse and relevant examples to illustrate and reinforce key points.
  • Present information in a concise and easily understandable manner, avoiding unnecessary details.
  • Use transitional words and phrases for seamless connections between paragraphs and ideas.
  • Make sure that all information presented is relevant and sourced from credible, reputable materials.

Expository Essay Topics

Expository essay topics typically revolve around subjects that can be explained, clarified, or described without personal opinions. 

They cover a wide array of areas such as science, technology, education, health, social issues, historical events, and more. These topics should allow for in-depth exploration and factual analysis.

Here are some essay topics for students:

Expository Essay Topics for High School Students

  • The Impact of Social Media on Teenagers
  • Benefits of Exercise and Healthy Lifestyle Choices
  • Exploring Climate Change: Causes and Effects
  • The Importance of Education in Today's Society
  • Understanding Cyberbullying and its Impact
  • Analyzing a Historical Event: The Civil Rights Movement
  • The Advantages and Disadvantages of E-Learning
  • Explaining the Process of Photosynthesis
  • The Effects of Video Games on Adolescents
  • The Role of Leadership in Problem Solving

Expository Essay Topics for University Students

  • The Future of Artificial Intelligence and its Ethical Implications
  • Analyzing the Impact of Globalization on World Economies
  • Climate Change: Policy Interventions and Global Strategies
  • The Psychology Behind Procrastination and Ways to Overcome It
  • Exploring Renewable Energy Sources and Their Viability
  • The Evolution of Social Media and its Societal Impact
  • Gender Disparities in the Workplace: Causes and Solutions
  • The Effects of Stress on Mental Health in Modern Society
  • Analyzing the Influence of Cultural Diversity in Global Business
  • Understanding Quantum Mechanics: Principles and Applications

Can’t pick a topic? Have a look at these extensive expository essay topics and get more ideas!

With our steps, tips, and topics, you have all you need to get started on your expository essay.

If you're still encountering challenges in composing your expository essay, our custom essay writing service is here to help. 

Our proficient writers specialize in creating well-structured, informative expository essays. With our expert support, you can be sure you’ll receive a top-quality, plagiarism-free essay.

Reach out to our expository essay writing service today to get the help you need. Place your order today!

Caleb S. (Literature, Marketing)

Caleb S. has been providing writing services for over five years and has a Masters degree from Oxford University. He is an expert in his craft and takes great pride in helping students achieve their academic goals. Caleb is a dedicated professional who always puts his clients first.

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How to Write an Expository Essay: Writing Tips & Structure

Have you ever been tasked with writing an expository essay and found yourself struggling to convey information clearly and concisely? Expository essays are a unique form of academic writing, requiring a neutral stance and factual evidence to educate the reader on a specific topic.

In this step-by-step guide on how to write an expository essay, we’ll delve into the intricacies of crafting a compelling expository essay, from brainstorming to polishing the final draft. Prepare to embark on a journey to enhance your writing skills and master the art of expository writing.

Table of Contents

Expository Essay Writing: Key Takeaways

  • Expository essays are structured academic writing that analyze a given topic objectively.
  • This guide provides a comprehensive approach to crafting an expository essay, from idea generation and research through outlining, drafting, refining and polishing techniques.
  • The structure of the essay should include a precise thesis statement with evidence-based body paragraphs and transition words for coherence.

The Essence of Expository Essays

Expository essays are a type of structured academic writing that utilizes factual evidence to analyze or investigate a designated topic. Different from descriptive essays and personal opinion pieces, expository writing focuses on providing the reader with information about a given topic, maintaining a neutral stance. This objective description is crucial in academic settings, where expository essays are often assigned as a means of assessment and featured in various exam formats.

To write a good expository essay, it is important to select an engaging topic and articulate a precise, well-informed thesis statement. Examining expository essay examples can offer valuable insights into constructing a well-organized, informative essay. Remember, creativity and artistry can still be incorporated into expository writing, so don’t let the formulaic nature of such essays discourage you from developing a captivating piece.

Crafting an Effective Expository Essay Outline

An effective expository essay outline is crucial for organizing your thoughts and research, as it serves as the foundation of your essay. The basic structure of an expository essay comprises an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The more comprehensive your outline is, the less time you’ll need to spend on research and writing, ultimately making the writing process more efficient.

There is no specific length for an expository essay; however, it should be sufficient to effectively articulate the thesis statement. Typically, a five-paragraph essay is a common approach, with an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph. By crafting a detailed outline, you can ensure that each section of your essay supports and builds upon your thesis statement, resulting in a cohesive and well-structured piece.

The Writing Process: Step-by-Step Guide

Now that we’ve covered the fundamentals of expository essays and the importance of outline, let’s dive into the step-by-step guide to writing an expository essay.

This guide will cover idea generation, research, outlining, drafting, refining, and polishing, providing a comprehensive approach to crafting a compelling expository essay, including problem and solution essay techniques.

Generating Ideas and Researching

The first step to write an expository essay is brainstorming potential expository essay topics. Consider the topics discussed in class, anticipate what your teacher might expect, and choose something that genuinely interests you. This will ensure that you are engaged in the writing process and motivated to create a captivating essay. After narrowing down your options, conduct research on each topic to determine if reliable sources are easily accessible and gain a more comprehensive understanding of the subject.

Once you have gathered sufficient information, it’s time to analyze your research and select an expository essay topic that best suits your interests and meets your instructor’s guidelines. Keep in mind that your chosen topic should be able to provide enough factual evidence to support your thesis statement, as this will be the core of your essay. By selecting a strong, engaging topic, you set the foundation for a successful expository essay.

Organizing Thoughts with an Outline

Creating an outline is essential for organizing your thoughts and laying the groundwork for your expository essay. Start by developing a strong thesis statement that outlines the main idea of your essay and provides a well-informed, reasoned response to your research question. Your outline should specify what information will be included in each paragraph, ensuring that each section of your essay supports your thesis statement.

The outline serves as a roadmap, guiding you through the writing process and helping you stay focused on your topic. By organizing your thoughts and research in a logical manner, you’ll find it easier to begin writing and stay on track throughout the development of your expository essay.

Drafting the Essay

With a comprehensive outline in hand, it’s time to start drafting your expository essay. Focus on crafting well-structured body paragraphs that stay on topic and provide factual evidence to support your thesis statement. It’s often beneficial to postpone writing the introduction until after you’ve completed the body paragraphs and conclusion, as this will allow you to develop a more accurate and engaging introduction based on the content of your essay.

As you write, use transition words and sentences to connect ideas, maintain narrative flow, and guide readers through your argument. This will ensure that your essay is coherent and easy to follow, ultimately enhancing the reader’s understanding of your topic.

Refining Your Draft

Once you’ve completed the first draft of your expository essay, it’s time to refine your work. Start by reorganizing content, ensuring that each sentence serves its purpose and enhances the reader’s understanding of your topic. Edit for clarity and coherence, and double-check that your essay remains focused on your thesis statement throughout.

As you review your draft, read the paper as if it’s your first encounter with the topic. This will help you determine if the essay is coherent and if the information provided is relevant to the intended purpose of each section. Remember to abstain from attempting to make a persuasive argument and to utilize opinions as evidence, as this can detract from the objective nature of your expository essay.

Polishing the Essay: Editing and Proofreading

The final step in crafting a compelling expository essay is editing and proofreading. Check for errors in grammar, spelling, and formatting, and ensure that your citations are accurate and adherent to the assigned style guide. Tools like Grammarly can be helpful in detecting errors and phrases that lack clarity, as well as ensuring a uniform tone throughout your essay.

In addition to self-editing, consider having someone else review your work. This can provide a fresh perspective and help identify any remaining inconsistencies or areas that need improvement. With your polished expository essay in hand, you’ll be ready to present your well-researched, informative, and engaging piece to your audience.

Analyzing Expository Essay Examples

Examining expository essay examples can be an invaluable tool in understanding how to create a well-structured, informative essay. By analysing the structure, style, and use of evidence in an expository essay example, you can gain insight into crafting your own compelling piece. Remember, it’s not recommended to directly source information or text from expository essay examples, but they can serve as an inspirational reference for your work.

Take note of how the thesis statement is presented, how the body paragraphs are organized, and how the conclusion effectively summarizes the main points of the essay. By carefully studying expository essay examples, you’ll be better equipped to create your own well-crafted, engaging, and informative piece.

Diving into Expository Essay Types

Expository essays come in various forms, each with its own unique purpose and structure. Understanding the different types of expository essays can aid in selecting a subject and organizing your essay’s overall trajectory and framework. The primary types of expository essays include classification, definition, process, compare-and-contrast, and cause-and-effect essays.

Classification essays identify and organize various subjects within one category, outlining their individual characteristics. A definition essay, on the other hand, provides a clear and concise explanation of a subject matter. A process essay outlines the steps necessary for completing a task, providing the reader with an understanding of the procedure.

Compare-and-contrast essays analyze the differences and similarities between sources cited. Cause-and-effect essays investigate the reasons behind a particular occurrence and the consequences that follow. Familiarizing yourself with these expository essay types will expand your writing capabilities and help you craft a compelling piece.

Structuring Your Expository Essay

To ensure a coherent and engaging expository essay, it’s crucial to understand the expository essay structure, which includes a distinct introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion that support your thesis statement. The introduction should include a precise and succinct thesis statement that outlines the primary focus of your essay, providing the reader with a clear understanding of the topic at hand.

Each body paragraph should contain evidence that supports your thesis statement, ensuring that every section of your essay contributes to the overall argument.

Finally, the conclusion should succinctly summarize the main points and provide a clear and concise statement of the essay’s overarching message. By following this structure, you’ll create a well-organized, informative, and engaging expository essay that effectively communicates your ideas to your audience.

The Role of the Thesis Statement

The thesis statement serves as the foundation of your expository essay, providing a succinct, precise synopsis of the primary point of your essay. A strong, clear, and memorable thesis statement is essential, as it gives the reader a clear understanding of the main focus of your essay and sets the tone for the entire piece. Examples of effective thesis statements include: “The effects of global warming are becoming increasingly evident in our environment,” “The use of technology in the classroom can have both positive and negative effects,” and “The rise of social media has had a profound impact on our society.”

To create a thesis statement, identify your essay topic, conduct research on the topic, and formulate a main idea or argument based on your findings. This statement should be concise and direct, ensuring that your essay remains focused and well-organized throughout the writing process.

Enhancing Your Essay with Transition Words and Sentences

Transition words and sentences play a crucial role in connecting ideas, maintaining narrative flow, and guiding readers through your argument. They serve as the binding element that keeps your essay’s foundation intact, preventing confusion and ensuring that your argument remains coherent and easy to follow. A lack of logical progression of thought can make it difficult for the reader to comprehend your essay’s argument, ultimately compromising its structure.

Examples of transition words and phrases include “however,” “in addition,” “on the other hand,” and “as a result.” By incorporating these transitions into your expository essay, you’ll create a seamless reading experience that effectively communicates your ideas and maintains the reader’s interest throughout the piece.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you start an expository essay.

To start an expository essay, begin with a general statement about your topic that captures the reader’s attention. This should be followed by your thesis or main point of the essay, which can be further supported with three body paragraphs.

Use a formal tone and avoid introducing unnecessary information or summaries.

How do you write an expository essay step by step?

Writing an expository essay can be done step-by-step by organizing your thoughts, researching the topic, formulating a thesis statement, writing an introduction, composing the body paragraphs, and summarizing the essay in the conclusion.

Finally, revise and proofread the essay to ensure its quality.

What is an example of an expository essay?

An example of an expository essay is one that provides readers with a step-by-step guide on how to do something, or a descriptive essay that is loaded with details.

These types of essays seek to explain a particular topic in an informative and logical manner.

What are the 4 parts of the expository essay?

An expository essay is composed of four parts: an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

It provides a clear and organized explanation of a specific topic.

What is an expository essay?

An expository essay is an essay that communicates factual information, requiring the student to investigate an idea, evaluate evidence, expound on the idea, and set forth an argument concerning it in a clear and concise manner.

It is important for the student to be able to organize their thoughts and ideas in a logical manner in order to effectively communicate their argument. Splitting the text into paragraphs is a key to better readability. Start a new paragraph whenever you introduce a new idea or change direction in your argument. This will be a success.

In conclusion, crafting a compelling expository essay requires careful planning, research, and organization. By understanding the essence of expository essays, creating an effective outline, following a step-by-step writing process, and analyzing examples, you can develop your writing skills and create an engaging, informative piece.

Familiarize yourself with the different types of expository essays and the importance of structuring your essay to support your thesis statement. Remember to enhance your essay with transition words and sentences, ensuring a smooth, coherent reading experience for your audience. With these tools and techniques in hand, you’re well on your way to mastering the art of expository writing.

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How to Write an Expository Essay

Every student has to write an expository essay at least once in their educational career. These are actually fairly simple essays to write, but they do require some serious research skills. Like most academic essays, the expository essay requires formal writing with an introduction, body, and conclusion.

Guide Overview

  • Focus on the thesis
  • Listen to the assignment
  • Explain, don’t argue
  • Revise and edit, revise and edit
  • Choosing the right topic

Tips for Writing a Kick-Butt Essay

Want to really impress your professor? Here are a few ways you can turn an ordinary essay into something that will blow their socks off.

Focus on the Thesis

Your thesis is the central point of the entire essay, so if it’s amazing, you’re off to a great start. Begin with this and make sure you decide on something that is impressive to kick off the essay.

Listen to the Assignment

Your professor may give you hints on what they’re looking for. If you just write down the basics of the assignment, you could miss out on some key points. For example, your professor may hint at a preferred topic or give tips that could result in a higher score. Write it all down and then analyze what is wanted before you write.

Long before you actually put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard to write the essay, you need to complete the pre-writing phase. This is where you do research and outline your essay. You’ll be amazed at how much better your writing is when you have these basic elements in place first. If you need help with these basic elements consider using an Expository Essay Template.

Explain, Don’t Argue

If you’re not careful, an expository essay can turn into a persuasive or argumentative essay. Focus on explaining the topic, rather than convincing people of something about it.

Revise and Edit, Revise and Edit

Going over the essay once to edit and polish isn’t really enough. If you’re tight on time, such as when writing an essay for an exam, just once will do. However, if you have time, it’s a good idea to edit immediately, then let the essay sit overnight or even longer. When you come back, you won’t be as close to the writing and can look at it more objectively.

Choosing the Right Topic

Topics for an expository essay vary widely, but ideally, you should select something you’re interested in writing about. Topics can answer a question such as “How can we prevent bullying in school?” or they can describe something like a historical building in your area. Other interesting topics to inspire you include:

  • How does technology affect our relationships?
  • How to treat a burn
  • What are the must-haves for a freshman in college?
  • How to handle anxiety attacks naturally
  • How to train your dog to stop barking on command
  • Research the history of a monument in your area
  • Why roller skating is a great exercise

As you can see, there’s no limit to the types of topics you can choose for your essay and it really comes down to what the professor assigns you and what you enjoy writing about. How narrow your topic is will also depend on how much you plan to write. An entire history of the Civil War won’t fit into two page, for example, so you’ll need to narrow it down to a specific battle or element of the Civil War.

Writing an expository essay can actually be a fun experience if you approach it the right way. When you enjoy the topic and are interested in it, your essay will show that and will stand out from those written out of boredom.

Finally, if you’re ever facing writer’s block for your college paper, consider WriteWell Essay Templates to help you get started.

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How to Write an Expository Essay

Published by Grace Graffin at August 17th, 2021 , Revised On July 26, 2023

Expository means “to describe or explain something” . It is related to the words ‘exposition’, ‘expound’, and ‘expose’ – to explain or reveal the meaning, to lay open, speak one’s mind.

Whenever there is a need to gather research and describe an idea, a  topic , or a process clearly and logically, it is done in the form of an expository  essay .

An expository essay requires the writer to take a balanced approach to the subject matter rather than justifying a particular point of view.

Expository essays are assigned to students to evaluate their subject knowledge and composition skills. When compared with  argumentative essays , they involve a lot less research.

Definition of Expository Essay

“The expository essay is the  type of essay  that involves an investigation of an idea or topic, appraises relevant supporting evidence material, and presents an argument in a clear and concise manner. ”

When to Write an Expository Essay

Your school or university could assign an expository essay to you as coursework or as part of an online exam.

However, the guidelines may or may not clearly state that your assignment is an expository essay. If that is the case, then look for keywords like ‘explain’, ‘describe’, ‘define’, etc., to be sure that what has been asked for is an expository essay.

You might even be asked to explain and emphasise a particular concept or term. Writing a simple definition will not be enough because you will be expected to explore the ideas in detail.

Writing an Expository Essay

An expository essay should not be based on your  personal  experiences and opinions. It rather takes an objective approach. You will be expected to explain the topic in a balanced way without any personal bias.

Make sure to avoid the first and second person (“I” and “You”) when writing an expository essay.

How to Structure an Expository Essay

The  structure  and format of your expository essay assignment will depend on your school’s guidelines and the topic you are investigating. However, it is always a good idea to develop an outline for your  essay  before starting to work.

The Five-Paragraph Essay Writing Approach

An expository essay will require you to take the five-paragraph essay approach: an  introductory paragraph , a main body paragraph , and a concluding paragraph . This is often referred to as the hamburger style of the essay because, like a hamburger, it contains five main parts: the introduction and conclusion being the bun that encapsulates everything.

Rationale and Thesis Statement

Start your essay  with a rationale and thesis, also known as the  thesis statement , so your readers know what you set out to achieve in your expository essay assignment. Ensure the thesis statement is narrow enough to follow the guidelines in the assignment brief. If the thesis statement is weak and too broad, you will struggle to produce a flawless expository essay.

The Framework

Construct a framework, so you know what elements will constitute the basis of your essay.

Expository Essay Introduction

Like other  essay types , an expository essay begins with an  introduction , including a hook, background to the topic, and a thesis statement. Once you have grabbed the readers’ interest, it will be easier to get them to read the remaining essay.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will i need the skill of expository writing after i finish my studies.

It depends on what you are studying for. While you might or might not write any more expository essays after your formal education has ended, the skill will be very useful in certain careers, such as business reports, journalism, and in scientific and technical writing.

How does an expository essay differ from an argumentative essay?

An argumentative essay is usually longer and requires more research. It starts with a claim about something that will need supporting evidence. And both sides of the argument need to be discussed. In an expository essay, there is no requirement to make an original argument and defend/support it.

What is the purpose of expository essays?

This style of essay is necessary when you have to showcase your knowledge on a given subject, or your ability to gather research on one and present your findings.

How long is an expository essay?

There is no fixed length but an expository essay could be part of an exam, in which case it might only be 1,000 words or less. They are usually shorter than argumentative essays . It can depend on the subject under discussion. You will likely be given instructions on the required word count.

Are there different types of expository essay?

There are six different types of expository essay, each with a different purpose.

The six types are:

Process essay – describing a task, a method, how to complete something Cause and effect essay – why something happened and its effects Problem-solution essay – provide analysis of problems and their solutions Compare and contrast essay – describe the similarities and differences between two subjects Definition essay – define the topic in detail and explain the how, what, and why Classification essay – separate the topic’s categories and define them in detail

When you are assigned your essay, you should be able to distinguish which of these approaches you are required to take.

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What is an Expository Essay and How to Write It

What is an expository essay and how to write it

You’ve been asked to write an expository essay on a particular topic. You know that an essay is generally a written composition that is usually limited in length and reflects the author’s perspective. However, the “expository” part is a little less clear. Keep reading, and you’ll get enough information to understand what an expository essay is and how to create an effective expository essay that meets the assignment requirements.

Table of Contents

What is an expository essay, what is the purpose of expository writing, when should you write an expository essay, 5 types of expository essays, how to structure an expository essay, how to write an expository essay, key takeaways, frequently asked questions about expository essays.

The expository essay is the appropriate type of essay to write if you need to inform your audience. If your intent is to critically compare, argue, or persuade, you will want to consider a different essay format. To explain it in more detail:

  • An expository essay is a type of academic writing that aims to present a balanced and objective analysis of a specific topic.
  • Expository essays often employ various techniques to enhance clarity and understanding. These techniques may include definition, comparison and contrast, cause and effect analysis, problem and solution exploration, or descriptive explanations. The writer should also ensure that the essay maintains a neutral and objective tone, avoiding personal biases or emotional language.
  • In an expository essay, the writer typically starts with an introduction that presents the topic and provides an overview of what will be discussed in the essay. The body paragraphs then delve into the details, presenting evidence, examples, and relevant information to support the main points. Each paragraph should focus on a specific aspect or subtopic, and the information should be organized logically and coherently.
  • Expository essays are commonly assigned in academic settings as they encourage critical thinking, research skills, and the ability to present information in a clear and concise manner.
  • The ability to write an expository essay is an essential skill for students and professionals. It promotes critical thinking, objectivity, and clear and concise communication.

how to start introduction in expository essay

The primary goal of expository writing is to explain or clarify a concept, process, or phenomenon using evidence, examples, and logical reasoning. Unlike persuasive or argumentative essays, the purpose of an expository essay is not to convince the reader of a particular viewpoint or opinion, but rather to provide clear and concise information.

The main objectives of expository writing are:

  • Informing: Expository writing aims to educate and provide readers with new or valuable information. It seeks to convey facts, details, concepts, or ideas about a topic in a straightforward and concise manner.
  • Explaining: Expository writing helps readers grasp complex subjects by breaking them down into simpler terms. It aims to clarify abstract concepts, processes, or phenomena, making them more accessible and understandable.
  • Instructing: Expository writing provides step-by-step instructions or guidelines on how to perform a task, accomplish a goal, or understand a process. It offers a clear sequence of actions or explanations to ensure readers can follow and replicate the instructions.
  • Presenting an analysis: Expository writing often involves analyzing and evaluating information, data, or evidence related to a particular subject. It may include comparing and contrasting different viewpoints, examining cause-and-effect relationships, or offering an objective evaluation of a situation.

Overall, the purpose of expository writing is to provide readers with accurate, unbiased, and well-organized information about a specific topic. It aims to enhance understanding, broaden knowledge, and facilitate learning by presenting information in a clear, coherent, and logical manner.

An expository essay is a good choice when the goal is to inform, explain, describe, or instruct. You may be assigned an expository essay as part of an in-class exam or coursework assignment. Here are some common situations in which writing an expository essay would be appropriate:

  • Academic Assignments: Expository essays are frequently assigned in educational settings. Teachers often use this type of essay to assess students’ understanding of a particular subject or to teach them how to research and present information effectively. They are common in subjects such as English, history, science, social studies, or any discipline that requires a clear explanation or analysis of a topic.
  • Instructional or How-to Writing: When you want to provide step-by-step instructions or guidance on how to perform a task, solve a problem, or achieve a specific outcome, an expository essay can be an appropriate format. This type of writing is commonly used in manuals, guidebooks, tutorials, or any instructional material.
  • Journalism or News Writing: Expository writing is prevalent in journalism, where the goal is to inform readers about current events, news stories, or investigative reports. Journalists strive to present objective information, provide background details, and explain complex issues clearly to their audience.
  • Professional or Technical Writing: In various professional fields, such as business, healthcare, engineering, or law, expository writing is utilized to convey information to colleagues, clients, or the general public. This includes writing reports, memos, manuals, research papers, or any form of communication that requires clear and factual presentation of information.

how to start introduction in expository essay

Expository essays can serve different purposes and present information in various ways. Here are five common types of expository essays:

  • Descriptive essay: This type of expository essay focuses on describing a person, place, object, event, or any subject in detail. It aims to create a vivid and sensory-rich portrayal of the topic, using language that appeals to the reader’s senses and emotions.
  • Process essay: Also known as a “how-to” essay, a process essay explains a sequence of steps or procedures to accomplish a task or achieve a particular outcome. It provides clear instructions and guidance, breaking down complex processes into manageable and easy-to-follow stages.
  • Compare-and-contrast essay: This type of expository essay explores the similarities and differences between two or more subjects. It involves examining various aspects, characteristics, or elements of the subjects and highlighting their similarities, differences, or both.
  • Cause-and-effect essay: A cause-and-effect essay explores the reasons (causes) behind an event, situation, or phenomenon, as well as the consequences (effects) that result from it. It aims to analyze and explain the relationship between causes and effects, demonstrating how one factor leads to another.
  • Problem-and-solution essay: In this type of expository essay, a specific problem or issue is identified and analyzed, followed by the presentation of potential solutions or strategies to address it. The essay outlines the problem, examines its causes and effects, and proposes practical solutions or recommendations.

It’s important to note that these are not the only types of expository essays, and there can be variations or combinations of these types. Additionally, within each type, the specific approach and structure can vary depending on the requirements of the assignment or the writer’s purpose.

Structuring an expository essay involves organizing your thoughts, ideas, and information in a clear and logical manner. Here is a commonly used structure for an expository essay:

  • Begin with an attention-grabbing hook to engage the reader.
  • Provide some background information on the topic to set the context.
  • Present a clear and concise thesis statement that states the main idea or purpose of the essay.
  • Start each paragraph with a clear topic sentence that introduces the main point of the paragraph.
  • Support your topic sentence with evidence, facts, examples, or expert opinions that relate to the main point.
  • Provide detailed explanations, analysis, or descriptions to clarify and develop your ideas.
  • Use transitional words and phrases to ensure smooth flow and coherence between paragraphs and ideas.
  • Each paragraph should focus on a specific aspect or subtopic related to the main idea.
  • Restate the thesis statement but rephrase it in a way that reinforces the main idea.
  • Summarize the main points discussed in the body paragraphs.
  • Avoid introducing new information or ideas in the conclusion.
  • End with a closing statement that leaves a lasting impression.

Writing an expository essay involves a systematic approach to presenting information in a clear and objective manner. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to write an expository essay:

  • Understand the purpose and requirements: Familiarize yourself with the purpose of the essay and any specific guidelines or requirements. Then, determine the topic or subject of your expository essay and gather relevant information and resources.
  • Conduct research and gather information: Conduct thorough research on your topic to gather factual information, examples, evidence, or expert opinions.
  • Plan and outline: Develop a clear and coherent outline that includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Decide on the main points or subtopics you will cover in each paragraph of your expository essay and arrange your ideas in a logical order that flows well.
  • Write the introduction: Be sure to include a clear and concise thesis statement that states the main idea or purpose of your expository essay.
  • Write the body paragraphs: Write one paragraph for each main idea, using transitions to ensure a smooth flow throughout.
  • Write the conclusion: Restate your thesis statement and summarize the evidence.
  • Revise and edit: Review your expository essay for clarity, coherence, and logical flow, and check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. Remember to always maintain an objective tone and focus on presenting information rather than expressing personal opinions.

As you can see, effective expository essays vary widely based on their topic and ultimate purpose. However, they have several important characteristics in common. When you’re writing an expository essay, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Use clear, concise, and formal language, avoiding unnecessary jargon or complex terms.
  • The thesis statement needs to be clear, concise, and appropriately focused.
  • Provide sufficient evidence and examples to support your claims and make your writing more credible.
  • Consider the logical flow of your ideas and make sure they are presented in a coherent manner.
  • Use appropriate transitions to connect your sentences, paragraphs, and ideas.
  • Remember that the specific structure of your expository essay may vary depending on the requirements of your assignment or the complexity of your topic. Adapt the structure as needed while ensuring that your essay is organized and focused on conveying information effectively.

You should consider writing an expository essay when you need to explain, inform, or describe a particular topic or subject to your readers. Expository essays are usually assigned in academic settings, but they can also be used in other contexts, such as writing articles or blog posts. For example, an expository essay would be appropriate for purposes such as explaining the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, describing the process of a scientific experiment, or discussing the impact of technology on society.

Expository essay: The main purpose of an expository essay is to explain, describe, or inform the reader about a particular topic or subject. It should be written in a neutral manner, focusing on presenting facts, explaining concepts, and offering a clear understanding of the topic. Argumentative essay: The primary purpose of an argumentative essay is to present a well-structured argument or position on a specific issue. The writer takes a clear stance on a topic and provides strong arguments, counterarguments, and evidence to support their position. The language used may be more passionate and persuasive to convince the reader.

The length of an expository essay can vary depending on the specific requirements or guidelines provided by your instructor or the purpose of your writing. Expository essays can range from a few hundred words for shorter essays to several thousand words for more in-depth or research-based essays. The number of body paragraphs typically range from three to five, but it can vary based on the complexity of the topic and the amount of information you need to convey.

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Expository Essay: Stap By Stap Guide 🤓| Studyfy

How to Write an Expository Essay

how to start introduction in expository essay

the most complicated and challenging. An expository essay means, detailed and scrutinized research and the ability to structure the facts in the right way. That’s why you’re likely to spend a long time completing it, so get ready for hard work and make it quicker with our step by step guide!

What Is an Expository Essay?

Before you start, you need to understand an expository writing definition. An expository essay is a type of academic writing, which includes in-depth research, reasonable arguments, dry facts, and a good awareness of the topic. The aim is to check how you may convey the idea to the readers by investigating the issue and putting it on paper in a well-structured and yet, simple way.

These kinds of essays are also often assigned at the end of a course or a semester to test the students’ knowledge of the subject. The skill of describing the issue, proving arguments is something that will always be in demand, especially at the workplace.

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Main Types of an Expository Essay

There are different types of expository essays, and we have highlighted the most common of them.

Problem and solution essay

This one deals with looking for the best way out of a problem. For instance, the task is to find the best solution to the air-pollution issue. The aim is to study and present all aspects of the problem, then provide probable solutions. The suggested ways out should be justified well enough to persuade the readers in its effectiveness.

You may have seen Ted talks, where speakers usually introduce a problem and propose the way out. These videos are one of the best sources of inspiration and well structured examples.

Cause and effect essay

This type has to do with the processor events and what consequences they may have. It may include global warming or any historical event; the task is to describe them from all facets and analyze its impact on the environment or humanity. The analysis may be based on assumptions or facts, but on the way or another, it must be confirmed.

Here's an example of “The effects of lack of sleep” writing:

how to start introduction in expository essay

Hereby, the author lists the probable consequences of sleep deprivation, supporting his arguments by trusted resources.

Compare and contrast essay

Two subjects are included in the writing; it is aimed to describe their similarities and differences. The topic may touch upon two movies, two books, for example. We may start with the common positive features of both of the objects and then start with creating contrast by analyzing how one may be better or worse than the other, providing arguments.

How to or Process essay

This prompt assignment requires a structured instruction on “How to” do or make something. For example, how to make a cake, write a poem, or save money. This challenges your ability to make step-by-step guidelines on how to get from point “A” to the ultimate result.

For example, in a “How to lose weight”, you may divide a process writing into six steps:

  • Decide on how much weight you want to lose by analyzing your eating habits;
  • Write a plan of your diet for a week ahead;
  • Choose a type of sport, which would meet your needs;
  • Download a habit tracker;
  • Monitor your progress, and don’t stop.

Descriptive essay

Finally, the assignments, where you may use your imagination. This type is the most creative, as the writer should describe one object, whether it’s a person or an event, and describe it in a way that fascinates the reader and attracts attention.

A descriptive essay should engage five senses of readers:

This technique absorbs a reader and holds them interested. It is commonly used in literature. Let’s take a look at the example:

how to start introduction in expository essay

Pay attention to the use of vivid adjectives in the passage. The author is using the senses to convey the atmosphere in the story, so readers may feel it and dive deeper into a narration.

The Structure and Expository Essay Outline

A typical expository writing format consists of 5 paragraphs, one of which stands for an introduction, three – body paragraphs, and one for a conclusion. Before starting, it is a nice idea to bear in mind this format and picture your future work according to it. However, this is only a recommendation, which you may adapt to your needs.

The purpose of expository writing is different from other essays, as it doesn’t aim to prove a point; rather, it encourages research and finds an objective perspective of an issue. It deals with different views and analyzes the facts instead of opinions.

It develops the skill of a clear perception of the situation by studying it and bringing dry facts to the table. Such an ability is very in demand at the workplace and in studying. So, although the task is quite complicated, the outcome is worth the effort.

An expository essay outline is one of the first steps you take before the actual writing. Having a plan is always the right idea, as it helps to start, and secondly, it brings a general idea, which supports you and guides in the right direction. Let’s take a look at all parts of successful writing.

Introduction

An expository writing definition stands for being exposed to numerous resources and looking for a particular piece of information. So, the next step you make is scrutinized research on the topic, collecting facts, and evidence. This part challenges your ability to define useful data on the internet. This ability is crucial nowadays, finding what you need among reliable and less reliable sources

This is the main part, where the thesis statements are placed.

Ideally, expository essays should have three body paragraphs, each of them including an idea, supported by facts, evidence, or trusted resources. The perfect way of doing that is to present two contradicting theories in the first two parts, and one, which would consist of both of them combined.

Perhaps, the most important part is to make a reasonable conclusion. Here, we aim to sum up the ideas that have been mentioned. Restate all main points and ideas; it is fine if the issue is still unclear, just don’t forget to write about it in the end. Give your reader some food for thought. And mention what should be studied in the future, or what aspects lack research.

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How to Start an Expository Essay: Introduction

In this part, you’re given a chance to grab the reader’s attention. It is important to describe the topic clearly. Don’t assume that your readers are aware of it, so it must be followed with the proper explanation.

The most difficult part of writing is to start. So, to make it less challenging, you need to take several steps. First, choose the topic. While choosing, you need to keep in mind that it must be broadened but, at the same time, be specific.

For example, instead of writing “How air pollution affects humanity”, you may write “How air pollution affects China”, so now the topic is more certain.

Also, the thesis must be presented here, preferably in the end. Readers should already understand what you’re going to write about.

Let’s take a look at some ideas for a good introduction:

  • an interesting hook, which would trigger an interest in people;
  • statistics;
  • rhetorical questions;
  • stating different opinions on the issue;
  • write about the history of a problem;
  • prove why the question is relevant today;

Body Paragraphs

The main body normally consists of three parts. This is the biggest part, where you put all the ideas and theses. Each of the points must be followed by evidence, quotes, and facts. An expository essay format requires an objective view of the issue, so you need to avoid expressing your personal opinion and don’t use the first-person pronouns like “I” or “Me.

Here are some examples of how to start a paragraph:

  • It’s commonly believed that…
  • The other perspective of the question is …
  • Many people claim that …
  • Explain the point, tell why people may be sure in it, be clear and objective.

Every thesis should be followed with proof; don’t simply rely on your awareness.

The narration should be clear and logical.

Your readers should follow your train of thought and find it comprehensible.

The main body has a chain-like format:

  • A thesis (the main idea);
  • Supporting evidence (cited quotes, links, trusted, relevant sources);
  • Analysis (reason why you picked this evidence, how it supports your point, the proof of its importance);
  • Transition (each paragraph should be logically connected by one or two sentences that show what all of them have in common to support your idea).

While writing, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What studies have been made on the topic? Support with links, names, and resources.
  • Is it discussed by the media? Written in books?
  • What type of people may be concerned about it?
  • What are the attitudes to the issue? Present different perspectives.
  • How has this problem changed over time?
  • Why is it relevant today?
Let’s take a look at the example of one Body part from “Causes of having a bad mood” essay.

how to start introduction in expository essay

Here presented is the first statement, provided by trusted resources as well as structured probable consequences of an issue.

In the final part, you may finally reveal your personal opinion on the topic. It may coincide with one of the statements in the body, or you may write a new one, which you believe to be the most convincing. Or you may restate all your expository essay ideas, but show their significance and sum them up.

Another way to finish the paper is to allow readers to make their conclusions on the issue. Ask some follow-up questions. So, an issue will be left open and provoke some thoughts.

Here’s the example of a conclusion in “Causes of having a bad mood” writing:

how to start introduction in expository essay

This also appeals to his previously stated ideas, encouraging readers to bear them in mind next time they are in a bad mood. Not only this conclusion is informative, but also motivating.

Expository Essay Topics

Choosing between such a large number of themes around is a complicated task and can take a lot of time. Here are some ingredients of good expository essay topics.

  • Open-ended question that requires a solution;
  • Has different opinions;
  • Concerns enduring issues (the ones that are valued over time).

Let’s take a look at some ideas for expository essays:

  • Should technologies be used in education?
  • What are the main features of a leader?
  • Explain why learning to collaborate is an important skill?
  • What is special about your generation?
  • How can a particular type of music influence a personality?
  • Explain what encourages teens to do drugs?
  • Describe the consequences of insomnia.
  • How can workaholism affect family life?
  • Describe why high education is important?
  • How can video games influence teens?
  • How to stop procrastinating and study?

Remember, that an expository essay format implies to be informative, useful for readers or even to teach them something new.

Great job on taking your first step in expository writing! Now you have a better understanding of what it is, how to start your essay, structure it, and choose the right topic. If you encounter any difficulties during the writing process, don't hesitate to revisit this article for guidance.  So whether you need to buy biology essay , write essays for money , order a custom research paper , or pay for an essay , Studyfy has got you covered!

If you still feel that your skill and knowledge needs more practice and help, feel free to turn to our professionals. They are always ready to assist you, just place an order, set a deadline, and your writing is done!

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A Guide To Writing Introductions For Expository Essays

  • August 27, 2021
  • Posted by: Eliana
  • Category: Study Tips & Advice

how to start introduction in expository essay

You’re staring at a blank foolscap paper, a million thoughts running through your mind. You scribble something, then strike it out. And then you try again, hesitant. What’s the best way to start this essay, you wonder.

Sounds familiar?

The introduction of any essay is your golden chance to make or break that first impression. From the tone of writing to the subject matter, your introduction tells it all. Perhaps one of the biggest functions of your opening is whether it can engage your audience and make them want to read the rest of your essay.

You might know some techniques to start a good narrative essay. But what about expository essays ? While most topics may not seem as ‘exciting’ as writing a creative story, there are still ways to make that introduction stick.

Below, we share some of the best ideas for starting an expository essay. Try them out!

3 ways to start an expository essay

1. quote by famous person.

Quotes are a great way to bring a point across succinctly. By borrowing the words of a famous person, you also add credibility to your point of view. But to do this, of course, you’ll need to be careful about who you are quoting.

Famous figures like philosophers (e.g. Aristostle, Socrates), literary figures (e.g. Shakespeare, Orwell), politicians (e.g. Lee Kuan Yew, Barack Obama) are often popular and good choices to quote, because they are thought leaders and people with influence.

You will also want to ensure that your quote is relevant and adds value to the topic. Don’t just leave the quote there and expect your reader to ‘get it’. Explain a little, and make sure you draw the link to your topic.

2. Statistics

Statistics are great when used as hard-hitting facts to show the reader the scale of the issue you are writing about. Take for example an essay about climate change. Why would the writer be interested in reading about climate change? What statistic can you use to show the urgency of why this topic is important?

Not all statistics are equally effective. For bigger impact, choose statistics that people can easily relate to, or rephrase the statistic to do that. Here are some examples of what we mean.

Instead of: In 2019, global average carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere was 409.8 parts per million. — Most readers won’t be able to react to this statement because they likely won’t know if 409.8 parts per million is a large or small number.

Consider this: The year 2019 recorded the highest global average atmospheric carbon dioxide levels in 800,000 years . — Numbers on either extreme, like ‘highest’ in this case, immediately tell readers about the scale of the matter. The number ‘800,000 years’ is in a familiar unit and the large number impresses.

Instead of: Elderly persons aged 65 and older will make up 47% of Singapore’s population by 2050. — The percentage doesn’t sound very spectacular, and the reader has no point of reference.

Consider this: Almost half of Singapore’s population will be 65 years and older by 2050, a stark contrast to the 15% they take up today. — ‘Half’ is very straightforward and sounds more impactful than 43%. Also, note the comparison given, which offers a point of reference for the reader (showing that the number is rising).

3. Anecdote

An anecdote is a short recount of an interesting incident, usually used to illustrate a point. While some anecdotes may come from actual personal events, it can also be experiences of other people that you obtain through the news or books.

Ideally, you should select an anecdote that is immediately intriguing or thought-provoking. It could be something unexpected, or something that makes the reader curious. Execution is key here – don’t forget to link it back properly to your topic. Otherwise, you might end up with an essay that is too heavily narrative-based rather than expository.

Introduction checklist

We’ve touched upon 3 good ways to begin your expository essay. But what next? Besides having a good hook, your introduction paragraph also needs to fulfil a few other important functions.

When you are writing or checking your essay, here are some things you want to make sure you’ve included in the introduction:

  • Thesis statement: A sentence that conveys the central idea of your entire essay. If the essay prompt is a question, the thesis statement should answer it.
  • Set the stage: Define the context of your essay and topic. What is the background of this issue? Why is this topic worth discussing?
  • Key points: You can briefly list out your key points or provide an overview of the direction you will be going for the rest of your essay.
  • Tone/voice: Depending on the topic, ensure that the writing style you use is suitable. For example, most teachers recommend avoiding the use of ‘I’ or ‘you’ in expository essays, unless the question explicitly asks for your personal experience.

Putting those first few words on paper can be nerve-wracking, but we hope this guide will put you in a better position to make those starting lines count! The ideas we’ve provided are by no means exhaustive, so feel free to experiment and find a few approaches that you are comfortable writing.

Not sure if you are on the right track? Improving your writing is easier when you have access to direct feedback and targeted suggestions on how to improve. We have secondary school English tutors on board to help you with that!

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Expository Essay Guide

Expository Essay Writing

Last updated on: Feb 9, 2023

Expository Essay - A Complete Guideline to Help You Write

By: Donna C.

Reviewed By: Chris H.

Published on: Mar 31, 2020

Expository Essay

Have you been given the assignment to write an expository essay?

Do you struggle with writing this type of essay?

You have come to the right place!

Read this guide, which offers you a step-by-step set of guidelines to help you write an outstanding expository essay.

Expository Essay

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Expository Essay Definition

'What is an expository essay?'

An expository essay is one of the most challenging writing assignments that need dedication and understanding.

The term expository comes from the word “expose.” It means explaining and clarifying something in great detail. In this type of essay, a specific topic is researched and then explained. All claims in this kind of an essay must be backed with solid proof.

In this type of essay, a specific topic is researched and then explained. All claims in this kind of essay must be backed with solid proof.

‘What is the purpose of an expository essay?’

The main purpose of an expository essay is to:

  • Expose a particular topic.
  • Investigate a topic to increase your understanding as well as the readers.
  • Present an objective description of the topic.

Moreover, an expository essay is an informational, conceptual essay that has a single point of view to support it. This type of essay usually involves illustration and explanation to make the main idea clear while also providing useful facts for readers with little knowledge on the topic.

Expository Essay Vs. Argumentative Essay

Expository Essay Vs. Argumentative Essay

Types of Expository Essay

Expository essays are further categorized into five different types. Here are the five types of expository essay that are commonly used:

Types of Expository Essay

Let us discuss these types in detail.

1. Compare and Contrast Essay

A compare or contrast essay involves looking at two objects or ideas and analyzing them based on their similarities or differences. Keep in mind that the two objects or subjects under comparison must belong to the same category.

For instance, you can compare and contrast Batman and Superman but not Batman vs. Aristotle.

2. Descriptive Essay

In a descriptive essay, you must provide a detailed explanation of an object, event, or person. This type of essay provides the writer with room for creative freedom. You have a variety of topics to choose from and work from in descriptive essays. The writers are supposed to use sensory information to help the reader visualize the text using their five senses.

3. Cause and Effect Essay

Cause and effect essays require an analysis of an object or process. It requires digging a little deeper and figuring out why an event occurred and its effects.

The analysis is the most crucial aspect of writing a cause-and-effect essay and requires critical thinking skills and strong writing skills.

This type of essay examines the impact of other people or events on something in the world.

4. Problem and Solution Essay

In this type of expository essay, problems are identified, stated, and possible solutions are discussed. You must shed light on a problem and propose a valid solution for it.

5. Process Essay

A process essay is a step-by-step guide to completing some type of task. It tells readers how to do things and often provides instructions on how to accomplish a certain task in detail with clarity and precision.

How to Start an Expository essay?

Before you start, you may need to follow some steps that help you in writing a successful essay. Here are some steps to follow.

1. Choose a Topic

To start an expository essay, choose a brilliant topic to write on first.

For choosing the perfect topic, brainstorm different ideas that interest you and create an extensive list. Then, select the topic that interests and inspires you and start your research. Note that it is equally important to keep your reader’s preference in mind as well.

2. Create a Thesis Statement

The most important component of an expository essay is to focus on the thesis statement. A thesis statement indicates the main point of the essay and what will be discussed further in it. Write the good thesis statement in one or two lines towards the end of the introduction, followed by the body.

3. Create the Outline

Create an expository essay outline by mentioning every main point that is going to be discussed in each paragraph. Keep your outline organized and structured.

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How to Create an Expository Essay Outline?

Your outline should act as a blueprint to guide you through the process of building your essay. Without it, there's more risk that we stray off-topic or get confused due to all these new ideas coming in with no clear place for them.

Here is a sample expository essay outline.

  • Introduction
  • Hook Statement
  • Background Details
  • Thesis Statement

Main Body Section

  • 1st Paragraph - Topic sentence, details, conclusion.
  • 2nd Paragraph - Topic sentence, details, conclusion.
  • 3rd Paragraph - Topic sentence, details, conclusion.
  • Summary of the thesis statement.
  • Discussion of important points.
  • Call to action.

A detailed guide about expository essay outline will help you learn more about it and write your essay easily and in less time.

How to Write an Expository Essay?

Here are some steps that you should follow and create a well-written expository essay.

1. Write the Introduction

When writing the introductory paragraph, remember that there are the following purposes:

  • Grab the reader’s attention.
  • Define the essay topic
  • State the main idea/purpose of the essay.

A hook statement is used to attract the reader’s attention and engage them. It is written using different ways such as quotations, anecdotes, statistics, rhetorical questions, personal stories, etc.

After the hook statement, present necessary information about the topic to clear any ambiguities. And lastly, end this section by stating your thesis.

2. Write the Body Paragraphs

The body is where you will discuss and define your topic. Present information about the topic logically, prioritize different points based on importance. Also, provide supporting facts and evidence and explain their significance.

3. Write the Conclusion

The last section of your essay is the concluding paragraph. Brush up on all the main points without repeating them. Highlight the significance of your topic and provide a solution if you addressed an issue.

Establish a strong connection between these parts to make a solid structure. Ensure you fulfill all the requirements necessary for the writing process of the expository essay and follow your instructor’s guidelines.

4. Revise your Essay

Once you have completed writing your essay, revise it thoroughly. Also, keep the following points in your mind while you are checking your essay.

  • Is your essay written with an unbiased analysis?
  • Are the facts and examples relevant to the topic of the essay?
  • Is the information written and communicated to the readers?
  • Are there any unnecessary details included in the essay?
  • Is the entire content of the essay focused on the topic?
  • Are there strong transition words being used in the body paragraphs?
  • Is there a smooth flow between the body paragraphs?
  • Is the conclusion correlating with the supporting details mentioned in the essay?

If your essay is written according to these parameters, then you can easily move to the next step, proofreading.

5. Proofreading and Editing

Now you are almost done with your essay. Don’t forget to proofread your essay before you submit it.

No matter how strong and detailed content you have added in your essay. If there are grammatical mistakes in it, the whole rhythm of your essay will be ruined.

Expository Essay Topics

Below is a list of unique expository writing prompts that can help you to grab top grades from your professor.

  • Discuss the strong point of view of your character.
  • What are your suggestions on time management?
  • Explain why aliens are real.
  • What are the drawbacks of having a curfew?
  • Explain the concept of love.
  • Explain the time that you have been really happy.
  • How is being fat different from being overweight?
  • Do teachers truly care for students?
  • Is there a connection between boredom and hunger?
  • Can reading in the dark lead to blindness?

Other than these, you can check numerous other expository essay topics to get an idea about the kind of topics that work best for such essays.

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Expository Essay Examples

If you still feel that more guidance is needed, check out these examples of expository essays to get a clearer picture.

EXPOSITORY ESSAY EXAMPLES (PDF)

EXPOSITORY ESSAY GUIDE (PDF)

EXPOSITORY ESSAY ON COVID 19

EXPOSITORY ESSAY ON CONSUMER CULTURE

EXPOSITORY ESSAY FORMAT

EXPOSITORY ESSAY OUTLINE

Tips for Writing the Expository Essay

To write an excellent essay, you need to keep in mind the following tips:

  • Understand your topic, learn about it as much as you can
  • Go through similar expository essay samples.
  • Look for supporting evidence.
  • Develop an outline.
  • Come up with a writing style.
  • Create the rough draft.
  • Edit and update.
  • Start each body paragraph of the essay with a topic sentence.
  • Write the final version.

Some writers may continue to struggle in their writing endeavors even after reading and following our paper writing guidelines.

Worry not! Simply consult 5StarEssays.com .

A little help from our team of experienced academic writers can help you achieve top grades. In addition, our team of professional writing experts has years of experience in producing a variety of quality essays. Therefore, all you have to say is do my essay for me,  and our writers are ready for your help.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the basic parts of an expository essay.

An expository essay contains three main parts:

  • Body paragraphs

How do you end an expository essay?

When you end the expository essay, you should summarize the main points. Then, restate the thesis statement and provide a call to action.

What are 4 types of expository writing?

Here are the four types of expository writing are:

  • Descriptive essay
  • Comparison essay
  • Cause and effect essay
  • Problem-solution essay

What are the features of an expository essay?

Here are the key features of an expository essay.

  • Informative
  • Organization

What is it important to engage in expository writing?

The main aim and purpose of expository writing are to provide the readers with clear explanations about the essay topic. It includes the steps of the process and reasoning also. Therefore, it is important that the expository writing is clear and engaging for the readers.

What should you not do in an expository essay?

You must remain objective and unbiased throughout the essay, you should not address the readers directly and you must not allude to yourself also. In simple terms, avoid using first and second-person narration.

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Donna has garnered the best reviews and ratings for her work. She enjoys writing about a variety of topics but is particularly interested in social issues, current events, and human interest stories. She is a sought-after voice in the industry, known for her engaging, professional writing style.

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Guide to Writing an Interesting Expository Essay Introduction

Table of Contents

A good expository essay begins with an introduction that piques the interest of the reader. The expository essay introduction is the first thing the reader would read. It should grab the reader’s attention while briefly explaining your topic.

Writing an expository essay introduction could be pretty challenging. With this step-by-step guide, you’re sure to create a compelling introduction for your next expository essay.

What Is an Expository Essay?

An expository essay explains a particular topic, process, or set of ideas. A good expository essay allows the reader to gain some knowledge on the subject matter.

An expository essay aims to educate and inform the reader about a topic. it provides a clear and objective explanation of a subject matter. An expository essay does not convince the reader about a particular point of view or making an argument. It does not rely on personal opinion but maintains a neutral viewpoint.

An expository essay should have an introduction, body paragraphs explaining the points made in the introduction, and a conclusion summarizing those points.

How to Write an Expository Essay Introduction

An introduction is an essential part of your writing. It is your first opportunity to capture a reader’s attention and entice them to continue reading. This is why you should put some effort into crafting a compelling introductory paragraph for your piece.

Here are the steps to writing an excellent expository essay introduction:

1. Have a Hook

The hook aims to grab the readers’ attention and entice them to continue reading the remaining parts of your paper. When writing a hook, avoid long sentences; always make it concise and catchy to arouse the reader’s curiosity. You can begin with a question, a quote, a statistic, a statement, or an anecdote.

  • A question : “Have you ever wondered why….”
  • Bold statement : “ Smokers are liable to die young.”
  • Statistics or fact : “ In the United States, one person dies every 34 seconds from cardiovascular disease.”
  • Quote. Winston Churchill said, ‘success is not final; failure is not final: it is the courage to continue that counts.’

2. Present Your Essay Topic

Give a detailed overview of your topic and present some background information relating to the topic. This will help the reader understand what the essay is about. This section of your introductory paragraph does not have to be too detailed. The body paragraphs would give more comprehensive information on the topic.

For example, for an essay with the topic ‘Explain the Role of Education in Economic Development,’ you could provide more details following the lines:

“Education is an important and effective avenue for promoting economic development in a nation. Sustainable economic growth cannot be accomplished without substantial investment in human capital.”

3. Present Your Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is a one- or two-sentence summary of the essence of the essay. It tells the reader what you intend to say about the topic in the subsequent body paragraphs. It should be specific, accurate, precise, and focused.

The thesis statement for an expository topic, “Explain the importance of education to a country’s economy,” could be:

“Education is vital for a country’s economy because it improves productivity and creativity, fosters entrepreneurial activity, and promotes technological advancements.”

how to start introduction in expository essay

Wrapping Up

A good expository essay introduction gives a clear idea of what the essay is about , and outlines the central point of the paper.

An effective introduction begins with an intriguing opening which inclines the reader to continue reading. You can start your essay with attention-getters like a question, statistics, quote, or even a statement. Whatever you choose, ensure that it is catchy and appealing to the reader.

Guide to Writing an Interesting Expository Essay Introduction

Abir Ghenaiet

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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How To Write The Introduction To An Expository Essay

introduction for expository essay

Table of Contents

Catching readers off-guard.

When you introduce a thing to the readers, it is about making the first impression that can stick. If it does not, they will not care about moving to another sentence let alone going through the succeeding sections until the conclusion of the essay.

The best thing about an introduction is that it can catch readers off-guard. Many writers employ tricks like quoting another author or presenting a fact that can be amusing or shocking to the readers. This is necessary to get the readers into the fold. Otherwise, they will abandon the reading before even starting it.

Expository Essay Writing 101

Students often find it hard to write expository essays because they cannot understand their nature. This is true to some extent because their understanding of expository essays is limited to simple definitions and explanations.

An  expository essay  is a type of essay that conveys only factual information to the readers. The prose is often unadorned with no subjectivity and personal character of the writer. All the contents of the essay are presented in an easy-to-follow manner with no room for confusion or ambiguity. That’s why the format of many manuals and how-to articles is expository because it provides actionable information to the readers.

The major sections of an expository essay are the same, as a narrative or descriptive essay. These include an introduction with a hook, some context, and a thesis statement. The main body explains the arguments and supporting evidence, one for each paragraph. In the end, the conclusion summarizes the major points in a compact form.

Best Ways To Write Introduction For An Expository Essay

Understandably, school and college students struggle with writing impactful introductions. Most of the time, they understand the importance but feel the pressure so not a single permutation of opening lines cut it for them. This dilemma can be resolved with some editing and proofreading sessions. Still, many writers feel stuck on what to do with the opening.

In this section, we will explore four distinct angles that they can explore in their essays. We recommend personal discretion and understanding based on the scope and reach of the essay.

Sharing A Fact

Since there is no room for personal character and figurative language in an expository  essay , it can help writers to start with a fact. It can be anything that relates the fact or piece of information with the broad theme of the essay. For instance, if a student is writing about corruption in society, he can share a fact or statistic to get the attention of the readers. Before sharing, make sure it is credible and references facts to the source. Otherwise, it will end up weakening the narrative for both the writer and the readers.

Asking A Query

This is an interactive way for a writer to start his expository essay. By asking a question, a writer involves the readers in the essay. They are no longer readers but participants in the journey. This is helpful in both cases, whether the writer provides the answer to that question in the end or not. A thesis of an expository essay is also a question, but this does not count in this category and should be answered before the conclusion. This query is something deeply connected with the essay but is different in reach and scope from the main question epitomized in the thesis statement.

Opening With Thesis

For other essay types, it is recommended to state the thesis in the closing lines of the introduction. But when it comes to writing the introduction to an expository essay, exceptions can be made. That’s why you can open your essay with the thesis statement. This makes sense because it set the perfect stage for the context and background information before diving deep into the arguments and their evidence. Still, it is best to keep things bold and brief to avoid monotony. A thesis statement should be able to connect with the readers and should not exceed more than a couple of lines.

Citing A Quote

Readers love one-liners and quotes. So, one of the best ways to write the introduction of an expository essay is by citing a quote. The rules of sharing a fact apply here too, such as the quote should be relevant, authentic, and referenced to the source. There is no need to exactly start with a quote. You can add better value to it by providing some context to it. This way, it will make a better impact on the readers and help them cover the gaps. Writers should go through multiple sources and scenarios before moving forward.

Practical Tips To Ace The Opening

This term is either used in boxing or literature. But we are talking about the effects of opening lines on the readers. A hook is often used in the form of a literary device, such as a question, a statement, or a fact. Its purpose there is to connect with the readers and grab their attention. The right hook in expository essays is about balancing the elements and understanding the essence of the write-up.

Readers are stakeholders in an essay. Much of the rhetoric and context are provided so that they can help themselves in understanding the contents of the essay. So, while writing the essay, there is space for both the elements of suspense and secrecy as well as revealing at the perfect time. But an expository essay, in the end, should have enough context to make the write-up an actionable piece of writing.

A thesis statement is the sum of the main idea or theme of the essay. It consists of a couple of sentences distilling the main idea or theme of the essay. That’s why one of the best ways to start an expository essay is by stating the thesis in the beginning. Wherever you put the thesis statement, it should be bold, comprehensive, and cover all the basis for the topic and the title.

Why is the introduction of an expository essay an important part?

The introduction is one of the most important sections of an expository essay. It not only provides the necessary context to the readers but also helps the writers to attract them. There are countless “ideal” ways to start an essay. We have covered many ways in this essay that will help students cover their write-ups.

Does outlining the whole essay in the beginning help?

Of course, it does. Many students complain about writer’s block because they don’t know what to write when they get stuck in the middle of the process. Contrary to this, outlining the whole essay can save time and effort and keep the project on track. If you want to complete your project on time and save trouble, it is important to outline – from start to finish.

What is the ideal place to state the thesis of the essay?

There are two important places where writers can state the thesis, especially in an expository essay:

  • The most common place is the concluding lines of the introduction. It helps the writers to transition from the introduction to the main body. It also aids readers in understanding the depth and scope of the thesis statement.
  • In the case of an expository essay, you can write the thesis statement in the beginning. This can help them start the essay with a better impact.

What are the hallmarks of an expository essay?

Different types of writings are defined by the hallmarks and features that they exhibit to their readers. When it comes to expository essays, these are their distinct features:

  • Factual information
  • Objective tone and voice
  • Devoid of opinions and personal views

How can I utilize a quote in the introduction of an expository essay?

One of the best ways to utilize a quote in the introduction of an expository essay is by bridging it with the contents of the essay. For instance, if you are writing an essay on the jury system in the US, you can start with a quote that sheds light on the premises of the essay as well as the jury system in the country.

What is the role of objectivity in expository essay writing?

Objectivity reigns supreme when it comes to writing expository essays. Since these essays are about factual, actionable information, they should have objective and unambiguous information to ensure that the majority of the readers arrive at the same conclusion. This is one of the hallmarks of expository writing and students should keep that in mind while writing one.

Getting A Good Start With Expository Essays

Beginning on the right footing is important while writing expository essay s. These are complicated and hard to ace, compared to narrative and descriptive essay s. That’s why we have dedicated this blog to writing a winning introduction.

There are a lot of dynamics and mechanics involved in writing the opening section alone. So, novice writers and students should keep all the necessary elements in mind to materialize the desired effects.

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How to write an outstanding expository essay

How to write an expository essay

Table of contents:

  • Expository essay definition

Types of expository essays

Structure and format of the expository essay.

  • Expository essay introduction

Expository thesis examples

  • Expository essay body paragraphs
  • Expository essay conclusion
  • Expository essay writing tips

“Write an expository essay for your homework.” There’s a sentence which strikes fear into the heart of many a student in Australia, whether they are in high school, or in university.

But don’t freak out if you’re one of them! Help is here. I’ll show you what an expository essay is, then the rubric you need to know to write a good essay from introduction to conclusion. By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll have all the tools you need for how to structure an expository essay, some prompts giving you clues for how to start, a guide to the types of expository essays, and a few tips to make your life easier along the way.

The purpose of expository essays

First of all, so, what is an expository essay? Simply put, an expository essay explores all angles of a particular topic in an effort to teach the audience something that they might not know. It sticks to the facts and maintains a neutral tone. This is not the place to share your opinion or give that heart-wrenching anecdote.

There are roughly five kinds of expository essays: problem and solution, comparison, how-to, descriptive, and cause and effect. I’ve got some examples of possible prompts to start you off.

Problem and Solution: How do you solve climate change? How do you improve your college grades?

Comparison: Compare and contrast life in Australia with life in America. Compare and contrast your own upbringing with that of your parents. Compare and contrast your high school with a high school in the UK.

How-to: How to become a vegan. How to get a date. How to find a geo-cache. How to start collecting butterflies. How to mine crypto-currencies.

Descriptive: Describe what it’s like to visit Uluru / Ayers Rock. Describe your best friend. Describe the last concert you went to.

Cause and effect: Why did Savage Garden break up? Why did Donald Trump win the American presidency?

When considering how to structure an expository essay, you may wish to take out a pen and paper and do an outline straight off the bat. This will help to keep you on the right path and give you a template that will show you how to start.

Typically, essays such as the expository essay are based on a 5 paragraph format, which is roughly one paragraph of introduction, three main points making up the body of the essay, and a one-paragraph conclusion. You need not follow this format if it doesn’t work for you, of course, but it’s probably best to bear it in mind as you make your outline.

As you think about your topic, consider making a graphic organizer to get your thoughts in order. This can be as simple as a brainstorming session with yourself, a concept map, or a Venn diagram, all the way up to extremely detailed statistical maps with studies you’ve carried out yourself.

Introducing the expository essay

Start your introduction with a hook that grabs your readers’ attention. A startling fact or a brief story is often what you need.

Follow up with setting expectations for the background, the context, and the audience for your essay. Make sure you don’t assume your reader knows the topic inside out already, especially if you’re discussing something niche or obscure. Your instructions on how to mine crypto-currency aren’t going to make any sense if your reader has never heard of BitCoin.

The most important part of your introduction, and indeed of your whole paper, is the thesis statement , or statement of purpose. This informs the reader of what the ultimate point of your essay is talking about. Remember, your statement needs to be unbiased and neutral for the expository essay; it should not take sides in any debate.

Some examples of thesis statements are just below.

Thesis: Climate change is a complicated question but there’s one part of it that’s very simple: action needs to be taken.

Thesis: If you want to mine crypto-currency, the process is easier than you might think.

Thesis: ‘90s Australian pop duo Savage Garden broke up for several reasons: different ambitions, a personality clash, and last of all, a tragic misunderstanding.

The body of your expository essay

Now at last we’re getting into the analytical meat of the expository essay. Here’s where you set out your carefully-outlined points and present your evidence. Each main point should be followed by the factual evidence supporting that point in the same paragraph. This is where having written and formatted a full outline comes in handy.

Your body should consist of at least three paragraphs. Some ideas for how to format these include three different takes or views on the situation, three opposing points of view, two opposite sides and one side which takes elements of both, three steps to solve a problem, three stages of a journey, and so on. Of course, it need not be just three points, but three is your minimum.

Concluding the expository essay

As you finish making your points and draw to a close, begin your conclusion by restating your main points and thesis in brief form. You can then conclude in one of several ways. For instance, by reframing the essay to have larger meaning or significance, or by asking questions you didn’t or couldn’t answer.

Hopefully, you’re now well on the way to writing the best expository essay Australia has ever seen! If you need a few more clues, see the writing tips below.

Expository essay writing tips 

  • Use transition words such as ‘however,’ ‘otherwise,’ ‘furthermore,’ and similar words to move between paragraphs smoothly.
  • Your title should be eye-catching and should have something to do with your thesis statement.
  • If expository essay writing has really thrown you for a loop and even this article hasn’t helped, why not consult professional assistance and consider buying an expository essay as an example for you?
  • Write a first draft a few days before your essay is due, then get a friend or classmate to take a look at it before you revise it.
  • It can sometimes help to read your essay out loud as if you were presenting it to your intended audience. 
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How to Write an Expository Essay on an Animal

Last Updated: September 15, 2021

This article was co-authored by Bess Ruff, MA . Bess Ruff is a Geography PhD student at Florida State University. She received her MA in Environmental Science and Management from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2016. She has conducted survey work for marine spatial planning projects in the Caribbean and provided research support as a graduate fellow for the Sustainable Fisheries Group. This article has been viewed 76,311 times.

Expository essays describe a particular topic and provide the reader with relevant information. An expository essay about an animal can take a variety of different directions. Choose a topic that interests you, outline and write your essay, and then proofread your work before turning it in.

Outlining and Researching

Step 1 Think of a topic.

  • An expository essay is an essay that provides the reader information about a particular topic. To write an expository essay on an animal, you'll have to choose an animal and provide a variety of information on that animal. It would likely include things like what that animal looks like, what it eats, where it lives, and so on.
  • Choose an animal that personally interests you. You'll have more fun writing your essay if you are writing about something you enjoy. Pick an animal you like. Your favorite animal could be a good topic for an expository essay on an animal.

Step 2 Understand what format your essay should follow.

  • You can review the assignment sheet given to you or ask your teacher in person. If you speak with your teacher, be sure to take notes so you can refer back to them when researching, outlining, writing, and polishing your essay.

Step 3 Research.

  • Look for sources that are valid. Major newspapers like the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle are a good place to start. You also might want to find some history behind your topic. Go your school's library and ask a librarian to help you use the card catalogue to locate books and magazines on your topic. An encyclopedia could be a good reference for an expository essay. [1] X Research source
  • The Internet is a major source of information and can be extremely helpful when researching. However, you should know how to evaluate sources before relying on the internet for information. Look for current resources so you know the information is up-to-date. Go for websites associated with universities or government organizations, with domains like .edu and .gov, over business or commercial websites.
  • Select pages where the author's name is clearly visible and the page is easy to navigate. Personal blogs are not a good resource. Websites for organizations advocating strongly for a particular political cause may have a strong bias. Avoid sites like Wikipedia, as they are user generated and may not have accurate information.
  • Take notes while researching. Keep a notebook with you and jot down relevant information. Write down which source you got this information from so you can refer to the source later on. If possible, print out your own copies of library texts so you can underline and write notes in the margins.

Step 4 Outline...

  • Outlines are usually formed using a series of numbers and letter. You write down main points as headings and then expand upon these points in subheadings.
  • For example, you can use Roman numerals as headings and then use letters as subheadings. Say you're writing about potbelly pigs. You can start with “I. Introduction.” Then something like “a. Introduce my topic, including a brief description of potbelly pigs” and “b. briefly state the personality traits and appearance of a potbelly pig.”
  • You don't need to use full sentences in an outline. It's just a tool to help you organize your ideas. Don't worry about forming full sentences or thoughts yet. You can get to that during the writing process.

Writing the Essay

Step 1 Begin with an introduction.

  • Begin your introduction with a fun opening sentence that gets the reader's attention. You can open with a question, a quote, a joke, or anything that introduces your topic in a creative manner. For example, let's return to the potbelly pig example. Open with something like, "Did you know that not all pigs are farmyard animals? Some pigs are kept domestically as pets." This invites the reader to think about your topic.
  • From there, briefly state what you'll be discussing in your paper. You can provide a brief description of a potbelly pig, including things like a brief overview of their appearance and personality traits.

Step 2 Write paragraphs focusing on specific topics.

  • For example, one paragraph can describe the appearance of a potbelly pig. Another paragraph can then describe the eating habits of a potbelly pig, and another can talk about how to care for potbelly pigs, health problems they're prone to, and so on.
  • Make sure you stick to one main topic per paragraph.

Step 3 Back up your information with research.

  • Go to your sources for support of the information you're listing. If you're talking about how potbelly pigs are prone to bacterial infections in the ear, you'll need a source that shows that this is true.

Step 4 Write a conclusion.

  • Certain questions can help guide a good conclusion. Did you think of any new ideas about the animal you're researching? Are there any questions or concerns that need further research? What larger significance does your topic have in the bigger world?
  • However, you should not suddenly introduce new information in the conclusion. Instead, you should speculate and reflect on the information provided. Think of a good closing line that will stay in readers' minds. You want to make sure your essay has an impact. [2] X Research source

Reviewing Your Work

Step 1 Revise your first draft.

  • A good way to structure transitions is to make them a bridge between the old paragraph and the new. For example, to connect a paragraph on keeping a potbelly pig as a pet to a previous paragraph about eating habits, you could use something like this: "Although potbelly pigs can eat a variety of things in the wild, if you're keeping a potbelly pig as a pet, you need to be more careful about providing a balanced diet." The word Although sets up a connection between the ideas.
  • Focus on clarity. You want to make sure the information is presented in as straightforward means as possible. If you notice any sentences that seem unclear in your first draft, work on rewording them in revision.

Step 2 Proofread

Community Q&A

Anika Shenoy

  • Pick an animal you would like to know about. This can help you have fun researching and writing. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0

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  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/552/01/
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    Keep a notebook with you and jot down relevant information. Write down which source you got this information from so you can refer to the source later on. If possible, print out your own copies of library texts so you can underline and write notes in the margins. 4. Outline your essay.