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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 .
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.
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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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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.”
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.
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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Quick and Easy Guide on How to Write an 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.
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
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.
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.
- 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: A Complete Guide
You write a lot of essays, and while they might share some broad characteristics such as their structure, they can be quite different from each other. Some essays are meant to convince the reader that the position you’re arguing is the correct position, while others explore the differences and similarities between literary works. Beyond these, you might also be assigned to write essays that explain subjects, events, and concepts to the reader, sometimes walking them through processes. These essays are known as expository essays.
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What is an expository essay?
An expository essay is an essay that communicates factual information. Broadly, this type of writing is known as expository writing . Expository essays rely on different structures to communicate their positions, like compare and contrast, process essays, and analyzing cause and effect.
Expository writing is one of the four main types of writing . The others are persuasive, narrative , and descriptive writing.
Knowing how to write an expository essay, along with knowing how to write other types of essays , is an essential skill for any student to master. Expository writing isn’t the place to be cute, clever, or edgy; it’s the kind of writing where you position facts and observations to let them speak for themselves in the most effective way possible. It’s the kind of writing you do when you’re analyzing information you’ve been assigned to study, thinking critically about concepts covered in class, and explaining the processes and reasons behind the conclusions you’ve reached.
The purpose of expository writing
Expository writing has a clear purpose: to educate the reader. While it may also entertain or persuade the reader, these are secondary benefits and not the author’s goal. Well-crafted expository writing demonstrates the author’s expertise on the subject and in many cases demonstrates how they learned about their subject.
For example, you might be assigned to write an essay about the mock trial your class held. In this essay, you would introduce the assignment and the case your class worked on through the trial. Then in the following body paragraphs , you would describe each stage in the mock trial process (discovery, opening statements, cross-examination, closing statements, jury deliberation, and verdict) and how your class completed each of these stages. In the final paragraph, you would state the verdict your class reached and the judge’s ruling.
Your essay about the mock trial doesn’t argue that the ruling was right or wrong. It merely explains the process your class used to work through the trial process and learn how real court cases move through the court system. In other words, your essay would present facts and process rather than opinion and commentary.
5 types of expository essays
As we mentioned above, expository essays come in many forms. These include the following:
1 Classification essays
In a classification essay, you write about various subjects within one category, discussing each subject’s unique characteristics alongside the characteristics that connect it with others in its category. For example, you might write a classification essay about different kinds of herding dogs. Your essay would start with a thesis statement about how herding breeds are different from other categories of dogs, then in each paragraph, discuss specific herding breeds (corgi, collie, heeler, etc.).
2 Definition essays
A definition essay defines its subject by presenting clear facts about it. Your definition essay might challenge commonly repeated myths about a historical event by presenting firsthand accounts of the event from primary sources and discussing relevant social, political, and economic trends that impacted the event and influenced perceptions of it.
3 Process essays
A process essay walks the reader through the steps involved in completing a task. A recipe has a lot in common with a process essay. A process essay’s opening paragraph explains the process that will be covered and the end result of following the directions. Each body paragraph is a step in the process, then the conclusion explains what the reader should have achieved by completing each step.
4 Compare-and-contrast essays
In a compare-and-contrast essay , you support your thesis statement by examining the differences and similarities between the sources cited. For example, you might write an essay comparing and contrasting the dress code at your school with the dress codes at two neighboring schools. Your body paragraphs might examine the differences in which articles of clothing are and aren’t allowed as well as the overall preciseness of each dress code’s language and the amount of “gray area” present in each policy.
5 Cause-and-effect essays
As the name implies, a cause-and-effect essay gets into how specific events and/or actions caused others to occur. They sometimes trace chains of events to explore why we find ourselves facing certain circumstances today. An example of a cause-and-effect essay might be one tracking how shifting market trends over the past few decades impacted the industries in your region, creating the current local economy.
How to structure an expository essay
Expository essays follow the same general structure you use with every essay assignment : an introduction, body paragraphs that support and expand upon the points you made in your introduction, then a conclusion that reiterates those points and underscores your thesis.
Unless your instructor requires your essay to hit a certain word count, there’s no specific length your essay needs to be. Similarly, it doesn’t need to have a specific number of paragraphs—but it does need to express your points thoroughly and accurately. To achieve this, your essay should follow this format, give or take the quantity of body paragraphs for the number of supporting points you make:
In the introduction, you present your essay topic and your thesis statement, ideally hooking your reader with intriguing facts. You also introduce your supporting evidence and all necessary context to help your reader understand your thesis.
Each supporting point you make needs its own body paragraph. Although the five-paragraph essay is typically considered the “standard” essay length, you might need a six-paragraph or longer essay to thoroughly communicate your thesis statement.
Use transition words and sentences to transition between body paragraphs. Transition words and sentences are the phrases that express the relationship between two paragraphs, signaling to the reader why you’re making a specific point and how that point fits into your overall work.
In your last body paragraph, you’ll need to transition to your conclusion. That doesn’t mean you should start summarizing here—give your final body paragraph as much insight and detail as you gave your previous body paragraphs.
In your conclusion , you restate your thesis statement and summarize the points you made in your body paragraphs. It should neatly tie up any loose ends and answer any lingering questions the reader may have.
How do you write an expository essay?
Before you write your next expository essay, familiarize yourself with the conventions and rules for essay writing . These general guidelines will help you structure your essay and determine the most effective way to present your information. But because you’re writing an expository essay, it’s also important that you understand and incorporate all the characteristics that separate expository essays from other kinds of writing. Keep the following rules for expository writing in mind:
- Despite the taboo, insects make an excellent food source and could stem humanity’s looming food shortage, based on both their protein output and the sustainability of farming them.
- The backlash to rock ’n’ roll music in the ’50s by religious groups and traditionalists actually boosted the genre’s popularity instead of diminishing it as intended.
- Your tone should be objective and academic . While narrative and descriptive essays can take on artistic, impassioned, and familiar tones, expository essays stick to conventional language and a neutral tone.
- Stick to the facts. An expository essay is not the place to express your opinion—or even present the facts in a way meant to change or shape the reader’s opinion.
- Always be completely sure of the facts you’re presenting. That means thoroughly vetting your sources, cross-checking them with other reputable sources, and properly citing every fact you put forth as the truth.
Start writing your expository essay the same way you would start the writing process for any other project: by brainstorming. If you weren’t assigned a topic, you’ll need to determine an appropriate topic on your own—brainstorming is where you’ll determine that topic. It’s also where you’ll determine your thesis statement, the most important component of your expository essay . Don’t move forward with outlining your essay until you have a thesis statement.
Once you have a clear thesis statement, it’s time to outline your essay. With an expository essay, it’s especially important that you present accurate facts in a logical way. It can be very helpful to note your sources for each paragraph in your outline.
With a completed outline, it’s time to start writing. Follow the standard writing process through this first draft, editing, and your revision. Once you’re finished, make sure you proofread your essay carefully—not only for grammar and spelling mistakes, but to double-check that you’ve properly cited every source and formatted your essay according to your assigned style guide.
You write the essay, Grammarly gives it extra polish
In an expository essay, it’s especially important that your writing is mistake-free. Having spelling and grammatical mistakes in your writing undermines your credibility as a writer, so even if your ideas and insights are solid, readers won’t get as much out of your work as they would if it had no mistakes.
That’s why proofreading is so important . . . and why Grammarly is so helpful. Before you submit your essay, use Grammarly to catch any mistakes or unclear sentences that might have sneaked past you while you were proofreading your work. It can also ensure that the tone you’re using is the tone you want to be using—and that it’s consistent through your whole essay.
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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 562,491 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.  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
Planning Your Essay
- If you are writing an expository essay for an assignment, read the assignment guidelines. Ask your instructor if anything seems unclear.
- If you are writing your essay for a class assignment, consider what your instructor will expect you to include in your 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.  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.  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.  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.  X Research source
- Trustworthy internet sources usually include academic institutions like universities or research labs, government websites, and non-profit organizations.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.  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.  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
- 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.
- 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.
Expressing Your Main Points
- 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.
- "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."
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
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- 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
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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
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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Complete Guide to Expository Essays: Writing Help and Topics
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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 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:
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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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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