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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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Quick and Easy Guide on How to Write an Expository Essay

expository essay in a sentence

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 types

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.

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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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?

What is the most important part of the expository essay structure, what is the main idea in expository writing, related articles.

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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
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Expository Writing: Definition and Examples

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Table of Contents

What is expository writing, what is an expository paragraph, expository writing examples, how prowritingaid can help you with expository composition.

One of the most common types of writing is expository writing. Whether you’re a student taking an English class or a professional trying to communicate to others in your field, you’ll need to use expository writing in your day-to-day work.

So, what exactly does this term mean?

The short answer is that expository writing refers to any writing designed primarily to explain or instruct.

Read on to learn the definition of expository writing as well as some examples of what this type of writing can look like.

Before we look at examples of expository writing, let’s start with a quick definition of what this term actually means.

Expository Writing Definition

The term expository writing refers to any writing that’s designed to explain something. We use the word expository to describe any passage of writing that’s supposed to present information and help you understand it in an objective way.

Some common examples of expository writing include academic essays, textbooks, instructional guides, and news reports. Good expository writing should be factual, objective, and clear.

expository writing definition

To better understand what this term means, think about the difference between a scientific article, a short story, and an advertisement.

The scientific article is considered expository writing because its primary purpose is to explain a particular topic in more detail. It presents data, analyzes what that data means, and focuses on the facts.  

On the other hand, the short story isn’t considered expository writing, because its core purpose isn’t to explain or inform—instead, it’s probably trying to entertain you or to take you on a journey. Short stories are narrative writing.

Similarly, an advertisement isn’t expository writing because its core purpose isn’t to explain or inform—instead, it’s trying to persuade you to buy what it’s selling. Advertisements are persuasive writing.   

Here’s a quick rundown of what expository essays should and shouldn’t do.

An expository essay should:

Teach the reader about a particular topic

Focus on the facts

Follow a clearly organized structure

Present information and details from credible sources

An expository essay should not:

Try to change the reader’s mind about something

Present the author’s personal opinions

Include made-up narratives or stories

Follow experimental or nonlinear structures

3 types of writing

An expository paragraph is exactly what it sounds like—a paragraph of expository writing.

A well-written expository paragraph should follow a specific format to make it as clear and easy to read as possible. Most expository paragraphs do the following things:

Start with a topic sentence, which explains what the paragraph will be about

Then, include 3 – 5 body sentences that provide supporting details for the topic sentence

Finally, wrap things up with a closing sentence that summarizes what the paragraph has said

Writing an expository paragraph is a great way to practice expository writing. That’s because the paragraph follows the same structure as a more complex expository essay, just on a smaller scale.

Most expository essays should follow this format:  

Start with an introductory paragraph that includes the thesis statement, which tells the reader the core statement of the essay

Then, include 3 – 5 body paragraphs that provide factual evidence to support the thesis statement

Finally, wrap things up with a concluding paragraph that summarizes what the body paragraphs and thesis statement said

You can see the similarities between the two formats. If you can write a fantastic expository paragraph, you’ll be well-prepared to move on to writing a full expository essay.

Example of Expository Paragraph

Here’s an example of an expository paragraph that follows the structure described above.

The leading cause of death in the United States is heart disease, which can be fatal if it leads to heart attack or cardiac arrest. Heart attacks occur when a blockage in the coronary artery prevents oxygenated blood from reaching the heart. Cardiac arrests occur when the heart stops pumping entirely, which prevents the patient from breathing normally. Both of these problems can be deadly, even in seemingly healthy people who don’t have noticeable risk factors. As a result, heart disease is an important problem that many doctors and scientists are researching.

expository essay in a sentence

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There are many ways you can present information in an expository essay. Here are four of the most popular ways, along with examples of each one.  

Problem and Solution Essay

A problem and solution essay presents the reader with a problem and then considers possible solutions to that problem. 

Here’s an example passage you might find in a problem and solution essay:

Among the many proposed solutions to rising carbon emissions, one promising possibility is carbon trapping. Scientists are figuring out how to pull carbon emissions out of the atmosphere and trap it in less harmful forms, such as by injecting carbon dioxide underground so it will turn to stone.

Compare and Contrast Essay

This type of essay takes two subjects and compares and contrasts them. It focuses on highlighting the differences and similarities between those two things.

Here’s an example passage of this type of expository writing:

Though country music and R&B music have very different sounds, they also share many similarities. For one thing, both types of music embody a specific cultural identity. For another, both genres trace their roots back to the 1920s, when the Victor Talking Machine Company signed singers from the American South.

Classification Essay

In a classification essay, you describe the categories within a certain group of things.  

Here’s an example passage you might find in a classification essay:

There are three ways in which artificial intelligence might become stronger than humans in the future: high speed, high collective intelligence, and high quality. A speed AI would be able to perform calculations and experience the world much faster than humans. A collective intelligence, like a hive mind, would be able to break down a complex task into several parts and pursue them simultaneously. Finally, a quality AI would simply be able to solve more complex problems than humans could.

Process Essay

In a process essay, you give the reader the steps for completing a specific process. This is similar to a how-to guide or an instruction manual.   

Here’s an example passage you might find in this type of expository writing:

Caramelize the chopped onions in a frying pan. When the onions have caramelized, mix in the bell peppers, mushrooms, and tomatoes and stir for 4 – 6 minutes or until all the ingredients have softened. If you want to add meat, you can add ground beef and cook for another 4 – 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  

Good expository writing should be easy to read. After all, the purpose of exposition is to explain things to your readers, and you won’t be able to accomplish that if they have trouble understanding your writing.

That’s why ProWritingAid can help you write an expository essay. The grammar checker can help you ensure your sentences flow well, you’re not missing any necessary punctuation, and all your words are precise and clear.

Good luck, and happy writing!

Hannah is a speculative fiction writer who loves all things strange and surreal. She holds a BA from Yale University and lives in Colorado. When she’s not busy writing, you can find her painting watercolors, playing her ukulele, or hiking in the Rockies. Follow her work on hannahyang.com or on Twitter at @hannahxyang.

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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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Expository writing: how to write an incredible expository essay.

Expository essays are frequently assigned in  English classes  and are evaluated in various standardized exams.

But what exactly  is  an expository essay, and how do you write a good one?

In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to pen a high-scoring expository paper.

What Is an Expository Essay?

The word  expository  means “intended to explain or describe something.”

An expository essay requires you to investigate an idea, gather supporting evidence, and present your point of view on a topic.

  • You may be wondering how this differs from a persuasive essay.
  • While both essay types require you to provide evidence to support a claim, persuasive essays are more argumentative.

A persuasive essay includes a counterargument, which addresses and rebuts an opposing viewpoint.

Expository essays, on the other hand, focus on clearly explaining and supporting  your  point of view.

Parts of an Expository Essay

A strong expository essay should consist of:

  • An introductory paragraph with a clear thesis
  • Evidence that supports the thesis (typically in three body paragraphs)
  • A conclusion

Below, we’ll look at how to construct the expository essay piece by piece.

For clarity, we’ll focus on a somewhat formulaic process for expository writing.

Once you’ve mastered these basics, you can take risks and sprinkle more creativity throughout your essays.

Introduction

The introduction frames the topic of your essay.

It also provides readers with any necessary background information or context.

A simple format for your introduction is:

  • Grabber/Hook  – A compelling sentence or two that draws readers into your essay.
  • Background Information (as needed)  – Any basic information the reader needs to know about the topic to understand your essay.
  • Thesis Statement  – This is the most important sentence of your entire essay. See below for more information.

Thesis Statement

The thesis statement is the roadmap for your entire essay, so it must be clear and concise. It should state your point of view on the topic.

  • The thesis may also  briefly  mention the supporting evidence you’ll expand on in the body of the essay.

For instance, a thesis statement might say:

Students should read more literature because it improves vocabulary, reading comprehension, and empathy.

The writer’s viewpoint is immediately clear: Students should read more literature.

The writer also indicates that her supporting evidence will mention several benefits of reading literature: improved vocabulary, better reading comprehension, and increased empathy.

  • Most likely, each of these points will form one of the writer’s body paragraphs.

If your teacher (or a standardized test) assigns you a topic, here’s another way to think of a thesis statement: The thesis is your answer to the question being asked.

  • Let’s say you receive a prompt that says, “Your community is thinking of starting a program encouraging people to limit car usage. Explain how limiting car usage would benefit your community.”

This prompt is essentially asking, “How would limiting car usage benefit your  community ?”

  • Thus, your thesis could answer the question by saying something like, “Limiting car usage would benefit the community because it would decrease traffic, improve public health, and reduce air pollution.”

This approach ensures that you’re on topic and directly addressing the prompt.

Supporting Evidence

Once you’ve clearly stated your point of view, it’s time to support it. To do this, you’ll need  evidence . Sometimes, this will mean doing your own research.

On other occasions, especially exams, you’ll be provided with relevant resources.

These may include newspaper articles, primary sources, photos, or even audio recordings.

  • Your job is to sort through these resources and find evidence that supports your thesis. It’s important to note that if you can’t find evidence supporting your thesis, you’ll need to change it.

Strong evidence may include research findings, quotes from experts, and statistics. Make sure that your evidence is from credible sources and clearly supports your thesis statement.

Organizing Evidence

After finding your supporting evidence, you’ll organize it into body paragraphs, typically three of them.

Each body paragraph should focus on one general idea.

In addition, each of these general ideas should be logically connected to your thesis statement.

  • Your body paragraphs should start with a topic sentence that introduces the idea that the body paragraph will elaborate upon.

Remember our sample thesis about students reading more literature?

  • The topic sentence of the first body paragraph could read, “To start with, reading literature is essential because it expands students’ vocabulary.”

After the topic sentence, the paragraph should introduce 2-3 pieces of evidence supporting this idea.

If a piece of evidence doesn’t clearly relate to the body paragraph’s topic sentence, it needs to be moved or deleted.

Analyzing Evidence

When you introduce a piece of evidence, follow it up with a sentence analyzing the evidence in your own words.

  • Explain the connection between the evidence and your thesis statement.
  • How does it support your point of view?
  • How do you interpret this evidence?

Remember that essays don’t only reflect your writing skills; they also reflect your critical thinking skills.

Instead of merely quoting evidence, you must also explain your thought process.

As a result, an effective body paragraph can follow this formula:

  • Topic sentence
  • Evidence #1
  • Analysis of Evidence #1
  • Evidence #2
  • Analysis of Evidence #2
  • Evidence #3 (Optional)
  • Analysis of Evidence #3 (Optional)
  • Concluding/transitional sentence

The final sentence of the body paragraph should remind readers of the paragraph’s main point and connect it to the next paragraph.

Transitions are important because they help readers follow your train of thought without confusion.

They smoothly guide readers through your paper.

Transition words and phrases include:

  • For example
  • For instance
  • To illustrate
  • Specifically
  • On the other hand
  • Consequently
  • As a result
  • Additionally
  • Furthermore

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Like stories,  essays  have a beginning, middle, and end.

  • The introduction is your beginning, the body paragraphs form the middle, and the conclusion brings the paper to an end.

The conclusion synthesizes the information included in your essay.

As the name suggests, it also draws a conclusion from the information presented.

  • Instead of simply restating the thesis, you should revisit the thesis in light of the supporting evidence you’ve provided. Do not introduce any new information in the conclusion.

Remember that the conclusion is your last chance to make an impression on the reader. It should be logical and convincing.

Try to end with a strong and/or memorable final sentence.

In total, an expository essay includes these pieces:

– Introduction

  • Hook/grabber
  • Background information

– Body paragraphs (usually three)

– conclusion.

  • Synthesis of evidence
  • Explanation of what this evidence shows (connected to thesis)
  • Strong final sentence

If you include each of these pieces, you’ll have a clear, logical, and effective expository essay.

Once you become comfortable following this formula, you may wish to vary it or infuse it with your own style.

Just make sure that all the essential pieces are present in your essay.

The Expository Essay Writing Process

Before you can effectively assemble an expository essay, you’ll need to gather information and plan your approach.

Typically, the writing process includes:

  • Carefully reading the prompt (if applicable)
  • Brainstorming
  • Gathering evidence
  • Revising/editing

Let’s take a closer look at each step in the process.

1. Reading the Prompt

If you’re provided with a prompt, understanding it is an essential first step.

Misinterpreting the prompt will result in a low score, even if your essay is well-written.

  • Read the prompt at least 2-3 times, underline key words and phrases. If the prompt is complicated, you may want to rewrite it in your own words.

Does the prompt have multiple parts? If so, make sure you understand each part and that your essay clearly addresses all of them.

2. Brainstorming

Once you’ve read the prompt, begin brainstorming how you will approach it.

  • If you’ve been provided with relevant resources, this may also include a first read-through or skimming of these texts.

What position will you take? How are you planning to support your viewpoint? Jot down any idea that pops into your head.

  • It doesn’t matter if the idea is good—right now, you’re just trying to find inspiration. You’ll change, add, or remove information later.

If you haven’t been provided with a prompt, you’ll need to brainstorm a topic that interests you.

It should also be a topic on which you’re at least somewhat knowledgeable.

3. Gathering Evidence

At this point, you’ll find evidence that supports your point of view.

  • It helps to write at least a rough draft of your thesis statement before beginning this step.
  • This way, you’ll have a clear idea of what sort of evidence you need to find.

After writing your thesis statement, find credible evidence that supports it.

  • This may require you to go to the library or browse scholarly databases on the Internet.

Alternatively, you may have been provided with resources.

In that case, read through the resources carefully, underlining or circling evidence that reinforces your thesis.

4. Planning

Planning ensures that your essay is organized, focused, and cohesive.

It also allows you to catch potential mistakes  before  they happen.

  • For instance, you might realize that some of your evidence doesn’t fit, or that one of your body paragraphs is lacking support.

You can then address these areas of weakness before writing your essay.

  • At the top of your planning sheet (or a document on your computer) write your thesis statement.
  • Continually reference the thesis to ensure that you’re focused and on topic.
  • Next, determine the focus of each body paragraph and the 2-3 pieces of evidence that will support it.

Sometimes, students think that planning is too time-consuming.

However, a plan will save you time in the long run.

With all your quotes and evidence organized in one place, writing your essay is much faster and easier.

Once you have a completed plan, begin writing your essay.

  • Remember to analyze each piece of evidence and clearly connect your points with transitions.

Use a formal, academic tone and avoid slang or overly casual language.

Vary your sentence structure, including both short and long sentences. Pay attention to spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

6. Revising

Students often skip the revising and editing step of the writing process.

This is a mistake. Slowly read through your essay  at least  once before submitting it.

  • Look for misspelled words, incorrect verb tenses, and punctuation or grammar mistakes. Does your writing flow well? Does everything make sense?
  • Are all of your points clear? Have you used the same word or phrase repetitively? (If you have, try to substitute a synonym.) Did you use transitions connecting your ideas?

Ensure that you submit the best, most polished version of your essay possible. Mistakes and unclear sentences make a poor impression.

Advice From the Experts:

From Dr. Carrie Brown, professor of English and creative writing at Sweet Briar College and novelist :

When I’m working with students on expository writing — on writing in any rhetorical mode, really — I remind them that almost inevitably they have to stumble their way through some lousy sentences before they discover what they actually want to say. (This takes us back to that famous question: How do I know what I mean until I see what I say?) Some messy writing usually precedes orderly, elegant writing, and every writer needs patience during that messy process, because that process is important: out of that process emerges clear thinking, which is the true key to clear writing. Once  writers have waded around in the muck for a while, then they can step back and examine those sentences or numbered phrases or bulleted points — whatever method felt most natural to the writer by which to set down emerging thoughts — to discover which are relevant, which are simply repetitions of earlier thoughts, which are superfluous or meaningless, and in what order they ought to proceed. A trick that seems to work for students with a strong tendency toward auditory learning can actually record themselves speaking aloud, trying to address the topic, and then play back that recording, meanwhile transposing ideas — and usually improving and clarifying them — as they go.

From Adam Cole, author and writing expert:

Know your audience – Whatever you are writing, you will get the best results if you are thinking about who is reading it, why they are reading it, and what you should do to make sure the interaction between you and the reader is optimal. While the audience for an expository piece may be obvious, writing directly to that audience is not so obvious. It affords you an opportunity to think clearly and write clearly without having to worry about your identity, ego or success. If you are in school, the audience for expository writing is your professor, and you should be fulfilling the boxes in their rubric to the letter. If they haven’t given you a rubric, ask for one. If they won’t, find one or create one based on conversations with them, their former students, or another professor.

From Tangela Walker-Craft –  Simply Necessary, Inc. , Family and Parenting Blogger:

Write in complete sentences. Write in paragraph form. Each paragraph should contain 3 to 5 sentences for short essay questions, and 5 to 10 sentences for long essay questions. Vary sentence length and structure; try not to begin sentences with the same word or words. Use facts and information taken from reading passages to answer questions; refer back to the reading passage to stay focused. Underline important information in reading passages to make it easier to go back to them when answering questions. Proofread. Proofreading sentences backwards makes finding spelling mistakes and punctuation errors easier because it forces test-takers to focus on individual words instead of automatically “seeing” what he or she intended to write.

From Peter Donahue,  a writing expert  and teacher:

1. Write for clarity, not formality. As a teacher, I see a lot of expository writing where the writer is more concerned with following the conventions of academic jargon than she is with expressing ideas. A good example is the use of “utilize” instead of “use,” because it “sounds more formal,” or the avoidance of the pronoun “I” because it “sounds too informal.” So, rather than trying to appear formal, expository writing should aim to be clear. George Orwell’s 1946 essay, “Politics and the English Language,” says more on this topic, and is a worthwhile read. 2. Think synthetically, write analytically. Synthetic thinking starts with small details, or an open-ended question. As thoughts continue to develop, the main idea is clarified (or discovered) at the end the process. Contrariwise, Analytical thinking starts with a “given:” a major premise or generalization. It then proceeds to break down the main idea into its components and deal with each separately. Expository writing is usually presented most effectively in an analytic format — the main idea first, the support afterwards. On the other hand, literary writing, like a poem or discursive essay, is often presented synthetically. The key is knowing the difference between thought process and written format. We can think something synthetically, and then write it analytically. And in fact, this process can be the key to effective expository writing for many people. Don’t assume that because a thesis appears in the first paragraph, you have to think of it first. You could try drafting it synthetically, to clarify your thinking. Then rewrite it analytically to present it more effectively for your reader.

From Jessica Moody,  curriculum expert :

Expository writing is first about structure, second about clarity, and third about content.  Depending on the type of expository writing there is a specific structure expected.  Even in college essays each sentence on the essay has a purpose and can be labeled as a thesis statement, topic sentence, evidence, or explanation of evidence. If the structure is not there, most of the time there is not much clarity and the content is lacking because it is confusing.  This is the same for any type of expository writing. My suggestion for people becoming better at expository writing is to study the structure of the piece, the paragraph structures and the sentence structures.  If you understand how to break down the structure then you can learn to replicate any style or form you want.

Final Touches: Expository Essay Writing

Writing an excellent expository essay isn’t as complicated as it seems. Simply follow the steps and include the essential pieces outlined here.

Your essay is sure to showcase both your thinking and  writing skills —and earn you a high score!

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expository essay in a sentence

expository essay in a sentence

How to Write an Expository Essay

Sam Benezra

The expository essay is a genre of nonfiction writing in which a writer aims to explain a topic or concept. In this genre of essay writing, the writer is not required to put forward an original argument, but rather aims to educate the reader on a topic. This contrasts with the argumentative and persuasive essay genres, in which the writer takes a clear stance on a controversial topic, with the goal of swaying the reader toward agreeing with their position. An expository essay may cover a controversial topic, but in this genre, the writer will not take a hard stance on the topic, but rather provide a holistic overview of it. 

Expository writing aims to be objective and thorough in its analysis. The term “expository” means to explain, describe, or define. In effect, the author should try to present a balanced perspective on the topic at hand. Expository essays most often appear in textbooks, in encyclopedias, in journalistic articles, and in scientific or technical writing. 

In academic settings, expository essays are often assigned in high school or university courses to assess students’ understanding of a given topic. An expository essay prompt will typically ask the writer to “explain,” “define,” or “explore,” a given subject.

In this article, we’ll discuss the style, substance, and structure of expository essays.

Style of Expository Writing

In an expository essay, the writer aims to present information as impartially as possible. As a rule, expository essays generally avoid the use of subjective phrasing and vocabulary. They are centered around the presentation of facts and provide less analysis than other forms of writing. 

In an argumentative or persuasive essay, writers will typically present facts in conjunction with an analysis. In this context, facts are used as evidence in support of a specific claim or argument, with the intention of leading the reader to a specific conclusion.

In expository writing, facts stand on their own. Any analysis is used toward the purpose of clarifying or explaining the factual information that is presented, not for the purpose of persuading the reader. Expository essays on controversial topics should therefore be dialectical in the sense that they give equal voice to all perspectives on the issue. 

Because expository essays strive for this objective tone, they are virtually always written in the third person. The third person enables the writer to remove their subjectivity from the writing as much as possible. In other forms of writing, the writer’s voice may play an important role. In expository writing, the writer should aim to remove their voice as much as possible from the writing, allowing the information presented in the essay to speak for itself.

Process of Writing an Expository Essay

Choose a topic.

The process of writing an essay always begins with choosing a topic to write about. Expository essays generally seek to explain a phenomenon, event, idea, or object. There are a variety of sub-genres of expository writing, including but not limited to:

  • Definitional Article: Provides a detailed description of a phenomenon, event, idea or object (for example, an encyclopedia article)
  • Journalistic Article: Provides a detailed explanation of a current event or situation (for example, a newspaper article)
  • The How-To Article: Describes a process in a series of steps (for example, a recipe)
  • The Comparative Essay: Compares and contrasts two or more subjects in an impartial and informative manner
  • Analysis of an Issue: Describes an issue and various positions on or solutions for the issue, backed by evidence and data

In all of these sub-genres, the primary purpose of the essay — to inform and educate the reader about the subject of the essay — remains constant. 

The research phase is the most important, and often the lengthiest stage in the development of an expository essay. During the research phase, the writer aims to develop a comprehensive understanding of their topic by consulting a variety of sources. 

The research process may vary depending on the topic and the type of article. For example, a reporter covering a local crime for a newspaper will likely gather information through interviews of eyewitnesses and the police. They may also include background information about crime in the area by analyzing police records and public databases that provide crime statistics.

In contrast, a graduate student writing an essay on the American economy during World War II would research their topic by reading several books that provide various perspectives on the topic and by analyzing primary sources in research libraries. 

A food blogger writing a recipe for peanut butter cookies would consult and experiment with various other recipes in order to develop the best process for making a peanut butter cookie.

In all cases, writers use the research process to develop expertise on the topic of their writing, so that they can then educate their readers.

Organize Information

After completing the research phase, you can start to compile and organize the information you’ve gathered during their research. During this transitional phase, you should start by thinking about how you can present your topic most clearly and logically.

The way information is presented to the reader can vary depending on the writer’s approach. Using our previous example of an essay on the American economy during World War II, the writer may see it fit to present their information chronologically — that is, organized sequentially by time. This approach enables the writer to emphasize changes in the economy at different stages of the war. 

Alternatively, the writer could organize their research by categories. In this example, they might organize their paper by different industries in World War II and discuss the features of each industry during this time period in depth.

Both approaches are equally valid, but they provide different perspectives on the topic of the essay. It is important to think broadly about how you want to present your topic and more specifically about key points of emphasis as you organize your research.

Build Outline

After organizing your research in a logical order, you can start to build an outline . A complete outline should contain a draft of your thesis, topic sentences for each body paragraph or section, and evidence organized under each major claim you make throughout the essay. By the time you finish your outline, you should have completely finished gathering and organizing your evidence.

With a complete outline in hand, you can start to write your essay in earnest. With a complete and thorough outline, the essay-writing process should mostly consist of connecting evidence and fleshing out sections of your paper with transitions. It is important that your paper has a natural and logical flow and reads clearly.

Revise/Edit

Once a full draft has been completed, you can start the revision and editing process. In the revision phase, the writer aims to improve the essay by making changes to organization, structure, and word choice. In an expository essay, you should revise with clarity in mind. Often this may mean simplifying sentence structure or word choice or rearranging the structure to flow more logically. Editing refers to the basic process of proofreading the essay and fixing grammatical and spelling errors. Essays will often go through multiple stages of revision and editing before being finalized. 

Structure of an Expository Essay

Like other genres of essay writing, expository essays are typically composed of an introduction that includes a thesis statement, body paragraphs featuring supporting details, and a conclusion . Some sub-genres of expository writing may feature variances on this structure. A “How-To” article, for example, may feature a bulleted list of steps in the body rather than traditional supporting paragraphs. However, most expository essays are written in a traditional essay format.

Introduction

The introduction of an expository essay should provide the reader with a general overview of the information that will be presented throughout the essay. The introduction of an expository essay will typically include three key features: a hook or topic sentence, exposition , and a thesis statement .

The hook is the first one or two sentences of an essay. In an expository essay, the hook serves to clearly present the topic of the essay. In some forms of essay writing, there is an emphasis on catching the reader’s interest early on in the essay, hence the phrase “hook”. In persuasive essay writing, for example, the use of an attention-grabbing quote or narrative component early on in an essay can serve to draw the reader into the writer’s perspective, thereby manipulating the reader. In an expository essay, this kind of dramatic flourish is generally unnecessary, and even distracting. Instead, the writer should attempt to introduce the reader as objectively as possible. 

After the hook, the writer elaborates on their topic in the exposition , forming the middle of the introduction. In this section, the writer introduces key concepts and characters, which will be analyzed further in the body of the essay. 

The thesis statement is typically contained in the last couple sentences of the introduction. In an expository essay, the thesis statement serves to state points of emphasis about the topic of the essay. In this genre of essay writing, the thesis statement does not need to be an arguable claim as it would in an argumentative or persuasive essay. Rather, the thesis statement should serve to bring the reader’s attention to key aspects of the topic that you want to highlight.

The body of an expository essay is composed of separate body paragraphs that individually bring attention to an aspect of the topic. Each of the body paragraphs should present details that support the thesis. Typically, body paragraphs of an expository essay will include the following features: a topic sentence , evidence , and a transition to the next body paragraph.

In the topic sentence of a body paragraph, the writer will always make a general statement that ties back to the thesis or reinforces the thesis statement. Depending on how long the essay is and how it is organized, multiple body paragraphs may discuss the same sub-topic or theme, but they should always serve to introduce an idea or some information that relates to the thesis. Each body paragraph should put forward new information that is necessary to understand the paper’s thesis.

After the topic sentence, the bulk of each body paragraph will be devoted to presenting evidence or information that supports the statement made in the paragraph’s topic sentence. 

At the end of each body paragraph, the writer should write a brief transition to the next paragraph, allowing the essay to flow smoothly from one section to the next. The transition should be no longer than a sentence or two.

In the conclusion of an expository essay, the writer should reframe the thesis in light of the information presented throughout the essay. The conclusion should never present any new significant information or evidence. Rather, the writer should use the conclusion to tie together the information presented throughout the essay and to open up a discussion to broader implications.

In Conclusion

In an expository essay, the writer’s main purpose is to inform and educate their audience. In format and structure, expository essays typically resemble other genres of nonfiction essays. However, unlike similar genres like the argumentative or persuasive essay, the expository essay doesn’t aim to advance a position or argument, but rather to present information in as balanced and impartial a manner as possible.

expository essay in a sentence

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How to Write an Expository Essay: Outline, & Example

What is an expository essay? This type of writing aims to inform the reader about the subject clearly, concisely, and objectively.

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The keyword here is “ inform ”. You are not trying to persuade your reader to think a certain way or let your own opinions and emotions cloud your work. Just stick to the facts.

Expository Essay Writing Steps Include: Choosing the Topic, Planning the Essay, Outlining, Drafting, & Polishing the Text.

Want to learn more? This article by Custom-writing experts will tell you how to write an expository essay step by step! It provides a definition and describes types of expository writing. It also contains tips on choosing a topic and making an outline, ideas for an introduction and conclusion, as well as useful structuring and formatting tips.

  • 🔖 Expository Essay Types
  • 👣 4-Step Writing Guide

🔗 References

🔖 types of expository writing.

Whenever an essay or article explains complicated details or simplifies a bulk of hard-to-understand information, this type of writing is called expository.

Imagine you are talking to a curious child who keeps asking you “how” and “why” things are such or another. You need to explain everything from scratch, yet making it sound compelling. Small and peculiar details are essential here.

The principal purpose of an expository essay is to elucidate a topic logically and consistently. It is an objective analysis of facts without any reference to the writer’s emotions or opinions.

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Expository Writing Types Are: Problem & Solution, Cause & Effect, Compare & Contrast, Definitions & Classfication, How-to.

👣 How to Write an Expository Essay Step by Step

🔍 step 1: choose your expository essay topic.

The first step of the writing process implies that you brainstorm, make a list of expository essay ideas, and then choose the topic you like most. Note that your topic shouldn’t be either too broad or too narrow.

Let’s take a look at the expository essay topic examples:

And here are some good expository essay topics that would be a good choice:

  • Why does the human body need food and water ? 
  • What are the different ways to travel long distances? 
  • General information about audit report.  
  • Compare the legacy of any two US presidents . 
  • How can crime be reduced in your local community? 
  • What is the best way to learn a new language ? 
  • Establishing successful communication between managers and employees. 
  • Why do companies use memes as branding strategy ?  
  • The meaning of the terms diversity and identity .  
  • Describe how the work climate influence employee performance .  
  • What emotional appeal is and its role in communication.  
  • Information’s importance in warfare and commerce . 
  • Ways to use social media in modern business. 
  • Basic information and requirements of police detective career .  
  • What is health information exchange ?  
  • Characteristics of demonstrative communication. 
  • The history of the Cow Palace , Daly City.  
  • Describe the specifics of insurance company business.  
  • Ways to success in dealing with other people .  
  • Discuss the significant role of polis in ancient Greece .  
  • General information about cardiovascular disease . 
  • What are futuristic fabrics and how are they used in the modern fashion industry?  
  • Outline the peculiarities and cultural aspects of Indian cuisine .  
  • Describe the role of waiter in tourism industry .  
  • Ways to help students with learning disabilities to retain information.  
  • Four components of information system . 
  • Code of ethics: definition and its role in decision–making.  
  • The importance of listening skills . 
  • Present the similarities and differences between Mesopotamia and Ancient Egyptian culture .  
  • Give details on climate change in Africa .  
  • What is emotional intelligence and why is it important?  
  • Report the main methods to improve student learning .  
  • Describe the basic components of management practices.  
  • Contingency theory for effective crisis management.  
  • Ways of determining the validity of information sources .  
  • The specifics of coffee culture in different countries.  
  • Represent the main approaches to managing the team of international managers .  
  • Describe the peculiarities of popular culture .  
  • Information about Ferrero company.  
  • What is a leadership theory and how is it applicable in management?  
  • Tell about the ways to cite sources for an informative speech .  
  • The impact of vitamin D on human health.  
  • Definition and types of plastic surgery .  
  • How climate changes influence food security .  
  • Available information about silicon . 
  • Describe the mediation process and the difficulties usually connected with it.  
  • What is intelligence and how is it measured?  
  • Compare the advantages and disadvantages of electric and gas cars .  
  • General information about mental disorders.   
  • Outline the most high-risk nutritional practices and their impact on human health.  

You might be given a specific topic, or you might have the freedom to choose one. Either way, your starting point is to look at the task you have been set and be sure that your focus remains within its boundaries.

If you do have a choice, then go for a subject that you already have some knowledge of as this will give you a head start at the planning stage. And choose something that interests you—you are probably going to be doing a lot of reading, so that process will be much easier if your curiosity is carrying you forward.

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📑 Step 2: Research and Plan Your Essay

Consider your audience.

It’s always worth clarifying with your teacher who your essay’s intended audience is if it’s not clearly stated in the instructions. Your readership might be limited to your teacher or whoever is assessing your work, so the main goal, in that case, is to convince them that you have a good understanding of the subject and can organize your thoughts in a clear and appropriate way.

Either way, you should be mindful of who you intend to inform as you carry out your research and planning.

Choose Your Sources

You will need to find multiple sources that are relevant and reliable in order to deal with your subject matter accurately and comprehensively. Below is a checklist that might help you choose the right sources for your essay.:

Academic Sources Checklist

Take notes as you read, and cross-check sources. Your goal is to formulate the points you need to deal with the set task and find evidence to support them.

Once you’ve completed this, you will have a clear sense of direction, and if it hasn’t already been assigned, you will be able to compose a thesis statement for your essay that meets the requirements of the task and fits your sources. If you still struggle with the statement, consider trying an expository essay thesis generator to help yourself out.

Get an originally-written paper according to your instructions!

Now you’re ready to lay down your expository essay outline!

✍️ Step 3: Make Your Expository Essay Outline & Draft

The five-paragraph essay is a classic literary composition and a perfect template for your expository essay format—even if your set task demands something longer.

The outline for a 5-paragraph expository essay is simple:

  • Introduction (one paragraph)
  • Main body (three paragraphs)
  • Conclusion (one paragraph)

Expository Essay Structure: Useful Tips

  • Make the introduction of your expository essay short and sweet. Start with a focus statement that will grab your reader’s attention and make them want to read on. Then give an overview of your subject matter and set out the direction that the rest of your essay is going to take. There’s no need to back up your words with evidence at this stage—save the meat and potatoes for the main course.
  • Organize the three (or more if necessary) paragraphs of the main body in a logical order. Each of them should deal with a different point and address the focus statement you started with.Begin each paragraph with a clear topic sentence, then support it with your evidence. Each paragraph’s final sentence should lead your reader into the next—just like this one, which says you’re now ready to tie it all up.
  • Restate your original focus statement in your expository essay conclusion. his time, include the weight of all the evidence you have provided in the main body. Follow this with a powerful closing statement, and your reader will be on the ropes.

🏁 Step 4: Review Your Expository Essay

Think of your expository essay’s first draft as an uncut diamond—the value is there, but you still have some work to do before it’s ready for the display cabinet at Tiffany and Co.

First, you need to look at the overall content of your essay and ask the questions below.

Expository Essay Checklist: Content

  • Does the essay stay focused on the set task throughout?
  • Does the introduction give a clear sense of where the rest of the essay is headed?
  • Does the main body cover the subject matter in a logical order?
  • Is your supporting evidence accurate, relevant, and properly referenced?
  • Does the conclusion tie up the essay in a clear, concise, and powerful way?
  • Have you stuck to the facts and avoided clouding the essay with your own opinions?
  • Will your reader find your essay engaging and enjoyable to read?
  • Will your reader be better informed about the subject matter once they have finished the essay?

Be hard on yourself when you go through this process. Step into the shoes of the most critical person you know who loves to highlight your faults. You will come out the other side leaner, meaner, and stronger.

You’re almost there now—just some final polishing required. Your essay is now almost perfect, but proofreading will make it shine. Run it through a spell-checker, then read slowly from the beginning again, asking the questions below.

Expository Essay Checklist: Style

  • Is your word choice clear and concise?
  • Are there any issues with grammar or spelling?
  • Have you been consistent with the use of abbreviations, acronyms, capitalization, etc.?
  • Are your quotations and references presented correctly and consistently?
  • Is your document formatted correctly and consistently?

Done all that? Congratulations! Your diamond was purchased by Jennifer Lopez, and she plans to show it off on the Oscars red carpet.

The great thing about expository essays is that you only need to concern yourself with the facts. If you follow these four steps, you can’t go wrong. And in addition to your A+ grade, you will also have gained an incredibly useful life skill. The ability to explain a concept to someone in a way that makes them better informed will take you a long way in any environment.

✒️ Expository Essay Example

In this section, you’ll find a free expository essay sample. It focuses on the factors that cause stress in adolescents. Note that the full version of the text is downloadable!

Major Stressors in Teenagers’ Lives

The high dynamics of social interactions is a factor that may cause the fear and anxiety in adolescents who face increased demands and expectations from adults. Being physically developed, teenagers often have a fragile psychological background, and various external drivers, usually related to social adaptation, can be dangerous triggers of stress.

Adolescents are rarely able to entrust their concerns to parents and other adults, which causes isolation, pathological anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts. The major stressors in adolescence are social in nature and relate to school relationships, family disagreements, and issues of friendship and love.

✏️ Expository Essay FAQ

In simple terms, an expository essay informs its readers about a subject. It is quite concise, and typically presents a topic with 2-3 subtopics and relevant examples. To make the definition complete, we need to add that you also show your understanding of the topic as you write that paper.

If you are a high school student, we strongly recommend that you start off by creating an outline. You need to highlight a few points in the Body of your essay. Then, create an appropriate introduction. Finally, add a corresponding conclusion.

An expository essay is one of the most typical tasks starting from middle school. Thus, if you are not sure about the essay structure, write an outline first. Then you go step by step: an Introduction, Body, Conclusion. You may write the Body first and add the other two afterward.

An expository essay does not have significant peculiarities in terms of structure. Its outline includes: an Introduction, some Body paragraphs with examples, a Conclusion. Do not choose too many subtopics: such essays are usually just about 5 paragraphs / two pages long.

  • Taking Notes from Research Reading:University of Toronto
  • Expository Essays // Purdue Writing Lab
  • What Is Expository Writing? – ThoughtCo
  • Tips on Writing an Excellent Expository Essay – YourDictionary
  • 10 Ways Expository Writing Skills: NY Tymes
  • Expository Essays: Types, Characteristics & Examples – Study.com
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What Is Expository Writing?

How to Write an Expository Essay

  • Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia
  • M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester
  • B.A., English, State University of New York

Expository writing is used to convey factual information (as opposed to creative writing, such as fiction). It is the language of learning and understanding the world around us. If you've ever read an encyclopedia entry, a how-to article on a website, or a chapter in a textbook, then you've encountered examples of expository writing.

Key Takeaways: Expository Writing

  • Just the facts, M'am: Expository writing is informational, not creative writing.
  • Anytime you write to describe or explain, you use expository writing.
  • Use a logical flow when planning an expository essay, report, or article: introduction, body text, and conclusion.
  • It's often easier to write the body of your article first, before composing the introduction or conclusion.

Expository writing is everywhere in everyday life, not just academic settings, as it's present anytime there's information to be conveyed. It can take form in an academic paper, an article for a newspaper, a report for a business, or even book-length nonfiction. It explains, informs, and describes.

Types of Expository Writing

In  composition studies , expository writing (also called exposition ) is one of the four traditional  modes of discourse . It may include elements of  narration ,  description , and  argumentation . Unlike creative or  persuasive writing , which can appeal to emotions and use anecdotes, expository writing's primary  purpose  is to deliver information about an issue, subject, method, or idea using facts.

Exposition may take one of several forms:

  • Descriptive/definition:  In this style of writing, topics are defined by characteristics, traits, and examples. An encyclopedia entry is a kind of descriptive essay. 
  • Process/sequential:  This essay outlines a series of steps needed in order to complete a task or produce something. A recipe at the end of an article in a food magazine is one example.
  • Comparative/contrast:  This kind of exposition is used to demonstrate how two or more subjects are the same and different. An article that explains the difference between owning and renting a home and the benefits and drawbacks of each is one such an example.
  • Cause/effect:  This kind of essay describes how one step leads to a result. An example is a personal blog chronicling a workout regimen and documenting the results over time.
  • Problem/solution: This type of essay presents a problem and possible solutions, backed by data and facts, not just opinion.
  • Classification: A classification essay breaks down a broad topic into categories or groupings.

Tips for Expository Writing

As you write, keep in mind some of these tips for creating an effective expository essay:

Start where you know the information best. You don't have to write your introduction first. In fact, it might be easier to wait until the end for that. If you don't like the look of a blank page, move over the slugs from your outline for the main body paragraphs and write the topic sentences for each. Then start putting in your information according to each paragraph's topic.

Be clear and concise.  Readers have a limited attention span. Make your case succinctly in language that the average reader can understand. 

Stick to the facts.  Although an exposition can be persuasive, it should not be based on opinion only. Support your case with facts, data, and reputable sources that can be documented and verified.

Consider voice and tone.  How you address the reader depends on the kind of essay you're writing. An essay written in the first person is fine for a personal travel essay but is inappropriate if you're a business reporter describing a patent lawsuit. Think about your audience before you begin writing.

Planning Your Essay

  • Brainstorm: Jot down ideas on a blank piece of paper. Connect them with arrows and lines, or just make lists. Rigor doesn't matter at this stage. Bad ideas don't matter at this stage. Just write down ideas, and the engine in your head will lead you to a good one. When you've got that idea, then repeat the brainstorming exercise with ideas that you want to pursue on that topic and information you could put in. From this list, you'll start to see a path emerge for your research or narrative to follow.
  • Compose your thesis: When your ideas coalesce into a sentence in which you can summarize the topic you're writing about, you're ready to compose your thesis sentence. Write down in one sentence the main idea that you'll explore in your paper.
  • Examine your thesis: Is it clear? Does it contain opinion? If so, revise that out. For this type of essay, you stick to the facts and evidence. This isn't an editorial. Is the thesis' scope manageable? You don't want your topic too narrow or too broad to be covered in the amount of space you have for your paper. If it's not a manageable topic, refine it. Don't be dismayed if you have to come back and tweak it if your research finds that your initial idea was off-kilter. It's all just part of the process of focusing the material.
  • Outline: It may seem inconsequential, but making even a quick outline can save you time by organizing your areas of pursuit and narrowing them down. When you see your topics in an organized list, you may be able to discard off-topic threads before you research them—or as you're researching them and you find they just don't work.
  • Research: Find your data and sources to back up the areas you want to pursue to support your thesis statement. Look for sources written by experts, including organizations, and watch for bias. Possible sources include statistics, definitions, charts and graphs, and expert quotes and anecdotes. Compile descriptive details and comparisons to make your topic clear to your reader, when applicable.

What Is an Expository Essay?

An expository essay has three basic parts: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Each is crucial to writing a clear article or effective argument.

The introduction: The first paragraph is where you'll lay the foundation for your essay and give the reader an overview of your thesis. Use your opening sentence to get the reader's attention, and then follow up with a few sentences that give your reader some context for the information you're about to cover.

The body:  At a minimum, include three to five paragraphs in the body of your expository essay. The body could be considerably longer, depending on your topic and audience. Each paragraph begins with a topic sentence where you state your case or objective. Each topic sentence supports your overall thesis statement. Then, each paragraph includes several sentences that expand on the information and/or support the topic sentence. Finally, a concluding sentence offers a transition to the following paragraph in the essay.

The conclusion:  The final section of your expository essay should give the reader a concise overview of your thesis. The intent is not merely to summarize your argument but to use it as a means of proposing further action, offering a solution, or posing new questions to explore. Don't cover new material related to your thesis, though. This is where you wrap it all up.

Expository Examples

An expository article or report about a lake, for example, could discuss its ecosystem: the plants and animals that depend on it along with its climate. It could describe physical details about its size, depth, amount of rainfall each year, and the number of tourists it receives annually. Information on when it was formed, its best fishing spots, or its water quality could be included, depending on the audience for the piece.

An expository piece could be in third person or second person. Second-person examples could include, for example, how to test lake water for pollutants or how to kill invasive species. Expository writing is useful and informative.

In contrast, someone writing a creative nonfiction article about a lake might relate the place to a defining moment in his or her life, penning the piece in first person. It could be filled with emotion, opinion, sensory details, and even include dialogue and flashbacks. It's a much more evocative, personal type of writing than an expository piece, even though they're both nonfiction styles.

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expository essay

How to Write An Expository Essay: Step-by-Step Writing Process

expository essay in a sentence

The word 'expository' derives its roots from the Latin term 'expositio,' which is a combination of two key components: 'ex' meaning 'out of' or 'from,' and 'positio' meaning 'position' or 'placement.' When combined, 'expositio' quite literally means 'the act of placing or explaining something out of' – a concept that perfectly encapsulates what's an expository essay. Crafting this type of essay, at its core, is an exercise in effective explanation and clear presentation. It involves the skillful placement of information in a manner that allows the reader to grasp the subject matter easily.

How to Write An Expository Essay: Short Description

In this comprehensive guide, you'll uncover a wealth of valuable information and insights related to expository essay writing. It's designed to equip you with the knowledge and tools necessary to excel in this particular form of academic writing. You'll gain techniques for crafting clear and concise thesis statements, developing well-structured body paragraphs, and effectively supporting your arguments with evidence and examples. Additionally, our expository essay writing service will explore a selection of engaging and thought-provoking topics perfectly suited for these essays. These topics have been carefully chosen to stimulate critical thinking and provide ample material for analysis and discussion.

What is an Expository Essay

A good expository essay involves:

  • Exploring a particular idea or issue.
  • Researching the existing evidence.
  • Presenting a coherent and to-the-point argument.

To reach the desired result, a writer should define concepts, exemplify the ideas, compare and contrast related phenomena, or provide cause-effect reasoning.  

What differentiates an expository essay from other writing assignments is its goal. The very name of the essay type gives a hint - to 'expose' an idea. Thus, your objective is to inform the audience about a particular concept or view. Your argument must be based on hard facts, simple, and explicit. The tone of the expository essay should be neutral; you shouldn't try to persuade the reader or take sides. Whether you write descriptively or draw a comparison, you need to be unbiased.

Types of Expository Essays

Now that you know the expository essay definition, there is one more important aspect to consider: These essays can be of various types, which influences their structure and content. Therefore, you need to know their differences to write a quality paper. Commonly, there are six main types dissected by our expository essay writer :

types of expository essays

Process or 'How-To' Essays 

This type explains how to get something to work. It guides the reader through the stages of a certain process. Process essays usually include descriptions of steps and directions for the reader to follow. These can be technical instructions or recipes, for example: 

  • 'How to Bake a Cake'
  • 'How to Repair a Bike'

Compare and Contrast Essays

Compare and contrast expository essays aim at discussing similar and divergent aspects of ideas, concepts, locations, or objects. To present your findings, you can use one of the following techniques: the alternating method, combination method, or block method. The examples of a compare and contrast essay can include the following topics:

  • ' Democracy vs. Autocracy: Differences and Similarities '
  • ' Comparison of In-Class Education and Homeschooling '

Cause and Effect Essays

Working on this type of essay, you need to investigate the cause-effect relations of a particular event. This entails identifying and classifying the reasons and discussing the results. The topics that fall within this type are:

  • ' Causes of Unemployment in Your Country '
  • ' What are the Reasons for Burnout at Work? '

Problem and Solution Essays

These expository essay examples raise a relevant issue and analyze it from different points of view. Having presented the problem, you need to develop a possible solution. For example, you can discuss:

  • ' How Can the Influence of Social Media on Body Image Be Reduced? '
  • ' How to Encourage Students to Be More Interested in Sports? '

Classification Essays

Classification essays require a particular mastery of critical thinking as you need to categorize objects according to their distinctive features. Thus, these essays discuss the aspects of a certain broad topic in detail. You should explain the reason for sorting items into categories and provide examples. The classification essays include such topics as:

  • ' Types of Holiday Destinations '
  • ' The Impact of Social Media on Different Age Groups'

Definition Essays

The expository definition essay focuses on the definition of a term or concept. It entails providing a common dictionary definition in addition to less conventional interpretations. You may add examples, explain the origin of the term, and refute the wrong understanding of the concept under discussion. For instance, you may discuss the following topics:

  • ' What is Friendship? '
  • ' What Does Being Tolerant Mean? '

expository essay in a sentence

Expository Essay Structure

The block and chain structure of expository essay are the two most common types. The block method implies discussing one subject at first, then moving on to another topic in a separate paragraph. For example, such a structure of a problem and solution essay may be illustrated in the following way: 

The chain structure for the same problem and solution essay would look like this:

Thus, the chain structure allows you to discuss each aspect of the problem point by point, which is especially useful for longer papers. However, both of these structures are suitable for the expository essay format. You should choose the method you feel more comfortable with.

Expository Essay Prompts

Students often encounter various types of expository essay prompts at different educational levels, from primary school to college. These prompts serve to inspire and educate students by requiring them to research and explain specific topics.

For example, a descriptive essay prompt might ask a student to describe a place, person, experience, object, or situation. A cause-and-effect essay prompt could prompt a discussion on the causes and consequences of cheating in school, emphasizing the importance of honesty.

Here's a list of sample topics and their goals from our online paper writing service :

  • Were Jews the main target of the Nazis during World War II?
  • Goal: Evaluate Holocaust circumstances and provide evidence to support or refute this statement.
  • Is animal testing ethical?
  • Goal: Analyze the pros and cons of animal testing and present a well-supported argument for or against it.
  • Is cloning morally acceptable?
  • Goal: Examine the advantages and disadvantages of cloning, especially human cloning, and present an informed ethical perspective.
  • Who is your female mentor, and why?
  • Goal: Choose a female leader as a mentor and explain the reasons behind this choice, highlighting the mentor's virtues.
  • If time travel were possible, where and why would you go?
  • Goal: Explain the choice of a specific historical period for time travel, incorporating personal and historical reasons.

These prompts encourage students to explore, analyze, and articulate their ideas on various subjects.

Expository Essay Topics

While the overall content of an expository essay will depend largely on the prompt, the student may have some freedom to choose the specific topic or at least the angle; he wants to illuminate in the paper. For instance, he could explain the origin of a particular group of individuals in society; in such a case, the author should make the story as interesting as possible. The writer could explain a cow's digestion process for a process essay. Finally, a descriptive essay could describe a time when the writer experienced depression and what he believes to be the cause.

Lastly, the topic for a problem or solution essay could be how society can reduce or eliminate racism, using facts to expose the history of racism in specific communities.

Here are the topics from our annotated bibliography writing service :

Social Issues TopicsWhile the overall content of an expository essay will depend largely on the prompt, the student may have some freedom to choose the specific topic or at least the angle he wants to illuminate in the paper. For instance, he could explain the origin of a particular group of individuals in society; in such a case, the author should make the story as interesting as possible. The writer could explain a cow's digestion process for a process essay. Finally, a descriptive essay could describe a time when the writer experienced depression and what he believes to be the cause.

Social Issues Topics

  • How can we combat the climate crisis and transition to green practices?
  • What are the effects of technology on mental health, and how can we address them?
  • How can we promote gender diversity and inclusivity?
  • How can we achieve racial equity and combat systemic racism?
  • What are the ethical challenges of emerging tech, and how can we protect privacy?
  • How can we address global health crises and ensure healthcare equity?
  • How can we safeguard against cyber threats and protect online privacy?
  • How do young activists drive social change and create an impact?

Education Expository Essay Topics

  • How does the digital divide impact students' access to online learning resources, and what solutions can bridge this gap?
  • How does integrating social-emotional learning into the curriculum benefit students' overall well-being and academic success?
  • What are the essential skills and competencies that students need to thrive in the rapidly evolving job market, and how can schools incorporate them into their programs?
  • What is the significance of decolonizing educational curricula, and how does it contribute to a more inclusive and diverse learning experience?
  • How does STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education contribute to preparing students for careers in a technology-driven world?
  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of alternative education models like homeschooling, unschooling, or Montessori education?
  • What factors contribute to teacher burnout, and what strategies can schools and policymakers implement to improve teacher retention and job satisfaction?

Ethical Issues Topics

  • What ethical considerations surround the development and use of AI technologies?
  • How should society approach the ethical implications of gene editing and genetic manipulation?
  • What are the ethical concerns related to the collection and use of personal data in the digital era?
  • What ethical dilemmas arise from the deployment of self-driving cars and their decision-making processes?
  • What ethical issues are associated with human cloning and its potential applications?
  • How should society address ethical questions regarding environmental conservation and sustainability?
  • What ethical guidelines should AI-driven journalism platforms follow to ensure accurate and responsible reporting?

Health Topics

  • What factors contribute to vaccine hesitancy, and how can it be addressed?
  • How can we reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues?
  • What are the keys to promoting healthy aging and well-being in older adults?
  • How does diet affect obesity rates, and what strategies can combat this issue?
  • What are the benefits and challenges of telemedicine in providing healthcare services?
  • How does antibiotic resistance develop, and why is it a global health concern?
  • What are the root causes of health disparities among different populations, and how can they be mitigated?

Writing An Expository Essay Outline

Traditionally, expository essays include five paragraphs:

Introduction

Main Body Paragraph 1

Main Body Paragraph 2

Main Body Paragraph 3

This is a standard way to approach this type of paper, but you can add alterations if the task requires it. Also, you can get professional help with your essay from pay for essay services and make this task easier. Meanwhile, let's get into more details below:

As with any other writing, an expository essay should start with an introductory paragraph. Keep it short (3-5 sentences) but informative. In the first sentence, try to interestingly present the problem to the readers. This would be your hook. You should then write general information about the topic, mention why this issue is relevant, and outline the context in which you plan to discuss the problem. This part must be engaging and compelling for the audience to become interested in your piece. Remember that the introduction lays the foundation for further developing your argument. 

You should incorporate a powerful thesis statement in the last sentence of the introduction. A thesis statement reflects the main idea of the essay and asserts the author's findings. When making this claim, professionals recommend asking yourself what you are trying to say with your essay. However, you should refrain from expressing your personal opinion. It is better to stay neutral and present only proven facts. Invest some extra time to make this sentence thoughtful and convincing.

The outline of the introduction can be summarized in the following way:

  • General information
  • Proof of topic relevance
  • Context of the topic

Expository Essay Body

The body of the essay should explain your arguments. It must be the most detailed part of the text, so make it specific and do not add any fluff. Make sure that each paragraph is focused on one particular idea or claim. It would help the reader to stay focused and follow your line of argumentation without effort. Typically, you would need to write three body paragraphs. Each of them must have the following outline:

  • A topic sentence that correlates with a thesis statement
  • Evidence that supports a topic sentence
  • Explanation of the evidence
  • A concluding sentence that summarizes the main points of the paragraph

A topic sentence should introduce the idea of the whole paragraph. Make it concise and clear. Remember that your topic sentences should be connected to the first paragraph's thesis statement. Use facts, examples, and statistics as evidence to support your claim. 

Make sure you cite the information from outside sources in the style your assignment requires, such as MLA, APA, Harvard referencing, etc. Correctly cited and incorporated evidence will show the audience that the information you present is credible and trustworthy. It is best to have three points or evidence to support each topic sentence. Finally, finish the paragraph with a concluding sentence to summarize the claims you have made.

Make sure that the body paragraphs are logically linked. Incorporate transitions either in the last sentence of the previous paragraph or in a topic sentence of the following one. Use linking words to make the text cohesive. 

Conclusion Of Expository Essay Outline

The concluding paragraph should summarize the main points of your essay. You do not need to add any new information. Start by restating the thesis statement, but do not copy it. Then, summarize the supporting arguments and create a thought-provoking statement or question, making it the last sentence of your paper. 

How to Write An Expository Essay: Simple Steps

A successful writing process requires thoughtful preparation and planning. If you don't have time for that, you can always buy an essay online from our service. But if you do decide to write it yourself, divide your work into five following stages.

how to write expository essay

Brainstorming

Before you start writing your expository essay, you need to select your expository essay topic and brainstorm ideas and possible arguments. If it is your school or college assignment, most probably, you already have particular guidelines. Read what your teacher or professor wants you to do and see what ideas you can come up with regarding the topic. Note them down. Make sure that you can fully cover the topic within the required word count limits. For this reason, do not choose a subject matter that is too broad or too narrow. In addition, the topic must be relevant not only to society in general but also to you personally.

Once you've done brainstorming, start planning. Use the outline mentioned above. It will help you stay focused on the topic and build your argumentation in an effective way. 

During planning, try to divide the researched information into sections. For example, the outline on the topic' Leadership Styles' can look like this:

  • Definition of a leadership;
  • General information about leadership;
  • A thesis statement that claims that there are different leadership styles that work well when properly balanced.
  • Topic sentence that introduces the first style to be discussed, democratic leadership, and states its essence;
  • Supporting evidence: it provides freedom;
  • Supporting evidence: It encourages learning and creativity;
  • Supporting evidence: it ensures loyalty;
  • Concluding sentence: The democratic leadership style benefits the working process. 
  • Topic sentence that introduces the delegative leadership and provides its definition;
  • Supporting evidence: It empowers employees;
  • Supporting evidence: It allows relying on a team;
  • Supporting evidence: It enhances team building;
  • Concluding sentence: The delegative leadership style involves employees' autonomy.
  • Topic sentence that introduces the authoritarian leadership and explains it;
  • Supporting evidence: It can be applied in combination with other styles;
  • Supporting evidence: It has certain limits;
  • Supporting evidence: It requires the leader to be strict;
  • Concluding sentence: The authoritarian leadership style has its negative sides but can be combined with other leadership styles.
  • Summary of the main points;
  • Restatement of the thesis.

So here are the tips for 'how to start expository essay?'. After your essay plan is ready, you can start writing the actual essay. It should be easy, as you already have a detailed outline. You need to combine the ideas using linking and transition words between paragraphs and sentences. Make sure you address each point of the plan and distribute the information equally among the sections. It will help you to discuss all the issues. Remember to refer to reputable sources to underpin your claims. 

Proofreading

Once you are done with the writing, you need to proofread and edit your essay to correct any flaws you might come across. If the deadline permits, do it several days or at least hours after the initial drafting. Apart from editing grammar, spelling, and punctuation, you need to ensure that the essay has smooth transitions. It would be better if you read the text aloud as though there is an audience. 

As it is academic writing, refrain from using contractions, informal phrasal verbs, slang, and even first-person pronouns. Instead, make sure that the writing style is formal and the tone is neutral and objective. 

If the essay is flawless and effectively conveys your main idea, you can take the final step and submit or publish it. It may seem like the scariest stage of the writing process to some students. However, if you have invested enough time and effort into writing your essay, your teacher or professor will definitely notice it and give you the mark you deserve. Never be afraid of feedback, even if it is negative, because it is an opportunity for you to grow and develop your writing skills.

Expository Essay Example

Here is a great example of an expository essay created by our experienced graduate essay writing service . This essay is a perfect example of how to write an informative and well-organized piece of writing, which is what expository writing is all about.

Long-term Effects of Global Warming

Over the past century, the average temperature on the surface of our planet has increased by 2.12 degrees Fahrenheit. The changes in surface temperature, sea levels, and local climates all over the world are the first red flags that warn us - 'global warming is here!'. But do we really understand all the consequences it may have?

Global warming is a phenomenon that is defined by a gradual rise in temperatures of the planet's surface, water, atmosphere, and land triggered by human, as well as natural, causes. It has been one of the most discussed topics of the past years. And now, the problem seems to be getting close to the point of no return, with a huge number of long-term effects we can observe soon.

Probably the most obvious effect of global warming is a significant change in temperatures and weather conditions across the world. Indeed, as temperatures rise, the weather in separate regions can get more severe. Scientists assure that a warmer climate can lead to the worsening of many kinds of natural disasters such as heatwaves, storms, droughts, and floods. The warmer the climate is, the more water its atmosphere can collect, retain, and drop. Respectively, over some time, if there are no changes, we can expect to observe a rising number of billion-dollar-loss and very deathly disasters.

One of the scariest long-term consequences of global warming is desertification. Simply put, desertification is a form of land degradation that causes land areas that have been relatively dry to become even more droughty. In the process, these areas typically lose wildlife, vegetation, and bodies of water. The biggest problem here is that this land degradation can significantly reduce the amount of land available for cultivation. Hence, the fewer arable lands will be left, the less food we will be able to grow. As a result, desertification can turn into a real disaster in the form of global hunger. And it's only one adverse long-term impact we can get.

Another adverse effect is the consequent growth of the sea level across the globe. In fact, this is one of the effects of global warming that we can already observe. The process started in the middle of the 19th century and is still gaining pace. During the 20th century alone, the global sea level rose by 17 cm, with another 3.2-3.4 mm added annually. The damage it can do is massive. Unless we do something about it, it will only get worse with time. In the long-term perspective, dozens of cities and countries can end up underwater, causing irreparable damage to flora and fauna, mass migration, and, as a result, many political and economic issues.

Knowing all these terrifying long-term consequences of global warming, there is only one question left to answer - 'Is there anything we can do about it?'. Luckily, we can still reverse these changes. The core trigger for global warming is a boost of gas emissions into the atmosphere. Hence, one of the first things scientists and environmental activists encourage us to do is to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. This can be possible if we stop burning gasoline and switch to e-vehicles. Another solution is recycling. Recycling can help us minimize waste and, thus, reduce pollution.

In conclusion, I'd like to say that humanity has already done everything possible to destroy the planet we live on. If we don't reduce the harm we do, there might not be a future for our children. Thus, if we want to survive, we must start making a change now, together!

As you can see, writing an expository essay is rather straightforward when you are well-prepared. You should know the purpose of your work and choose the right essay type. When you are sure about the expository topics, you can research them and express creativity when selecting appropriate evidence for your claims. Additionally, when you have a solid plan in place and follow the instructions diligently, you can confidently write expository essays that are bound to earn you a good grade.

However, the writing process can be intimidating, even if you know it all. In addition, stress and tight deadlines can prevent you from getting the desired result. It is when an essay writer service can help you with any essay topics for college paper assignments!

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Expository Essay

Expository Essay Examples

Caleb S.

Free Expository Essay Examples For Students

Published on: Aug 14, 2018

Last updated on: Jan 16, 2024

expository essay examples

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Are you a student struggling to understand the intricacies of expository essay writing? 

Do you find yourself in need of clear guidance and practical examples to master this essential skill? Look no further! 

In this guide, we'll look into 10+ expository essay examples, providing you with the knowledge you need to start writing. From understanding the fundamentals to dissecting real examples, we've got you covered. 

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What is Expository Essay Writing?

An expository essay is a form of academic writing that aims to inform, explain, or describe a particular topic to the reader. 

The primary purpose of an expository essay is to provide a clear presentation of facts, ideas, or concepts, often without the writer's personal bias or opinion. The expository essay is a genre of essay that is similar to a descriptive essay .

There are several types of expository writing , including:

  • Definition essay
  • Classification essay
  • Process analysis essay
  • Cause and effect essay
  • Problem solution essay  
  • Compare and contrast essay  

Newspaper articles, journals, and essays that define and explain a particular topic demonstrate expository essay writing.

Read the examples and learn to write a good expository essay for your school or college assignment.

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Expository Essay Examples 

While writing an expository essay, you might face difficulties in formatting and logically connecting your information. Below we have presented some amazing examples to help you understand how to write and organize an expository essay.

Expository Essay Outline Examples

Whenever you write an expository essay, the first thing you should do is craft an outline. The expository essay outline gives shape to your essay and keeps you organized. 

Here are some good expository essay outline examples that you can follow to outline your essay.

Expository Essay Outline Example

Expository Essay Outline Template Sample

Expository Essay Format Example

While writing an essay, you need to follow a proper format to present your information in a logical sequence. 

The typical 5 paragraph essay consists of 1 introduction, 3 body, and 1 conclusion paragraph. 

Below we have given expository essay format examples in both APA and MLA format to help you understand the formatting. Check out: 

Expository Essay Examples APA Format

Expository Essay Examples MLA Format

Short Expository Essay Examples

As we have discussed above, expository essay writing requires you to describe and explain a particular subject in detail. Achieving this level of detail can be quite challenging when working with a limited word count. 

To illustrate how to effectively convey information within limited words, we have provided a short expository essay example.

Short Expository Essay Example

Expository Essay Examples for Middle School

Here are some informative expository essay examples for middle school students to help you grasp the basics of expository essay writing.

Expository Essay Example For Middle School

Expository Essay Example Grade 7

Expository Essay Examples 5th Grade

Expository Essay Examples 4th Grade

Expository Essay Examples for High School

Here are some helpful expository essay examples PDFs for high school students. Check out:

Expository Essay Examples For High School

Expository Essay Examples for College

Looking for a college-level expository essay example? Check out the pdf below:

Expository Essay Examples For College

Expository Essay Examples for University 

Here are some good sample expository essay pdf examples for university students. 

Expository Essay Example About Life

Expository Essay Examples About Covid 19

Informative Expository Essay Example

How to Write an Expository Essay - Example

While writing an expository essay, you need to follow a proper structure. So that you can easily present your information and evidence in a logical sequence.

Here is a step-by-step process of how to write an expository essay:

Step 1. Choose an Appropriate Topic

  • Brainstorm different ideas to select a compelling expository essay topic. Check out our expository essay topics blog for inspiring ideas.
  • Ensure it has the potential to turn into an informative essay by being able to explain and inform effectively.

Step 2. Craft an Engaging Introduction

  • Begin with a captivating hook statement to grab the reader's attention.
  • Provide a brief background on the chosen topic to clarify its relevance.
  • Formulate an informative thesis statement that encapsulates the core idea of your essay.

Step 3. Develop the Body Paragraphs

  • Start each body paragraph with a clear topic sentence , representing the main idea of that particular paragraph.
  • Support the topic sentence with credible evidence, facts, or examples that bolster your thesis statement.
  • Ensure a smooth transition between paragraphs for a logical flow of ideas.

Step 4. Conclude Effectively

  • Start the essay conclusion paragraph by reasserting your thesis statement.
  • Summarize the key points and main arguments presented in the essay.
  • Encourage the reader with a call to action, prompting them to contemplate or engage further with the topic.

Step 5. Proofread and Edit 

  • Proofread your essay for grammatical and spelling mistakes and check if the information is presented in a proper sequence. 
  • Write multiple drafts and edit as needed to ensure your essay is free of errors.

Tough Essay Due? Hire Tough Writers!

In conclusion, these expository essay examples offer a valuable resource for students. They serve as effective learning tools, providing insight into the art of expository writing. By studying these examples, students can improve their writing skills, and gain a deeper understanding of essay structure.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are 3 examples of expository.

The three main examples of expository are; 

  • Scientific reports 
  • Magazine articles 
  • Academic essays 

What are the 4 characteristics of expository text?

The main characteristics of expository text are; 

  • Informative 
  • Clarity 
  • Unbiased 
  • Impersonal 
  • Organization of the text 

What is the first important step in writing an expository essay?

To write an expository essay, you must first decide how to structure your work. An expository essay generally contains an introduction, followed by three body paragraphs and a conclusion. 

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Literacy Ideas

How to Write Excellent Expository Essays

Expository Essay Writing Guide for Students and Teachers

In this guide, we will take you through a complete understanding of an expository essay is how to structure an expository essay so you can write one like a pro. You can then explore some expository essay writing examples and writing prompts. Let’s get started.

WHAT IS EXPOSITORY ESSAY WRITING?

expository essays | what is an expository essay | How to Write Excellent Expository Essays | literacyideas.com

A significant clue lies in the word itself. Expository writing ‘exposes’ something to the reader.

Though the term is sometimes used to include persuasive writing , a proper expository text does not allow the writer’s personal opinion to intrude into the text.

An expository text aims to explain, inform, or describe a topic logically and straightforwardly.

types of expository essay

There are many different types of expository texts (e.g. encyclopaedias, travel guides, information reports , etc.), but there are also various expository essays.

The most common types of these expository essays are:

  • Process Essays
  • Cause and Effect Essays
  • Problem and Solution Essays
  • Compare and Contrast Essays
  • Definition Essays
  • Classification Essays

Let’s take a quick look at each of these in turn. In the following section, you’ll find a brief description of each expository essay type. Some notable features have been listed, and a suggested expository essay title has been provided for each.

And remember, if you are looking for expository essay topics, check out our essay writing prompts page here .

THE PROCESS ESSAY

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This how-to essay often takes the form of a set of instructions. Also known as a procedural text , the process essay has some very specific features that aim to guide the reader on how to do or make something.

If you want to learn more about this type of writing, check out our information-packed article here .

Features of a process essay

Some of the main features of the process essay include:

  • ‘How to’ title
  • Numbered or bullet points
  • Time connectives
  • Imperatives (bossy words)
  • List of resources

Suggested Title: How to Create Your Own Website

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  • 270  pages of the most effective teaching strategies
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  • 75   editable resources  for student   differentiation  
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  • All explanations are reinforced with  concrete examples.
  • Links to  high-quality video  tutorials
  • Clear objectives  easy to match to the demands of your curriculum

THE CAUSE AND EFFECT ESSAY

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The purpose of a cause-and-effect essay is to explore the causal relationships between things. Essays like this often bring the focus back to a single cause. These essays frequently have a historical focus.

As an expository essay, the text should focus on facts rather than assumptions. However, cause-and-effect essays sometimes explore hypothetical situations too.

There are two main ways to structure a cause-and-effect essay.

The Block Structure presents all the causes first. The writer then focuses on the effects of these causes in the second half of the essay.

The Chain Structure presents each cause and then immediately follows with the effects it created.

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THE PROBLEM AND SOLUTION ESSAY

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In this type of essay, the writer first identifies a problem and then explores the topic from various angles to ultimately propose a solution. It has many similarities with the cause-and-effect essay.

While the problem and solution essay can use the block and chain structures as outlined above – substitute cause with problem and effect with a solution – it will also usually work through the following elements:

  • Identifies a problem
  • Contains a clear thesis statement
  • Each paragraph has a topic sentence
  • Supports with facts, examples, evidence
  • The conclusion summarizes the main points

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THE COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY

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In this type of essay, students evaluate the similarities and differences between two or more things, ideas, people, etc. Usually, the subjects will belong to the same category.

The compare-and-contrast expository essay can be organized in several different ways. Three of these are outlined below.

In the three structures outlined, it is assumed that two subjects are being compared and contrasted. Of course, the precise number of paragraphs required in the text will depend on the number of points the student wishes to make and the number of subjects being compared and contrasted.

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DEFINITION ESSAYS

expository essays | expository essay types2 | How to Write Excellent Expository Essays | literacyideas.com

This type of essay provides a detailed description and definition of a word or phrase. This can be a concrete term such as car or glass or a more abstract concept such as love or fear .

A definition essay comprehensively explains a term’s purpose and meaning. It will frequently contain some or all of the following elements:

  • A definition of the term
  • An analysis of its meaning
  • The etymology of the term
  • A comparison to related terms
  • Examples to illustrate the meaning
  • A summary of the main points

Suggested Title: What Is Beauty?

CLASSIFICATION ESSAYS

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Similar to a definition essay, a classification essay sorts or organizes things into various groups or categories. This type of essay then explains each group or category in detail.

Classification essays focus on:

  • Sorting things into functional categories
  • Ensuring each category follows a common organizing principle
  • Provides examples that illustrate each category.

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TYPES OF EXPOSITORY ESSAYS SORTING ACTIVITY

expository essays | 0CBF7E7A 158F 4A48 A836 5A0994DAFF82 2 | How to Write Excellent Expository Essays | literacyideas.com

To help students gain some experience identifying the features of the different expository essay types, gather together a selection of different essays and challenge students to work together in groups to classify each essay according to the criteria above.

EXPOSITORY ESSAY STRUCTURE

TEXT ORGANIZATION Organize your thoughts before writing.

CLARITY Use clear and concise wording. There is no room for banter.

THESIS STATEMENT State position in direct terms.

TOPIC SENTENCE Open each paragraph with a topic sentence.

SUPPORTING DETAIL Support the topic sentence with further explanation and evidence.

LINK End each body paragraph by linking to the next.

EXPOSITORY ESSAY TYPES

PROCESS Tell your audience how to achieve something, such as how to bake a cake.

CAUSE & EFFECT Explore relationships between subjects, such as climate change and its impact.

PROBLEM & SOLUTION Explain how to solve a problem, such as improve physical fitness.

COMPARE & CONTRAST Compare and contrast two or more items, such as life in China life vs life in the United States or Australia.

DEFINITION Provides a detailed definition of a word or phrase such as self-confidence.

CLASSIFICATION Organizes things into categories or groups such as types of music.

THE BASIC STRUCTURE OF AN EXPOSITORY ESSAY

While there are many types of expository essays, the basic underlying structure is the same. The Hamburger or 5-Paragraph Essay structure is an excellent scaffold for students to build their articles. To learn more about this essay format, check out our detailed article here .

But let’s take a quick look at the expository essay outline.

INTRODUCTION:

This is the top bun of the burger, and here the student introduces the topic of the exposition. This will usually consist of a general statement on the subject, providing an overview of the essay. It may also preview each significant section, indicating what aspects of the subject will be covered in the text. These sections will likely relate to the headings and subheadings identified at the planning stage.

If the introduction is the top bun of the burger, then each body paragraph is a beef patty. Self-contained in some regards, each patty forms an integral part of the whole.

EXPOSITORY PARAGRAPHS

Each of the body paragraphs deals with one idea or piece of information. For more complex topics, these may be grouped under a common heading, and the number of paragraphs will depend on the complexity of the topic. For example, an expository text on wolves may include a series of paragraphs under headings such as habitat, breeding habits, what they eat, etc.

Each paragraph should open with a topic sentence indicating to the reader what the paragraph is about. The following sentences should further illuminate this main idea through discussion and/or explanation. Encourage students to use evidence and examples here, whether statistical or anecdotal. Remind students to keep things factual – this is not an editorial piece for a newspaper!

EXPOSITORY PARAGRAPH EXAMPLE

“I hate mosquitoes because they annoy me while I am outside. For example, whenever we have barbeques, they want to swarm all around the food. Also, when I go fishing with my Dad, we always have to wear bug spray. The bug spray always stinks to high heaven! Then, if you do not want to use bug spray, the only other way to get them to leave you alone is to wear long sleeves. Yet, who wants to wear long sleeves when it is hot outside? Nothing ruins your day like bloodsucking mosquitoes” – This paragraph uses a first-person perspective to identify a problem. (mosquitoes.)

EXPOSITORY CONCLUSION:

Generally, the conclusion of any essay should neatly close the circle by summarizing the information through restating the main ideas in a unique way. This bottom bun of the hamburger essay is no different. Remind students that a proper expository essay is objective in nature and to beware of injecting their opinion or bias into the piece. The purpose here is to inform rather than persuade.

FEATURES OF EXPOSITORY WRITING

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Expository writing is usually not the place for flowery flourishes of figurative imagery! Students should be encouraged to select a straightforward language that is easy for the reader to understand. After all, the aim here is to inform and explain, and this is best achieved with explicit language.

As we’ve seen, there are several variations of the expository essay, but the following are the most common features that students must include.

The title should be functional. It should instantly inform the reader what they will learn about in the text. This is not the place for opaque poetry!

A table of contents in long essays will help the reader locate helpful information quickly. Usually, the page numbers found here will be linked to headings and subheadings to be found in the text.

HEADINGS / SUBHEADINGS:

These assist the reader in finding information by summarizing the content in their wording.

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Usually listed in alphabetical order, the glossary defines unusual or topic-specific vocabulary and is sometimes accompanied by pictures, illustrations etc.

The index allows the reader to identify where to find specific information in longer texts. An index is much more detailed than a table of contents.

VISUAL FORMS OF INFORMATION

Expository essays sometimes support the text with visuals, such as:

  • Pictures / Illustrations / Photographs:

These can be used to present a central idea or concept within the text and are often accompanied by a caption explaining what the image shows. Photographs can offer a broad overview or a close-up of essential details.

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Diagrams are a great way to convey complex information quickly. They should be labelled clearly to ensure the reader knows what they are looking at.

  • Charts and Graphs:

These are extremely useful for showing data and statistics in an easy-to-read manner. They should be labelled clearly and correspond to the information in the nearby text.

Maps may be used to explain where something is, or was, located. 

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Teaching Resources

Use our resources and tools to improve your student’s writing skills through proven teaching strategies.

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EXPOSITORY ESSAY EXAMPLE

One of the best ways to understand the different features of expository essays is to see them in action. The sample essay below is a definition essay, but it shares many of its features with other expository essays.

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EXPOSITORY WRITING PROMPTS

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FINAL THOUGHTS

Your students will need a good understanding of the basic features of expository writing and a firm grasp of the hamburger essay structure itself. As with any writing genre , the prewriting stages are essential too. This is particularly true for expository writing. 

As this genre of writing is designed primarily to inform the reader, sound research and note-taking are essential for your students to produce a well-written text. Expository writing offers excellent opportunities for students to develop these critical skills, skills that will be very useful to them as they continue in their education. 

Likewise, the redrafting and editing of their texts are very important. Facts and statistics should be checked and rechecked, and the language is edited tightly to ensure that language is clear and concise throughout. 

The ability to produce a well-written expository essay is a highly beneficial skill for a student to possess as they move through life. It encourages good organizational skills and enriches students’ understanding of the world around them. 

And, while we grade their efforts, we might even learn a thing or two ourselves!

ESSAY WRITING CHECKLIST & RUBRIC BUNDLE

writing checklists

EXPOSITORY ESSAY TUTORIAL VIDEO

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The content for this page has been written by Shane Mac Donnchaidh.  A former principal of an international school and English university lecturer with 15 years of teaching and administration experience. Shane’s latest Book, The Complete Guide to Nonfiction Writing , can be found here.  Editing and support for this article have been provided by the literacyideas team.

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VIDEO

  1. Essay 18: THE EXPOSITORY ESSAY

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Write an Expository Essay

    "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.

  2. Expository Essay Guide With Definition & Examples

    Write with Grammarly 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.

  3. How to Write an Expository Essay: Topics, Outline, Examples

    12 min read Share the article Table of Contents 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.

  4. PDF Writing an Expository Essay

    The introduction consists of three main elements: a hook, building sentences, and a thesis statement. 1. Hook The fi rst sentence (or sentences) of an essay should catch the reader's attention. It introduces the topic of the essay in an interesting way. 2. Building sentences After the hook, the following sentences should provide background

  5. Expository Writing: Definition and Examples

    Write with Grammarly What is expository writing? Expository writing is writing that aims to inform its reader. As we mentioned above, this includes all types of factual writing, like textbooks, news stories, technical guides, and pieces of business writing.

  6. Expository Essays

    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.

  7. Expository Writing: Definition and Examples

    Table of Contents What Is Expository Writing? What Is an Expository Paragraph? Expository Writing Examples How ProWritingAid Can Help You With Expository Composition One of the most common types of writing is expository writing.

  8. How to Write an Expository Essay in 5 Steps

    Written by MasterClass Last updated: Jun 7, 2021 • 3 min read Learning how to write a good expository essay is an academic writing skill that lays the foundation for the type of expository writing that's necessary for numerous professions.

  9. How To Write an Excellent Expository Essay: Expert Tips and Examples

    1. Understand Exposition and What Makes It Special Okay, there's admittedly a little more to an expository essay than just explaining. The operative word in expository essay is exposition, which, yes, does refer to explanation, but it's a more comprehensive and critical explanation about a specific idea, theory, or topic.

  10. How to Write an Expository Essay: Types, Tips, and Topics

    The body of your essay can be anywhere from 2-3 paragraphs to several paragraphs long. As you compose your outline, write down the different headings for your paragraphs so you can see exactly how each one transitions into the next. 4. Write your first draft. Start with an introduction, where you include your thesis statement.

  11. How to Write an Expository Essay: Writing Tips & Structure

    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.

  12. Expository Writing: The Guide to Writing an Expository Essay

    The word expository means "intended to explain or describe something." An expository essay requires you to investigate an idea, gather supporting evidence, and present your point of view on a topic. You may be wondering how this differs from a persuasive essay.

  13. How To Write 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.

  14. How to Write an Expository Essay

    The introduction of an expository essay will typically include three key features: a hook or topic sentence, exposition, and a thesis statement. The hook is the first one or two sentences of an essay. In an expository essay, the hook serves to clearly present the topic of the essay.

  15. How to Write an Expository Essay: Outline, & Example

    ️ Example ️ FAQ 🔗 References 🔖 Types of Expository Writing Whenever an essay or article explains complicated details or simplifies a bulk of hard-to-understand information, this type of writing is called expository. Imagine you are talking to a curious child who keeps asking you "how" and "why" things are such or another.

  16. What Is Expository Writing?

    In composition studies, expository writing (also called exposition) is one of the four traditional modes of discourse. It may include elements of narration , description, and argumentation.

  17. How to Write An Expository Essay: Prompts, Topics, Example

    The block and chain structure of expository essay are the two most common types. The block method implies discussing one subject at first, then moving on to another topic in a separate paragraph. For example, such a structure of a problem and solution essay may be illustrated in the following way: Problem 1. Problem 2.

  18. Expository Writing

    An expository sentence is a single sentence intended to inform the reader of something. An example would be: There was a three car accident on Miller Rd. this morning that caused the number 5...

  19. How To Use "Expository" In A Sentence: Usage and Examples

    So, how can one use "expository" in a sentence? It's quite simple. When describing a piece of writing or a specific passage, you can use "expository" as an adjective to highlight the informative and explanatory nature of the content. For example, "The article provided an expository analysis of the economic crisis."

  20. Expository Essay Examples For All Academic Levels

    1. What is Expository Essay Writing? 2. Expository Essay Examples 3. How to Write an Expository Essay - Example What is Expository Essay Writing? An expository essay is a form of academic writing that aims to inform, explain, or describe a particular topic to the reader.

  21. How to write Excellent Expository Essays

    A significant clue lies in the word itself. Expository writing 'exposes' something to the reader. Though the term is sometimes used to include persuasive writing, a proper expository text does not allow the writer's personal opinion to intrude into the text.. An expository text aims to explain, inform, or describe a topic logically and straightforwardly.

  22. Expository Essays

    Get started What is an expository essay? An expository essay is an unbiased, factual piece of writing that provides an in-depth explanation of a topic or set of ideas. It aims to explain a topic from all angles and takes no decisive stance on it.

  23. Examples of "Expository" in a Sentence

    Sentences Home Sentence Expository Expository Sentence Examples expository Meanings Synonyms Sentences His works, mainly expository and polemical, have not been collected. 213 99 See further Expository Times, ix. 124 73 Love letters are long expository moments in a conversation. 16 8 I have been preaching expository sermons for 32 years. 13 7