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

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

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

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

Table of contents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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Expository Essays

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

What is an expository essay?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Body paragraphs that include evidential support.

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

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

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

  • A bit of creativity!

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

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

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

A complete argument

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

The five-paragraph Essay

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

  • an introductory paragraph
  • three evidentiary body paragraphs
  • a conclusion
  • How it works

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How to Write an Expository Essay

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

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

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

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

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

Definition of Expository Essay

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

When to Write an Expository Essay

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

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

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

Writing an Expository Essay

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

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

How to Structure an Expository Essay

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

The Five-Paragraph Essay Writing Approach

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

Rationale and Thesis Statement

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

The Framework

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

Expository Essay Introduction

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

Looking back at history, the conquest of Constantinople marked the beginning of the new Islamic age led by the Ottoman Empire. Mehmed the Conqueror defeated a weakened Byzantine Empire in the battle of Constantinople in a siege that lasted for almost two months. The conquest allowed the Ottomans to encompass most of Southern Europe to the gates of Vienna over the next century.

Expository Essay Main Body

The main body should have a minimum of three paragraphs, each consisting of a topic sentence , an explanation of one general idea , and a concluding sentence.

Each body paragraph should share a logical relationship with the introduction paragraph’s thesis statement to create ease of readability and understanding for the readers.

Main body paragraphs allow the writer to provide an in-depth explanation of the topic. The main body should include a minimum of three paragraphs, although you can add more paragraphs for more extended essays.

There should be clear and logical transitions between the main body paragraphs. Transitions are the cement that holds your essay together. If your essay doesn’t progress logically, the readers will find it hard to grasp the argument you have presented.

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The table turned in favour of the Ottoman Empire after Sultan Mehmed took over the throne from his father Murad II. Sultan Mehmed II (ruled 1451-81) was a young, just, strong-minded, religious, and fearless leader. Immediately after assuming power as the new sultan, he decided to take advantage of the Byzantine Empire’s weaknesses and ordered the Rumeli Fortress’s construction, which was completed in under four months. The Rumeli Fortress provided a base to the Ottomans to conduct the siege and conquest of Constantinople. The transformation of that city into the Ottoman capital of Istanbul marked an important new stage in Ottoman history.

Expository Essay Conclusion

The conclusion paragraph consists of a “summary sentence,” which provides a broad summary of your research on the topic, one or more overview sentences that must be connected to the key theme of the essay, and a key takeaway emphasizing the importance of the research work completed. The “key takeaway” sentence summarises the key point that you want the readers to take away from your essay.

Avoid presenting any new information in the conclusion section. Here, you must only reinforce the points made in the earlier sections.

The legacy of the Ottoman Empire can be linked back to the conquest of Constantinople led by Mehmed II. The victory over the weakened Byzantine Empire allowed the Ottomans to establish strong military and political influence across Southern Europe to the gates of Vienna. After taking over the throne from his father in 1451, Mehmed II did not wait for too long before marching his army to the walls of the Byzantine capital. In that siege, which lasted for almost two months, Mehmed II and his army brought the Byzantine defence to its knees. The event marked the beginning of the expansion of the Ottoman Empire.

Purpose of an Expository Essay

Expository essays explain an idea or a set of ideas, a topic, or a process. An expository essay does not require you to provide your personal opinion about the subject matter. You need to explain the subject matter in a clear and concise manner through research and argumentation.

This expository essay writing guide provides a complete method for writing an excellent essay, further, you can seek professional essay help or writer’s assistance to make sure 100 success in your essay.

Expository Essay Checklist

Frequently asked questions, will i need the skill of expository writing after i finish my studies.

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

How does an expository essay differ from an argumentative essay?

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

What is the purpose of expository essays?

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

How long is an expository essay?

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

Are there different types of expository essay?

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

The six types are:

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

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

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In an argumentative essay, the author takes a clear stand on the topic and justify their position with the help of supporting evidence material.

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Expository Essay Writing

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Writing an expository essay can be a daunting task, leaving many students feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about where to begin. The lack of clear guidance and structured resources often leads to frustration and subpar results.

However, fear not! 

We understand the struggles you face when attempting to craft a compelling and informative expository essay. 

In this comprehensive guide, we will break down the entire process of writing an expository essay into manageable steps.

By following these tips and examples, you'll gain the confidence and skills needed to excel in your expository writing endeavors.

So let’s get started!

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What is an Expository Essay?

An expository essay can be defined as an essay that investigates and evaluates an idea or an event. This essay type requires a student to form an argument related to the concept and prove it using different techniques.

An expository essay is often assigned to high school students. They are used to explain a topic logically by presenting a balanced analysis using facts.

What is the Purpose of an Expository Essay?

When writing an expository essay, you should use facts and logic rather than subjective truths and personal opinions. 

The main purpose of writing the expository is to:

  • Educate and inform the reader
  • Define the concept in detail
  • Examine one or more arguments
  • Investigate the topic in detail

You can also check out this video guide for expository essay writing!

Types of an Expository Essay

Knowing the different types of expository essays can help you choose a topic as well as plan your essay structure. 

The following are the common types of expository essay:

  • Definition Essay - A definition essay defines a topic to give a more precise image to the readers. 
  • Process Essay - A process essay is defined as a type of essay explaining and discussing the making of something. 
  • Problem and Solution Essay - A problem and solution essay discusses a problem in detail by providing solutions.
  • Cause and Effect Essay - The cause and effect essay analyzes all the causes and effects of an action or an event. 
  • Compare and Contrast Essay - The compare and contrast essay highlights all the similarities and differences between the subjects.
  • Classification Essay - The classification essay thoroughly examines the topic by splitting it into different categories. 

Expository Essay Structure 

The five-paragraph essay is a common structure for expository writing. This means there will be an introduction, followed by three body paragraphs and a conclusion. 

Here is the expository essay structure that you can use for your help.

Expository Essay Format

Just like other formal pieces of writing, an expository essay also requires a proper format. However, there is no set of rules to format your essay, but there are general elements that your essay should have.

Below-given is an example of how you should format your expository essay correctly.

Sample Expository Essay Format

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Expository Essay Outline

Many people think making an outline isn't worth the time. However, it'll save more precious minutes in research and typing up materials later on.

The outline is a great way to break down each paragraph of your expository essay into different sections. It also helps you visualize how all the information will come together and make sense as well!

Now let's go over each section in more detail:

Expository Essay Introduction

The introduction of an essay is the first thing somebody reads. It's your chance to impress and explain what you're going to cover in more detail. Thus, it must be clear and engaging. 

The essay introduction is written to let the audience know what the essay is about. In this paragraph of the essay, the writer presents the following information:

  • Hook statement - An opening sentence of the introduction paragraph drafted to grab the reader’s attention.
  • Building sentences - Present the background information after the hook statement to give context to the topic to the readers. 
  • Thesis Statement - The last part of the introduction is the thesis statement . It is the main argument of the writer on the topic.

Expository Essay Body Paragraphs 

After the introduction, the body paragraphs of the expository essay serve as the foundation.   Here, we will explore the importance of topic sentences and thesis statements.

This section is based on the following elements:

  • Topic Sentence - It is the first sentence of a body paragraph that expresses the idea provided in that particular paragraph.
  • Supporting Sentences - They support the topic sentence and the thesis statement using examples, explanations, evidence, and logic. 
  • Concluding Sentence - It concludes a paragraph and links the next paragraph with the previous one.

Expository Essay Conclusion 

All the essay’s body paragraphs lead to the conclusion section, where the writer sums up his discussion. Include the following things in the expository essay conclusion :

  • Restated Thesis Statement - The conclusion paragraph is started with a restated thesis statement in different words.
  • Summary of the Main Points - Following the thesis comes a summary of the major points in the content. 
  • Final Verdict - Finally, the essay is concluded by providing some final thoughts on the topic. 

You can also check out this blog on expository essay outline to thoroughly understand how to create one!

How to Write an Expository Essay? 5 Easy Steps

Students often find it hard to write an expository essay. It requires a firm knowledge of the topic and a good analysis.

The following are the steps that you should follow to write an impressive expository essay.

1. Choose an Engaging Topic

The first step is to decide on an expository essay topic. This step might sound easier, but it can be challenging for the students. Thus, your essay topic should fulfill all the basic requirements.

Keep the following things in mind while selecting a good topic for your essay.

  • The topic should be interesting for the audience as well as for yourself.
  • It should be informative enough.
  • It should be broad as well to be explained in detail.

If you have not assigned a topic for the essay, you can be creative and choose a topic you like.

2. Gather Information

The purpose of drafting an expository essay is to inform the audience about the topic in-depth. For this reason, the essay content should be informative and well-written.

Note the points you know about the topic to start the research. Conduct comprehensive research by going through multiple sources of information. Analyze every aspect and investigate the topic from every angle.

3. Create an Expository Essay Outline

The gathered information needs to be arranged in proper order to give your content logic. For this purpose, an outline is created to divide the essay’s content into different sections.

According to the traditional outline, there are three parts into which your essay is divided:

  • Introduction

4. Start Writing

The actual writing is the easiest part of any essay. Just put your thoughts down on paper that you need to add. This is a great way to get started with writing. You can use the outline that you have created before your writing step. 

5. Revise Your Essa y

After completing the essay, the next essential step is to revise what you have written. Without proofreading the content, you will probably submit unstructured and imperfect content. It can affect your grades.

Thus, proofread your essay a couple of times and do the editing. Ensure that the essay should be free from punctuation, grammar, and vocabulary mistakes.

Expository Essay Examples

It is always suggested by professionals to first go through examples when writing something important. If you are confused about the assignment, search for already existing samples related to your topic. With this, you will understand how professionals have approached the essay writing process.

Below are some useful examples of expository essays to help you understand the expository essay structure.

Expository Essay Outline Template

Sample Expository Essay

Expository Essay Rubric

Expository Essay Example for High School

Expository Essay on Importance of Planting Trees

Expository Essay on the Importance of Sports

Expository Essay on Acquiring a New Skill

Good Sample Expository Essay PDF

Explore more expository essay examples to learn how to craft an engaging essay!

Expository Essay Topics

Finding a good topic for an expository essay is important because it will help in your research and writing phase. When you choose the essay topic, make sure you follow these tips. 

  • Pick something you are passionate about; it will make your entire process enjoyable.  
  • The topic you choose should not be too broad or narrow. Broad topics are easier to write about, but they don’t allow you to do in-depth research. 
  • Choose a topic that is too specific. 
  • Always select a topic that you have enough information about.    
  • Brainstorm several ideas and then pick the best one. 

Expository Essay Topics About Education 

  • Explain the consequences of not getting a degree in professional life.
  • Describe what you would like to change about your school and why? 
  • What is the history of your college?
  • Why is tuition so high in the US?
  • The Impact of culture on education
  • Dealing with the college bully
  • Ways to avoid becoming a study’s slave.
  • Criticism of the British education system
  • What are the most effective ways of studying?
  • Benefits of online education 

Expository Essay Topics About Mental Health

  • How does physical activity affect mental health?
  • Explain why the majority of teenagers are in depression?
  • Describe some material things that make people happy.
  • Describe the damages of consuming drugs to mental health.
  • Difference between anxiety disorders
  • What causes anorexia?
  • Society’s stigma towards mental illness
  • Mental health counseling
  • What is a mental health crisis? 
  • Effective mental health 

Expository Essay Topics About Society 

  • Explain why strict parents raise disturbing children?
  • Explain how music influences a student’s life?
  • Explain who a true leader is?
  • Explain the reasons behind the rise in the suicide rate in America?
  • Describe the effects of marijuana.
  • Describe the importance of physical activities in college
  • Describe what interests you to be in your choice of field?
  • Describe photosynthesis.
  • Explain why people should live in a house and not in an apartment? 
  • Describe some productive activities that students can do in their leisure time. 

Expository Essay Topics About Politics 

  • Democracy: pros and cons.
  • Discuss the role that politics play in the country
  • The importance of international relations 
  • Is our national security really secure?
  • Philosophy of politics
  • Election tampering
  • What are the traits of a leader?
  • The role of women in politics
  • Define the term ‘politics’? 

If you want to explore more expository essay topics , check out our blog!

Expository Essay Writing Tips

Students always require extra support and assistance when it comes to essay writing. Follow the tips below to write your expository essay easily.

  • Choose an interesting topic to make your essay attractive to the readers.
  • Choose clear and concise wording for the text.
  • Avoid using vague and lengthy terms and descriptions.
  • Always draft your expository essay from the third-person perspective if not asked otherwise.
  • Write a strong thesis statement and argument to make the essay powerful.
  • Each body paragraph should present a single idea. Avoid stating multiple ideas and concepts in one paragraph.
  • Arguments should be provided in proper order. Use a pyramid approach to arrange the order of the arguments.
  • Use transition words to connect and link ideas and paragraphs.
  • Always cite your sources in the content to avoid plagiarism.
  • Draft a compelling conclusion to leave your audience with something to remember.

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CollegeEssay.org is a writing company that provides quality essay writing assistance for all subjects and levels. Whether you are to draft a simple essay for grade 9 or a complete research paper for college, our expository essay writing service have your back.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the three main parts of an expository essay.

The three main parts of an expository essay are: 

  • Introduction 
  • Body paragraphs 
  • Conclusion 

What are the features of an expository essay?

The main features of an expository essay are: 

  • Informative 
  • Clarity 
  • Unbiased 

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Home / Guides / Writing Guides / Paper Types / How to Write an Expository Essay

How to Write an Expository Essay

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

Guide Overview

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

Tips for Writing a Kick-Butt Essay

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

Focus on the Thesis

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

Listen to the Assignment

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

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

Explain, Don’t Argue

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

Revise and Edit, Revise and Edit

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

Choosing the Right Topic

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

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

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

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

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

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How to Write an Expository Essay: Outline, & Example

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

Our specialists will write a custom essay on any topic for 13.00 10.40/page

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.

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.

Receive a plagiarism-free paper tailored to your instructions.

📑 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.

Just 13.00 10.40/page , and you can get an custom-written academic 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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How to Write an Expository Essay

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Does Expository Writing Have You Confused?

Maybe you find yourself on this page because your instructor asked you to write an expository essay, and you aren't exactly sure what's expected of you—if so, you've certainly found the right place. Expository writing, or exposition, is a type of discourse used to describe, explain, define, inform, or clarify. It literally means "to expose." Exposition can be found in writing or oral discourse, but for the sake of this article, we'll stick with expository writing.

You are likely familiar with expository writing already, even if the name sounds unfamiliar. Common examples include newspaper articles, how-to manuals, and assembly instructions. Expository writing is also the most frequent type of academic writing !

Present the facts, and only the facts

If you are asked to write an expository essay, then you are essentially being asked to present the facts; there is no place for bias or opinion in expository writing. In a way, this makes writing simple—it is a matter of gathering and presenting the facts about a certain topic.

Something important to keep in mind when writing exposition is that you should not assume your readers have any knowledge of the topic; don't gloss over basic or important details, even if you think they're common knowledge.

When writing expository essays, it is best to use third person narration, although second person is acceptable in some instances, such as for instructions—or articles on expository writing.

Characteristics of expository writing

There are a few characteristics of expository writing you should remember when crafting an expository essay. The first is to keep a tight focus on the main topic, avoiding lengthy tangents, wordiness, or unrelated asides that aren’t necessary for understanding your topic.

In the same vein, be sure to pick a topic that is narrow, but not so narrow that you have a hard time writing anything about it (for example, writing about ice cream would be too broad, but writing about ice cream sold at your local grocery store between 5:00 and 5:15 pm last Saturday would be too narrow).

You must also be sure to support your topic, providing plenty of facts, details, examples, and explanations, and you must do so in an organized and logical manner. Details that can support your expository writing include:

  • Comparisons
  • Descriptive details
  • Definitions
  • Charts and graphs

Formatting an expository essay

The typical format for an expository essay in school is the traditional five-paragraph essay. This includes an introduction and a conclusion, with three paragraphs for the body of the paper. Most often, these three paragraphs are limited to one subtopic each.

This is the basic essay format, but expository writing does not need to be limited to five paragraphs. No matter how long your essay is, be sure your introduction includes your thesis statement and that the paper is based on facts rather than opinions. And, as with all good essay writing , make sure to connect your paragraphs with transitions.

Methods for writing an expository essay

There are a few different methods for writing an expository essay. These include:

  • Compare and contrast
  • Cause and effect
  • Problem and solution
  • Extended definition

Generally, you will want to pick one method for each piece of expository writing. However, you may find that you can combine a few methods. The important thing is to stay focused on your topic and stick to the facts.

Now that you have a clearer understanding of expository writing, you're ready to write your essay. One final tip: be sure to give yourself plenty of time for the writing process. After you've completed your first draft, let your paper sit for a few days—this lets you return to it with fresh eyes. If you'd like a second opinion, our essay editors are always available to help.

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expository essay breakdown

expository essay breakdown

Quick and Easy Guide on How to Write an Expository Essay

expository essay breakdown

Understanding What Is an Expository Essay

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

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

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

Expository Essay Topics

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

Expository Essay Topics About Education

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

Expository Essay Topics About Mental Health

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

Expository Essay Topics About Society

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

Expository Essay Topics About Politics

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

How to Write an Expository Essay with an Expository Essay Outline

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

expository essay outline

I. Introduction

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

  • Background information
  • Thesis statement

II. Body Paragraphs

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

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

  • Topic sentence

III. Conclusion

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

  • Restate thesis
  • Closing sentence

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How to Write an Expository Essay

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

Brainstorming Ideas

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

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

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

Fill Up an Outline

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

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

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

Write the First Draft

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

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

Finalize Your Draft

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

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

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

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

Editing and Proofreading

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

Expository Essay Examples

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

Expository Essay Example

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

FAQs on Expository Essay Writing

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

What are the Different Types of Expository Essays?

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

expository essay types

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

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

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

What is the Main Idea in Expository Writing?

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

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

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

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

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What Is an Expository Essay and How to Write It

What is an expository essay and how to write it

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

Table of Contents

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

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

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

expository essay breakdown

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

The main objectives of expository writing are:

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

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

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

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

expository essay breakdown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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?

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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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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

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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

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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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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

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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.

A FULL-YEAR of NONFICTION WRITING RESOURCES .

Expository Essay

Expository Essay Examples

Caleb S.

Free Expository Essay Examples For Students

Published on: Aug 14, 2018

Last updated on: Nov 15, 2023

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. 

Let's get started on this journey!

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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 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.

Need assistance with expository essay writing? Finding a website to write my essay ? MyPerfectWords.com is a legitimate essay writing service that provides top-notch essays at reasonable prices. Our expository essay writing service will craft 100% original and non-plagiarized essays within a short deadline.

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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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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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  • Definition and Examples of Body Paragraphs in Composition
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  • 6 Steps to Writing the Perfect Personal Essay
  • Write an Attention-Grabbing Opening Sentence for an Essay
  • Expository Essay Genre With Suggested Prompts
  • Tips on How to Write an Argumentative Essay
  • How to Write a Narrative Essay or Speech

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expository essay breakdown

What is an Expository Essay? Ultimate Guide

expository-essay

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So, it happens again: a teacher assigns an expository essay to you.

Nothing special, right? After all, who doesn’t know anything about expository writing?

*sarcasm here*

Types of essays are so many, and the differences between them are so tiny, that it’s less than simple for a student to get lost in those writing jungles. That’s why Bid4Papers craft the detailed guides for you to find a way out: persuasive essays , narrative essays , SAT essays – they aren’t that terrible if you follow the right path of writing them.

Today, the time is for how to write an expository essay. Take a cup of coffee or tea, sit back, and learn about what is an expository essay and its aspects.

Table of Contents:

  • Expository essay topics
  • Types of expository essays
  • Expository essay structure
  • The purpose of expository essay
  • Expository essay outline (+ POET method)
  • How to start an expository essay
  • How to end an expository essay
  • Benefits of expository writing
  • Writing tips to follow
  • Additional resources to check

What is an Expository Essay?

When asked to define expository essay, it’s significant to understand the characteristics of this essay type and its difference from argumentative and reflective papers.

Here goes a standard expository essay definition:

So, as you see, the expository definition is not that tricky to remember. The characteristics of your expository essay are as follows:

  • You write it to teach readers about the topic.
  • You describe and explain facts on the topic to inform readers.
  • You provide the exhaustive information on the topic.
  • You write it in the 3rd person, with a formal language, and in a precise, logical manner.

To write an A-worthy expository essay, you’ll need to do deep research to provide readers with insights on the topic. As an author, you can’t take any side or develop any arguments here: your goal is to inform and explain .

Expository Essay Topics

Expository essay topics can come from different spheres. As a rule, teachers assign a definite topic and give further requirements on writing about it; but if not, students are free to choose from topics of their interest.

You can write about education, health, law, movies, science, politics, social media, wars, history, etc. Just make sure you choose something you know about (it’s easier to research) and can explain it to readers.

Think of topics that might attract your audience and meet the requirements of your teacher. Avoid too general topics; narrow your research sphere, be specific, and make your expository essay clear and concise.

Here go some topic ideas for your inspiration. Feel free to choose any of them if they fit your assignment or ask Bid4Papers writers to assist you .

Expository Essay Topics for Beginners

expository essay breakdown

Intermediate

Expository Essay Topics for Intermediates

Types of Expository Essays

Yes, it’s about types of essays within an expository essay. They are five:

  • Definition (descriptive) essays : they give information by explaining the meaning of a word or a concept. Here you tell readers about places, situations, or experience concerning the concept.
  • Classification essays: they break down a broad topic into categories. Here you start an writing expository essays with the general subject and then define and give examples of each subgroup within it.
  • Cause/effect essays: they explain the cause of something and how things affect each other within the concept. Here you identify the relations between two subjects, focus on what happened between them, and tell about the effect of that interaction.
  • Compare/contrast essays: they describe the similarities and differences between two or more concepts, places, people, etc.
  • Process essays: they explain a step-by-step process of something, its procedure, or how to do it. Your goal here is to give instructions to readers. Sometimes, this type of expository essays is called a problem/solution essay: you describe a problem and then tell readers how to solve it.

So, you can describe, explain, compare, tell about the process, or solve a problem in your essay. But before you choose, make sure you understand what is expository writing and what differs it from persuasive (argumentative) essays.

For many students, these essay types are the same. But it’s not so: while argumentative essays convince readers of your position or point of view, expository essays just tell about the issue and share the facts and evidence about it.

Let’s compare:

The difference between persuasive and expository essays

Expository Essay Structure

Once you’ve decided on the topic and type, it’s time to think of expository essay structure.

As well as all common types of essays, expository ones consist of an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Usually, there are three paragraphs in an essay body, but you are welcome to change this number according to your topic and teacher requirements.

An expository essay structure includes:

  • A clear thesis statement in the first paragraph.
  • Logical transitions between all paragraphs.
  • Factual and logical evidence in body paragraphs.
  • A conclusion that restates a thesis and readdresses it in the list of provided evidence.
  • A pinch of creativity to impress readers.

expository essay breakdown

So, what to write in each part of your expository essay writing:

  • Introduction: start it with a general statement about the topic, but do your best to hook the audience so they would like to continue reading; provide the context for the audience to understand your topic; and state a thesis for the audience to understand what you are going to expose in the essay.
  • Body paragraphs: start with the main idea of the paragraph; include the evidence (facts, statistics, quotes, interviews, etc.) to support the idea; analyze the evidence: explain why you choose this particular information to support your thesis; complete each paragraph with a logical transition to the next one.
  • Conclusion: overview the ideas you discussed in your essay and highlight the progression of your thoughts on it; restate your thesis and leave readers with food for thought.

How to Write an Expository Essay

An expository essay is about research and informing a reader about an issue, a point of view, or a fact. To get the idea on how to write an expository essay, you need to understand its purpose and follow the steps of academic writing.

The Purpose of Expository Essay

What is the purpose of expository essay?

In plain English, an expository essay explains a topic. You are just stating facts, no matter if you write a “how-to” paper or tell about the history of China or the cost of essays for students .

Such essays are not about what you think about a topic. You inform readers, explaining it through investigation and argumentation in a logical manner.

Use the POET method to organize your expository essay like a boss:

expository essay breakdown

Expository Essay Outline

Before you sit and start an expository essay, write its plan. It’s a kinda map that allows you to specify core elements of your essay and make sure you don’t miss any fact or evidence while writing.

Just write a sentence for each element of your essay to save time and ease the writing process. Feel free to use this expository essay outline template from Bid4Papers:

expository essay breakdown

[Download this template]

Fill it in – and you are ready to start writing your expository writing!

How to Start an Expository Essay

It’s the most common question among students. Frankly speaking, it can lead to a writer’s block and procrastination: you sit, staring at a blank page, and can’t find any words to start a sentence. It frustrates. It upsets. And it disappoints: you give up, postpone, and lose interest in writing…

We wrote about how to start a persuasive essay already. As for how to start an expository essay, the elements of introduction will be the same but with the only difference: you won’t argue about anything. Instead, you’ll be objective about the topic.

And now, for the structure of your introductory paragraph . It consists of:

  • An attention-grabbing hook: one sentence.
  • Information about your topic, to give the context to your readers: 2-3 sentences.
  • A thesis statement: one sentence about what you are going to write about.

Expository Essay Introduction: Structure

expository essay breakdown

TIP: Try writing an introduction after you’ve finished the draft of the essay body. Thus you’ll have all the points and evidence fresh in your mind, and you’ll be able to extract the thesis and decide on the best hook to start an expository essay.

How to End an Expository Essay

Together with an introduction, a strong conclusion is critical for expository essays to have. It ties up the entire essay, wrapping up its thesis for readers and leaving them with thoughts on its topic.

source: Giphy

Think about a minimum of three sentences to write in your conclusion. And remember that you shouldn’t simply restate your thesis here: don’t repeat your thesis statement from the introduction but explain how the information from the essay body helped to come up to this conclusion.

Your essay conclusion is the answer to what you discussed in the essay body. Don’t introduce any new points to readers, and end your expository essay on a positive: give the audience something to remember your essay, and leave them with something to think about.

Points to remember when writing an essay conclusion:

  • Stay clear.
  • Conclude the thoughts, not present new ideas.
  • Restate the thesis and explain how your essay exposes it.
  • Be objective, use straightforward language.
  • Make sure it consists of three sentences minimum: sum up (1), answer the questions from your thesis (1-3), give readers the food for thought (1).

Benefits of Expository Writing

That’s all well and good, but…

Why the heck you need to spend time and energy on expository writing?

Nope, it’s not because teachers hate you and want you to get buried in tons of homework. It’s because expository essays help you develop some valuable skills you’ll need in the years since school is over. Below are the benefits you gain:

  • Research and evaluating the information: In the Internet era, when tons of information is online, and it’s hard to understand what’s true or false, this skill is more than crucial to have. Expository essays are about research, so the more you do it, the more skillful you become. You learn to evaluate the information, check if it’s relevant and trustful, and understand what’s fake online.
  • Critical thinking: In expository essays, you often need to evaluate the issue and approach to it from different angles. It develops your critical thinking, a must-have skill for each representative of Gen Z to have today.
  • Ability to express your thoughts briefly and clearly: You need to gather tons of information for your expository essay but stay coherent when describing it. Thus you learn to express yourself and share your thoughts with others.
  • Time management and organizational skills: Expository writing teaches you to organize thoughts and express them logically. It’s all about organizational skills we all need to develop and improve in adult life. Practice makes perfect, so you’ll learn how to manage time and organize your tasks. Not bad, huh?

The Process of Expository Writing

When writing an expository essay, you’ll follow at least four steps: prewriting (brainstorming, research, outlining), drafting (writing an introduction, a body, and a conclusion of your essay), revising (checking all factual and grammar/spelling mistakes), and editing.

Yes, the process seems energy-sapping. But nothing is as bad as it looks.

expository essay breakdown

Here it goes, the process of your expository writing:

Step 1 – Prewriting

This phase is when you brainstorm a topic (if a teacher didn’t assign it beforehand), state a thesis, and do research to outline an expository essay before writing it.

How to choose the best topic for your expository essay?

Think of niches you already know something about. Make a list of topics that might be interesting for you, and you feel you might tell about to readers. Then, narrow it down to one that would be easiest for you to find research.

When choosing, answer these questions:

  • Is it interesting to you?
  • Do you have any previous knowledge about this topic?
  • Is it easy to find credible references for it?
  • Can you explain this topic (issue) to the reader?

Once the topic is ready, it’s time for research. Don’t skip this step, even if you think you know a lot about the topic of your expository essay: you’ll need references anyway; plus, you’ll learn more details and discover new things about your topic to include to your writing.

You need research to find examples for your essay, know what you will write in every paragraph, and state a thesis .

What’s a thesis?

It’s the heart of your essay, and no teacher will grade your paper high if it doesn’t have any thesis statement inside. In short, it’s a sentence in the introduction of your essay that identifies the main idea or a central purpose of your text .

For most students, a thesis is the most challenging part of an essay to write. That’s why so many free essay generators are online now, and that’s why thesis statement generators are so popular. Feel free to try ours :

NB! A thesis is not a mere fact or statement. It’s a claim, an idea, or an interpretation one can dispute. Your job as an essay writer is to give readers something they could think about.

Example: Bad thesis: British indifference caused the American Revolution.

Good thesis: By treating their U.S. colonies as little more than a source of revenue and limiting colonists’ political rights, British indifference contributed to the start of the American Revolution. ( Source )

Write down a thesis statement to the outline, with the researched info and examples. Now you are ready to start drafting.

Step 2 – Drafting

When the thesis and outline are ready, start writing your essay. Drafting each paragraph, refer to the thesis statement so you wouldn’t miss any points. Use transition words in every paragraph to reinforce the message, support facts, and make it easier for readers to follow your train of thoughts.

Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence to introduce what it will be about. Develop the idea and present the evidence in every paragraph

Tips for writing body paragraphs of your expository essay:

  • Provide facts that will help readers get to the point.
  • Avoid biased information, use straightforward language: short and clear words, active verbs, and appropriate adverbs.
  • Choose evidence that would be the most telling example for your thesis.

Step 3 – Revising

This is a phase when you review your draft and reorganize, if necessary, for it to look and sound better.

What to check when revising your expository essay:

Revising Your Expository Essay: Questions to Answer

Step 4 – Editing

The final step of writing an expository essay is its editing. Read it once again to check for grammar and spelling mistakes, improve its style and clarity, and make sure it’s engaging for readers to check.

  • You can ask a friend to read your essay and share advice on its editing.
  • You can read the essay out loud: this trick helps to identify phrases and grammar constructions that sound weird.
  • You can try some online tools to check the grammar and spelling of your expository essay: Hemingway App, Grammarly, After the Deadline, Ginger, and others.
  • You can ask a professional editor to check your essay and give feedback on what to improve there.

And only after you are 100% sure the essay looks great, submit it for a teacher’s review and wait for your A+.

Writing Tips to Follow

For expository essays, you need to investigate a topic inside out and report the facts, regardless of what you think about them. Follow these expository essay tips – and your paper will rock!

  • Think about an eye-catching headline for your essay, but make sure it has something to do with your thesis statement.
  • Research your topic, even if you think you know it well.
  • Use reputable resources for evidence and references: studies, academic journals, educational resources, official figures, etc.
  • Inform, share facts, but avoid writing about what you think about the topic.
  • Use clear and concise language, avoid biased information.
  • Organize facts logically, so it would be easier for readers to follow the information.
  • Write in the 3rd person. If describing a process or an activity, the 2nd person is okay to use too.
  • Avoid vague language, prioritize quality over quantity: introduce top facts and evidence only.
  • Write sentences of different length for better rhythm.
  • Use transition words to move between paragraphs.
  • Write your first draft a few days before the deadline, and wait a day or two before revising and editing it. Thus you’ll have a chance to look at your writing from a fresh perspective.
  • Read your expository essay out loud to notice its weak points or strange grammar constructions to revise.
  • Ask a friend to read your essay and tell if you need to edit something.

And last but not least:

Remember about the difference between argumentative and expository essays. Don’t persuade readers of your opinion. Tell about the topic, share facts and evidence, and let readers be the judge of that.

Expository Essay Examples

Are there any examples of what a great expository essay looks? Samples are many, and you’ll have no difficulty to find them in Google.

But remember:

All those expository essay examples are for assistance purposes only. You can’t take and copy them to use in own papers. After all, you know what happens to students who plagiarize in academia and infringe copyrights, don’t you?

Additional Resources to Check

  • Develop Expository Writing Skills
  • Expository Essay, Step by Step
  • 100 Expository Essay Topic Ideas
  • How to Plan & Write an Expository Essay (Video)
  • Expository Essays: Types, Characteristics & Examples

Our Writing Guides

5 thoughts on “ what is an expository essay ultimate guide ”.

I always had issues with expository essays in uni as well! This was the definitive post on the topic though!

Wow! Thanks for the thoroughness

Failure is due to the neglect of fineness, and success begins with the importance of small things

A comprehensive and useful guide to writing an expository essay. I appreciate what you have posted on the blog.

Doesn’t this essay type look like informative papers? It seems there’s no difference…

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How to Write An Expository Paragraph

This guide will tell you how to write an expository paragraph and build your essay writing skills.

An expository paragraph is used to explain or describe something. These paragraphs are part of expository essay writing, making up expository essays and reports. These paragraphs are the building blocks of informative writing projects. Each expository paragraph opens up a central point supporting the project’s thesis statement.

An expository paragraph explains the topic you are discussing in your writing. The primary goal of the paragraph is to educate or inform the reader. This can show the author’s knowledge or expertise on a specific topic. In research papers, these paragraphs typically explain one point in the paper’s structure. They are the primary body paragraphs of expository essay writing projects.

If you need to write an informative research paper, knowing how to write a good expository paragraph is vital. This guide will help you learn how to build this paragraph to support and substantiate your writing. It pairs nicely with our guide for analyzing a paragraph .

Expository Paragraphs in Comparison to Other Writing Types

Step 1: choose your topic, step 2: write a topic sentence, step 3: write introductory sentences, step 4: write the body sentences, step 5: write the concluding sentences, step 6: use expository paragraphs in different types of writing, step 7: prewrite before writing, step 8: create a rough draft, step 9: look for additional expository essay topics, step 10: write your final paragraph, step 11: proofread the work.

Expository writing is one of the four main types of writing . It stands in contrast to narrative, descriptive and persuasive essay paragraphs.

A narrative essay paragraph seeks to tell a personal story or show personal growth. Second, descriptive essay paragraphs describe an item or event using words that pull in the five senses. Third, persuasive essay paragraphs seek to persuade the reader to accept the writer’s point of view on a controversial topic. Finally, expository paragraphs seek to provide information and facts or argue a point. You might also be interested in our list of paragraph writing topics .

How to Write an Expository Paragraph

An expository paragraph has a specific structure. It starts with introductory sentences that include the topic sentence, followed by body sentences, and ends with a conclusion. Interestingly, this follows the basic structure of a five-paragraph essay but replaces the paragraphs with sentences. Check out our guide on the best expository writing topics .

Before you can write an expository paragraph, you must have a topic. This type of paragraph aims to expound on or explain an idea. You will need to find a topic with enough information and research to write a full paragraph. If you are going to write an essay, make sure the topic is sufficient.

To write an expository paragraph, you must first decide your main point. The topic sentence is the basis for all of your prewriting and writing activities. The thesis or topic sentence for the paragraph will tell the reader what they will learn from reading.

This paragraph summarizes the main thoughts that you will explain in the body of the paragraph. If the paragraph argues, you will state your position in the topic sentence. It needs to tell the reader why they should read the paragraph and what they will learn from it.

How to write an expository paragraph? Write introductory sentences

Now you are ready to write introductory sentences. How you write the piece may come before the topic sentence or directly after it. These sentences use transition words to move from the paragraph preceding the one you are writing. They also introduce the topic of the paragraph.

If you think of your paragraph like a house, the introductory sentences work as the foundation and the door. They set the stage for the rest of the sentences and give the reader an entry point into your ideas and thoughts.

In these sentences, you should refute counterpoints to your idea, summarize the arguments you will later discuss, and state your problem or issues. It would be best not to suggest that you lack knowledge or use generalizations. It would help if you also did not use a dictionary definition. Finally, do not directly state intentions, such as saying, “In this paragraph, I will discuss. . .”

However, it would be best if you captured the reader’s interest and attention when writing these sentences. For example, you can open with a quotation, surprising fact, anecdote, or statistic, but make it something that will make the reader want to continue reading.

After the introductory sentences, you will have your body sentences. These support the argument in your thesis statement. They may include quotations, paraphrases, and statistics from your research. Every one of the body sentences needs to provide relevant, supportive information. Words that help transition to the following sentence help the paragraph to flow.

Body sentences are the structure of the house you are building with your paragraph. They should be firm and adequately support your topic. They should use examples, statistics, and facts to bring more insight into the topic.

If you use quotes in your body sentences, explain why they are essential to your topic sentence. Use proper citations to credit the original author for quotes and paraphrases in your body sentences.

In an expository paragraph, you can write as many body sentences as possible to explain your point. Each point in an essay outline will usually need one paragraph, so sometimes, these paragraphs can be quite lengthy. However, if you find yourself talking about more than one point, you should break the paragraph into one paragraph per point.

The concluding sentence is the last sentence of the paragraph. It restates the topic sentence and adds closure to the thoughts in the paragraph. It may segway into the next paragraph, but it does not have to do so. The main goal of the concluding sentence is to wrap up what you have said and give your reader a sense of closure.

The conclusion needs to serve as the roof of the house you create in your paragraph. It sums everything up and contains your ideas within the paragraph so that you can move on to the next paragraph.

While the concluding sentence should restate the topic sentence, it should not simply rework the same sentence. It should not contain over-used phrases like “in conclusion” or “to summarize.” It also should not make any absolute claims.

There are several types of expository writing that all use expository paragraphs. Understanding this structure will help you write the following types of essays:

  • Process Essays:  Process essays are essays that tell how to do something. The body paragraphs of this essay typically explain the process with a step-by-step breakdown. Each paragraph will outline the details of one step. 
  • Definition Essays:  Definition essays will describe and define a subject. To write this type of essay, you will present clear facts about a subject while refuting any common myths. These essays often take on historical events or people and rely on primary sources to define their topics.
  • Compare and Contrast Essays:  Comparison essays compare and contrast two similar or different items. This type of essay works very well for the five-paragraph essay. The introduction will introduce the two items. The three body paragraphs will focus on their attributes, one paragraph each, and how they are similar and different in the third paragraph. The final paragraph is the conclusion. 
  • Cause and Effect Essays:  A cause and effect essay looks at a cause and its effects, or vice versa. It can analyze how the effects resulted from a particular cause, or it can look at one effect and point out the multiple causes that led to it. 
  • Classification Essays:  Classification essays allow you to write about multiple subjects within one category. You will discuss the unique characteristics of each subject in each of the expository paragraphs in this essay. For example, if you choose to write an expository essay about different breeds of racehorses, your paragraphs could discuss quarter horses, thoroughbreds, and Arabians. 
  • Problem and Solution Essays:  Problem and solution essays use a problem as the central thesis and the solution to that problem as the points in the essay outline. Each point must use expository writing to show that it is a solution, with data and facts to back it up.

As you create your expository paragraph, you want to make sure that you follow the proper writing process. This process starts with prewriting, which involves getting basic ideas down on paper as you brainstorm your topic. Your prewriting may happen when you create your more extensive essay outline, or it may be done when you sit down to write your paragraph.

How to write an expository paragraph? Create a rough draft

Once you have your ideas down, you will write a rough draft of your paragraph. This first draft turns your ideas into sentences following the expository paragraph format.

In your rough draft, you may have some grammar or syntax mistakes. These mistakes will get ironed out later in the writing process, so do not stress much about them. However, do try to write as cleanly as possible.

When you write, use the third person voice, and apply proper grammar techniques to your writing. The next few steps will be easier if you choose the proper voice and use good grammar in your rough draft.

If you are looking for expository essay topics to write your paragraphs for your essay, consider your audience. If your instructor gave parameters for your essay topic, start with those. If not, you can use these writing prompts to get your ideas started:

  • Write a cause-and-effect essay about a particular historical event, such as a war or significant economic change.
  • Write a comparison essay about two pieces of literature.
  • Write a descriptive essay about the character of a political or historical figure.
  • Give step-by-step directions for how to cook a particular dish.
  • Choose a political or ethical problem and use your essay to outline some potential solutions for it.

In addition, you can look to literature, science reviews and studies, news reports, and informative texts to find additional expository essay topic ideas. Look for subject matter with a decent number of resources you can use as sources to write your paragraphs, making the writing task more manageable. Remember, your goal with this type of essay is not to present your opinion but rather to provide information, so you will need the information to write one.

After proofreading your work, you are ready to write your final paragraph. Use the changes you found in your rough draft to draft a final copy that will draw in the reader and clearly explain your points. Format the paragraph according to your teacher’s rules or the publication platform you use.

Now that you have a rough draft of your paragraph, you are ready to proofread it. 

You will improve the grammar and syntax during the proofreading process, but you will also make sure the paragraph follows the format. For example, each body sentence needs to support the topic sentence fully, and the transition words help the piece flow. Plan on revising the paragraph at least once to ensure it reads well. For more help with your following essay, read our guide on how to write a lot of words (when you don’t feel like it) .

expository essay breakdown

Nicole Harms has been writing professionally since 2006. She specializes in education content and real estate writing but enjoys a wide gamut of topics. Her goal is to connect with the reader in an engaging, but informative way. Her work has been featured on USA Today, and she ghostwrites for many high-profile companies. As a former teacher, she is passionate about both research and grammar, giving her clients the quality they demand in today's online marketing world.

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  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. PDF Writing an Expository Essay

    Section 1 Essay structure An essay is a piece of writing made up of a number of paragraphs. Each paragraph has a specifi c role in an essay. In a fi ve-paragraph essay, the fi rst paragraph is an introduction; the second, third, and fourth paragraphs form the body of the essay; and the fi fth paragraph is a conclusion (see diagram on page 4).

  3. Expository Essay Guide With Definition & Examples

    An expository essay is an essay that communicates factual information. Broadly, this type of writing is known as expository writing. Expository essays rely on different structures to communicate their positions, like compare and contrast, process essays, and analyzing cause and effect. Expository writing is one of the four main types of writing.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. How to Write an Expository Essay

    Expository Essay Conclusion. The conclusion paragraph consists of a "summary sentence," which provides a broad summary of your research on the topic, one or more overview sentences that must be connected to the key theme of the essay, and a key takeaway emphasizing the importance of the research work completed. The "key takeaway" sentence summarises the key point that you want the ...

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

    An expository essay asks for a critical explanation of a specific idea, theory, or topic. Our expert tips can help you write a well-structured and informative piece.

  8. A Comprehensive Guide to Writing Expository Essay

    1. What is an Expository Essay? 2. Types of an Expository Essay 3. Expository Essay Structure 4. Expository Essay Outline 5. How to Write an Expository Essay? 5 Easy Steps 6. Expository Essay Examples 7. Expository Essay Topics 8. Expository Essay Writing Tips What is an Expository Essay?

  9. How to Write an Expository Essay

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

  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: Outline, & Example

    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.

  12. How to Write an Expository Essay

    Formatting an expository essay. The typical format for an expository essay in school is the traditional five-paragraph essay. This includes an introduction and a conclusion, with three paragraphs for the body of the paper. Most often, these three paragraphs are limited to one subtopic each. This is the basic essay format, but expository writing ...

  13. What Is an Expository Essay? Examples and Guide

    An expository essay is a type of essay that involves explaining an idea or theme within a given subject or topic. We guide you through writing one with examples.

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

    March 21, 2023 12 min read 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.

  15. 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.

  16. What Is an Expository Essay and How to Write It

    An expository essay is a type of academic writing that aims to present a balanced and objective analysis of a specific topic. Expository essays often employ various techniques to enhance clarity and understanding.

  17. Expository Essays

    2. Body paragraph. After understanding how to start an expository essay the next step is to construct substantial body paragraphs. Each body paragraph in an expository essay consists of a topic sentence, its explanation, and a transition statement. A single idea should be introduced in each paragraph.

  18. 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.

  19. Expository Essay Examples For All Academic Levels

    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.

  20. What Is Expository Writing?

    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.

  21. What is an Expository Essay? Ultimate Guide

    An expository writing is a type of academic writing where you investigate the topic by evaluating the evidence and expounding the idea to describe, explain, and provide the information to a reader. So, it happens again: a teacher assigns an expository essay to you.

  22. Types & Functions (Part 1)

    To Critique an Expository Essay click here. See Essay-writing "styles" for a breakdown of this type . Argumentative Argumentative types of assignment are more intellectually and linguistically challenging than the expository type - and much more common in the Social Sciences. Argument here consists loosely of

  23. How To Write An Expository Paragraph

    Step 1: Choose Your Topic Before you can write an expository paragraph, you must have a topic. This type of paragraph aims to expound on or explain an idea. You will need to find a topic with enough information and research to write a full paragraph. If you are going to write an essay, make sure the topic is sufficient.