How to Write an Expository Essay: Proven Tips
What Is an Expository Essay?
An expository essay investigates numerous aspects of a topic to provide complete knowledge to the readers about it. For instance, if the topic is how social media impacts the mind of youngsters, the paper will explain what social media is, how it works, how it impacts youngsters, and what consequences they face. The practice is to write an expository essay neutrally, with no attempt to persuade the reader to support either side.
It is one of the four types of essay that primarily depends on different structures to communicate the topic’s positions, such as comparing and contrasting, process essays and cause and effects. Knowing how to compose an expository essay is necessary for a student’s academic growth.
Expository writing isn’t the area to be clever or edgy; it’s the form of writing where you put facts and insights in the most efficient method possible. It’s the writing you do when examining information you’ve been given to study, reflecting critically on topics, and expressing the methods and reasons for your findings.
When students work on this essay type, they might wonder how to write an expository essay or what to include in this essay. Therefore, this blog discusses all the essential aspects of expository essays to help students understand, learn, and compose well-written expository essays.
What Is Expository Writing?
The objective of expository writing is to provide information to the audience, and many types of writing come under this description. This comprises pieces from newspapers, journals, social media websites, infographics, research journals, textbooks, corporate communication, and various other publications.
Expository writing is the most prevalent type of writing in the world, as it can be used to share information about your day, explain a job effort, or discuss how the internet affects lives.
The primary distinction between expository writing and other types of writing is the goal of an expository essay is not to persuade or convince the reader but to provide the information. But, this doesn’t mean you can’t use techniques from narrative, descriptive, or persuasive writing. You can always use approaches from other essays to make your exposition more compelling.
When working on expository writing, you can make the information you express more compelling in the reader’s eye by borrowing tactics from descriptive or narrative writing.
Thus, always use facts and reasoning instead of subjective views or personal truths while writing an expository essay. As such, it can also be defined as “a form of writing that reveals the facts about a specific issue.” This implies the reader can anticipate reliable information and logical arguments.
Depending on the type of expository writing, you may need to arrange an essay in many different ways. However, using an outline will always help you organise your research and picture the essay’s flow. Find more about expository essay outlines later in this blog.
What is the Purpose of Expository Writing?
Expository writing aims to educate the readers about a particular thing. While this essay type intends to entertain or convince, these are merely side effects, not the writer’s key purpose. Instead, well-crafted expository writing reveals the author’s knowledge of the topic and, in many cases, how they learnt about it.
For instance, you can be asked by your instructor to write an essay about a mock trial your class conducted. In this essay, you will introduce the task and the case your ‘Topic’ discussed throughout the trial. Then, in the body paragraphs, you’ll explain each stage of the mock trial process (investigation, introductory statements, cross-examination, closing arguments, jury deliberation, and conviction) and how your class handled each stage. In the final paragraph, you will state your class’s decision and the jury’s verdict.
Your mock trial essay intends not to claim whether the decision was correct or incorrect. It simply describes how your class went through the trial process and learning how one can handle real court cases. In other words, instead of giving opinions and observation, your essay will give facts and processes.
Expository vs Argumentative Essay: The Difference
1️⃣: Usually written in 3rd person
2️⃣: Contains only information
3️⃣: Is objective
4️⃣: Often shorter in length
5️⃣: Picks position for or against something
1️⃣: Can be composed in 1st person
2️⃣: Contains facts and the writer’s opinion
3️⃣: Is subjective
4️⃣: In-detailed and longer
5️⃣: Explores different angles of a topic in a neutral manner
Steps to Write an Expository Essay
Before you begin, you may require advice on how to write an expository essay successfully. Here are a few things to consider.
1. Choose a Topic
Your instructor may already have assigned you a topic to write on. But if not, you will have to do it on your own. So, start with a strategy as it can assist you in selecting the finest topic for your paper. It would be ideal if you were previously familiar with the subject.
Writing a paper on unfamiliar topics for expository essay can be tough, and conducting research can become even more neck-breaking. Therefore, picking a topic you’re aware of is always best.
For instance, if you have a chosen a topic of coin collection and are familiar with rare coin collecting, it may be easier for you to access relevant materials and uncover themes that are common to this topic than if you opted to write about something you are unfamiliar with, such as how to build a spaceship.
Furthermore, you can make a list of topics you’re interested in and select the most compelling option for your essay.
2. Do Your Research
Now that you’ve determined what to write about, it’s time to start researching your topic. Don’t skip this step even if you already understand a lot about your topic. You’ll have to cite your source of information. It is ideal to go through as many sources as possible to learn more about the topic and gain the knowledge you didn’t have.
Start your study by reading various articles on this topic to determine which issues are most widely investigated and discussed. Then narrow down your research to include only credible resources (such as publications and websites written by experts in the field).
You can also take assistance from online or your institution’s libraries. Jot down all the issues you might want to discuss. Keep in mind to make your research structured and find authoritative sources, you can cite for the information you add to your essay.
Moreover, take enough time to gather data before starting writing your expository essay – as it can help you thoroughly focus on the writing process.
3. Choose Your Examples
You may have hundreds of areas or directions to address your selected topic, but you won’t be able to cover them all in a conventional 500-word essay. The ideal way to choose your examples is to combine the most commonly discussed problems with some of the less frequently addressed aspects of the topic.
For example, suppose you’re writing about digital currencies. In that case, you can discuss cryptocurrency and its evolution, as well as some of the newer cryptocurrencies that are increasingly becoming popular in the wake of Bitcoin.
In this way, the essay will provide a more comprehensive picture of the topic and give the reader details they may not be familiar with. However, if you struggle to find examples for an expository essay, you can always browse online to find good examples.
4. Write an Outline
An essay outline is a precise plan, usually the initial step of your essay writing. Students often get confused about these writeups, searching for how to write an expository essay outline.
Thus, there are a few things to keep in mind when working on your outline. For example, it is important to add the central points of all paragraph parts in this section, decide on the resources you plan to mention, and identify where you should do so.
After that, you may talk about the evidence backing up your points and how to tie the various components of an essay together. If you’ve already thought of an opening statement or hook line, now is the moment to write it down.
The most crucial sections you must add to your outline are:
2: The main body of three to five paragraphs
By carefully outlining your essay, you will know what to include and what to skip in it.
5. Craft Your Thesis Statement
A thesis statement is an essay’s central question or argument around which the entire essay revolves. It’s simply a single statement and has nothing to do with the essay topic.
Students adept at writing argumentative papers may be inclined to take a strong stance on their subject or argue the point in the thesis statement. However, for an expository essay, this isn’t necessary.
On the contrary, an expository essay is more about allowing the reader to know what you’re going to discuss and why they should care in the first place. For instance, if your topic is social media, a good thesis statement might look like this.
“Social media has tremendously impacted how we interact with family and friends, as well as institutions and corporations.” This thesis statement informs the reader that you will discuss how social media has affected the way we engage with different groups of people without debating a particular subject.
6. Write Your First Draft
Now that you have your plan and thesis statement, it’s time to put your prep and research into action and compose your first draft.
Start with referring back to your thesis statement as you write every paragraph to ensure you’re remaining on the path and not going out on tangents. Use transition words whenever possible. They are beneficial to the reader and strengthen a supporting truth (in addition, furthermore, moreover) or an opposing concept (but, however, instead, on the other hand).
Moreover, focus on the following aspects as you write your first draft:
1: Include the greatest examples from your research
2: Use topic sentences to connect each new issue to the question and ensure your essay flows smoothly
3: Ensure your essay is formatted correctly, according to the rules for your specific course (for example, font, line spacing and page margins)
Your first draft can help you identify the loopholes in your essay easily.
Take a break after finishing your first draft and set your work away for at least a few hours before returning to it. Here are some useful editing tips:
1: Ask a friend, peer or family member to read it over
2: Read it aloud to see if there are any odd language, grammar, or other issues
3: Use an editing tool or academic service to check for various spelling and grammatical faults, as well as a readability and grade level score for the essay
As you write your expository essay, remember the distinctions between an expository and an argumentative essay. Keep in mind good research goes a long way and comprises a variety of instances of your topic, including ones that aren’t as common.
Allow yourself enough time to edit. Focus on the structure of your essay, work cohesion, section and paragraph transitions, and internal logic. Check to see whether you’ve forgotten anything vital.
How to Structure an Expository Essay
The structure of the expository essay consists of three major parts: introduction, main body, and conclusion. There is no certain word limit for this essay type unless your instructor specifies. So, let’s learn about this general structure in detail.
1. Introducing Your Essay
The first paragraph someone reads is the introduction. It is your first chance to enchant the reader and introduce the topic of the essay. Writing a strong beginning might be difficult. However, following the format below will make your introduction interesting and clear:
2: Background details
3: Thesis statement
4: Transitional phrase
The first sentence of the introduction serves as the hook. It’s called a hook because it captures a reader’s attention like a hook captures a fish’s jaws. The background information you provide should be engaging and closely related to the issue.
Then comes the thesis statement that sums up the paper’s goal in one or two sentences. A thesis statement for an expository essay should be specific about the topic and how it will be covered.
After your thesis statement, you can end the paragraph or make a one-sentence transition to the body paragraphs.
2. Writing the Body Paragraphs
You need to place your research in the body paragraphs. Although writing body paragraphs for an expository essay may be easier because you are not required to develop an argument, this does not mean you can just dump data on your readers. Three-body paragraphs are usually required, each discussing a different aspect of your topic.
When performing research, narrow down the three primary explanations you wish to provide for your topic and describe each in a separate body paragraph. Although you might be inclined to provide as much information as possible, an information-heavy document may be difficult to read. So, stick with concise, rational, and engaging expression.
Start with the topic sentence that expresses the purpose of the paragraph. Ensure the reader understands how the topic sentence relates to the main topic. Finally, present the information and facts, properly cite each fact, and use only reliable sources.
3. Concluding Your Essay
An expository essay’s conclusion should summarise the key points and restate the thesis to refresh the reader’s memory of why the essay was written.
2: An overview of the key concepts
3: Reiterate the thesis or primary goal
4: Final thoughts
You may summarise the information’s key points by examining your topic sentences and transitional phrases. Ensure the reader is informed of your thesis, including all the significant material related to it. In this part, you need to explain to your audience why should they agree with your point of view.
The conclusion of any essay must not take more than 10-15% of space in your essay. It ought to cleanly complete any open ends and respond to any queries the reader may have.
Moreover, do not include any new information in this part of your expository essay. Instead, assess and conclude in light of the data you’ve supplied in the essay’s body.
5 Types of Expository Essays
Composing an expository essay can become even simpler when you know what the different types of expository essays are. And knowing the types can help you choose good topics for expository essay.
The following list of different types of expository essays is not comprehensive, but it includes the most common ones you may encounter in an academic setting.
1. Descriptive or Definition Essays
A definition essay, also known as a descriptive essay, describes its subject by giving clear facts about it. It is a type of essay where the students are asked to describe anything, such as an object, a person, a place, an experience, an emotion, or a circumstance.
This genre promotes the capacity of students to write a report of a specific experience. Furthermore, it offers a lot of creative freedom (the purpose of this is to paint an image that is vivid and moving in the reader’s mind).
This essay type might also challenge myths about a historical event by presenting it from primary sources and discussing relevant social and economic trends that impacted the event.
2. Procedure or “How-To” Essays
The procedure essay, often known as a “how-to” or process essay, is frequently produced for people or businesses who want tutorials or a series of instructions.
Process essays follow a similar framework for any variation, whether creating a robot or baking a chocolate cake. They work sequentially, with the first step impacting the second, the second influencing the third, and so on.
Each phase is significant, and a faulty explanation of one might derail the entire process. It is crucial to be concise and efficient in this type of essay to better explain the ‘how to’ procedure to the reader.
3. Compare and Contrast Essays
In a compare-and-contrast essay, you justify your thesis statement by comparing the resources you’ve used.
For instance, you may prepare an essay comparing and contrasting your school’s dress code with the dress regulations of two neighbouring schools. The distinctions wherein clothing items are and aren’t allowed, the overall precision of each dress code, and the amount of “grey space” in each guideline can be examined in your body paragraphs.
This type of essay, frequently given in middle and high school, teaches students the analytical writing process and prepares them for more difficult academic writing assignments in college life.
4. Cause and Effect Essays
Essays on causes and effects examine how something came about or what impact it had. It offers details on how two connected entities are related to one another.
An example of a cause-and-effect essay would be to discuss how bullying as an adult affects one’s self-esteem. Essays on causes and effects examine the reasons behind events or potential effects and may draw attention to relevant connections or specifics about a cause or consequence.
When working on this type of essay, you must ensure you have examined the specific causes and are confident you’re representing why they lead to particular results.
5. Classification Essays
In a classification essay, you explore several topics within a single category while highlighting the characteristics that distinguish each topic from the others in the category.
You may, for instance, describe the various types of herding dogs in your essay. Your thesis statement might be how herding breeds differ from other dog breed groups. Then, in each paragraph, you will describe a different herding breed (collie, corgi, heeler, etc.)
The only thing to remember is you will be required to organise things into groups and provide relevant examples. It depends on you how you define the classification criterion. However, you must be able to describe your reasoning too.
How to Write an Expository Essay Outline
Once you’re done with your research and have decided on a topic, it’s time to move forward to an expository essay outline to arrange the material of your essay.
It is one of the finest strategies to structure your work. But students usually get confused at this stage, wondering how to write an expository essay outline. So, here is a plan for you to tackle it.
When performing research, pay more attention to the essay’s body than the introduction or conclusion. Work with at least three basic approaches to explaining the topic, and place information about those subtopics in the proper body paragraphs.
Consider potential thesis statements as you gather research material and write your outline. A thesis statement should be developed as you gather more and more information because developing one too early can limit your research. You should have a completed thesis statement at the end of the planning phase.
By organising your essay in advance, you’ll be able to focus on your research, complete the assignment more quickly, improve the general flow of the essay, and make the writing process much simpler. You can use it as a road map to explain the important parts of your essay and ensure you don’t forget any supporting details as you write any section.
Structure of an Expository Essay
Each part of an expository essay is divided into different categories. Let’s look at them in detail!
1: Introductory paragraph
The reader should be introduced to the essay’s topic in the opening paragraph. It should pique the audience’s interest, summarise the writer’s primary points, and clarify how these points will be delivered in the essay’s body.
A hook, building sentences, and a thesis statement make up the three essential components of the introduction.
An expository essay’s opening sentence draws the reader’s attention. It helps in compellingly introducing the essay’s topic. A strong expository essay hook may start with a quote, pose a question or declare an intriguing fact or statement to draw attention, making people read your essay till the end.
2. Building Sentences
The sentences after the hook should include background information to help readers understand the topic. Since you will elaborate on these points in the body paragraphs, this does not need to be very specific. However, ensure the background information you provide is engaging and closely related to the issue.
3. Thesis Statement
After building sentences, you should move to the thesis statement. It offers the essay’s topic and the author’s viewpoint, making it the most significant phrase in the entire text. Additionally, it identifies the key concepts that will be covered in the body paragraphs. For an expository essay, ensure your thesis statement is not making an argument or attempting to persuade.
2: Body Paragraphs
Usually, three paragraphs make up the body of an essay. One of the primary concepts mentioned in the thesis statement is thoroughly explained in each body paragraph. A body paragraph discusses all the essential points of the essay. This section comprises three sentences: the theme sentence, two sentences supporting it, and the last sentence.
1. Topic Sentence
The topic of a body paragraph is stated in the first sentence, which also introduces the paragraph’s central point. All further information supports the main idea. The topic sentence comes at the start of each body paragraph. Always write intriguing topic sentences so readers can easily understand the context.
2. Supporting Sentence
The topic sentence is developed and explained in the supporting sentences. They defend the dominant notion with logical arguments, proof, and justifications.
You can write supporting sentences in the middle of a paragraph, after the topic sentence, and before a transition or concluding sentence. Your supporting sentence should connect and back up both the topic and the concluding sentence.
3. Concluding Sentence
A concluding sentence is where a writer summarises their thoughts on the paragraph. It might also work as a bridge to the next sentence. It also emphasises the central point of the expository essay. Remember the concluding sentence should not include any information not discussed in the body paragraph.
3: Concluding Paragraph
The goal of the closing paragraph is to leave a lasting impression on the reader by succinctly and clearly restating the essay’s main ideas. It concludes the main points of the essay in simple words. A conclusion supports the thesis statement and ideas introduced in the opening paragraph.
1. Restated Thesis
Writers often restate the thesis in new words at the beginning of the conclusion instead of the ones used in the introduction. In order to help the audience comprehend how the information you provided in the body paragraph relates to the essay’s main goal, you must restate your thesis statement.
2. Summary of Main Ideas
An effective conclusion reiterates the most pertinent facts to summarise the paper’s central point. It is crucial to ensure the reader understands all your supporting points by the ending paragraph. Only the most important data and research from your work’s body paragraphs should be included in your conclusion.
3. Final Thought
Your final phrase should summarise the main ideas of your entire essay. Write your conclusion clearly and concisely, giving the reader a sense of closure and a strong sense of the point’s importance in the big scheme of things. Finally, ending your essay with an intriguing thought or food for readers is a good idea.
Expository Essay Format
Writing formats can be confusing for some students because there are several appropriate essays writing styles, especially if they are writing one for the first time.
The format of an essay informs about how one should plan their essay and what writing style can be used. Often, students have to use the writing style specified by the instructors or institution. You can come across one of three different writing styles in high school, college, or university.
1: APA (American Psychological Association)
2: MLA (Modern Language Association)
3: The Chicago Manual of Style, also known as Turabian
Expository Essay Example
Here is an example of an expository essay to explain how you can start writing one and give it a proper direction. The topic is “How social media affects the mental health of humans.”
Globally, there were more than 3.5 billion social media users as per the report of 2019; this number is currently growing by 9% annually. Social media has unquestionably impacted many people’s lives in a significant way. The platforms have several advantageous consequences, including improved connectivity. However, social media addiction, the rise in inter-person comparisons, and the fear of missing out (FOMO) have all contributed to an increase in unhappiness and melancholy. The prevalence of social media addiction has had a negative impact on many people’s lives in society. Over time, monitoring and browsing through various social media platforms has gained popularity, which has led to excessive and obsessive use.
Expository Essay Topics
Expository Essay Topics for Middle School
1. Think of two places you’ve gone on vacation. Compare which one was the best.
2. Describe your pet.
3. How to make pizza at home quickly?
4. Why do people like owning pets?
5. What are your favourite sports? Explain the reasons for liking it.
6. The person you admire the most
7. Should there be uniforms at schools?
8. Write about your trip to the museum
9. Discuss the types of eating disorders.
10. Why going to school is important in life?
Expository Essay Topics for High School Students
1. Is the younger generation becoming more materialistic?
2. Why do teens suffer due to depression in the UK?
3. Write about your first week’s Facebook experience.
4. How do smartphones affect family relationships?
5. Are girls’ better students than boys?
6. Why do most students enjoy art class?
7. What would you modify about the appearance of your school if you could?
8. Global warming and its solutions.
9. How does poverty affect people?
10. Compare your two favourite TV shows.
Expository Essay Topics for College
1. Breakfast recipes to rapidly make when running late for class.
2. Explain why some students drop out of school or college.
3. Describe the benefits of participating in extra-curriculum activities.
4. How are smartphones similar to or different from landlines?
5. Choose two characters from your favourite book, film, or television program. How do they differ, and how do they match up?
6. Write a complete synopsis of a favourite thriller movie.
7. What hidden talent do you have? Describe in detail.
8. How do students become addicted to social media?
9. How would you explain to your grandmother to download and use a new application on her phone?
10. In 50 years, how will the world look?
Expository Essay About Music
1. Explain the evolution of music in different countries.
2. How Has Culture Affected the Creation of Music?
3. How Are Poetry and Music Related?
4. The Role of Music in the Society
5. Importance of teaching music at schools.
6. How can music affect the human Brain?
7. Can ethnomusicology as a career be beneficial?
8. What cultural aspects can you often find in modern music?
9. The challenges minority groups in the music industry face these days
10. Describe the connection of other media with music.
Interesting Expository Essay Topic
1. Describe why teenagers wear makeup.
2. Discuss the ways to help out at home.
3. Explain the effects of marijuana.
4. How to treat mental disorders?
5. Discuss how solar energy is useful.
6. Explain some creative ways for students to spend their leisure time.
7. Why is leadership not for everyone?
8. If you could get a superpower, what it would be?
9. Discuss two objects that symbolise your culture and why you chose them.
10. If you could meet your dream celebrity, who would it be?
Expository Essay About Education
1. Discuss how students manage their professional and academic life while studying at college.
2. Why is teaching considered a noble profession?
3. Traditional or online, which education system is best?
4. Advantages of learning different languages.
5. Discuss the reasons for global warming.
6. Why is higher education important for students?
7. Discuss the difference between literate and illiterate people.
8. What makes a good psychotherapist?
9. How to stay fresh all day?
10. Why is sex education important for students?
Expository Essay Topics on Social Issues
1. Why is tolerance important in the workplace?
2. Discuss the significance of emotional intelligence.
3. Is body shaming a modern issue?
4. How can you contribute to making a good social change as a student?
5. Describe how to help homeless people and prevent homelessness?
6. Discuss ways to talk to mentally exhausted people?
7. How to tackle gender inequality at work?
8. What would you change if you became the president of your country?
9. What effects does drug addiction have?
10. Why do teens commit suicide?
Funny Expository Essay Topics
1. The best dating mobile applications.
2. Why are pandas considered cute animals?
3. What can you do to stop yourself from buying unnecessary stuff from grocery store purchases?
4. Which exam-cheating strategies work the best?
5. How can one convince someone to buy something they don’t need?
6. If you could change your surname, what it would be and why?
7. How can one get rid of an irritating fly?
8. How to pretend you are working?
9. Discuss the ways to win the worst tattoo contest.
10. Describe your funny habits.
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Sure, expository essays are a fun way of exploring something you are passionate about and learning how to share information powerfully. Expository writing is one of the most common forms of essay writing; possibilities are you will find it useful throughout your life.
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