Guides

27 April, 2020

12 minutes read

Author:  Tomas White

How to Write an Expository Essay?

Mastering the art of writing a good expository essay is the backbone of writing A grade essays. This extensive guide written by the Handmade writing team will help define exactly what an expository paper is in fact. This is done by examining it in relation to other genres of essays as well as giving you a broad view on a range of different essays that fall into this category.

Expository Essay

Mastering the art of writing a good expository essay is the backbone of writing A grade essays. This extensive guide written by the Handmade writing team will help define exactly what an expository paper is in fact. This is done by examining it in relation to other genres of essays as well as giving you a broad view on a range of different essays that fall into this category.

What is an expository essay?

The definition of an expository essay is to expose an idea by explaining the evidence and facts surrounding the topic. Its purpose is to explain or clarify information on a subject. It is important to present the topic in an impartial and non-biased fashion without forming a conclusion.

All types of academic papers such as argumentative and persuasive essays include expository writing in some shape or form. Due to this, it can be hard to define where the expository paper ends, and the other papers begin. To get a clear understanding of how expository writing differs, it is best to compare it to different essay genres.

Is an argumentative essay an expository essay?

An expository essay is objective, neutral and focuses on explaining all sides of a situation, whereas an argumentative essay is about arguing for and supporting one side of the debate by contrasting it with different viewpoints. Below is an illustration of the conventions and structures of both essay genres.

is an argumentative essay an expository essay

How are a persuasive essay and an expository essay different?

A persuasive essay and an argumentative essay are extremely similar in format and will follow most of the rules outlined for argumentative essays. A persuasive writing is used to persuade. Expository writing is used to inform.

How to write an expository essay

The main points of what an expository essay should contain have been summarized in the graphic above. Good expository writing needs you to know how to present and write the information in the correct format. This guide will take you through the things you need to do to write a fantastic and detailed paper step by step. The first step is understanding what type of expository essay you are going to write.

What are the main types of expository essays?

Good writers understand the purpose of their essays. Identify the type of paper that you need to write and focus on answering the question in a suitable format. Here are five main types of expository papers:

Main types of expository essays

A Descriptive Essay

The purpose of a description is to describe something in detail. It could be a person you know, a place that you have visited or even describing the steps in a natural process such as photosynthesis. You should explain the subject matter in detail but not necessarily include any conclusion or analysis.

A Process Essay

The purpose of a process essay is to recount the steps taken. Good examples are scientific reports of experiments or a guide on how to create something. The essay explains the process that was taken and the results that were gained without judgment.

A Comparison Essay (Compare and Contrast Essay)

A comparison essay’s purpose is to compare and contrast two subjects. Examples of this can be how a theme is present in two books, two perspectives on social theory or even a flowers appearance. The essay should just list the differences without any kind of analysis or argument attached.

A Cause and Effect Essay

A cause and effect essay identify the reason why a phenomenon occurs and what happens as a consequence. These essays lend themselves to social research in topics like “What causes dyslexia and what effects will it have on learning?” Or history topics that discuss the cause of policies and their effects on society. An expository essay should detail the causes and effects without any further analysis.

A Problem and Solution Essay

A problem and solution essay will identify problems in a system and offer solutions that could fix or lessen the burden of those problems. As an expository paper there shouldn’t be an argument for one solution but an outline of all possible solutions.

Read the question you have been set or the criteria of your assignment and measure it against these expository essay formats to choose the best question for you. For more in-depth advice on how to write the styles of essays detailed above please follow the embedded links!

How to choose a title for an expository essay?

When you are given free reign, it can be hard to decide what to write an essay on. The easiest method of how to start an expository writing is to decide on the topic and title. A simple way of coming up with a basic title for an essay is to insert its type into the title.

  • A description of Stephen King/Harlem/Photosynthesis
  • The process of baking a cake/testing Boyle’s law/of camping.
  • A comparison of Byron’s poetry / international social policy / political stances on taxation.
  • The cause and/or effects of potato blight/obesity/voter apathy
  • The problems and/or solutions to gun regulation / gendered language/stigmatization of mental issues.

Creating a basic title will give your essay direction, and a subject to focus on. It can act as a primary thesis statement as research and can be narrowed and to a more meaningful title later. News channels&papers and websites are sources of current and ongoing issues to discuss.

Formulating a clear title will help clarify the purpose of your paper by giving the reader your topic and the context in which you are reporting on it. When choosing a title and essay type always consider whether they are appropriate to the guidelines and subject matter. The most important thing is to choose a subject you enjoy.

where to look for topic for an expository essay

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Expository essay topics for high school and college

Being given the freedom to choose an essay topic in high-school or college is a hard assignment. Here are some general expository essay topics for high school and college students to help you brainstorm and decide on a subject.

Keep in mind that learning to write good essays has benefits that go beyond your academic life. Good writing skills are essential for your future career as well. As many as 80 percent of corporations with employment growth potential evaluate the writing skills of their applicants during the hiring process.

Here are some colorful examples of topic titles that we suggest looking into.

Process titles

  • The perfect recipe for an amazing summer vacation
  • How to test the resistance of an electrical current

Comparison titles

  • A comparison of positivism and communist perspectives on social education
  • Compare and contrast the use of technology in Harry Potter and Frankenstein

Cause and effect titles

  • Explain how the Treaty of Versailles contributed to Hitler’s rise to power.
  • What are the causes and consequences of climate change?

Problems and solution titles 

  • What problems arise from the depiction of violence on in the media?
  • What can you do to help someone with a hearing impairment adapt to mainstream education?
  • How is the representation of women a problem in video-gaming and what can game developers do to stop it?

Expository essay Outline

The structure of this essay type usually consists of five paragraphs. These include the introduction, three supporting paragraphs that comprise the body of your essay, and a conclusion that sums up your points.

Start your introduction with a strong sentence that pulls the readers in. The introduction of your expository essay is the first thing that readers will see, so it directly influences how they receive your essay. You should take your time to make it effective. Keep in mind that the purpose of your introduction is to hook your readers and provide a guideline for your topic and main argument, known as the thesis statement. This hook should tell your readers something they didn’t know before, for example, an interesting fact, a surprising statistic, or a quote from a well-known person.

Related Posts: How to write an Essay outline | Essay format guide  | How to write an Essay introduction 

Next, the best expository writing format is to choose three items about the topic that you will discuss in the body of your essay. These are the points that you introduced in your introduction and should discuss in more detail in the body.

No matter the style or the type of essay  – choose three points about the subject that you can elaborate on and explain in detail.

Finally, your conclusion should restate your thesis statement and give details about the end goal. You can also make a prediction based on the discussion of your essay and provide closure for your readers.

What should I include in the introduction?

The introduction of an expository essay should have a thesis statement. The thesis statement here is simply to introduce the subject you are explaining and in what context.

How should I write the body paragraphs?

Each paragraph of the body paragraph should discuss a single idea on the subject. The first sentence of each paragraph should introduce the topic that you will discuss. The following sentence should elaborate and describe the subject in detail. Use facts, evidence, and quotations to support the statement and elaborate. The final sentence should be conclusive to signal the topic has ended. Writing in this formula will sign-post your work and make it easier to read.

All information should be objective and written in the third person.

An expository writing purpose is to describe subjects in detail to explain and clarify. As such the focus should be on simple, clear sentences with concentrate messages. It is important to stay focused on the topic at hand and not go off on tangents.

How to write a conclusion?

The conclusion of an expository paper should recap all the points made previously and avoid coming to a conclusion about which side of the argument is right or adding new ideas to the essay. You can signal the end of the paper with a final general point, for example:  “Only by evaluating all aspects of homelessness we can come to an understanding of what causes it and how to implement better solutions.”

Expository essay example

expository essay example

Do’s and don’ts of expository essays
dos and don'ts of expository essays

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