Caleb S.
Caleb S.

Beginner’s Guide to Write an Expository Essay

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Published on: Jul 29, 2018

Last updated on: Dec 30, 2022

Expository Essay

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Expository essays provide an investigation of an event, a place, or experience, evaluating the evidence. It requires a lot of effort, time, and good writing skills, as this essay explains the idea in detail. It requires you to do research to collect strong evidence and add ample details related to the topic.

Explaining something is not always easy. It takes critical thinking, research skills, and the ability to present your ideas interestingly to people who have not experienced or read about them before so they can understand what you are saying.

Are you looking for an expository writing guide?

Read on to learn more about it and understand how to write an expository essay step by step.

What Is an Expository Essay?

The expository essay is a genre of academic writing that discusses a topic in detail. It explains the main topic by providing the information in chronological order. This type of writing aims to give the reader all the information they need to understand a topic easily.

According to the expository essay definition:

“It is a type of essay in which a writer investigates the topic by evaluating the evidence to explain, clarify, and illustrate the idea in a way that it becomes clear for the reader.”

An expository essay may seem like a descriptive essay but it is different from it. Similarly, an argumentative essay looks similar, but it is not. An argumentative essay is written to present an argument and prove a certain point of view. Whereas expository essays are written to provide information, define, and illustrate a certain topic.

What is the Purpose of an Expository Essay?

An expository essay's purpose is to provide a balanced, objective description of its topic with the format allowing for a clear and logical explanation instead of proving a point or providing a personal opinion.

You should use clear and simple language, not assume your audience knows something about the topic you are discussing.

It is better to stay objective and neutral in your claims when you write an academic essay. You should use a formal tone, no matter what type of expository essay you are writing.

Expository essays are common school assignments because they help improve students’ academic performance and allow developing writing skills that will be useful for their future.

Features of an Expository Essay

features of expository essay

Types of Expository Essay

There are six types of expository essay:

  1. Compare and contrast essay: It is a type of essay that compares and contrasts two things. Learn to write a compare and contrast essay from our ultimate guide.
  2. Cause and effect essay: This essay tries to find out the causes of some things and their effects on something. Learn cause and effect essay writing with this guide.
  3. Process essay: This essay explains the process of making or doing something.
  4. Problem and solution essay: This essay presents a problem and provides its possible solutions.
  5. Classification essay: In this essay, the topic is divided into categories. The examples, ideas, and characters are defined for each category in the form of groups. Follow the link for a detailed guide on classification essay writing.
  6. Definition essay: This essay defines what the topic exactly means. A definition essay provides clear and specific information about the topic and uses examples to clarify it.

Difference Between Persuasive Essay And The Expository Essay

Expository essay

Persuasive essay

Describe and explain the topic in detail with the help of evidence

Define and explain the topic on the basis of a personal point of view

Written to provide details on a specific topic

Written to persuade the reader

Written in the third person

Written in the first person

Expository Essay Topics

Below are some useful expository essay topics and ideas for your ease.

Expository Essay Topics About Social Issues

  • Explain why writing prompts are difficult to choose
  • Explain why teenagers indulge in drugs
  • What are the consequences of selling drugs?
  • Describe productive ways a student can utilize their free time
  • Explain why kids have a rough time when their parents are getting a divorce
  • Explain how music affects your life
  • Describe the effects of marijuana
  • Describe the consequences of taking drugs
  • Why do people become poor during Covid 19?
  • What are the reasons for mental illness?

Expository Essay Topics About Education

  • Effects of diversity in a classroom
  • Importance of education
  • The role of education in national development.
  • Coping with illness while at college
  • Private school vs. public school
  • Who should set the curriculum for a class?
  • The connection between education and wealth
  • What is innovative education?
  • Why is it important to read?
  • Online schooling is important

Expository Essay Topics About Ethical Issues

  • Issues behind unpaid internships
  • Should prostitution be legalized?
  • Why are some people dog lovers while others are cat lovers?
  • Explain the relationship between education and quality of life
  • What is the reason for fantasy books becoming best sellers these days?
  • What is a smart consumer?
  • What changes need to be made in your lunchroom?
  • Ethics vs. leadership values
  • Nursing ethics
  • Is plastic surgery ethical?

Expository Essay Topics About Mental Health

  • Benefits of good mental health
  • Common mental health problems in our societies
  • The main protective factors in mental health
  • Important drawbacks of poor mental health
  • How is color related to a mental state?
  • Negative impact on mental health
  • How do you decrease anxiety?
  • Personality disorders of teens
  • Medicines testing on animals
  • An analysis of social media psychologists.

Expository Essay Structure

The format for every essay is generally the same. It has an introduction, a thesis statement, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. What makes these essays different from each other is the purpose due to which they are written. A typical 5 paragraph essay follows the pattern given below:

  1. Introduction
    1. A captivating hook statement
    2. Brief background information
    3. An intriguing thesis statement
  2. Body Paragraphs
    1. Body paragraph 1: First main point, its supporting evidence, and transition to the second body paragraph
    2. Body paragraph 2: Second main point, its supporting evidence, and transition to the third body paragraph
    3. Body paragraph 3: Third main point, its supporting evidence, and transition to the conclusion
  3. Conclusion
    • Restate the thesis statement
    • Summarize all the main points
    • Provide a good message

The expository essay structure is no different as far as the sections are concerned. However, it is different because of its highly explanatory nature. It explains the specific topic in detail while evaluating the evidence.

Expository Essay Graphic Organizer

expository essay graphic organizer

Expository Essay Outline

There are specific steps that you need to take in order to write a good expository essay. To start, you should plan your paper and create an outline.

An expository essay outline helps you give a proper structure to your essay. The idea of an outline is to organize all the content that helps compile a good expository essay.

Moreover, an expository essay outline consists of three parts;

1. Expository Essay Introduction

Expository writing informs the readers or explains a certain topic. Therefore, adding an unknown and engaging fact will help hook your reader and keep them glued to your essay.

Don’t assume that your reader already knows everything about the topic. Create a background regarding your topic for the readers. This will help them understand the topic better.

Pay careful attention to the opening lines and consider the following points while writing an essay introduction paragraph:

    • Provide interesting information or ask a question
    • Introduce all the necessary information to help the reader understand what the expository paper is all about
    • Write an effective thesis statement

2. Expository Essay Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs are written to provide supporting evidence and to explain the topic in detail. Every paragraph discusses a separate point of the topic.

Each body paragraph begins with a topic sentence, provides facts and opinions to expand and explain the topic. Transition words are used to connect the paragraphs logically and to maintain the smooth flow of the essay.

The number of body paragraphs can vary according to the topic. Keep in mind the following points when you proceed to the body of the essay:

    • Provide a key idea for each paragraph
    • Include supporting sentences in each of your body paragraphs
    • Explain the significance of your provided facts and examples

3. Expository Essay Conclusion

To conclude your essay, begin the concluding paragraph by restating your thesis statement. Your essay conclusion should be strong and powerful to give a concise overview of your topic.

Add questions or propose further action to engage the readers. Don’t add any new details in the concluding paragraph; just wrap up your essay and restate the thesis briefly.

Ensure the following information to come up with an effective and interesting expository composition.

    • Provide an overview of the essay
    • Discuss the possible solutions
    • Discuss the importance of your research

How to Start an Expository Essay?

Before you start writing your essay, make sure that you have enough evidence and credible information to explain your idea.

Here is a step-by-step procedure for how to write an expository essay.

1. Choose a Topic

Pick an interesting and good expository essay topic to write an essay on. The topic must be captivating and fascinating enough to catch the reader's attention immediately.

2. Do some Research

The more information you have about a topic, the better you will write your essay. Thus, before writing an essay for class or just because your interest has been piqued - do some research.

The internet is always there with everything from books to videos that can help answer any question related to in-depth study and would provide great insight into how things work and why certain events happened.

Thus, never skip this step when you start writing your essay.

3. Write the Thesis Statement

In an expository paper, the thesis statement should summarize what you are trying to explain in your work. Make sure that it is not making any arguments or persuasive for one side of an issue.

4. Create an Outline

The easiest way to plan an interesting expository essay is by using an outline. When writing an expository essay, the main points of your argument should be clear in both the introduction and conclusion.

With the help of an essay outline, you should easily create a well-written essay. Thus, first, create it and then start writing the essay.

How to Write an Expository Essay

To write an expository essay, you will need to gather information and present it in a clear and concise way. Make sure to use evidence to support your points, and be sure to structure your essay in a way that is easy to follow.

Here are some steps that you should follow after creating the essay outline and start writing an essay.

1. Write the Introduction

An essay introduction is the first thing someone reads. It is your opportunity to make a good impression on the reader and explain what the essay will be about.

Writing a good introductory paragraph cannot be difficult, but if you follow these guidelines;

    • Start with an interesting hook statement
    • Provide background information
    • End the essay introduction with a thesis statement

2. Prepare the Body Paragraphs

In an expository essay, you present information rather than making an argument. This makes the body paragraphs simpler to write. However, you should not just dump information randomly. Typically, you should have three body paragraphs, each discussing a specific issue related to your topic.

3. Craft a Conclusion

The conclusion of an expository essay is meant to remind the reader of the main points in the essay and state the hypothesis one more time.

The information presented in the conclusion connects to the main purpose. The thesis statement is restated and explained in greater detail.

4. Revise Your Essay

Do not forget to revise your essay as a good thorough read helps you refine your essay. Revise your essay to check the following things:

    • Correct any spelling and grammatical errors
    • Correct the punctuation errors
    • Make sure that your essay is making sense
    • Check if your content is in a logical flow
    • Check the sentence structure
    • Remove any irrelevant information

Expository Essay Examples

Here are some expository essay examples to clarify further how an expository essay should look like. Read the essay example and know the basic structure of this essay.

Stan Lee is the man behind many famous phrases from comics and movies. He is responsible for things like "Coming from your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!"

Stan Lee is a creative genius who has changed the world. You may know him from his books, movies, or comics characters, but most importantly, he's one of Marvel Comics' primary leaders and creators.

Stan Lee’s creations have been inspiring and entertaining us for decades. From Spider-Man, Hulk Iron Man, Avengers Black Widow Xmen, and many more! These comic books characters became so famous that they are now a part of world heritage.

Stan Lee created superheroes who were more relatable to people. In his comics, he showed that superheroes are normal people with their own flaws and fears. This made them more interesting to readers and allowed them to stay popular for many years.

Stan Lee is famous for his work with Marvel Comics. He was behind the scenes, but he also appeared in movies based on Marvel Comics characters.

He has never been just a face in the background. In fact, Stan Lee is the highest-grossing actor of all time. This is because all of the movies he was in made a lot of money.

Below are some more examples for your help.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of an expository essay?

An expository essay's purpose is to provide a balanced, objective description of its topic with the format allowing for a clear and logical explanation instead of proving a point or providing a personal opinion. 

How long is an expository essay?

Expository essays are often assigned as a writing exercise or as part of an exam, in which case you'll usually be given guidelines regarding length. You may also want to ask for some help if needed with your 800-word essay about the topic at hand. 

What are the five elements of expository writing?

The main five elements of expository writing are; 

  • Organization 
  • Thesis statement 
  • Evidence 
  • Transition 
  • Conclusion 

What are the characteristics of expository writing?

The main characteristics of expository writing are; 

  • Informative 
  • Clarity 
  • Organization 
  • Unbiased 
  • Impersonal 
Caleb S.


Caleb S. (Literature, Marketing)

Caleb S. has been providing writing services for over five years and has a Masters degree from Oxford University. He is an expert in his craft and takes great pride in helping students achieve their academic goals. Caleb is a dedicated professional who always puts his clients first.

Caleb S. has been providing writing services for over five years and has a Masters degree from Oxford University. He is an expert in his craft and takes great pride in helping students achieve their academic goals. Caleb is a dedicated professional who always puts his clients first.

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