Caleb S.
Caleb S.

Types of Expository Writing - Definition and Examples

11 min read

Published on: Aug 10, 2018

Last updated on: Nov 15, 2023

types of expository writing

Writing an expository essay is quite more difficult than any other type of essay. Creating an impressive essay requires time, thorough research, skills, and knowledge. 

There are 10 main types of expository writing, each of which has a unique objective. They all are similar in nature but serve a different purpose. 

Read on to learn what are the different types of expository writing and what purpose they serve.

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Expository Writing Definition

Expository writing is a genre of writing that is used to explain, describe, inform, or clarify a particular expository essay topic to the reader. 

Unlike other forms of writing that may involve personal opinions or persuasion, the characteristics of expository writing include a focus on providing factual information in a clear and organized manner.

Expository essay writing is a very common form of writing; journals, newspaper articles, and essays usually demonstrate this type of writing.

While writing an expository essay, you need to explain everything in detail to make the idea clear for the reader. You can take help from expository essay examples to see what elements make a perfect expository essay.

What are the Types of Expository Writing?

There are 10 types of expository essay writing, including:

  • Compare and Contrast Essay 
  • Cause and Effect Essay
  • Problem and Solution Essay 
  • Process Essay
  • Definition Essay
  • Classification Essay 
  • Descriptive Writing
  • Exploratory Writing
  • Anecdotal Evidence
  • Sequential Writing

Let’s take a look at common types of expository writing one by one.

Compare and Contrast Essay

The compare and contrast essay is a type of essay in which the writer compares and contrasts two things. The writer compares the similarities between the two selected subjects and contrasts the differences in those subjects. The subjects should belong to the same category.

For example:

Compare and contrast two oranges or two apples, rather than comparing and contrasting an apple with an orange. You can compare and contrast the color of apples, the shape, the size, etc. You cannot compare the color of an apple with an orange. It doesn’t make sense as they don’t belong to the same category.

Cause and Effect Essay

In the cause and effect essay, the writer tries to find the cause of something; why did something happen? and what effects it might have. This type of essay has built around the reason that caused something to happen and its possible impacts.

There are two ways to structure a cause and effect essay:

  • Block structure: All the causes are presented first, and then all of their effects.
  • Chain structure: Each of the causes is followed by its effect straight away.

This essay could be based on assumptions or could be based on facts, but either way, they should be validated.

For example:

Modern technology has transformed how we communicate. This essay explores the causes behind this shift and its effects.

Cause - Rise of Social Media: Global connectivity through social media has reshaped communication patterns.

Cause - Mobile Technology: The ubiquity of smartphones has made constant connectivity the norm.

Effect - Decreased Face-to-Face Interaction: Direct communication has dwindled in favor of screen-based interaction.

Effect - Altered Communication Dynamics: Social norms now embrace brevity and emojis, changing the nature of conversations.

In conclusion, the rise of social media and mobile technology has led to a decline in face-to-face interaction and introduced new communication norms. Technology's impact on interpersonal communication is profound, shaping our social interactions in unprecedented ways.

Problem and Solution Essay

In the problem solution essay, the writer identifies a problem and then proposes its solution. The writer examines the particular subject from various aspects and perspectives prior to providing a solution. This essay is somewhat similar to the cause and effect essay.

For example: 

You choose to write about the coronavirus. You’ll examine the problem thoroughly, i.e., how the virus came into existence? How is it spreading? What problems has it caused for society? Etc.

After examining the problem, you’ll suggest its possible solutions; how to overcome this situation? What preventive measures do we need to take to protect ourselves from the virus? Etc.

Process Essay

The process essay refers to the process of something, i.e., how to make an apple pie. This type of writing includes a step-by-step process of making or doing something.

For example: 

You are writing about how to bake a cake. You’ll provide the complete recipe in a proper sequence, i.e.,

  1. Preheat the oven for half an hour at 180 degree
  2. Mix the baking powder, cocoa powder, flour, and sugar
  3. Beat the eggs
  4. Add the beaten eggs into the mixture
  5. Melt the butter and chocolate and add them into the mixture
  6. Pour the batter into the pan and bake

This is how you write a process essay; it provides the complete process of doing something. The goal is to provide the process in such a way that the reader can follow the sequence without any mistakes.

Definition Essay

The definition essay is a type of expository essay that gives a complete description of the topic. It explains what the term or the topic of the essay exactly means. Some terms have concrete meanings like glass, book, etc. Whereas some have abstract meanings like love, respect, honor, etc.

The definition essay revolves around explaining the purpose, what, why, and how aspects of the topic of the essay. This essay could start with the dictionary definition and ultimately provide the extended definition.

For example:

Resilience, often defined as the ability to bounce back from difficulties, goes beyond mere toughness. This essay explores its purpose, key traits, and practical ways to cultivate this essential quality.

What - Dictionary Definition: Resilience is the quick recovery from challenges, embodying toughness and elasticity.

Why - Overcoming Challenges: It serves to empower individuals in overcoming personal, professional, or societal challenges, fostering growth.

How - Key Characteristics: Resilience is characterized by adaptability, perseverance, and a positive mindset, essential for navigating life's ups and downs.

Cultivation - Practical Strategies: Practical strategies, such as building a support network and embracing change, are crucial for cultivating resilience.

In essence, resilience is more than a dictionary entry; it's about overcoming challenges with adaptability, perseverance, and a positive mindset. Understanding and cultivating resilience empowers individuals to thrive in the face of adversity.

Classification Essay

Classification essays are a type of expository writing that categorizes and organizes objects, people, ideas, or concepts into distinct groups based on shared characteristics, features, or criteria. The goal is to help readers better understand the relationships and differences between these categories. 

For example:

In a classification essay on movie genres, you might categorize films into different genres based on their themes, styles, and audience appeal. Each category would have its defining characteristics, such as plot elements, tone, and typical audience demographics. 

Descriptive Writing 

Descriptive writing is a type of expository writing that aims to paint a vivid picture of a person, place, object, event, or concept in the reader's mind. It uses sensory details and vivid language to create a sensory experience for the audience. 

For example:

The golden leaves crunched beneath my feet as I ventured deeper into the autumn woods. The air was crisp and carried the earthy scent of fallen leaves. 

Tall oak trees loomed overhead, their branches adorned with a tapestry of red, orange, and yellow leaves, as if nature herself had decided to decorate the forest for a grand celebration.

Exploratory Writing 

Exploratory writing aims to investigate a topic or question from multiple angles, often without taking a definitive stance. It allows the writer and reader to explore various viewpoints and ideas. 

For example:

The impact of social media on society is a complex and multifaceted issue. On one hand, it has brought people closer, allowing for instant communication across the globe. On the other hand, concerns about privacy, mental health, and the spread of misinformation have arisen. 

Exploring this topic from various perspectives, we can see that while social media has its advantages, it also raises important questions about the future of human interaction and information dissemination.

Anecdotal Evidence 

Anecdotal evidence refers to personal stories, individual accounts, or isolated examples that are used to support a claim or argument. While anecdotal evidence can be compelling and relatable, it is based on personal experiences and may not reflect broader trends or realities. 

For example:

A person might claim that a particular dietary supplement drastically improved their energy levels and overall health. They may share a personal story of their experience with the supplement, detailing how it transformed their life. 

While this anecdotal evidence is persuasive on an individual level, it does not provide scientific or statistically significant proof of the supplement's effectiveness for everyone. 

For that, one would need to rely on controlled studies with a larger sample size and scientific methodologies.

Sequential Writing 

Sequential writing, also known as chronological writing, involves organising information or events in a clear, time-based order. This approach is often used when presenting a series of actions, or events in a logical sequence, making it easier for readers to understand a process.

For example: 

When writing a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, you would use sequential writing to ensure that the steps are presented in the order they should be followed. 

It might start with listing the ingredients, then proceed with the step-by-step instructions, such as mixing the wet and dry ingredients, shaping the dough, baking, and cooling. 

Sequential writing is essential for clarity in recipes, technical manuals, how-to guides, and any content that requires a clear, logical progression of actions or events.

Types of Expository Writing Examples

You can use these types of expository writing PDF examples as a guide when writing your own paper. These examples show you what types of information to include and how it all comes together in one cohesive piece.

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Tips for Expository Writing

The following are some easy types of expository writing strategies and tips. They will help you write an amazing essay.

  • Write your introduction in the most interesting way possible. Start with a hook, thesis statement, or exciting detail to make readers want more.
  • Make your essay clear and concise so that it doesn't confuse readers.
  • There are many ways to support your topic. You can use facts, data, and authentic sources.
  • It is important to consider the audience of your paper before you start writing.
  • Use authoritative sources to gather data for your paper.
  • To avoid any errors in the essay, proofread and edit it before submitting it.

As we've explored various types of expository writing, it's clear that each type serves a unique purpose. 

By choosing the right type, you can engage readers and make complex ideas accessible to a wide audience.

Still, if you need help with an expository essay or any other type of essay, you can hire a professional essay writer. 

MyPerfectWords.com is an online writing service that you can rely on for getting quality essay help. 

Our expository essay writing service has a team of experts that can create a perfect essay in no time. They can cater to all of your expository essay writing needs. From choosing a topic to crafting an expository essay outline to essay writing, they do it all.

So request "write my essay for me online' and get your essay in no time!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 4 characteristics of expository text?

The four main characteristics of expository text are;

  • Informative
  • Impersonal
  • Organization of the text
  • Unbiased

What are the five elements of expository writing?

The main five elements of expository writing are;

  • Topic sentence
  • Organization
  • Conclusion
  • Transitions
  • Evidence and examples 

How many types of expository writing are there?

There are generally eight common types of expository writing:

  • Descriptive Writing
  • Process/How-To Writing
  • Cause and Effect Writing
  • Compare and Contrast Writing
  • Problem-Solution Writing
  • Definition Writing
  • Classification Writing
  • Exploratory Writing
Caleb S.

WRITTEN BY

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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