What Is an Expository Essay?
Assigned to write an expository essay? First look for the expository essay definition to make clear what expository writing is:
An expository essay is a type of written discourse that serves the purpose of explaining, describing and providing information to the reader. This is a simple expository essay definition. Expository essays can also be accurately termed the ''information'' or ''informative'' essays.
An expository essay serves to explain a topic in a logical and straightforward manner. Without many complications, these essays present fair and balanced analyses of different subjects based on facts, without any references to the author’s opinions or emotions. One of the typical expository essay prompts to a writer is to use the words “explain” or “define”. This expository essay prompt makes the writer “explain” in a simple, plain and direct manner.
Expository Essay Outline
The common method of writing an expository essay is a 5-paragraph approach. However, this is not the only formula for writing expository essays but it provides a basic and clear outline for easy reading. This format gives the expository essay an introduction, 3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion, hence the name is a 5-paragraph approach. Basically, the paragraphs entail:
Introduction. The introduction brings up the main thoughts of the essay and can be a great tool to capture your reader.
Body paragraphs. The body paragraphs discuss and provide in-depth information to the reader regarding the mentioned topic. Your thoughts should flow well, and get interesting one after the other to keep your reader interested in wanting to know more.
Conclusion. The conclusion echoes your introduction by showing that the introductory statement has been verified or explained in detail.
Analyzed events of situations should be reviews from several sources to make the essay stay focused on the context and be objective. The conclusion in your essay should never come as a surprise to the reader as it needs to easily come out from the essay. The conclusions and the analysis should be well connected to not leave your reader guessing what you meant.
If you are looking for expository essay examples here is a great one:
Expository Essay Example
Expository essays require you to avoid incorporating your emotions or opinions, therefore, you have to write in a way that will enable you to remain objective and imperative. The 3rd person writing is the most logical in this case. You need to keep a neutral voice and avoid pronouns like I, we, and you. Connection words such as for example, such as, furthermore, whereas, similarly, and conversely among more are used in these articles.
5 Steps to Writing a Winning Expository Essay
Step 1: Pre-write the expository essay. Students should take the time to brainstorm on the topic and main ideas, research, and take notes. Design an expository essay outline to show how the information will be presented in each paragraph in a logical sequence.
Step 2: Draft the expository essay. Consider how you will present your ideas with the 5-paragraph approach. Consider how the introductory paragraph will be, the 3 body paragraphs, and how the conclusion will spice up your essay.
Step 3: Revise the expository essay. Here you will need to review, modify and reorganize the work with the goal of making it the best it can be. Has the information been clearly communicated to the reader?
Step 4: Edit the expository essay. Proofread and correct the grammatical errors, and edit to improve the style and clarity.
Step 5: Publish the expository essay. Share your essay with the class or friends to get some reviews and know how they feel about it.
Check out the list of expository essay topics our writers have prepared for you:
50 Most Popular Expository Essay Topics
The topic is chosen. The time has come to get some expository essay prompts from the professional writers:
When writing your expository bear in mind that a great essay is made by:
1. A clear, concise, and well-defined thesis statement that is presented in the first paragraph
2. Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, the body paragraphs, and the conclusion. Without logical progression of thought in your essay, a reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument, and its structure will crumble
3. Body paragraphs with reliable evidence support. These can be logical, factual or anecdotal. The body paragraphs should also have some or a strong logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph
4. Creativity to give your readers a lasting impression on essay’s evaluation
5. A catchy conclusion that spices up your expository essay content in style. It should not restate the thesis but instead, refer to it with reference to the evidence provided.
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Tips on Writing an Expository Essay
The purpose of the expository essay is to explain a topic in a logical and straightforward manner. Without bells and whistles, expository essays present a fair and balanced analysis of a subject based on facts—with no references to the writer’s opinions or emotions.
A typical expository writing prompt will use the words “explain” or “define,” such as in, “Write an essay explaining how the computer has changed the lives of students.” Notice there is no instruction to form an opinion or argument on whether or not computers have changed students’ lives. The prompt asks the writer to “explain,” plain and simple. However, that doesn’t mean expository essay writing is easy.
The Five-Step Writing Process for Expository Essays
Expository writing is a life skill. More than any other type of writing, expository writing is a daily requirement of most careers. Understanding and following the proven steps of the writing process helps all writers, including students, master the expository essay.
Expository Essay Structure
Usually, the expository essay is composed of five paragraphs. The introductory paragraph contains the thesis or main idea. The next three paragraphs, or body of the essay, provide details in support of the thesis. The concluding paragraph restates the main idea and ties together the major points of essay.
Here are expository essay tips for each part of the essay structure and writing process:
1. Prewriting for the Expository Essay
In the prewriting phase of writing an expository essay, students should take time to brainstorm about the topic and main idea. Next, do research and take notes. Create an outline showing the information to be presented in each paragraph, organized in a logical sequence.
2. Drafting the Expository Essay
When creating the initial draft of an expository essay, consider the following suggestions:
- The most important sentence in the introductory paragraph is the topic sentence, which states the thesis or main idea of the essay. The thesis should be clearly stated without giving an opinion or taking a position. A good thesis is well defined, with a manageable scope that can be adequately addressed within a five-paragraph essay.
- Each of the three body paragraphs should cover a separate point that develops the essay’s thesis. The sentences of each paragraph should offer facts and examples in support of the paragraph’s topic.
- The concluding paragraph should reinforce the thesis and the main supporting ideas. Do not introduce new material in the conclusion.
- Since an expository essay discusses an event, situation, or the views of others, and not a personal experience, students should write in the third person (“he,” “she,” or “it”), and avoid “I” or “you” sentences.
3. Revising the Expository Essay
In the revision phase, students review, modify, and reorganize their work with the goal of making it the best it can be. Keep these considerations in mind:
- Does the essay give an unbiased analysis that unfolds logically, using relevant facts and examples?
- Has the information been clearly and effectively communicated to the reader?
- Watch out for “paragraph sprawl,” which occurs when the writer loses focus and veers from the topic by introducing unnecessary details.
- Is the sentence structure varied? Is the word choice precise?
- Do the transitions between sentences and paragraphs help the reader’s understanding?
- Does the concluding paragraph communicate the value and meaning of the thesis and key supporting ideas?
If the essay is still missing the mark, take another look at the topic sentence. A solid thesis statement leads to a solid essay. Once the thesis works, the rest of the essay falls into place more easily.
4. Editing the Expository Essay
Next, proofread and correct errors in grammar and mechanics, and edit to improve style and clarity. While an expository essay should be clear and concise, it can also be lively and engaging. Having a friend read the essay helps writers edit with a fresh perspective.
5. Publishing the Expository Essay
Sharing an expository essay with a teacher, parent, or other reader can be both exciting and intimidating. Remember, there isn’t a writer on earth who isn’t sensitive about his or her own work. The important thing is to learn from the experience and use the feedback to make the next essay better.
Essay writing is a huge part of a education today. Most students must learn to write various kinds of essays during their academic careers, including different types of expository essay writing:
- Definition essays explain the meaning of a word, term, or concept. The topic can be a concrete subject such as an animal or tree, or it can be an abstract term, such as freedom or love. This type of essay should discuss the word’s denotation (literal or dictionary definition), as well as its connotation or the associations that a word usually brings to mind.
- Classification essays break down a broad subject or idea into categories and groups. The writer organizes the essay by starting with the most general category and then defines and gives examples of each specific classification.
- Compare and contrast essays describe the similarities and differences between two or more people, places, or things. Comparison tells how things are alike and contrast shows how they are different.
- Cause and effect essays explain how things affect each other and depend on each other. The writer identifies a clear relationship between two subjects, focusing on why things happen (causes) and/or what happens as a result (effects).
- “How to” essays, sometimes called process essays, explain a procedure, step-by-step process, or how to do something with the goal of instructing the reader.
Time4Writing Teaches Expository Essay Writing
Time4Writing essay writing courses offer a highly effective way to learn how to write the types of essays required for school, standardized tests, and college applications. A unique online writing program for elementary, middle school, and high school students, Time4Writing breaks down the writing process into manageable chunks, easily digested by young writers. Students steadily build writing skills and confidence, guided by one-on-one instruction with a dedicated, certified teacher. Our middle school Welcome to the Essay and Advanced Essay courses teach students the fundamentals of writing essays, including the expository essay. The high school Exciting Essay Writing course focuses in depth on the essay writing process with preparation for college as the goal. The courses also cover how to interpret essay writing prompts in testing situations. Read what parents are saying about their children’s writing progress in Time4Writing courses.