How to Write an Expository Essay

Published by at August 17th, 2021 , Revised On September 21, 2021

Expository means “to describe or explain something”. Whenever there is a need to gather research and describe an idea, a topic, or a process clearly and logically, it is done in the form of an expository essay.

An expository essay requires the writer to take a balanced approach to the subject matter rather than justifying a particular point of view.

Expository essays are assigned to students to evaluate their subject knowledge and composition skills. When compared with argumentative essays, they involve a lot less research.

Definition of Expository Essay

“The expository essay is the type of essay that involves an investigation of an idea or topic, appraises relevant supporting evidence material, and presents an argument in a clear and concise manner. ”

When to Write an Expository Essay?

Your school or university could assign an expository essay to you as coursework or as part of an online exam.

However, the guidelines may or may not clearly state that your assignment is an expository essay. If that is the case, then look for keywords lie ‘explain’, ‘describe’, ‘define’, etc. to be sure that what has been asked is an expository essay.

You might even be asked to explain and emphasize a particular concept or term. Writing a simple definition will not be enough because you will be expected to explore the ideas in detail.

Writing an Expository Essay

An expository essay should not be based on your personal experiences and opinions. It rather takes an objective approach. You will be expected to explain the topic in a balanced way without any personal bias.

Make sure to avoid the first and second person (“I” and “You”) when writing an expository essay.

How to Structure an Expository Essay?

The structure and format of your expository essay assignment will depend on your school’s guidelines and the topic you are investigating. However, it is always a good idea to develop an outline for your essay before starting to work.

The Five-Paragraph Essay Writing Approach

An expository essay will require you to take the five-paragraph essay approach: An introductory paragraph, main body paragraphs, and the concluding paragraph.

Rationale and Thesis Statement

Start your essay with a rationale and thesis, also known as the thesis statement, so your readers know what you set out to achieve in your expository essay assignment.

Make sure the thesis statement is narrow enough to follow the guidelines provided in the assignment brief. If the thesis statement is weak and too broad, you will struggle to produce a flawless expository essay.

The Framework

Construct a framework, so you know what elements will constitute the basis of your essay.

Expository Essay Introduction

Like other essay types, an expository essay begins with an introduction, including a hook, background to the topic, and a thesis statement. Once you have grabbed the readers’ interest, it will be easier to get them to read the remaining essay.

 

 

Expository Essay Main Body  

The main body should have a minimum of three paragraphs, each consisting of a topic sentence, an explanation of one general idea, and a concluding sentence.

Each body paragraph should share a logical relationship with the introduction paragraph’s thesis statement to create ease of readability and understanding for the readers.

Main body paragraphs allow the writer to provide an in-depth explanation of the topic. The main body should include a minimum of three paragraphs, although you can add more paragraphs for more extended essays.

There should be clear and logical transitions between the main body paragraphs. Transitions are the cement that holds your essay together. If your essay doesn’t progress logically, the readers will find it hard to grasp the argument you presented.

 

Expository Essay Conclusion

The conclusion paragraph consists of a “summary sentence,” which provides a broad summary of your research on the topic, an overview sentence (s) that must be connected to the key theme of the essay, and a key takeaway emphasizing the importance of the research work completed. The “key takeaway” sentence summarises the key point that you want the readers to take away from your essay.

Avoid presenting any new information in the conclusion section. Here, you must only reinforce the points that were made in the earlier sections.

 

Purpose of an Expository Essay

So what is the purpose of an expository essay?

Expository essays explain an idea or a set of ideas, a topic, or a process. An expository essay does not require you to provide your personal opinion about the subject matter. You need to explain in a clear and concise manner through research and argumentation.

 

About Grace Graffin

"Grace has a bachelor's and a master's degree from Loughborough University, so she's an expert at writing a flawless essay. She has worked as a professional writer and editor, helping students of at all academic levels to improve their academic writing skills."