What Is an Expository Essay — Writing Guide for Students

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"What is an expository essay?" – is the question students keep asking now and then. Let us cover the basics first. According to the generally accepted expository essay definition, the is a type of academic writing that requires the student to research the idea, fact, process and provide readers with strong arguments to define, explain, clarify, and describe a specific aspect of the topic. The purpose of this kind of essay, therefore, is to explain, describe or define a particular topic, process or any other thing, depending on the initial topic of the essay.

Purpose of an Expository Essay

If you keep googling for 'expository essay meaning,' you shouldn't forget to pay attention to the general format, rules, and style. It will prevent you from making any common mistakes connected with the failure to understand the purpose of the expository essay. Remember, that the purpose of an expository essay is to give a logical and straightforward explanation of the topic, so make sure to double-check everything before submitting your paper.

Useful Tips on Writing an Expository Essay Properly

Is writing an expository essay too challenging for you? Fret not! With the help of some additional sources, such as our article, you'll be able to get the hang of it in no time at all. Before embarking on your first draft, take some time to brainstorm and analyze sources which might help you, such as essay samples and credible scientific monographs and studies. And while you're at it, don't forget to use our expository essay tips not to forget any significant detail.

  • Provide only facts, not opinions. Rely on trustworthy sources, and avoid using stereotypes and biases as your main statements.
  • Start with a "hook" sentence. A 'hook,' which can be a quote, anecdote, interesting fact, or relevant statistics, is the best way to start this kind of essay.
  • Each new paragraph of the body should have its main, or topic, sentence. That is the very first sentence which informs your readers about the main idea of the next text passage. Make it informative, clear and concise.
  • Except for a topic sentence, each of the paragraphs should contain some evidence to support the facts provided therein.
  • Avoid the first and second person, using the third person instead. You do not write about yourself, so there is no need to reach out to your readers like this.
  • Use anecdotes, comparisons, scientific researches, and statistics if it matches your overall idea and the paper's topic
  • Avoid writing too much — be clear and specific.
  • It is also OK to use graphics and charts to help the reader understand your main point faster.
  • Stay creative. Although it is a common belief that this type of academic writing leaves no room for creativity, try not to get stuck on factual info and statistics. People are more likely to remember a more exciting and engaging essay than a dull and lifeless one.

Expository Essay Format Points

The structure of this kind of essay type is pretty much the same as that of the other essay types. The best way to handle the content is to follow the 5-paragraph structure. However, if there are more than five paragraphs in your essay, you may need to provide further explanation. Therefore, you'd be better off using the three-part structure, i.e., the Introduction, Body, and Conclusion, leaving the format unchanged. Your essay should start with the introduction containing a strong thesis statement, followed by the body paragraphs, stating your reasonable arguments in a logical order, and the conclusion that sums up everything you have written about in your paper.

Expository Essay Outline Sample

The overall success of your paper depends not only on the content but on the way your essay starts. The outline is the first thing which your readers will see, so make sure it relates to your paper's major topic, as well as matches the general formatting rules and your professor's requirements. Please, see below for an example of what an effective essay outline may look like:

  1. Introduction
    • Write a hook sentence
    • Add some background information/relevant context
    • Provide a powerful thesis statement
  2. Body Paragraph 1
    • Topic Sentence
    • Fact 1
    • Fact 2
    • Analysis
  3. Body Paragraph 2
    • Topic Sentence
    • Fact 1
    • Fact 2
    • Analysis
  4. Body Paragraph 3
    • Topic Sentence
    • Fact 1
    • Fact 2
    • Analysis
  5. Conclusion
    • Summarize your thesis statement / discuss the significance of your topic / expand aspects which need further investigation.

Approach your expository essay writing attentively, and you will succeed. We hope that our advice and writing tips will help you to deal with this assignment like a pro!