Guide on How to Write an Expository Essay: All You Need to Know
- February 14, 2016/
What is an Expository Essay?
An expository essay is a type of academic writing in which an author informs the audience about a particular idea, book, movie, event or series of events, or any other chosen subject. The central purpose of such type of essay is to research or investigate an idea while gathering enough supporting evidence and then presenting an understandable point of view or argument on the chosen topic. The expository essay requires a writer to do extensive research to provide a deep insight into the topic.
Furthermore, an expository essay is a kind of writing that tends to explain, illustrate, or clarify something in a way that it becomes clear for readers. Contrary to other types of essay, a writer usually does not have a subjective opinion on a given topic. Thus, the writing style should be unbiased. Pay attention that expository essays are usually based on facts, and, therefore, a you should not include any of your personal feelings or emotions while writing such an essay.
Types of an Expository Essay
Although the primary goals remain the same, there are various types of an expository essay that you can write.
- Cause and Effect Essays. Undoubtedly, cause and effect papers are the most popular types of essays in academic writing. The main purpose of such works is to investigate the reasons that caused something and then, discuss the results or effects. Here, you need to answer the two key questions: “Why did something happen?” and “What is/might be the outcome of this?” The technique mentioned above will help you build a better cause-and-effect outline so that you would be able to write a meaningful essay.
- Problem and Solution Essays. Such essays are aimed at describing a problem related to a particular situation or topic and suggesting solutions or recommended actions to this problem. Such essays require you to examine the chosen subject from different angles and perspectives. That way you would be able to find the best solution for the given problem. Consequently, you need to convince your audience that the proposed solution is the best one.
- Comparison and Contrast Essays. A comparison and contrast essay requires you to choose several things and make a contrast between them. This type of expository essay focuses on the similarities and differences of two or more notions, objects, or any other options. You also need to make sure that the research of the given subject was done well enough so that you would be able to outline every aspect of it. Sometimes, you might be required to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of chosen things or objects.
- Process Essays. Sometimes such essays are also called “how-to-essays.” Often, these essays are designed to explain a process or procedure of making or breaking something. In fact, such an essay provides a step-by-step approach to doing something. A process essay is often written in a chronological sequence. Such essays require the writer to have enough knowledge to explain the chosen process or procedure so that the common reader would easily comprehend it.
All in all, among these types, you have to choose the most suitable type according to the instructions given by your professor or instructor.
Finding a Suitable Topic for an Expository Essay
The process of finding a suitable topic for an expository essay might seem difficult, however, in reality, it is not. Firstly, you should choose something that interests you or is relevant. Then, you proceed with finding the materials and sources for the chosen topics. You should thoroughly analyze them in order to use the information you gathered. In fact, the expository essay is, indeed, very versatile. There is a wide variety of topics to choose from, and, as a result, you can write about everything you find relevant or just simply like.
Here is a list of topics that might give you a clear understanding of what you can choose to write about in the expository essay:
- The History of Starbucks;
- How to Start Loving Yourself?
- BTS, the Band That Changed K-Pop;
- The Role of Science in Our Lives;
- The Impact of Video Games on the Brain;
- How to Improve Your Writing Skills?
- Five Movies You Should Watch;
- How to Avoid Toxic Relationships?
- The Process of Making Beer;
- Why Are Scholars Important in Media Studies?
- The Use of Alternative Sources of Energy;
- Effects of Physical Exercise on the Cognitive Functions in Older Adults.
Pre-writing Tips from Our Academic Writers
As it was mentioned above, you should start working on your expository essay by choosing the topic of your interest or the topic which was given to you by the instructor. Then, you should find materials from which you would be taking necessary information. Depending on your type of expository essay, you should start by creating an outline to assist you in writing this particular piece of work. In addition, before writing, you should properly allocate your time. That means that you should clearly distribute a specific amount of time to work on each part of the essay. That way you would efficiently use your time, and the process of writing would only bring joy to you.
There are many ways and approaches to write a great essay. Yet, almost all expository essays follow the same basic steps. For instance, one productive method of writing is called the POET method. An abbreviation stands for “Purpose, Organization, Evidence, Thesis.”
“P” for Purpose. This step requires you to define the purpose of writing an expository essay. At most times, you are given a topic by your instructor or teacher. In other cases, it is up to you to select a particular topic. It should also be noted that strong essays are consistent throughout the whole structure. That means that you should never deviate from a central purpose of your expository essay.
“O” for Organization. Your expository essay should be well-organized in five or more body paragraphs. Usually, an essay contains an introductory paragraph, main body paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph. These components of an essay organization are of vital importance concerning the requirements of academic writing.
“E” for Evidence. This point requires you to present an idea while backing it with the evidence from the outside sources. Moreover, your sources should be reputable and credible. When you use specific information to provide evidence that might be unknown to a common reader, then you should cite it properly. Referencing is very crucial as it demonstrates that you were thoroughly researching your topic. In addition, proper citing would also prevent you from accusations of plagiarism.
“T” for Thesis. Apparently, a thesis statement is one of the essential parts of every essay. The thesis sentence or two include the main idea of your essay. Furthermore, it informs the reader about content and the main idea of the particular essay.
The Beginning of Writing — Introduction
Like other essays, an expository paper consists of an introductory paragraph, which includes the thesis statement and background information, the main body paragraphs that support the statement, and a conclusion paragraph that summarizes all central points and restates thesis statement. The primary purpose of an expository essay is to give a logical explanation of the selected object or phenomena.
First and foremost, you should start writing your essay by creating an appropriate title. That means that you have to come up with a catchy topic that might turn out interesting for a majority of readers. Next, based on your topic, you should start writing an introductory paragraph. Introduction part provides an opportunity to make a first positive impression. A well-developed introductory paragraph consists of a hook sentence, context and background information, and a strong thesis statement.
Hook. The first sentence of your essay informs the audience about your topic. This sentence might contain a quotation, statistics, some interesting facts, or anything else you find catchy. Here is an example of an excellent hook sentence: “Any achievement in business is never accomplished by a single person; a team of skilled members from diversified fields is always needed.”
Background information. Here you should introduce the chosen topic because some readers might be unfamiliar with it. You could provide general information or history about the chosen topic or subject.
Thesis statement. Undoubtedly, a thesis statement is one of the crucial things in your essay because it encompasses the whole idea of an expository essay. It might also serve as a guide for readers. Usually, your thesis statement is the last sentence of the introductory paragraph that presents an argument or a claim to the reading audience. The rest of the paper is aimed at gathering and organizing evidence that will support your thesis statement.
For instance, you are writing an expository essay about the factors that fuel Syrian conflict, and you developed such thesis: “Therefore, the essay aims at examining the factors and their role in the conflict fueling since they require a profound analysis, which takes into account their interrelations.” This thesis is too general. It does not tell the reader where are you heading with it. Moreover, it does not address any specific examples or claims that will be described later in the essay.
Alternatively, a strong thesis statement should look like this: “Even though The UN and other major world powers are willing to solve the Syrian conflict, the prediction for the positive outcome might be disrupted due to the factors of non-natural borders, propaganda, the role of the outside state, and the president’s biased actions.” Such a thesis statement gives a clear understanding of the exact factors which are going to be addressed in your expository essay.
Body paragraphs are the most significant part of your expository essay. They present enough evidence on the arguments or claims stated in your thesis. Try to limit each paragraph to one idea. The number of paragraphs is not specified. However, you should write as much as you need to analyze the chosen topic thoroughly. In most cases, the recommended amount is varying from three to five paragraphs. In order to write great main body paragraphs, try to design them in the following manner:
l Topic sentence — Fact — Supporting Sentence (evidence) — Conclusion Sentence
The first sentence of each body paragraph is called a topic sentence. It announces what you are going to discuss in this paragraph. Moreover, when you mention facts discovered during your research on the topic, support them with appropriate evidence. However, do not forget to cite all the outside sources used in your expository essay. Otherwise, you will be accused of plagiarism. The last sentence of each body paragraph should summarize information stated in that paragraph. It is also important to use linking words as they make your essay coherent. In addition, they make your essay flow in an understandable manner from one point to another.
The last paragraph of your expository essay should contain the restatement of the thesis, summarized facts, and evidence provided in the main body paragraphs, or even propose the next steps for further research or discussion. It is here where you should restate your thesis statement. There is no need to include information that was stated in the introductory paragraph. Instead, try to summarize the key points and results that were researched and found by you in the main body. In addition, you should make sure that the final sentence in your expository essay should be rather a global statement based on the given information or a call to action that gives the reader a signal that the discussion has come to an end.
After you are done with writing your expository essay, you should start proofreading and revising it. The first step would be revising grammar, punctuation, spelling, or style errors. Be sure to proofread each part of your expository essay. The next step would be removing repetitive sentences or words. Look for synonyms that can be used to make your essay look vivid. Also, revise your essay in such a way that it sounds coherent for you. Analyze the flow of your essay. A good way to check whether your expository essay is consistent will be reading it aloud. Then, you will definitely hear what parts are in need of revising. If some paragraphs seem redundant, cut information that is not specifically related to your topic. At last, check whether you have properly cited all the outside sources.
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