How to Write an Expository Essay: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Write an Expository Essay: A Step-by-Step Guide

Leave No Questions Unanswered

  • Define expository essay. The first thing you have to pay attention to when you are assigned to write an such an essay is to answer the question ‘What is an expository essay?' Unlike many other types of academic papers, there is nothing tricky about the definition here: this is an essay that explains the object or phenomenon under consideration. In such an essay, you are to describe something without being metaphoric. None of the reader's senses should be involved when he or she reads your essay. The expository essay definition may be complemented with some features. In most cases, this is a five-paragraph paper. It is quite convenient because the introduction and conclusion that are very concise don't allow you to give a lot of unnecessary details.
  • Find out what citation style to use. Before you proceed to write, make sure you understand the format in which you are to submit your essay, whether it is APA, MLA, Harvard or any other style.
  • Make sure you understand your topic. An essay has to be clear and unbiased. So, you should understand every single word in your topic. Usually, it is not enough to google the term you don’t know. Its essence may lie in the etymology of the word. Consult trusted dictionaries. Turn to your teacher or ask a fellow student to help you.

Find the Right Source of Inspiration

There are no images in this kind of essays. Even if you have to explain economic and social reasons for famine in an African nation, you can't make your paper more vivid by picturing the everyday life of starving people. If you have to write about global warming, never make predictions about what awaits the humankind. The history of your country described in your essay can't be enriched with the pictures of your grandfathers' great deeds. The ultimate goal of these essays as a high-school and college assignment is to teach you to present the information as it is and in an unemotional manner, for lack of a better word. So, you will never find the inspiration in novels and writers' experience, which are great for other essay types, by the way. To understand how to write an expository essay, read research articles from the credible scientific journals. You can also find the best expository essay examples in your library. Searching online is not prohibited either. But, please, mind that some of them are only ‘the best' because website admins claim so.

Choose the Right Sources

Just like any other type of academic writing, these essays require reliable sources. Don't use any free encyclopedias, blogs, and forums. They are only allowed in the very first stages of your research when you are trying to understand what your topic is about and how you can present it. Besides, you can only use them for the insight into the subject matter, and you can't cite them, even if you could imagine what an impression it would make on your teacher! If a student uses someone's superficial judgments (which are, in most cases, contained in blogs and, sometimes, even in Wiki) to create something ‘unprejudiced,' he or she hardly understands the expository essay definition and its aims.

Outline Your Expository Essay

Sadly, outlining is considered as unnecessary by many students. While some of them merely enumerate the parts of the essay in their so-called outlines, others just skip it. As a result, their papers are unstructured and often pointless. Besides, writing them takes plenty of time. An experienced essay writer will never neglect the outline, as it has been proven to be one of the most potent tools in writing anything. An expository essay outline presupposes a clear structure, which is not hard to embody.

The General Expository Essay Outline Pattern

No matter what your topic is, your expository essay outline will include the following parts:

1. The Introduction

  • The thesis statement. It has to be clear and uncontroversial.
  • The hook. In case of an expository essay, starting with a joke, for example, is not the best choice. You can choose an exciting fact or unexpected stats to interest your readers.

2. The Main Body

  • Paragraph #1
  • A topic sentence.
  • The main arguments. They are not necessary for your outline, but thinking about them now will save you lots of time later.
  • A transition sentence. These are written in your expository essay and indicated in the outline to make your essay smooth and coherent.
  • Paragraph #2
  • A topic sentence. Mind that topic sentences are not connected with each other. They can in no way result from each other either. These are independent statements contributing to exploring the subject matter of your expository essay.
  • The main arguments.
  • A transition sentence.
  • Paragraph #3
  • A topic sentence.
  • The main arguments.

3. The Conclusion

  • Restating the thesis. You should paraphrase your thesis not to repeat it word for word. You can't change its central idea, of course. But you can add some perspective based on the arguments used in your essay.
  • The final words. This classic part of essay writing is challenging to diversify in the expository essay. In other essay types, you can provide the final impression on your reader using a rhetorical question or presumptions about the future. In an expository essay, you can only draw a ‘dry' conclusion from everything said above. Make it strong.

The Peculiarities of Writing an Expository Essay

Although the outline is an enormous part of your work, it is not everything. What you’ve got up to this moment is:

  • You can define expository essay and know what is expected from you;
  • You have chosen one of the best expository essay topics;
  • You have selected the sources;
  • You have the outline which is the ultimate strategy for your writing.

Now, it is time to conduct a profound research and put your ideas into words. While writing, use short sentences. Choose the proper vocabulary. Exclude the following:

  • Short forms and colloquial language;
  • Metaphors and unnecessary epithets;
  • Assonances, alliterations, and other literary devices aimed at creating imagery;
  • Cliches, like ‘in other words,' ‘in conclusion,' etc. They make your essay too wordy, which can spoil the overall impression.

How to Write an Expository Essay: Final Remarks

When your essay is completed, you have to proofread it thoroughly. There is nothing more disappointing than grammar and spelling mistakes in a valuable research. To avoid typos, use grammar checkers. But you can't fully trust them, as they don't indicate all the mistakes. Besides, you have to reread every sentence to check if they make sense. Ask somebody to read your essay before you hand it in. It can be your friend or a fellow student. Ask them ‘What is an expository essay?' and whether your paper meets these requirements. There is nothing wrong with it. Mind that every professional essay writer relies on a team of proofreaders and editors.

The opinion that expository essays are written with no effort is a little shallow. Just like other top-notch academic papers, the best expository essay examples demand hard work and the closest attention. Choosing one of expository essay topics, creating an outline and in-depth research are the essential elements that make your expository essay unmatched.