How to Write an Expository Essay

How to Write an Expository Essay

Do you want to know how to write an expository essay? There are a couple of things you need to note first. The expository essay:

  • Is written to explain, define, inform and describe things
  • Is not written with the purpose of arguing a point or serving as an opinion piece.
  • Does not need the use of ‘I think’ since you are supposed to keep the essay and yourself as separate entities. Additionally, this also gives you greater professionalism and high level of independence.

While the process of writing an expository essay might appear overwhelming it is easy when you follow a step by step process.

Tips on how to write an expository essay

  • Start by planning-purpose of essay

Define the purpose of writing the essay. This should include reasons you chose to write the essay and what you intend to achieve by the time you are done with reading the essay. If you are writing the essay for an assignment, make sure to thoroughly read assignment and if you have any questions, ask for clarifications from your instructor.

  • Determine the audience

Think of the people who will be reading your essay. Knowing what they expect and what their needs helps you deliver a high quality essay.

  • Generate ideas

Before you start writing your essay, take time to come up with ideas and write them on paper. Invention activities such as questioning, listing and free writing come in handy.

Sections of an expository essay

The introduction

If you know how to write an expository essay, you already know the importance of having a compelling introduction. The introduction is supposed to lead your reader into your topic and clarify what your essay is dealing with.

Usually, it is comprised of one paragraph though this is dependent on the essays length and the background information it needs. The introduction is supposed to contain a key sentence that is a representation of the threat running through the entire essay. This is known as the thesis statement.

Begin your introduction with a sentence that engages your reader to get into the topic. The introduction should discuss your topic immediately. Bear in mind the introduction is supposed to identify main idea of the essay and serve as a preview.

The body

This is the main part of your essay. In an expository essay, it is divide into 2 or 3 paragraphs, giving reasons and opinion. Every paragraph should have 5 to 7 sentences.

The conclusion

This is the end of your essay and usually is a short paragraph comprised of three sentence. Often, the idea here is similar to that in the introduction but more developed. It summarizes that the essay is all about.

  • Rephrase and restate the thesis-The first sentence of your conclusion should restate your thesis. However, note that it is not just a matter of restating but also indicating the evidence you have come across to support your thesis.
  • Review and summarize man ideas-Use one sentence to summarize each supporting evidence as it is presented in the essay body. Under no circumstances should you introduce any new information in the conclusion. It is advisable to revisit the most compelling clams and discuss how they can support your main point.
  • Offer a final call to action/thought-You should use the last sentence of your essay to make the final statement regarding the topic. In this case, you can either ask a question regarding the topic or offer a solution. You can accomplish this by explaining how your topic affects your reader or by calling the reader to further explore the topic or better still presenting new questions introduced in the body of the essay.

This essay is an ideal example of how to write an expository essay.

The Prompt

Your essays foundation is its first response to the prompt. The more considered and thoughtful the central thesis, the higher the chance that your essay will showcase great insight and sophistication.

Examples of prompts include:

  • What invention would the world be better off without and why?
  • What confuses you most in life, and why?

While your response to the prompt might be a single sentence in the introduction, it is important to take your time and create one that demonstrates in-depth thinking.

Make an outline

If you want to know how to write an expository essay, it is important to understand the importance of working with an outline. Get your ideas on paper and once done with this, organize them into a suitable outline before you start writing. This is important as it ensures you do not leave out any important points while writing your essay- see the whole sample here.

Find the right sources

Review guidelines for your assignment or talk to your instructor in case you have any questions regarding the kind of sources to use. Magazine articles, scholarly journals, trustworthy websites and newspaper article are just some of the sources you should consider using. Make sure you carry out thorough research on your topic before you commence with the writing.

Evaluate the credibility of your sources before using them

Before you make a decision on whether a source you intend to use is trustworthy or not, there are a couple of things you need to consider:

  • First, identify the author of the material as well as his or her credentials. Think of what makes them experts in the subject under discussion. If you come across a source that lacks an author or the author lacks enough credentials, then that source is not trustworthy.
  • Check citations to see whether the author carried out thorough research on the topic. The information they provide should be rich in sources as an indication they can be trusted.
  • Be on the lookout for bias. The author should be in a position to present well-reasoned and well-presented objectives. If they appear to be biased, the source cannot be trusted.
  • Consider when the material was published and ensure the material you provide is up to date
  • Cross check information in the source. If you have concerns about a source, cross check information against another trustworthy source.
Express main points of the essay

Knowing how to write an expository essay requires patience and practice. You have to determine the number of paragraphs. Ideally, expository essays have 5 paragraphs though they can be more if need be.

  • If you are working on a 5 paragraph essay, make sure it has three body paragraphs. Each body paragraph is supposed to discuss supporting evidence of your thesis.
  • Even in cases where the essay is more than 5 paragraphs, similar rule are applicable. Each paragraph must have supporting evidence.

How to write an expository essay- the basics

Now that you understand what writing an expository essay entails, it is time to look at basics you should never forget:

  • Make sure that the wording is clear and concise
  • Use second person while writing the essay
  • Decide on which method of development to use: compare and contrast, define, classify, cause and effect, analyze. This is important as it helps define your style of writing and more importantly, it helps you write an excellent essay.
  • Write your thesis statement and make sure that each paragraph has topic sentences.
  • For your essay to be a successful one, it is crucial that you emphasize important points. Be factual rather than subjective and ensure the information you have is valid.
  • Conclusions should restate your argument, summarize facts, give next steps needed to carry out thorough research
  • Keep the writing brief and concise
  • Each paragraph is supposed to cover one topic and every sentence should present new ideas
  • To ensure your essay flows smoothly, use transitory sentences and words. Connect sentences by use of words such as for example, however or such as. Connect paragraphs as well by use of topic sentences that refer back to preceding thesis statement or paragraph.

Visit this link for additional sample essays.


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