Expository Essay

21 May 2023

Every student will encounter an expository essay at some point in their study life. An expository essay explains a subject, a process, or an idea.


As the name suggests, it exposes. It does not bother to persuade the reader about a certain opinion. Expository writing is today's most common form of writing because it aims to educate the reader. If you are not a student, you will still encounter it in your daily life or work. Your expository writing skills might be handy when explaining a recipe or your work project. This article will give you step-by-step instructions on how to write excellent expository essays.

What Is Expository Writing?

Daily writing is likely expository, as its primary function is to inform the reader. Newspaper and magazine articles, blog posts, social media posts, and listicles are all examples of popular writing. Scientific studies, textbooks, and business communications are all included. Expository essay encompasses anything from day-to-day diary entries to in-depth reports on a professional endeavor, making them the most widespread type of writing in the world.

When writing an expository piece, remember that the purpose is merely to enlighten the reader, not to persuade them of anything. But it doesn't mean you can't spice up your explanation with some descriptive, narrative, or persuasive elements. When providing facts and numbers for persuasive writing, you naturally utilize tactics from an expository essay, but borrowing strategies from descriptive or narrative writing can make the information you express more alive in the reader's mind.

Make sure you use facts and reasoning rather than opinion or subjective truths when writing your expository essay. The reader of an expository essay should anticipate reliable information given coherently because it is, as one definition of an expository essay puts it, "a sort of writing that tries to uncover the facts about a certain issue." A good expository essay outline will help you organize your thoughts and research and see how everything will fit together in the end. The format of your expository essay will vary depending on the assignment, but an outline is always useful. 

The purpose of expository writing

The target audience of any piece of expository writing is the reader. However, the author's primary intent was not to entertain or persuade the reader, though these outcomes could result. Carefully produced expository writing shows the author knows their stuff and, often, how they learned it.


Types of Expository Essays

Different kinds of expository essays are used for different purposes and require different content. You can choose a topic easily when you know the different kinds of essays. Also, you can plan the structure of your essay well. Let's look at the most common ones.

  • Definition Essay

Definition essays are also known as descriptive essays. They can involve a literal definition of a topic. For example, you can be asked to define love, respect, loyalty, etc. However, they don't just give meanings. They also provide information that expands on the idea and explains it in depth. Definition essays focus on what, why, how, and the purpose of the topic. You can start by providing the dictionary meaning of a topic and continue to build the essay with the rest of the meaning.

  • Process Essay

Process essays discuss the procedure of doing something. For example, how to fix a bike pedal. The aim is to provide a step-by-step guide that can be followed without making mistakes. The common practice is to explain what the reader will learn in the introduction paragraph, explain the steps in the body paragraph, and explains why the lesson is important in the conclusion paragraph.

  • Compare and Contrast Essay

These essays analyze a subject to identify how similar it is or different from another. Keep in mind that the aim is only to provide information, not to discuss which is better than the other. Also, the subjects under discussion should belong to the same category. For example, you can compare traveling by plane with traveling by train. It is not sensible to compare traveling by plane with reading a novel.

  • Cause and Effect Essays

These essays talk about why something happens and its impacts. For example,` Impacts of phone addiction on academic performance. 

Such an essay conveys information and, at the same time, highlights the relationship between two subjects. It could be based on facts or assumptions as long as they are validated. You can choose to present all the causes first and follow with their effects, or You can choose to write one cause at a time and follow it with its effect right away.

  • Classification Essay

These types of essays split the topic into categories. They focus on what makes things different and, at the same time, what makes them fit in that category. A perfect example is what you are reading now. The paper explains what expository writing is and the categories that are there.


When should you write an expository essay?

Expository essays are common classroom activities, test questions, and course requirements at all educational levels.

Although it may not always be clear, specific keywords in an assignment description may indicate that you need to write expository writing. Think about the questions I've posed.


Determine what "free speech" means and how it is being used now.

Sometimes you need to explain what someone means by using a certain word or phrase. This question emphasizes going beyond a simple dictionary definition to consider other interpretations of the phrase.

Structure of an Expository Essay

Although there are many outline formulas for writing expository essays, the five-paragraph approach is the most common. This formula helps to develop a clear and easy-to-read text. The five paragraphs include:


Introduction Paragraph 


The introduction lets you explain what the paper will be about. Begin with a good hook to capture the attention of the reader. You can ask a question or state an interesting fact. Next, provide background information briefly describing the subject you want to discuss. Lastly, end the paragraph with a thesis statement. Write 1 or 2 sentences mentioning the topic that will be explained and how it will be explained.

Three Body Paragraphs


The body paragraphs discuss the information you are conveying in detail. Have 3 paragraphs that discuss separate ideas and provide supporting evidence. Start a paragraph by stating what it will contain. Then provide information and facts from credible sources. To wrap up, use a transition sentence. This sentence could also hint at what the next paragraph will be about.


Conclusion Paragraph


This paragraph reminds the reader of the key points you covered. Summarizes the main points of your work. Also, restate the thesis to let the reader see how the information fits with the thesis. Finish by explaining why you think the reader will find the content useful.


Expository Essay Outline

Now it's time to offer the evidence, but before you do so, double-check that every piece of material you're using is appropriately cited and comes from a reliable source. The quality of your sources is particularly crucial in an expository essay because its goal is to describe a topic adequately.

To cap off a paragraph in the body, use a transition sentence that either summarizes the paragraph's content or provides a preview of the content in the next paragraph. Essays benefit from transition sentences since they help the reader follow along by either summarizing previously covered material or defining the end of a section before moving on to the next.

Expository Essay Introduction

A reader will get the impression after reading the introduction. This paragraph introduces the topic of your essay to the reader. It serves as your first opportunity to make an impression. It's not easy to write an intriguing and informative opening, but if you stick to this outline, you'll succeed.

  • Introduction paragraph
  • Hook
  • Background information
  • A thesis statement or a sentence explaining the primary purpose of the essay
  • Transition sentence

The opening sentence of an essay's introduction paragraph, and the essay itself, is called a "hook." The purpose of a hook is to capture the attention of the reader. A compelling hook for an expository essay might grab the reader's attention in two ways: with a query or an interesting fact. Getting the reader engaged from the very beginning is a surefire way to make yourself stand out as a writer, whether working on an article or a school assignment.

The following sentences of the introductory paragraph should provide context for the discussion to follow. This doesn't need to be super specific, as you'll be expanding on these points in the body paragraphs, but it should be intriguing and relevant to the issue. After reading the preceding phrases, the reader should have a fundamental grasp of some important ideas and concepts that will form the basis of the paper's discussion.

The following section will contain the main argument or thesis. You should state the essay's thesis statement in one or two sentences. A thesis statement for an expository paper should specify the topic you are discussing and the means. Avoiding argument and persuasion in an explanatory essay's thesis statement is essential.

After stating your thesis, you can end the paragraph there or transition into the body paragraphs with a single sentence. This introductory phrase is more prevalent in articles than in research publications.

Expository Essay Body Paragraphs

Generally speaking, you should include your findings in the body paragraphs even while you don't have to construct an argument in an expository essay's body paragraphs. That doesn't give you free rein to merely dump material without any organization or structure. The standard essay format calls for three body paragraphs, each addressing a different subtopic within the more significant topic.

  • Body paragraph 1
  • Topic sentence about the first main idea or fact being presented
  • Supporting evidence and facts
  • Transition to the second body paragraph
  • Body paragraph 2
  • Topic sentence about the second main idea or fact being presented
  • Supporting evidence and facts
  • Transition to the third body paragraph
  • Body paragraph 3
  • Topic sentence about the third main idea or fact being presented
  • Supporting evidence and facts
  • Transition to the conclusion

Identify the three most important points you want to make about your issue and use those as the basis for three separate body paragraphs. Though it's tempting to include as much relevant material as possible, remember that a paper full of facts can be hard to read. The paragraphs in the body should provide information that the reader can understand and find engaging.

Use a topic phrase that summarizes the paragraph's focus at its outset. Ensure the reader understands how the topic sentence relates to the more extensive discussion.

Now it's time to offer the evidence, but before you do so, double-check that every piece of material you're using is appropriately cited and comes from a reliable source. The quality of your sources is particularly crucial in an expository essay because its goal is to describe a topic objectively.

To cap off a paragraph in the body, use a transition sentence that either summarizes the paragraph's content or provides a preview of the content in the next paragraph. Essays benefit from transition sentences since they help the reader follow along by either summarizing previously covered material or defining the end of a section before moving on to the next.

Expository Essay Conclusion

An expository essay's conclusion should repeat the premise and summarize the essay's important points to help the reader remember the paper's focus.

  • Conclusion
  • Summary of the main ideas
  • Restate the thesis statement or primary purpose
  • Final thoughts

You may summarize the crucial pieces of data by glancing at your topic phrases and transition sentences. Provide all the pertinent details for the reader to remember your argument.

Suppose you want your readers to grasp how the points you made in the body paragraphs relate to your overall argument. In that case, you should restate your thesis statement at the end of that section. Then, you should elaborate on the subject's significance, draw attention to relevant analogies, and single out novel interpretations of the data.

Expository Essay Topics

  • African University Students: Sociological Imagination and Problems
  • Talk about some of the things in life that make you happiest.
  • The Social Problem of Joblessness in Pakistan
  • What would happen if a curfew was imposed at 11 o'clock?
  • Outline what you anticipate will happen if mandatory busing were eliminated.
  • In this discussion, we will focus on quick cold remedies.
  • Impacts of Urbanization in India and the United Kingdom: Causes, Consequences, and Solutions
  • The Social Problem of Joblessness in Pakistan
  • Justify your choice of future occupation.
  • Can prejudice and bigotry really be eliminated?
  • Justify your position on the dangers of a meat-free (vegetarian) diet.
  • A 30-day plan to a new you (in a year, in 10 days etc.).
  • Think carefully about the repercussions of unprotected sexual activity.
  • Exactly what represents your culture and why?
  • Is it helpful to talk about how you feel?
  • Explain how modern methods of communicating have evolved.
  • Which book have you always wanted to write?
  • If you knew you were going to live forever, what would you do?
  • Create a new faith and explain its tenets.
  • How can one identify a liar and prevent them from lying again?
  • If depression is so common among young adults, why does it start so early?
  • To what extent does rock music incite violence?
  • In ten years, twenty-five years, fifty years, and a hundred years from now, what will it be like?
  • Recall some of your most memorable years. Explain why you have such a soft spot for them.
  • Helpful advice for standing up to bullies at school. How can we stop this from happening?
  • In what ways do you hope to affect global change?
  • Speculate on what the next big thing will be.
  • Does how you're feeling influence how well you remember things?
  • Examine the effects of obesity on national output and GDP.
  • Provide your reasons for accepting (or rejecting) the existence of extraterrestrial life.
  • What are some of the most significant sources of stress in your life, and how do you deal with them?
  • Managing one's money difficulties.
  • Things that make people happy, ranked.
  • Results of working while in school.
  • Fatness has negative repercussions in social life.
  • Must we try to build supercomputers?
  • How can we as a species handle the planet's burgeoning population?
  • The solution to the problem of emotional lows
  • The Grapes of Wrath Examines the Depression-Era Social and Economic Crisis in the United States
  • Influences, Both Positive and Negative, of Social Media
  • Provide some insight on the repercussions of working during high school.
  • Just how vital is it to understand the fundamentals of IT today?
  • Why is it essential for humanity to keep exploring space?
  • Justify the reluctance of certain young people to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.
  • The impact of social media on academic performance
  • Give some thought to the fallout of switching to a pass/fail grading system.
  • In your own words, please explain the aftereffects of World War II.


  • Consider the value of talking about mental health.
  • The Urbanization Dilemma: Causes, Effects, and Solutions in India and the United Kingdom
  • Justify your choice of apartment living and explain why it suits you better (or house).
  • Describe some of the outcomes you anticipate might result from your decision to abandon your education.
  • French Revolution Repercussions
  • School violence's main causes include social media's influence, mental health issues, and easy access to weapons.
  • Please list three ways in which you would wish to alter the world and provide an explanation for each.
  • Please elaborate on the potential repercussions of mandating childbearing licenses.
  • The abolition of capital punishment would likely have the following effects; please explain.
  • Outline why many teenagers find it hard to cope with their parents' divorce.
  • Walk me through some worst-case scenarios that could arise from mandating pupils wear school uniforms.
  • Discuss the factors that lead to the employment of certain teenagers.
  • Improvement of Social Conditions through the Study of Social Psychology
  • The Upsides and Downsides of Social Media
  • Share your thoughts on three items representing our culture and why you chose them.
  • New findings in the study of the human brain
  • Reasons for school violence include social media influence, mental health issues, and access to weapons.
  • Even in challenging family conditions, teens still love their parents, so please explain why.
  • The Grapes of Wrath Explores the Depression-Era Social and Economic Crisis
  • Causes of Isolation in Today's World
  • Please explain how you contribute to the household.
  • Using C.Wright Mills' Theory to Examine the Connection Between Private Struggles and Global Problems
  • Outline some worthwhile activities that students can engage in during their free time.
  • Theory of Violent Conflict as a Social Lens on Social Class
  • Causes of Isolation in Today's World
  • Justify the absence of open lunch rules at several educational institutions.
  • Analysis of Social Status via the Lens of Conflict Theory

Steps of Writing an Expository Essay

Now you know what an expository essay is and how it looks. How do you write it?

Follow these easy steps

  1. Understand the Guidelines

Before tackling the essay, read the requirements carefully. You may be given a topic, asked to write to a certain page length or use certain preferred sources. If you are not provided with a topic, choose one. Choose a topic that is interesting and easy to write. Also, consider what you learned in class or the kind of topics that your lecturer could be expecting you to write.

  1. Research