Anyone who has ever been a student, be it in high school or college, should’ve probably faced an expository essay at least once. It is one of the most common types of writing assignments faced by students. Just like other academic papers, an expository essay can be rather hard to write. But, despite this, it is one of the best types of assignments in terms of freedom and creativity.
Working on this type of essay can be easy and even fun, but only if you know what you are doing. And we are here to help you with this. In this article, you will find a comprehensive expository writing definition, a step-by-step writing guide, topic examples, and other handy tips that will help you get the highest grade.
To define the meaning and purpose, it is vital to understand what the word “expose” means. According to the general definition, to expose stands for laying something bare, uncovering, or revealing something. Respectively, an expository essay has a sole purpose to clarify, explicate, or explain something that was previously unknown in such a way to make it clear and understandable for a reader.
This type of essay can offer readers an argumentation, evaluation, clarification, or an investigation about some idea or concept. This type of writing is very common in schools and colleges. Students of all academic levels can face this assignment, which is why it is vital to know how to write an expository essay.
Now that you know the expository writing definition, one more thing you need to know is that there are multiple types of such essays. Although all types share some common features, each type of expository essay has certain peculiarities and requires a different approach.
This type is the most creative one. As you can understand from its name, this paper is used to describe or define something - it can be pretty much anything, including a person, event, place, object, etc.
The key thing to keep in mind is that your goal is not just to describe the chosen object, but to do it in a way that engages and fascinates the readers. That’s why, in your description, you need to try to engage all five senses of your reader - sight, smell, touch, sound, and taste. Also, this type of essay encourages you to use vivid adjectives to create the right atmosphere in your story.
Another type is cause and effect.
The core goal of such work is to identify the cause and effect connection between some events and explain it to the readers.
As the basis for your cause and effect essay, you can pick pretty much anything, for example, a historical event, a global issue like cimat change, a personal issue like drug addiction or sleep deprivation, etc.
Once you have picked the topic, you need to analyze its causes and effects. Also, you need to support your ideas with real facts and examples.
The next type of essay is a bit similar to the cause and effect essay. The only difference is that it analyzes a problem and, instead of listing the effects, suggests possible solutions.
The main goal of this paper is to study an existing problem in detail.
You need to look at different sides and aspects of an issue to identify probable solutions. Also, apart from suggesting solutions, you need to persuade the readers that your suggestions are justified and effective. This form is one of the hardest ones to handle. It requires thorough research and critical analysis.
A process essay is also called a how-to essay.
It is a paper that strives to break down a specific process, explaining each step in detail.
It can be anything: from saving money to cooking lasagna.
To handle this task, you need to pick a process you want to discuss and break it down into smaller steps. Then, you have to write a step-by-step guide on how to get from the point “A” to the result.
To give you an example here, you can write a process essay on “How to write a research paper” and divide this process into the following steps:
The last type you can face at school or college is a compare and contrast essay.
The main purpose of this essay is taking two objects and comparing them.
But, at the same time, you need to show a clear contrast between the objects (i.e. show how one is worse or better than another). To do this right, a student is required to define the subjects in question, show what similar features they have, and emphasize differences.
The subjects for comparison can vary. For example, you can compare and contrast two books or movies, two genres of music, two different types of sports, two colleges, etc.
Just like all other essays, it is a rather short piece of writing. Typically, it should be between 500 to 800 words in length. Given its small word count, such essays look best with a standard five-paragraph structure.
Here is the most effective way to structure your paper:
If you were assigned to write an expository essay, the first thing you should do is to identify your objectives. This type of essay is much different from other types of essays. Unlike other papers, it strives to offer a perspective on some subject rather than argue about something.
Also, you should remember that there are different types of expository essays. Depending on the type you were assigned to do, you may take a different approach to the writing process and pursue a different purpose. So, be sure to clearly identify your objective and keep it in mind throughout the entire process.
The next step is outlining your future essay. In fact, many students tend to skip this step and jump straight to writing. Needless to say that the latter can do more harm than good.
A detailed outline is your best helper when it comes to essay writing. It helps you organize your ideas, define the correct structure for your paper, and ensure a logical and smooth flow of your essay. Also, having an outline can significantly reduce the time you spend on writing the paper itself. It is your step-by-step instruction on what to write, where to start, and what information to provide.
An outline should consist of all parts that will be inherent in your essay. Here is a sample of a good expository essay outline:
Please note that the structure of your outline may differ depending on the type of essay you were assigned with. Thus, it is vital to keep in mind the peculiarities of the specific type.
As you already know, every essay consists of an introduction, several body paragraphs, and a conclusion. When you finally get to writing your paper, you will most likely begin with an introduction, so let’s define how to make it right.
If you are wondering how to start your essay, the best way to do it is to use a hook. The hook is a trick used to drive the reader’s attention and encourage them to continue reading. It can be a shocking fact, statistics, rhetorical question, quote, or anything else that grabs attention and is relevant to your topic.
After the hook, you should provide some background information to make the topic clear to your readers. It is enough to use 2-3 sentences to provide the context for the topic. After this, make a clear thesis statement that demonstrates your stance and opinion on the topic.
After your killer introduction is ready, you can move on to writing your body paragraphs. As we said earlier, the best approach is to stick to the five-paragraph essay structure, which means you should have three body paragraphs.
It is important that you only present one idea in each body paragraph and focus on analyzing it. Each of your body paragraphs should begin with a topic sentence that represents the main idea. It should be followed by the discussion of that idea and supporting arguments.
Also, at the end of each paragraph, you should make a transition to the next one. This will help you ensure a logical and smooth flow of the information within your text.
There is one thing you should bear in mind - although what you write in the main body of your text matters, it is your introduction and conclusion that make the biggest impression on the reader. Thus, these two sections have to be flawless.
To make a good introduction, you should provide a summary of your key points followed by a restated thesis statement. To make your essay look complete, it is also a good idea to include some kind of a clincher that gives readers food for thought.
A big part of the success of your essay is pre-determined by the topic you choose. Choosing the right topic is just as important as writing a high-quality text, which is why we encourage you to choose expository essay topics thoughtfully.
To find inspiration, check out our list of great expository essay ideas for different essay types:
So, we’ve already discussed the essence of an expository essay, its structure, basic writing steps, and possible topics that can help you create a top-notch paper. What else do you need to know?
In order to create an essay that will impress your professor and bring you a high grade, you should ensure that your work is flawless. Here are some of the handiest tips to help you with that:
Hopefully, after reading this article you know what is an expository essay and how to write it. In this guide, we’ve looked at this type of writing in detail and shared some of the most effective tips for handling it.
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