You know how to write all sorts of essays but an expository one has always befuddled you? In brief, the main purpose of this essay is to provide readers with information about a certain subject as well as to testify to your perfect grasp of it. Your mission is to inform in a comprehensive and concise manner without expressing your opinion. The following four-step guide will be particularly helpful in understanding the essence of an expository essay.
Instruction on How to Write a Good Expository Essay
Step 1: Decide on your topic
Here are typical types of expository essays:
- Explain the subject in a straightforward way.
- Divide an extensive subject area into sub-groups and categories.
- Draw a comparison between two or more elements.
- Come up with a solution to a certain problem.
- Give a detailed instruction on how to fulfill a particular task.
And some good expository essay topics that may be appropriate for abovementioned types:
- Why is water essential for the human body?
- What means of long-distance travel are there?
- How to weed out crime in your region?
- Learning tactics for foreign languages.
Evidently, these expository essay examples encompass plentiful aspects and details that need discussing. But don't feel blue, our tips will lead you straight to the top of your class!
First off, you may be given a certain topic, or the choice is left up to you. Whatever the case is, you should focus on your essay's topic. Of course, it is more advantageous for you to be able to choose a subject you are well-informed about. If you have that privilege, go for something that somehow engages you as you are probably going to bury yourself in the books and this process must be gripping.
Having chosen a subject area, you have to formulate a thesis statement. This will help you to define the scope of your essay precisely.
Step 2: Research and outline
There is one significant point that people always neglect – audience. You should ask your teacher about your target-audience if it is not mentioned in the instructions. Anyway, your main task is to persuade your readership of your perfect understanding of the subject by presenting your thoughts on paper in a comprehensible way.
One more point, you need to find dependable sources for digging up accurate and interesting information. Here are crucial points to remember when accessing other people's work:
- Author’s credentials: Does the author have qualifications to write about the subject?
- Respectable publisher: Is the work published by a reputable publishing house?
- Citations: Has the author used enough supporting information to back up his/her ideas?
- Prejudice: Does the work contain something that can prevent from maintaining objectivity?
- Work's up-to-dateness: Is the work relevant to the current state of affairs?
In short, you need to find credible information which corresponds to your set task and also furnish airtight proof to support your arguments. Having accomplished this, you may draw your expository essay outline
Step 3: Structure is important!
The five-paragraph essay is a happy medium and an exemplary template for your expository essay format. Here is its structure:
- Introduction (one paragraph)
- Main part (three paragraphs)
- Conclusion (one paragraph)
Stick to the instructions when writing an introduction to expository essays:
- The introduction must be concise and eye-catching. Attract readers' attention by starting with a focus statement followed by a short description of your subject matter. Do not present evidence at this point, save it for the main part.
- The three paragraphs of the main part must present different arguments but be relevant to the thesis statement you started with. Each paragraph has to begin with a clear topical sentence followed by supporting plausible proofs.
- The conclusion of your expository essay must mirror your focus statement encompassing all pieces of evidence you presented in the main part. Finish your essay with a potent closing statement that could make a difference.
Step 4: Revise your work
Firstly, flick through the whole essay and ask the following:
- Does the essay center around the set task?
- Does the introduction give an understanding of what the whole work will be about?
- Are subject matters covered logically?
- Is your proof up-to-date and referenced correctly?
- Does the conclusion sum up the work in a brief and straightforward manner?
- Have you adhered to the points being unbiased?
- Is your essay readable and informative?
Do not feel sorry for yourself while revising. Imagine yourself being a fierce critic to trace the subtlest slip-ups in your paper.
To bring your essay to the state of perfection, proofread it.
Run it through a spell-checker, then read unhurriedly from cover to cover, checking the following:
- Are there any grammatical or spelling errors?
- Are abbreviations, acronyms, and capitalization used correctly?
- Are your citations and references properly formatted?
- Does your document format correspond to all regulations?
An interesting topic, well-organized planning, the five-paragraph template, and a thorough revision are the ingredients for a successful expository essay. If you stick to this formula, everything will go smoothly.
The Process of Crafting an Expository Essay
Expository essays are mostly for academic purposes. Particularly, you are required to set forth an idea, investigate it, and present your argument in a thesis statement. Though it seems difficult, writing expository essays is a no-brainer.
- Put down the reasons for writing and objectives you plan to achieve.
- Think about your audience. Focus on the expectations and needs of your readership. Also, make a note of the things you need to bear in mind.
- If your essay is a class assignment, think of the points your instructor want you to write about.
- Before putting pen to paper, brainstorm ideas for your expository essay. Check out the listing, freewriting, clustering, and questioning.
- Listing. List all the essential points that cross your mind. Then analyze your list and try grouping similar ideas together to get a logical structure
- Freewriting. Write continuously for 10 minutes. Write everything that springs to mind. Then revise what you have written. Highlight crucial points of your expository essay. Go back to this exercise when you experience writer's block.
- Clustering. Write a succinct explanation of your expository essay subject and put it in the center of your paper and circle. Draw three lines stretching from the circle. Put down a corresponding idea on the tip of each of these lines. Proceed to develop your network of ideas until you run out of connections.
- Questioning. Jot down the following questions: “Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?” Leave some space for each of these questions to answer them in detail.
- Draw an outline. Having generated ideas on paper, you should draw an outline to plan out the essay and its structure.
- Finding reliable sources. Look at your assignment guidelines and consult the instructor about the sources you need to use in your paper. Books, reliable websites, and articles from magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals are the most common channels of information.
- Check out the reliability of your sources. Look at the following points to determine whether your sources are credible:
- Define the author and his/her credentials. In case the author is not mentioned or the credentials are dubious, this source may not be reliable.
- Pay attention to the number of works the author researched. If they are insufficient, this source is not trustworthy.
- Objectivity. Does the author maintain objectivity in his/her paper? If he/she does not, do not use this source.
- Look at the publication date to assure the relevance of the source.
- Verify some of the information in the source. If you doubt some information, double-check it thoroughly.
- Read carefully. You should understand what the author is saying. If you do not understand something, consult reliable sources to avoid misunderstandings.
- Make a note of what you read. Highlight important points to go back to them when needed.
- If you take some information directly from a source, quote it by putting it into quotation marks. Include some details about the source (author’s name, the title of a book/an article, and page number).
- Include publishing information and state it on your "References," "Bibliography," or "Works Cited" pages.
- Develop your provisional thesis statement
- Your thesis must be arguable, which means you should not express issues of taste ("Titanic is a fantastic movie") or obvious facts ("The invention of penicillin was an important milestone.")
- The thesis must be detailed. Do not say that something is "great" or "effective" but rather try to prove it.
- Begin with a sentence that has a link to your topic. Your introduction must include information about what you are going to discuss in your essay. Remember that an introduction should define the underlying idea of your expository essay and serve as a preview.
- Provide an insight. Give background information to navigate readers through your essay. Mull over the things they should be aware of to understand your work.
- If you your work focuses on a certain book, include the name of the work, its author, and key points of its plot.
- If you are writing about a special day in history, sum up the day's events and explain its relation to the wider historical scope.
- If your work centers around a person, name him/her and give some biographical facts.
- The context should provide a smooth transition to the thesis statement. Provide information about key facts the reader should know to understand your work.
- Finish your introduction by providing a thesis statement that should be no more than one sentence long.
Presenting Key Information
- Decide on the number of paragraphs. A five-paragraph essay is a classic, but it may be even longer. If you doubt the size of your essay, turn to assignment guidelines or ask your instructor.
- A five-paragraph essay should have three body paragraphs. Each body paragraph should address a piece of supporting evidence that backs up your thesis.
- If you have more than five paragraphs, the principle remains the same: each paragraph discusses a piece of supporting evidence.
- Each paragraph begins with a topic sentence that introduces the main idea of a paragraph. Also, it presents a piece of supporting evidence that backs up your thesis. For instance, if you are writing about the use of dogs in the US Marine Corps during WWII, your main idea and the topic sentences could be the following:
- "Dogs were indispensable in Marine Corps missions in the Pacific".
- War dogs were even entitled to receive military awards for their accomplishments.
- Expound on your supporting evidence, because after stating your topic sentence, you should back it up by presenting some evidence from your research.
- Almost all pieces of evidence must formulate in the form of cited quotes, paraphrased passages, or summaries.
- Your evidence may be from interviews and first-hand experience.
- Give at least two pieces of evidence to back up each of your arguments.
- Think of the importance of each piece of evidence and explain how it is connected to your thesis.
- It is crucial that one paragraph leads to another. The conclusion of each paragraph should summarize your main point while trying to include some transition into your next point.
Rounding off Your Essay
Paraphrase your thesis
- The first sentence of your concluding paragraph must restate your thesis. In fact, you should also mention pieces of evidence that underpin your thesis.
- Sum up and revise your main idea. Also, you should not present new information in your conclusion. Review the most powerful arguments and think of how they support your main idea.
- Put forward a final thought or call to action. The last sentence must sum up the whole topic. In this part, you can propose a solution or prompt questions about your topic.
- Say how the topic influences the reader.
- Explain the connection between your narrow topic to a broader theme.
- Encourage readers to take an action or conduct a broader investigation of the topic.