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How To Write An Expository Essay?

At times in life, you’re dealt with such a hand that you’re baffled how to go on. Just in case you’re a student, you’re likely to relate more to this. However, you must sacrifice your time and put in extra effort to work it all out. That’s exactly how we feel about expository essays the first time we heard about them.

If you know what an exposé is, perhaps you’ll have a bit of better luck working with an expository essay; an exposé is a piece of writing that often reveals shocking cover-ups that were not public knowledge. Journalists mostly write these on celebrities or politicians. Perhaps, you came across the Pentagon Papers or the Watergate incidents of the 70s. The journalists must’ve uncovered quite some ground-breaking information considering the paper ended up winning a Pulitzer Prize after all. This is what investigative journalism is all about.

But let’s get back to the topic at hand; we’re supposed to be talking about expository essays and what’s the deal with them. Now, you might get the idea that you have to take up being Sherlock to unearth certain topics and expose the wrongdoings that were committed in the past, but sorry to burst your bubble, it’s not nearly as exciting as something like that.

What is an Expository Writing

Taking a page out of the expose book, an expository piece of writing involves explaining or bringing things to common knowledge. These writings may result in essays, magazines, textbooks, and whatnot. The idea is to inform the masses based on the knowledge you possess. However, expository writing is not similar to fiction or poetry as neither you’re making stuff up nor talking in riddles. You’re straight up spitting facts so that people can inform other people. Here’s a fun fact for you, this blog is even a piece of expository writing.

Being a student, you must’ve come across numerous writings that were expository but never knew about it. Sure, an expository essay format is set as an average essay, but the key lies in the information that’s portrayed. It begins with an introduction, there’s a detailed main body, and gets wrapped with a thorough conclusion. However, through an expository essay, you’re reaching an audience that has no prior knowledge about a said topic. But what is the point of expository writing other than just informing people? Surely they can learn stuff on their own, no? As much as we’d like to affirm that naïve belief, we’ll not.

Purpose of an Expository Writing

When your teacher assigned you an expository essay, you’d probably whine and grumble about having to do yet another assignment. However, the body of your essay is a treasure trove of information. Consider exposition writing a mode of teaching where you don’t have to put up with students and their bickering or resolve their petty fights. You may argue college students would never behave in such a way, but you never know when life can surprise you. For instance, expository writing may result in life-changing decisions for you if you just pay attention.

An expository essay revolves around the concept of fact-based reporting. Thus, you must keep in mind that you must not provide the reader with biased information or even spark groundless rumors. Expository writing allows you to hone your writing skills and research techniques and can even help you narrow down a study path or even a future career, such as investigative journalism or a reporter. You can even pursue a career in law, politics, or even healthcare. You can study various examples of expository writing and see where it might lead you.

When do I write an expository essay?

You might get assigned an expository essay to work on by your teacher once she has seen your writing skills and if she wants to assess how well you can perform. On the other hand, your entire class could be assigned the same as an in-class exercise and eventually in the examination as well. Although the words’ expository essay’ won’t be explicitly mentioned, but the gist is the same. However, there are certain keywords that can help you identify whether a topic or a question requires expository writing. For instance, if a question begins with “explain” or “define”, then you should promptly assume that answer should consist of expository writing.

Your teacher may share examples of the expository essays so that you can see for yourself what you have to replicate, albeit in a different manner pertaining to the topic you’re assigned.

How long is an expository essay

Now, we understand before starting an essay; you’re likely to ponder over the number of pages you have to write. But we’d like to assure you that you don’t have to fill pages after pages for an expository essay. Since it’s based on a five-paragraph essay, an expository essay doesn’t need to be longer than 800 words. Because it’s very likely that you can run out of topic material, so you can’t do more than 800 words; otherwise, any teacher would be able to guess you were just milking your way.

On the other hand, the cover of your topic can have an extremely broad scope which can be confusing for you as to how you should cover all the information. Therefore, we’d suggest you stick to basics since we’re assuming the readers are naïve on the said topic. For instance, if you’re assigned Machine Learning for a topic, you can’t go in length about Deep Learning also within the same essay as you might make it hard for them to take it so much information all at once.

However, regarding the word count or length, if you’re not sure, we’d recommend you to get an affirmation from your teacher so that you don’t face any issues later on.

Types of expository essay

In general, there are various types of expository essays. We’ll discuss a few of them here briefly:

Cause/Effect Essays

As the title suggests, this type of expository essay involves talking about the ’cause’, which could be an incident that you’re informing the reader about along with the ‘effect’ that was caused due to the said incident. Make sure to put two and two together to show that the two events are interrelated. For instance, you could be writing an essay on nuclear energy and then explain why it might not be eco-friendly.

Descriptive Essays

By expository definition, a descriptive essay is the most suitable type of essay for you only have to describe a certain topic in detail. Whether it is an event or personality, or an object, it can be anything. There’s a huge margin of creative freedom granted in a descriptive essay, so you should use it expertly. For instance, you can take up the topic of Edison’s inventions.

Problem/solution Essays

For this type of expository essay, you have to first present an issue that may or may not be in the knowledge of your audience and then provide a solution for the said issue. But you have to make sure that you explain both the things thoroughly, so there’s remains not even a shadow of a doubt for the reader. So, for instance, you can talk about non-renewable resources are harmful, whereas hydroelectricity is a good renewable source.

Process Essays

If you have a habit of turning to Google whenever you run into trouble, then you’d understand the need for this type of essay dearly. These essays essentially provide a step-by-step guide for various methods. The breakdown needs to be logical so that a user can refer to this how-to exposition writing. For instance, you can write how users can install Ubuntu on their PCs if they’re seasonal users.

Comparison Essays

These types of essays are used when you have to make comparisons between two subjects. The idea is to highlight the similarities and differences of both subjects and then provide an analysis. Through this, a reader is provided with pros and cons so that he can weigh both the topics and make his own deductions. For instance, you can write about how Samsung and Huawei are going head-to-head against one another in recent times.

How to write an expository essay

If you’re using Academic English in your essay, you should be able to turn in an expository essay that ought to satisfy your teacher’s expectations. However, before writing an essay, bear in mind that you need to provide an objective stance. Your experiences and opinions don’t weigh in here. Otherwise, you’d be misleading your audience, which defeats the purpose of an expository essay meaning.

Since expository essays are short, they follow a general structure which can be divided into three sections but five paragraphs. Naturally, the three sections would be the introduction, main body, and conclusion. Keep in mind; you only have 800 words at your disposal. In terms of structure, your essay will be written in the usual style; hence, you don’t have anything to worry about.

We’ll get to the introduction in a bit, but let’s tackle the main body and conclusion first. Divide your main points so that they can each be presented in a different expository paragraph. Also, use a topic sentence to begin each paragraph. A logical order would structure your essay in a sophisticated manner. Furthermore, there should be smooth transitions in-between each paragraph as well.

Once you’ve provided the reader with all the necessary information they should know about, you can conclude the essay by giving a brief summary to round up all your points. Remember, you have to stick to the current points and do not try to fit in brand new information at the last minute. Only reinforce the points you’ve mentioned. There’s no need to provide an open-ended statement that’d force the reader to ponder more.

Before actually sitting down to write, we’d heavily suggest that you indulge yourself in the prewriting process so that you can be mentally prepared for how to tackle the expository essay you’re assigned. You can even lookup explanatory writing examples for more ease.

Working on an Expository Essay Introduction

Let’s deal with the backbone of any essay. The introduction of your essay has the capability to capture the attention of a reader or completely thwart it. So you have to make sure that you write an introduction that’s either interesting or compelling so that the reader must feel like they have to immerse themselves into reading the rest of your expository essay. Sure, you might have to pick up on expository writing techniques to get better at it, but as long as you keep at it, surely you’ll get great at it.

How to conduct Expository Research

For your ease, allow us to simplify the entire process of expository writing:

  • Selecting a topic (if not assigned already by your teacher)
  • Carrying out thorough research using sources that are reliable
  • Structuring and outlining the expository essay
  • Drafting the first write-up with the intention of write multiple
  • Write a compelling introduction
  • Compile all your main points to construct the body
  • Write a conclusion to put an end to this expository essay
  • Editing out anything that doesn’t go with the essay
  • Proofreading (grammar, structure, spelling mistakes)
  • Making the changes and revisions as per necessity


Online Learning Expository Essay

Internet is a place which you can turn to at any time of need, and it’ll be there to lend you a helping hand. If there’s a single thing that you may not grasp, you can easily look it up and be able to form an understanding. For instance, if you’re tired of revising your expository essay, we can understand your predicament. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, things turn out differently. That doesn’t matter; you should give up, though. Various online sources would be happy to help you out.