How to Write a Good Expository Essay: Overcoming the Challenges

Expository essays are generally focused on providing logical and clear explanations on a given topic or subject. This type of paper analyzes a particular topic in great detail, not least by setting out strong supporting arguments. When writing this type of paper, the writer’s own viewpoint in respect of the problem or topic should not be considered as fact.  

If you are trying to write an essay of the expository variety, your task is to define a particular idea and/or explain a problem or some subject matter that you have been asked to examine or explore. You may, for instance, be asked to write a paper that “explains how individuals’ lives have been influenced by computers.” Note this does not ask you to give your own opinion or argue about the part computers play in individuals’ lives. Your task is to provide a detailed explanation about how the lives of individuals have been changed by computers.

Five Steps to Writing an Expository Essay

The process of writing an expository paper can be quite complicated even though most people deal with these tasks on an almost daily basis. If, however, you adhere to the instructions below you should learn how to write a high-quality essay.

Your Essay’s Structure

Usually, an expository paper is made up of five distinct paragraphs. The introductory paragraph provides information about the main idea. The body of the essay provides important information about the topic and it is the part where the writer develops their thesis. The closing or concluding paragraph reiterates the thesis statement and recaps on the information provided throughout the essay or paper.

How to Create the Different Sections of an Expository Essay

  • Before you even start writing

This first stage is known as the prewriting stage and it is here the writer analyzes their topic and thinks about how to formulate their main point(s). Furthermore, this stage requires extensive research. It is important you collect as much relevant information as you can and make a note of every point that might help you explore and analyze the subject matter. Once you have collected sufficient information, you will need to create an essay outline. This should contain every point you want to discuss in the various paragraphs. Do not forget to order the items in your outline in a logical manner.

  • Create an essay draft

You should bear the points below in mind when developing your first draft:

  1. A topic sentence is one of the most important aspects of an introductory paragraph since this set out the thesis statement. This statement should be coherently-written and fully supported in the course of writing your paper. Additionally, the thesis should not force readers to accept a particular opinion or stance on the topic.
  2. Each individual paragraph should be used to analyze a specific idea which, in turn, should connect back to the central thesis statement. There should be sufficient information in the body paragraphs to fully cover the subject or topic.
  3. The thesis statement from the introductory paragraph and the supporting arguments from the body paragraphs should be recalled and embraced within the concluding paragraph. The closing paragraph should not, however, introduce any new information on the essay’s topic.
  4. One of the aims of expository essay writing is to analyze a given subject rather that the writer’s own experiences. Hence, the words “I,” “you” and other personal pronouns should be avoided. Instead, the third person (singular) should be used e.g. “it,” “he,” “she,” and so on. 
  • Revise Your Work

The revision stage is designed to facilitate any changes you want to make to your text if, of course, any are required. This stage is also an opportunity to organize or re-organize your writing to achieve the results you require. In order to ensure your written work adheres to your professor’s requirements, you should consider the following points: 

  1. Does your paper objectively analyze the topic? Are the examples and facts contained in your work related to your topic?
  2. Have you presented all information in a way that is easy to understand?
  3. Do not provide irrelevant information that is of no use or is not connected to your topic. This will just cause confusion for your readers and yourself.
  4. Does your paper have a logical structure? Have you used words that are direct in what they mean?
  5. Are your paragraphs linked by transitional words? Do these make your text easier to follow and understand?
  6. Is the importance of your thesis statement adequately illustrated in your conclusion paragraph? 

Should you think your essay is not entirely accurate, you may need to look again at your thesis statement. Remember a great thesis statement is the way to guarantee a great paper!  

  • The Editing Stage

Read back over your written work again carefully with a view to correcting any potential spelling or grammar errors. Look closely at the tone and style of your writing. While it is important that expository writing is easy to understand, it should also be interesting and appealing to read. So, get a friend to proofread your work and give their opinion on it. 

  • Submit Your Essay

The moment you present a paper in class is quite an exciting one. So, remember to take account of all comments to be sure of avoiding certain types of mistakes in future papers. 

Types of Essays

Academic writing is something every student has to do. During their years in education, every student has to produce numerous different types of papers, including and as well as several types of expository papers:

  • Cause and effect essays: These essays show the interrelationship between given items or events and how these influence one another. The writer’s task is to find direct links between the items being examined and to show which are “causes” and which are “effects.”
  • Classification essays: The purpose of this type of essay is to categorize various items into appropriate groups. It first examines general groups and goes on to look at more specific groups or items.
  • Compare and contrast essays: These essays explore a topic or subject by comparing key features with the key features of other items. The number of items being compared is irrelevant. An essay of this type explores the likenesses and differences between the items under discussion.  
    • Definition essays: These essays explain or describe the meaning of some term or item, which can be an abstract concept or concrete object. This type of essay should look at both the connotative and denotative meaning of a concept or term.   
    • Process essays: These “how to” essays explain a given process in detail. Put another way, the writer’s job is to explain the steps in a process or provide explicit instructions on how to do something.