Expository Essay

An expository essay is a popular assignment in elementary schools and colleges.

Expository essay definition, format, types, structure, and examples are among the most common asked question by the students. 

Demystify above concerns by reading this article to the end.

Expository Essay Definition

An expository essay is defined as a  type of essay that requires the writer to probe an idea, elaborate on it, gather evidence, and later present a clear argument about the idea.

Why is Expository Essay referred to as factual? 

An expository essay is just an informative piece of writing thus it has to be based on facts.

It is for this reason that an expository essay is referred to be about “factual” to mean it simply presents ideas about a given topic. 

5 Types of Expository Essays 

There are five types of expository essays come in many forms. Classification of the

  1. “How to” Expository Essays

Expository essays describing procedures or processes. Such essays contain a step-by-step procedure to do a particular task. Common “how to” expository essays are cooking recipe.

Usually, the essay is written following an instruction manual prepared.  “How to” essays uses directional verbs when describing a step like “put,” “place,” and “take” among others.

2. Classification Expository Essays

Expository essays categorize a topic into smaller groups and categories. You start with the largest category and later providing examples for the smaller classes.

3. Cause-and-effect Expository Essays

These expository essays describe the relationship between a single-central phenomenon with several effects.

In other cases, cause-and-effect essays may revolve around the possible outcome of future events.

Common topics in cause-and-effect essays include an event, environmental activity, personal decision among others.

4. Compare and Contrast Expository Essays

Expository essays that explore the similarity or differences in attributes between two or more topics. The comparison refers to the similarity while contrast refers to the disparity.

There are two main formats of writing compare and contrast essays as follows.  

  • Point-by-point format: the essay is divided into several sections with subcategories. For example, if we have saloon cars and tractors under the vehicle section, subcategories may include engine size, use, and registration categories, among others. In most cases, it is in a table form with similarities and contrast being on individual columns. 
  • Subject-by-subject format: here, an expository essay is in paragraph format. On paragraph describes the attributes of a saloon car and another paragraph elaborating attributes of a tractor.

5. Definition Expository Essays

These are expository essays that explain the meaning of a concept or a phenomenon that is not very easy to define. The topic may be either an abstract term such as warfare or a concrete term as a forest.

Do’s and Don’ts in Expository Essay Writing

  1. Provide clear evidence. Ensure your narrative essay contain factual evidence that is logical and verifiable.
  2. Use third-person pronoun: Expository essays talk about events, people, situations, or items. In that regard, no personal experience is of interest. Therefore, a good expository essay uses “them,” “they,” “she,” “it,” among other third-person pronouns.
  3. Avoid Slang terms: Since expository essays are formal by nature, use of slang is inappropriate. For instance, using terms like feeling Blues (Sadness) and Give a ring (Call) for Americans English. Also, blinding ( Excellence) and corker (Outstanding) in U.K. English. 
  4. Ensure No first person or feelings: You should always write your expository essay based on the facts. Therefore, personal emotions do not count. Third-person pronouns are, therefore, used when writing an expository essay.
  5. Five-paragraph Length: Expository essays are short and precise. Visit five-paragraph essay for more details.

5 Steps in writing an expository essay

To write a competitive essay calls for a thorough preparation to avoid common mistakes in writing an expository essay. Below are the 3 main steps in writing an outstanding essay.

  1. Brainstorm your expository essay: A good expository essay begins with brainstorming the main idea or topic. Collect and list the main points. Finally, develop an outline by classifying the ideas into paragraphs. A good expository essay is composed of five paragraphs.
  2. Drafting an expository essay: Elaborate the outline developed in step one above into paragraphs. Start every paragraph with a topic sentence that will guide you throughout the paragraph. Ensure the three body paragraphs are talking about different ideas. Let the conclusion paragraph enhance the thesis statement stated in the introduction paragraph.
  3. Revise your expository essay: At this stage, the author corrects mistakes and reorganizes assay in a presentable manner. The author should determine whether:
  •  The content is biased in any way
  •  The expository essay communicate ideas clearly
  • Find out if there is paragraph sprawling through the introduction of unnecessary content during writing
  • Verify if the transition between paragraphs is logical

Revise the topic sentence of the paragraph content to match the topic sentence.

  1. Proofread your expository essay: Ensure that your essay has no grammatical errors and has 0% plagiarized. Identify and correct all grammar mistakes. Similarly, rewrite run-on sentences and sentence structure. Correct any spelling mistakes as well.
  2. Give a third party to proofread: No writer is perfect. Give your expository essay to a friend, colleague, or mentor for correction. Deliberate on the changes noted and edit accordingly. Your expository essay is ready for submission.