Well Written Expository Essay Structure

Tips on Writing an Expository Essay

The purpose of the expository essay is to explain a topic in a logical and straightforward manner. Without bells and whistles, expository essays present a fair and balanced analysis of a subject based on facts—with no references to the writer’s opinions or emotions.

A typical expository writing prompt will use the words “explain” or “define,” such as in, “Write an essay explaining how the computer has changed the lives of students.” Notice there is no instruction to form an opinion or argument on whether or not computers have changed students’ lives. The prompt asks the writer to “explain,” plain and simple. However, that doesn’t mean expository essay writing is easy.

The Five-Step Writing Process for Expository Essays
Expository writing is a life skill. More than any other type of writing, expository writing is a daily requirement of most careers. Understanding and following the proven steps of the writing process helps all writers, including students, master the expository essay.

Expository Essay Structure
Usually, the expository essay is composed of five paragraphs. The introductory paragraph contains the thesis or main idea. The next three paragraphs, or body of the essay, provide details in support of the thesis. The concluding paragraph restates the main idea and ties together the major points of essay.

Here are expository essay tips for each part of the essay structure and writing process:

1. Prewriting for the Expository Essay
In the prewriting phase of writing an expository essay, students should take time to brainstorm about the topic and main idea. Next, do research and take notes. Create an outline showing the information to be presented in each paragraph, organized in a logical sequence.

2. Drafting the Expository Essay
When creating the initial draft of an expository essay, consider the following suggestions:

  • The most important sentence in the introductory paragraph is the topic sentence, which states the thesis or main idea of the essay. The thesis should be clearly stated without giving an opinion or taking a position. A good thesis is well defined, with a manageable scope that can be adequately addressed within a five-paragraph essay.
  • Each of the three body paragraphs should cover a separate point that develops the essay’s thesis. The sentences of each paragraph should offer facts and examples in support of the paragraph’s topic.
  • The concluding paragraph should reinforce the thesis and the main supporting ideas. Do not introduce new material in the conclusion.
  • Since an expository essay discusses an event, situation, or the views of others, and not a personal experience, students should write in the third person (“he,” “she,” or “it”), and avoid “I” or “you” sentences.

3. Revising the Expository Essay
In the revision phase, students review, modify, and reorganize their work with the goal of making it the best it can be. Keep these considerations in mind:

  • Does the essay give an unbiased analysis that unfolds logically, using relevant facts and examples?
  • Has the information been clearly and effectively communicated to the reader?
  • Watch out for “paragraph sprawl,” which occurs when the writer loses focus and veers from the topic by introducing unnecessary details.
  • Is the sentence structure varied? Is the word choice precise?
  • Do the transitions between sentences and paragraphs help the reader’s understanding?
  • Does the concluding paragraph communicate the value and meaning of the thesis and key supporting ideas?

If the essay is still missing the mark, take another look at the topic sentence. A solid thesis statement leads to a solid essay. Once the thesis works, the rest of the essay falls into place more easily.

4. Editing the Expository Essay
Next, proofread and correct errors in grammar and mechanics, and edit to improve style and clarity. While an expository essay should be clear and concise, it can also be lively and engaging. Having a friend read the essay helps writers edit with a fresh perspective.

5. Publishing the Expository Essay
Sharing an expository essay with a teacher, parent, or other reader can be both exciting and intimidating. Remember, there isn’t a writer on earth who isn’t sensitive about his or her own work. The important thing is to learn from the experience and use the feedback to make the next essay better.

Essay Variations
Essay writing is a huge part of a education today. Most students must learn to write various kinds of essays during their academic careers, including different types of expository essay writing:

  • Definition essays explain the meaning of a word, term, or concept. The topic can be a concrete subject such as an animal or tree, or it can be an abstract term, such as freedom or love. This type of essay should discuss the word’s denotation (literal or dictionary definition), as well as its connotation or the associations that a word usually brings to mind.
  • Classification essays break down a broad subject or idea into categories and groups. The writer organizes the essay by starting with the most general category and then defines and gives examples of each specific classification.
  • Compare and contrast essays describe the similarities and differences between two or more people, places, or things. Comparison tells how things are alike and contrast shows how they are different.
  • Cause and effect essays explain how things affect each other and depend on each other. The writer identifies a clear relationship between two subjects, focusing on why things happen (causes) and/or what happens as a result (effects).
  • “How to” essays, sometimes called process essays, explain a procedure, step-by-step process, or how to do something with the goal of instructing the reader.

 

Time4Writing Teaches Expository Essay Writing
Time4Writing essay writing courses offer a highly effective way to learn how to write the types of essays required for school, standardized tests, and college applications. A unique online writing program for elementary, middle school, and high school students, Time4Writing breaks down the writing process into manageable chunks, easily digested by young writers. Students steadily build writing skills and confidence, guided by one-on-one instruction with a dedicated, certified teacher. Our middle school Welcome to the Essay and Advanced Essay courses teach students the fundamentals of writing essays, including the expository essay. The high school Exciting Essay Writing course focuses in depth on the essay writing process with preparation for college as the goal. The courses also cover how to interpret essay writing prompts in testing situations. Read what parents are saying about their children’s writing progress in Time4Writing courses.


If you are going to write an expository essay, be prepared to spend much time hitting books. Creating an effective essay of this type may seem to be a more difficult task compared to other essays. The main idea here is to explain some situation or describe how a certain process works.

From its name, you may guess that you should have a clear picture of a certain thing in order to provide your reader with a clear and concise explanation. It is impossible to talk about the topic you either don’t know anything about or are not interested in. That’s why you should do a great pre-writing job looking for the attractive topic, which you would like to present to your target audience.

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Writing an essay isn’t as easy as ABC, especially, if you can’t do without making a research instead of developing a work based on your own experience. You can include information based on your personal life findings, but it shouldn’t be the only source.

The key to success in the process of essay writing is a proper organization of work and an understanding why you are going to do this task. You may face a range of questions, which will be answered here. It is possible to write an A-grade expository essay only by following the guidelines and step-by-step instructions.

What is an Expository Essay?

If it is the first time when you hear the name “an expository essay”, you may wonder: “What is an expository essay and how it should be written?” First of all, it is necessary to understand what it is all about. To explain what is an expository essay in simple words, you should memorize one easy formula: information plus analysis.

Imagine that your friend has asked you about something and you need to give him as many details as possible analyzing how something works. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

After you have answered the most important question “What is an expository essay?” you should start searching for the relevant information. Be careful using materials taken from the internet since not all sources are reliable and for this paper type credible sources are of utmost important. Find the trustworthy information for the essay topic you are going to work on.

Look at the expository essay samples, which one can easily find on the Internet nowadays. Before you get started, not only read the essay type definition but have an illustrative example, which will be helpful while writing an essay.

Top-Rated Expository Essay Examples

Look at the expository essay examples to have a clear picture of the writing style and requirements.

An expository essay sample on the topic “The effective methods to feel happy.”

An expository essay example on the topic” How to react to the teenager’s wish to date?”

These two expository essay examples may be helpful while creating your own essay.

Expository Essay Definition

An expository essay is an essay that requires to examine a specific topic and give arguments. It involves a presentation of the main thought in a clear manner using the contrast and comparison and including the relevant examples and explanations of certain phenomena.

Unique Expository Essay Topics

There are a lot of expository essay topics to choose from. Haven’t been assigned a definite topic yet and need to make a choice on your own? Then you should focus on your reader. Brainstorm ideas and choose the topic which is able to attract your audience. Avoid general topics and be specific. Narrow your research sphere, making it clear and concise.

Here you will find expository essay topics, which will help you come up with the most suitable one, depending on your educational establishment requirements.

Expository Essay Topics 8th Grade

  1. Explain how you like spending free time and why.
  2. Whom would you like to look after and why?
  3. Give instructions how to ride a bicycle.
  4. How to memorize new English words?
  5. How do you feel when you get bad grades?

Great Expository Essay Topics

  1. How to lead a healthy lifestyle on a tight budget?
  2. How to stop bullying in high educational establishments?
  3. What is the impact of new information technologies on people’s relations?
  4. How do computer games influence kids?
  5. How not to be materialistic?

Good Expository Essay Topics

  1. How to manage your time and not be late?
  2. Which strong points do you have?
  3. Which effect does Internet have on modern communication?
  4. How not to become shopping addicted person if you have money?
  5. What is the reason for the high percentage of divorces?

Expository Essay Topics for High School Students

  1. Who is your favorite film superhero and why?
  2. Do people need to stay independent?
  3. How do you understand “love”?
  4. Explain what is friendship for you?
  5. What is the secret of successful people?

Topics for Expository Essays for College

Find the best college essay topics:

  1. How to minimize the negative influence of media on people’s lives?
  2. Where to invest money in and why?
  3. Which writer is your favorite one and why?
  4. How to become a leader?
  5. How does music influence people’s life?

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How to Write an Expository Essay

Are you ready with the topic? Then the next step will be to learn more about the expository essay structure. Those who have already written essays know how to write an expository essay as the structure is somewhat similar to the one other papers have.

It should be well-organized and sound logical. As any other essay, there is an introductory part, a body consisting of not less than 4-5 paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Each one has its own features, which you can check out here.

Expository Essay Outline

When writing an expository essay, remember that a key to success is a logical plan. Before you write your essay from scratch, you should work on an outline.

  • Start with an introduction, which should be short but informative;
  • Proceed with five-paragraph main body, containing analysis and all findings;
  • Make a conclusion, which should summarize but not include any new facts.

Expository Essay Introduction

An introduction is the most important part of your piece of writing. If you don’t succeed in making it eye-catchy, your reader is unlikely to continue reading your essay.

It is very important to pay special attention to the opening sentence. Take into account these three main prompts.

  • Provide an interesting dilemma or ask a disputable question;
  • Introduce all necessary pieces of information to help a reader understand the intention of your writing;
  • Write an effective expository essay thesis statement.

How to Write an Expository Essay Thesis?

  • Present facts to your reader;
  • Help them understand the main idea;
  • Explain which aim you have set writing this essay.

Expository Essay Main Body

When you proceed to the main body, make sure you know how to write properly:

  • Write the key idea for each paragraph;
  • Provide your paragraphs with enough supporting sentences;
  • Explain why you are sure that the provided facts play a significant role.

Expository Essay Conclusion

If you have already come to the end of the essay, you should ensure you know how to write a conclusion for expository essay.

  • Give an overview;
  • Brainstorm possible problem solutions;
  • Prove the necessity of your research.

Most Effective Advice from Expert

An expository essay is a genre of writing that will expose your writing skills and talent if written properly. First of all, you should get the meaning of the expository essay definition and choose the topic you know well or at least find it interesting to learn more about. If a person feels enthusiastic about something, they will be ready to spend much time making a research and will achieve success.

Remember that the main accent is on the author's personality, which means you are the most important figure in your essay. Your reader will see all details through the prism of your ideology. 

That's why be attentive to details and develop your creative thinking as the top-quality work should contain a solid point of view supported by facts and unquestionable truth. 

Imagine that your pieces of information are just pieces of a puzzle that you have to collect. Find the appropriate place for each one so that it sounds logical. And don’t try to copy other writers as only essays having their own voice are worth A-grades. Pay attention to your language as it should be eerror-free

Imagine that your essay is a precious stone and make all of its faces shine using an easily readable and original language. 

Be wise and get started only if you are inspired to create a masterpiece.

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