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Expository Essay: A Complete Writing Guide

Among multiple tools used to torment students at schools and colleges essays are the most elaborate ones. Or at least students believe so. Sometimes even the name of an essay is scary, not to say of the prospect to think it over and put it to paper. However, very often complex names hide quite harmless and simple tasks. So let us equip you with understanding what is an expository essay and how to approach it with minimal losses of time and efforts.

The word ‘expository’ stems from ‘expose’ – that is, reveal, show, make obvious. So an expository essay is a paper that explains something, makes it clear and highlights its most important aspects so that readers get an immediate and correct understanding of the matter. So unlike the majority of other essays, this type of paper does not include debating, persuading or introducing personal views. It includes factual and descriptive information relying on reputable and objective sources.

Guide on How to Write an Expository Essay

How does one start writing expository essay? Well, the assignment given by an instructor usually contains the precise topic you need to dwell on. This is the starting point. Now look for appropriate sources. You will need concise and accurate information, so the first available blog is not an option. You need books, scholarly articles, official websites of establishments or organizations. These sources are credible and provide most recent and trustworthy data.

Read everything carefully and make some notes. Mark the most important points that you want to include into the paper. Definition of the matter plus description of some basic or main features or aspects is essentially the skeleton of an essay. So the main task is to filter available data and settle on a handful of points that you will discuss. Most probably your essay should be no more that 3-5 pages according to your instructor’s guidelines. Thus keeping within words limit is also important.

As you have shaped understanding of the topic and created a kind of draft, you can start writing.

Examples of Expository Essays

What Does an Expository Essay Outline Look Like?

Writing an expository essay is the same as writing any typical 5-paragrah essay. You will have introduction, main body and conclusion. What to include into every section?

It is usually recommended to include a thesis into an introduction. Since you create a description/exploration essay, it is hardly possible to create a sharp debatable thesis. Instead, try to provide some basic definition of the matter you discuss and add some crucial details about it that creates causal, explanatory or contrasting effect. For example, ‘a so and so disease is a disease that does this and this to patients thus confining them to bed for a long time, yet the cure for it is still to be found’. Nothing in this claim actually needs debating, yet it presents a kind of problem that needs solution. It will make the narration more interesting and make readers think about the topic after they finish reading. It will also highlight why you speak of this topic and why it matters.

Main body will include all the important points that you have jotted down (or copy-pasted to your draft). While presenting factual evidence do not forget to add some explanatory sentences that highlight the importance of this evidence. Your task is to explain, not to intrigue your audience. It will take roughly 3 paragraphs, so keep only the most crucial details and aspects.

Conclusion is a summary of what is said, so just restate what you have put into the introductory paragraph.

NB: carefully document your data and provide references page. You used someone else’s works, so credit them duly.

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