How to Compose An Expository Essay

November 4, 2022 F WP
how to compose an expository essay

How to Compose An Expository Essay

Table of Contents

Understanding Expository Essay Writing 

Expository essay writing is considered a tough vocation by students, especially when compared to other essay types. It follows a rigid structure, has many types, and does not have room for subjective interpretations of the subject.

In a nutshell, an expository essay provides factual and actionable information to the readers using only facts and figures. The information should be presented in a way that the results can be produced practically. That’s why how-to articles and manuals are a form of expository writing. When it comes to structure and formatting, these essays follow a similar structure. The opening or introduction gets started, the main body makes the bulk with ideas and evidence, and the conclusion summarizes it all.

Ideal Length of An Expository Essay

Students often struggle to make the word count for their expository essays. Some do not even know the ideal length for an expository essay in schools and colleges. The ideal length for an expository essay can be determined by going through the sections. The introduction and the conclusion parts are one paragraph each. By allocating 200 to 250 words to each of the paragraphs, the word count will be around 400 to 500. The main body covers three paragraphs and makes around 600 to 750 on average. According to these standards, students can understand that the ideal length is somewhere around 1000 to 1200 words. This is still an estimation and the word count of an individual essay can vary according to the scope and reach of the topic.

What Makes Expository Essays Different From Other Essays

Students write different types of essays in academic institutions. Many of these essays share traits with their counterparts but they are different in their own right. The best way to understand an essay is to learn the thing about them that can differentiate them from others. Narrative essays are known for the story and sequences of events. Descriptive essays are recognized by the description of the subject. When it comes to expository essays, they are known for their factual and stern approach to the subject. There are no adornments in language and expression. Writers need to employ a neutral voice and tone to present the facts and ensure that readers understand the theme or the central idea of the essay.

A Simple Guide To Compose An Expository Essay

When it comes to learning and understanding anything related to writing, merely learning and understanding is not enough. It is necessary to put the theory into practice and identify its strengths and weaknesses. In this section, we will share a simple guide for novice writers and students who struggle to get started or to finish. The demands of their specific essays may be different but this guide will serve its purpose to all.

Choosing A Topic

Before anything takes place in your essay, whether it is your prose or the depth of your research, it is necessary to choose a topic. For students, choose something that interests and intrigues them to get started. For any essay writing project, it all starts with picking the right topic. If one is provided to you by the teacher, you need to write on it. But if that is not the case and you need to choose a topic, you can go any way you like, as long as it fulfills the criteria prescribed by your teacher.

Researching And Outlining

Narrative and descriptive essays can be written without researching a lot and gathering necessary information, although the quality of the write-up will suffer a lot. But when it comes to argumentative and expository essays, it is nearly impossible to get started without research and outline. These help writers by setting the right direction, depth, and scope of the essay. The ideal way to conduct research and do an outline is to do them side by side.

Composing A Thesis

A thesis also called a thesis statement or topic sentence is the summary of the main idea or theme of the essay. In opinionated pieces, it reflects the thinking of the writer to the readers succinctly and boldly. Without a thesis statement, an expository essay is incomplete. Writers need to come up with a thesis and then employ it to add value to the whole essay. Ideally, a thesis statement comes in the closing lines of the introduction, but there is room for exception in the expository essays. They can use it to open the essay.

Introducing With A Hook

The introduction or opening of an essay can make or break the experience for the reader. Many writers make the mistake of going in slow or passively resulting in wasted opportunities. Instead, they should look for new ways to create a bang in the beginning. The hook will lure the reader in and make up his mind to read the rest of the essay. The introductory paragraph also has some context to the main premise of the essay and then leads to the thesis if it is not already stated in the opening. This part transitions to the main body.

Writing The Main Body

The main body is where all the magic happens in an expository essay or any essay for that matter. It makes the biggest portion of the essay, but writers should make every word count. In expository essays, postulates and arguments are covered with paragraphs. The best method is to cover one argument and its supporting evidence in each paragraph. This makes the information streamlined and easy to follow for the reader. Students should make sure that the topic and the thesis statement should reflect the contents of the main body. Otherwise, it will not have the desired effect on readers.

Concluding To Summarize it All

The conclusion comes after the main body and summarizes the whole discussion in a palatable form. Experts urge the writers to treat this portion of the essay as a whole. It should cover all the important points raised and proved in the essay through memorable and catchy lines. Students often make the mistake of ignoring this section. This results in poor readership leaving the essay with a poor impression of the whole essay, even when the main body and introduction were written superbly. The closing lines of the conclusion should reflect exceptional prose through one-liners to ensure readers do not forget the essay.

Hallmarks of An Expository Essay

To write good expository essays, writers need to understand the characteristics that make this kind of essay unique and different from others. Where narrative essays are distinguished by their stories and descriptive essays by their figurative language and sensory experience, expository essays have their share of characteristics.

This section will help students to learn the hallmarks of expository essays so that they can incorporate them into their writing.

Detached, Objective Approach

Writers have almost nothing to show when it comes to their writing style and technique. It is because the premise of expository writing is about presenting facts and figures in an objective and detached way. There is no room for emotions and sentimentality because they would affect the actionable nature of the content. This is one of the most important things that these essays must carry. Otherwise, it will not be an expository essay. 

Neutral Language & Tone

Language plays an important role in the overall character and looks of the essay. When it comes to academic writing, only narrative and descriptive essays can have the liberty to go the subjective route. The language can be charged and suggestive. However, expository essays use neutral language and tone to ensure that everything is unambiguous. Many students provide opinions in the conclusion which denatures the essay. It is best to keep it neutral and objective.


Organized Information

Essays follow a rigid structure to provide the information tangibly and cohesively. This is true for all kinds of essays but truer for these types of essays. Expository essays have different types, but each one can benefit a lot from organized information because it makes it easier for the readers to follow. Writers can structure information based on the scope and length of the essay but it should have predictable conclusions.


Expository essays have different types based on the subject matter and the angle a writer wants to explore. Following are the types of expository essays:

  • Definition essays
  • Classification essays
  • Process essays
  • Problem and solution essays
  • Cause and effect essays
  • Compare and contrast essays

This is true for argumentative or persuasive essays because students need to carry a single argument and provide supporting evidence for it. In expository essays, there can be more than one argument carried throughout the essay in the main body.

The three main sections of an expository essay are as follows:

  • Introduction/ opening (1 paragraph)
  • Main body (3 paragraphs)
  • Conclusion (1 paragraph)

Usually, instructors do not mention the type of expository essay they need to write. It is at their discretion to choose the essay type that covers the premise. We have covered the types of essays in another question and a whole blog post to discuss their features.

The following tips will help students secure maximum scores in expository essays:

  • Researching and outlining at the same time
  • Coming up with a thesis statement
  • Introducing the premise in the opening
  • Covering main arguments in the main body
  • Concluding by highlighting the main points again

The conclusion should wrap up the discussion without adding to it. Many students make the mistake of adding to the original argument of the main body. An ideal conclusion reiterates the premises without adding to them and closing on a high note.

Summing Up The Discussion

Writing an expository essay is hard. Compared to other essay types, it is more difficult and requires in-depth research and references to even get started. In this post, we have covered different bases for the students so that they can understand and improve their writing. A simple guide has divided the whole process of conceiving the idea and writing the essay into six simple steps. We have also shared the hallmarks of expository essays that help writers and readers recognize the essay.

So, if you want to score the highest marks in expository essay writing, this is the best place to start!

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