6 Types of Expository Essay Writing

October 29, 2022 F WP
types of expository essay

6 Types of Expository Essay Writing

Table of Contents

Expository Essay Writing

Expository essay writing is considered harder than other forms of essay writing, especially narrative and descriptive. The claim is not devoid of its merits. The aforementioned essays are written based on memory and personal experiences, with much room for figurative language, biases, and sensory experiences. However, expository essay writing is all about facts and credible sources they are derived from.

We can define expository writing as a form of writing where factual information is shared with the readers. The language is objective and the tone is unbiased, concerning only the postulates and their supporting materials. This is one of the things that make expository essay writing harder for students in schools and colleges.

It shares the same characteristics as other essays in terms of structure and formatting. The main purpose of expository writing is to provide actionable information to the readers so that they all reach the same conclusion, following the text.

Hallmarks of Expository Essays

Where descriptive essay is recognized by the description and flowery prose of the text and descriptive essay can be spotted for its story-telling, an expository essay has its hallmarks. These are not only the nice haves in the essay but are necessary for its existence. If one of them is missing from the essay, it cannot be classified as an expository essay.

Before we go on to cover the different types of expository essays, let us take a hard look at the elements that make an expository essay an expository essay.

Organized Information

We can see chaos in descriptive and narrative writing, depending on the topic and the writing style of the author. Instead of eliminating value from the text, it adds character and uniqueness to it. This cannot apply to expository essay writing. It always follows a structure with arguments clearly stated and accompanied by evidence. That’s why writers cannot show the beauty of their prose in these types of writing.

Unbiased Tone & Voice

Essay writing is often about allowing writers to showcase their biases, likes, and dislikes for the readers to enjoy and draw parallels from. But in this form of academic writing, all the arguments and points raised by the writer should be written in an unbiased tone and voice. They should be careful in becoming suggestive and opinionated, especially in the main body and the concluding paragraphs. This can cause damage to the thesis and the essay resulting in poor scores.

Objective Approach

Writers cannot even hint at suggestions or any commentary. The approach while writing a piece should be objective. For instance, if the writer produces an argument, it should be based on observations, well-defined hypotheses, and so on. In addition to objectively presenting arguments, all of these should be followed by empirical evidence to prove their soundness. Anything that cannot be backed by proof does not have a place in an expository essay.

Types of Expository Writing

Contrary to descriptive and narrative essays where there are no different types to the main thing, expository essays have a few. These are developed and classified to deal with the matter in a more scientific and easy-to-follow manner. Students should keep in mind that teachers do not always identify what type of expository essay they need to write. It is at their discretion to understand the topic and the scope of the essay before settling on a specific type.

To help novice writers in understanding different types properly, we have dedicated this section to their learning.

Process Essays

Process essays are the ones where a writer describes the whole process of achieving a goal. This is similar to manuals to how-to articles, ranging from preparing a chemical in the lab to baking cookies at home. This also shows that the objectivity of language and unbiased tone help readers reach a predictable conclusion. This is not common in schools and colleges because it deals with practical ends instead of academic discourse. Essays concerning debate and controversies are mostly covered in institutions.

Definition Essays

Definition essays, as the name indicates, are about defining and describing a thing. This includes connecting the dots for the readers so that they can understand the origin, nature, and other essential information about the subject under consideration. The usual suspects in these essays are the what, where, why, when, and how, of the topic. That’s why it is more concerned with abstract and controversial matters instead of concrete ones. For instance, a definition essay on love and loyalty will make a better read than one on paper or glass.

Classification Essays

Classification essays explain the place of the subject concerning the things similar to it and those that are different from it. The purpose of writing classification essays is to make a thing clear to the readers, both about other things and in isolation. For instance, if you are writing an expository essay on concord planes, you need to classify it by comparing it with other types of planes as well as on its traits.

Problem/ Solution Essays

The problem and solution essay closely resembles the cause and effect essay because the purpose of the two is similar. In both cases, the writer needs to examine the underlying problems related to the topic, from different perspectives. There needs to be a lot of examination and elucidation before he can propose solutions. As an example, if you are writing about the COVID-19 pandemic, it is necessary to identify the problem on multiple ends before suggesting solutions.

Compare/ Contrast Essays

The compare and contrast essays seem similar to classification and definition essays. It is because all three compare or contrast subjects based on their similarities and differences with other things. One thing that can set these essays apart is that they can also compare or contrast two things from the same classification set. For instance, you can contrast or compare one orange with another orange or with another apple. The premise remains the same.

Cause/ Effect Essays

If the name is any indication, cause and effect essays are investigative discourses into the reasons behind why, when, where, and how something happened and its effects on the course of events in the future. This is more on the investigative side of writing and requires a lot of research. There are two major formats for these essays. One is the block structure where all the causes and effects are presented separately. The other is a series or chain structure where each reason is succeeded by its effects.

Practical Tips To Ace Your Expository Essay

Many times, it is not enough to provide the basic information for a thing. Students need something more, something practical to go on. Theoretical basis cannot cover the practical aspect of writing expository essays. In that spirit, we are sharing some practical tips for novice writers and students of expository writing. They are designed around the structure of the essay so writers will know what goes where and how.
Introduction – Make Readers Want More

The introduction is where the stages are set in essays. There are instances when an introduction does not do anything except lure the readers in through a hook. This can work but it is best to add some value to this section. Expository essays can even start with a thesis so readers should know the stance of the writer from the beginning. Other than that, writers can employ different literary devices to make readers want more. If the introduction of your expository essay is checking these boxes, it is on the right course and can fetch superior scores from instructors.

Main Body – Arguments And Evidence

The main body is where the main action takes place. If you are writing a five-paragraph essay, this section will take three paragraphs. Still, writers should make every sentence count. There is no room for emotions or sentimentality in expository essays. That’s why arguments and their supporting evidence inhabit this part of the essay. Writers can follow both block and chain structures to present their arguments and references from credible sources. Whatever essay type or structure they end up with, it should be cohesive and cover all the bases for the readers.

Conclusion – Summarizing Major Points

Students and even professional writers spend time and effort to compose a catchy, attention-grabbing introduction. It pays but the whole essay can fall flat if they do not show the same effort for the conclusion. It comes at the end and summarizes the main points from the main body and the introduction. Again, just like the introduction, it can add more value to the essay by covering the same points in a compact form. As a word of caution, students should not add a new argument or development to the essay in this section. Otherwise, it will hurt the credibility of the whole essay.


When essays are assigned to students in schools and colleges, instructors often do not indicate what type of essay they need to write to satisfy the demands of the subject. There is no room to see which type works on hit and trial basis. By understanding the different types, students will be able to determine which one will suit their topic and subject.

Classification expository essays cover the “what” aspect of research and investigation. Writers need to classify the subject based on its similarities and differences from other similar things and those that are completely different. Essays covering different types and classes of subjects fall under this broad category.

Unfortunately, no. Teachers do not explain what type of expository essay a student needs to write for the given topic. It is at the personal discretion of the students to determine the best type for their essays. That’s why it is necessary to learn the differences between various kinds of expository essays.

This is hardly the case in practice. The structure almost remains the same for the expository essay, no matter what type a student is pursuing. In the case of cause-and-effect essays, the block and chain structures can determine the overall structure, but this is rare.

Expository essay, by definition, is about providing factual information to the readers so that they can reach the same, predictable conclusions in practice. If there is subjectivity present in the essay, in the form of commentary or personal suggestions, it can denature the essay and fail the purpose of writing.

A thesis statement is the essence of the main point or theme of the essay. Usually, it comes at the ending lines of the introduction where it helps writers transition toward the main body. But in expository essays, they can open the essay with a thesis statement, especially when it is written in a bold and catchy fashion.

Summing Up The Discussion

As we know writing is easy, but good writing is hard. When it comes to the best expository essays, they can be identified as mediocre ones. In this blog post, we have covered the nature and hallmarks of expository essays. But the main point was the six different types that are often escaped by the students. They should learn and understand the mechanics and premises of each of them before sitting down to write.

This way, they would not have to worry whether their essay would be a hit or a miss. Through dedication and checking all the boxes, it will be a hit!

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