What Is An Expository Essay

October 19, 2022 F WP
expository essay

What Is An Expository Essay

Table of Contents

Investigate, Evaluate, Expound, and Argument

If you are writing for a long time, you know that there are many aspects that different writing genres share. When it comes to writing essays, there are many things that they share, from structure to formatting and more. But they are different at the core.

Expository essay writing is a difficult form of writing an essay, especially when compared to other forms of essays, such as narrative, descriptive, and so on. Where these essay forms have room for personal details and subjective experience from the writer, an expository essay stands aloof with only four special elements: investigate, evaluate, expound, and argue.

Introduction to Expository Essay

An expository essay is limited to sharing factual information with the readers through straightforward figures and empirical evidence. This type of writing comes in different forms, from essays to research papers, articles, and more. The most important thing about an expository essay is that it relies on different structures to connect with the readers, such as compare and contrast, examples, process, and cause and effect.

This type of essay writing is one of the four common types of writing that is used in academic institutions to gauge students’ prowess and skills.

Students need to excel in writing expository essays to secure good scores in classes. Since there is no room for being biased, opinionated, and charged, the research and gathering of information phase should be carried out with all earnestness.

Rationale Behind Writing An Expository Essay

In many cases, a type of writing is identified more by the purpose it is supposed to serve instead of its character and structure. Where narrative and descriptive essays are written to inform and entertain readers, expository essays serve a more somber motive – to educate the readers!
The tone and choice of words can be tacky or entertaining, but the sole purpose of writing an expository essay is the sole goal of the writer. In addition to this, well-written expository essays show the skills and finesses of the writer, especially how he might have researched and collected necessary information.
For instance, if you are assigned to write an expository essay about the discovery of a phenomenon, you need to use the structure of the essay to dole out crucial information. In the opening paragraph, you need to set the stage with relevant context and a thesis statement. In the body paragraphs, you need to show the events and progress that led to that special development. In the conclusion, you need to circle and summarize the main points that will corroborate with the topic, the thesis statement, etc.

Categories of Expository Essays

Depending on the structure and contents of the essay, there are four distinct types of expository essays written in schools and colleges. There is no requirement put forward by instructors to follow a certain path. It is up to the discretion of the writer to choose the type that deems fit to their topic and intent.

Classification Essays

Classification essays can be compared roughly with the listicle articles you can find online. In this type of expository essay, the writer aims to classify the subject by erecting boundaries to differentiate them from others and then connect them with the subjects in class. For instance, if you are to write an expository essay on different types of vehicles, you need to start the essay by defining the types of vehicles and then differentiate them based on other classes of vehicles. Usually, a paragraph is allocated to discuss each different subject in the classification. This type of essay is suitable when students need to discuss multiple things.

Process Essays

A process essay is similar to a manual to either repair a thing or complete a task with multiple steps along the way. This applies to how-to essays and articles that let readers walk through the process. For instance, if you are tasked to write an expository essay on how to clean a tea maker, then different paragraphs will provide different information. The opening should cover the items needed and a central point to bind the whole essay together. Then, in the main body, the whole process should be chalked out. The conclusion should take care of the closing notes, such as precautions and pro tips.

Compare-And-Contrast Essays

In this type of expository essay, a writer supports his thesis statement by speculating on the differences and similarities of the sources mentioned in the essay. For instance, if you are to write an essay on the flags of South American nations, you need to discuss their philosophy, history, and more to support your side. In addition to this, you should discuss the influence of neighboring nations regarding the development of flags throughout history. Keep in mind that the purpose of compare-and-contrast essays is to highlight and support the thesis statement by citing sources surrounding the topic.

Cause-And-Effect Essays

If the name is any indication, this type of expository essay discusses the causes of events and developments and their effects on the chain of events in the future. Retrospectively, the cause of one thing could be the effect of something else. A writer’s job, while writing this type of expository essay is to study the chain of events and answer questions about “reasons” and “whys” as to the things that led to certain developments. Almost all expository essays written in Economics and market cover this aspect well, such as market trends, trading, pricing, etc.

Guidelines to Write Great Expository Essays

As it is true for every type of writing that you must know and familiarize yourself with the rules and conventions, expository essay writing is not an exception. Instead of lengthy edits and proofs, students should err to learn beforehand and then set out to write the first draft. This section is dedicated to helping students see the path.

Well-Thought-Out Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is a single thread that connects different parts of the essay. It is a distillation of the central idea or theme of the essay written in a single or a couple of bold and comprehensive sentences. There is no set place for putting the thesis statement but experts suggest that it should come at the closing end of the introduction. Writers should strive for a clear and concise thesis statement that has no room for confusion or ambiguity.

Objective, Academic Tone

This is one of the hallmarks of expository writing. Where narrative writing and descriptive essays offer extensive room for subjectivity and biases, this type of essay should be written in an objective and academic tone. This adds to the sources as well as the facts and figures chalked out in the main body of the essay. The tone is essential to maintain if writers want their essays to fulfill the primary motive behind the writing. Otherwise, it will not be an expository essay at all.

Only Stating The Facts

Another thing that makes expository essays stand out from other essays is the quality of their contents. The sole purpose of writing one is to educate the readers. There is no need to distort or bend the facts to put forward an opinion or deliberately change the opinions of the readers. A neutral tone and content is the key to writing successful essays that can fetch exceptional scores for the writers. Sticking to the facts is the key.

Researching, Vetting Facts And Figures

There is no second-guessing while writing an expository essay. Before sitting down to write, a writer should be sure of the information and facts that are being doled out in the essay. Going through the collected information and making sure that all comes from credible and fresh sources is an important requisite to writing excellent expository essays. Otherwise, the whole objective of researching and gathering necessary information will fall flat. Anything less and it will not be the best expository essay you strive to write.


Newspaper articles, how-to manuals, and other pieces that educate readers to carry out a task or understand a phenomenon are great examples of expository essays.

The writer should distance himself from the tone and content of the essay. His job is to present the facts and figures only without presenting subjective views, opinions, and biases.

An expository essay follows the same path as a narrative or descriptive essay. It has three main sections, including an opening or introduction to set the stage and provide context. The main body covers the arguments, facts, figures, and more. In the conclusion, the main points are reiterated without any new ideas.

The characteristics of an expository essay are defined by the primary purpose it serves to the writer and the reader. Here are the hallmarks of an expository essay:

  • Investigate the facts
  • Evaluate their authenticity
  • Expound a hypothesis and theorize it
  • For an argument and support it with evidence

Since there is no room for theatrics and melodrama in the expository essay, it should get to the context and introduction of the subject. Specifically, it should pave the way for the thesis statement.

An expository essay deals with only stating factual information to educate the readers. In the conclusion section, it should reiterate the main points and cover the bases to make it memorable for the readers.

Summing Up The Discussion

Writing an expository essay is a difficult task. It is trickier to handle when compared to narrative and descriptive essays. The purpose of writing one is to educate the readers regarding a certain subject. There is no room for subjectivity and writers’ bias so those facts should be written with utmost care.

In this blog post, we have covered all the mechanics of expository essay writing, from its nature and primary motive to the way to its types and guidelines that writers must keep in mind.

Now, it is up to the students to put the knowledge into practice and create riveting and educating masterpieces!

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