How to Write an Expository Essay: 6 Basic Steps

Essays are a principal component of academic writing. Scholars and students need to write a plethora of essays on a recurring basis as a core requirement of their research or curricula. Depending on the writing purpose, these essays can be persuasive, narrative, descriptive, or expository. This article expounds on expository essays and suggests some helpful steps to write an expository essay.

13.02.2022

How to Write an Expository Essay: 6 Basic Steps

Essays are a principal component of academic writing. Scholars and students need to write a plethora of essays on a recurring basis as a core requirement of their research or curricula. Depending on the writing purpose, these essays can be persuasive, narrative, descriptive, or expository. This article expounds on expository essays and suggests some helpful steps to write an expository essay.

What are expository essays?

Expository essays aim to peruse a subject matter, assess the available factual information regarding that subject matter, and educate the readers on it. As opposed to persuasive/argumentative essays that try to convince the readers of the credibility of the author’s arguments, expository writing is formal and objective with the purpose of presenting information to the readers in a cogitable manner without taking sides.

Let us consider, for example, an essay on the detrimental effects of the Great Depression on the psyche of middle-class Americans. This essay will briefly mention what brought about the Great Depression and explain how the deteriorating economy negatively affected the mental health of the less financially well-off citizens. It will not include the author's opinions on corruption, malpractices, human rights issues, etc., and how the government could have mitigated them in those times. Also, since expository writing is straightforward, writers should avoid using tricky language, allusions, slang, and ilk.

Steps to writing expository essays

Expository essays are some of the most systematic and well-structured essays in academic writing. Hence, one needs to follow all the structural and writing guidelines of expository writing.

1. Conduct extensive research on the topic at hand

The first step to writing an essay is to have sound knowledge of the subject matter. This implies locating trustworthy sources, referring to them constantly, and writing plenty of notes.

Once sufficient information is collected, writers should then move on to creating a rough outline of the essay. Having an essay outline enables one to arrange the available information in a comprehensible manner. However, one should not strive to draft the perfect outline at the outset.

Also, one should not do the writing and research parallelly, as doing so will deteriorate the quality of their essays.

2. Pick a structure for the essay

Essays typically comprise five paragraphs:

  • Introduction

  • 1st body paragraph

  • 2nd body paragraph

  • 3rd body paragraph

  • Conclusion

But one does not have to necessarily abide by this essay structure and can consult the teachers or supervisors for the word count and the number of paragraphs.

3. Formulate a thesis statement

A thesis statement is fundamental to any essay as it accentuates the crux of the essay. It is generally subsequent to the introductory paragraph and is one or two sentences long. The ideal way to write a thesis statement is to create a rough draft and revise it as the writing process progresses toward completion. Doing so ensures that the thesis statement is in line with the contents of the essay.

4. Write an introductory paragraph with a hook

The introductory paragraph carries the onus of ensuring whether the readers will read the whole essay or leave midway. Thus, it is imperative for writers to write a compelling introductory paragraph, complete with a hook statement, that will pique the interest of the readers and tell them that the essay is worth their time.

5. Write the body paragraphs

The body paragraphs are equally important as the introductory as they carry the entire weight of the essay. Therefore, writers should make sure to include only incontestable and properly cited information. Also, since an essay is composed of several paragraphs, one should ensure that the transition from one paragraph to the other is seamless and there are minimal instances of incoherence.

6. Summarize the expository essays

The final paragraph, i.e., the conclusion or summary, consists of reinstating the thesis statements with some input from the other paragraphs. A good conclusion effectively brings together the essay, ties all loose ends, and does not divulge any new information. As such, writers should not treat it as a mere obligation.

Conclusion

Expository essays are analytical, evidential, formal in tone, and educational. This makes it essential to have strong language skills and a knack for explaining complex concepts with ease. Hence, students and scholars should actively practice their writing skills and follow this guide to master expository writing.

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How to write an expository essay

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