How to Write an Expository Essay

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As the name suggests, an Expository essay is written to "expose" or explain some kind of truth or fact about a particular topic. You need to know that the purpose here is to inform the readers before you know how to write an expository essay. The essay prioritizes factual information and its description over personal bias or opinions. This is a step-by-step guide to assist you in crafting an impressive expository essay.

Choose a topic

You should remember that an expository essay is written to provide information to the readers. So it is obvious that you should not choose a generic topic that readers are already well-informed on. You have to find a topic that is lesser-known in general but is familiar to you. This will make it easy for you to conduct research. It is not easy to arrive at such a topic. This is where mind-mapping will help you out.

Use mind-mapping to select a topic

A mind-map visually articulates your thought-process and stimulates your imagination to inspire new ideas and perceptions. You can easily make a mind-map with just a pen and paper or you can use software to draw one. Mind mapping techniques can help you select a topic on which significant qualitative research is available.

Do extensive research

Quality research is the backbone of an expository essay. Here, facts, not you, do all the talking. So it is crucial to perform thorough research and leave no stone unturned. Use information from only reputed sources. Take extreme care to refer to studies, research papers, academic journals and publications that are reliable and trustworthy. Search for government data and figures related to your topic. Make sure the author you are referencing is credible and qualified. Take notice of the number of citations that the author has provided to support his/her work. It will give you an idea about how reliable the research is. Also, make sure the authors and publications you relying upon are objective and up to date. You may find it hard to keep track of your research. But you can manage it with the help of mind-maps.


Integrate the research using mind-maps

Mind-maps simplify the complex process of research by consolidating information into a cohesive structure. You may construct separate mind maps for different sources or make a common mind-map that documents all the sources. Create distinct branches/bubbles for different pages, paragraphs, and quotations, that you have incorporated in your essay. It will help you to eliminate unnecessary information and avoid repetition.

Decide a structure

There are five kinds of structures that guide you on how to write an expository essay. You should finalize one among these five or combine two or more to attain a suitable framework depending upon your topic.

1. Definition:

Definition essays define and explain the meaning of terminology or concept. The topic can be specific or abstract as the focus remains on the literary or dictionary definition of the term and its various connotations.

2. Classification:

Under this type of essay, a broad subject matter is covered by breaking it down into several sub-categories. The approach is to start from the generic category and proceed by classifying sub-groups.

3. Compare/contrast:

These essays are comparative studies to highlight similarities and differences between two units of people/places/objects etc.

4. Cause-effect:

The essays falling under this structure establishes causality of a particular topic and discusses its effect to suggest solutions based on those implications.

5. How-to:

These are procedural essays that elaborate on the process of accomplishing a particular task or goal.

Create an outline of the essay using mind-mapping

An expository essay is usually written following the basic structure of Introduction-Body-Conclusion. The introduction comprises the thesis statement, three paragraphs form the body and another paragraph concludes the essay. Design the outline according to this structure and attach a deadline to avoid delay. Utilize mind-mapping software to extract your final outline as a Word document as use it as a template for your essay.

Craft a thesis statement

The thesis statement in an expository essay is quite different from the one that is written for argumentative essays. Here, the statement does not need your opinion on the topic, rather it just makes the reader know what the essay is about. The thesis just introduces the reader to the topic and provides a glimpse into what will follow.

Start drafting the essay

You now have everything you need. You have your topic, thesis, research, and outline ready and so you should proceed to write the essay. Writing your first draft, you need to keep the following things in mind:

1. Neutrality:

Your approach must be neutral and comprehensive. You must cover all the aspects of the topic factually with objectivity.

2. Third-person narrative:

Third-person narration exudes a distance which projects objectivity and absence of bias. The reader must take your writing to be unbiased and uncompromised.

3. Stick to one fact at a time:

Try to introduce an idea in each body paragraph but keep the facts and research related to that idea in the same paragraph. Make sure your transitions smooth but clear. Avoid overlaps.

4. Cite your sources:

A decent expository essay is based on verifiable facts. The credibility of your essay depends upon the reliability of your sources. Exercise due diligence when it comes to the citation as it will determine the trustworthiness of your essay.

5. Include anecdotes:

Even though expository essays revolve around statistics, charts, graphs, etc. anecdotes are still important to include. Often examples are needed to explain a scenario. They also make the text easy-to-read, which is crucial as expository essays could become quite boring.

Proof-reading and editing

Once you have finished writing, do a thorough revision of your essay by proofreading it. It will give you an idea of whether you have covered the subject matter in a logical sequence or not. You must check that your introduction and thesis statement are coherent for the reader. Make sure your writing has remained focused throughout the essay and your conclusion is concise and effective. Eliminate parts that are incoherent or unnecessary.



It is an interesting endeavor to learn how to write an expository essay. You will come out at the other end of this process with more knowledge and understanding about an issue. Teaching someone else is the best way to obtain command over a particular subject or topic. And this is exactly what you will accomplish by writing an expository essay.