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Expository essay writing tips and techniques

You will be required to write different types of essays throughout your student life as part of your course work. An expository essay is one of the many essay types you will be asked to write at some point in your academics. If you have been tasked with writing an expository essay, you should be ready to spend a considerable amount of time researching the best material.


Often, students get frustrated when tasked with writing expository essays. These students end up seeking College homework help from the various affordable writing service providers available. While this is not wrong or illegal, Its always important to learn to write an expository essay by yourself. If you have been recently tasked with writing an expository essay, this comprehensive guide will take you through the steps of writing the best expository essay in no time.


What is an expository essay?


The word ‘expository' can be described as an intent to describe or explain something. An expository essay is a type of academic writing meant to provide a clear and focused explanation of a given topic or set of ideas or processes. This type of essay is not meant to prove a point, but rather to give a balanced view on a subject.


Expository essays are usually presented as short assignments meant to test a student’s writing skills and understanding of a given subject. They will generally involve the same amount of research as most other essays and should present an original argument. When you are asked to write an expository essay, you are expected to investigate an idea, evaluate the evidence, expound on the idea, and develop an argument about this idea presented clearly and concisely. This work can be accomplished through definition, comparison and contrast, examples, analysis, and effect.


Expository vs. argumentative essay


Most students confuse expository essays to argumentative essays. An expository and argumentative essay serve completely different goals in essay writing. The main difference between these two types of essays is that argumentative essays are subjective, while expository essays are objective.  


An argumentative essay will choose a position either standing for or against a topic, while an expository essay explored the different angles of the same topic from a neutral standpoint. While an expository essay is written in the third person, an argumentative one can be written in the first person. The thesis statement in an argumentative essay presents the writer's argument while the thesis statement in an expository essay presents the writer's topic.


Students need to understand the difference between these two types of essays to ensure they write each of them as required.


Why do you need to write an expository essay?


Expository essays are assigned to students as an attempt to test the student’s understanding of a topic. Because of this purpose, expository essays are often assigned at the end of various exams and tests. Sometimes, this essay can be assigned for in-class writing, mostly at the end of a semester, to test what you took away from a given class.


Sometimes, expository essays are assigned to students to introduce students to expository writing, which is required in different disciplines. This type of writing is common in different career paths, such as business, scientific writing, and journalism. Good examples of expository writing types include press releases, news articles, business letters, term papers, and scientific journals.


Mastering the art of expository writing can be a valuable life skill to have. Apart from the ones mentioned above, many other careers require you to have this as part of your skill sets.


Types of expository skills


There are different types of expository essays.


Definition essays – these are meant to explain the meaning of a term, word, or concept. The topic of a definition expository essay can be on a concrete subject like a tree or animal, or sometimes can be an abstract term like love or freedom. A definition essay is meant to discuss the denotation of words in literal or dictionary definition and the connotation and associations the word brings to mind.


Compare and contrast essays – these are expository essays that describe the differences and similarities between two or more subjects. The subjects can be places, people, or things. A comparison essay will show the similarities between subjects, while a contrast essay shows the differences between different topics.


Classification essays – this type of expository essay is meant to break down an idea or subject into groups and categories. As a writer, you need to organize your essay by beginning with the most general category before defining and giving examples of the different classifications in the category.


How to essays – also referred to as process essays, these types of expository writings are meant to explain a process, procedure, or guide on how to get things done. The goal of this type of essay is to instruct the reader.


 Cause and effect essays – this essay is meant to show how different things influence each other and how dependent they are on each other. The writer is required to identify a relationship between subjects while focusing on the cause of different outcomes and the effect.


Steps to writing an expository essay


To write an expository essay that guarantees to get you the best grades, it is important to follow a preset writing guideline. Here are the steps to follow when writing an expository essay.


Choose your topic


Sometimes, professors assign the expository essay topic to students. This is especially common when they need to test the understanding of a specific topic. When a lecturer offers a topic, your research can only be centered on a specific topic.


If you are left to pick a topic on your own, it is important to come up with a system to choose the best topic for your essay. The topic you pick should be on a subject you are familiar with. Writing an expository essay on a topic, you are new to can make the researching difficult, which affects your writing process. You cannot explain a topic to your reader if you do not understand it.


For instance, if you are good at a certain hobby and know a lot about the topic, it will be easier for you to research sources and find the best material to write. With the idea in mind, you will need to come up with possible topics before narrowing down to one. A good expository essay topic should not be too broad or too narrow.


For instance:


The negative effects of video games – while this may be a credible topic, it is too broad and may make it hard for you to explain the whole concept in the required page count. You can narrow down your research to include an age group, gender, or any other details that narrow down your research. This can be “how excessively playing video games provokes teen violence.” This narrow topic will help you focus on the details of your study conclusively.


Ensure the topic you pick is manageable and can be fully addressed in the number of pages recommended by the professor. It should also be significant and relevant to your area of study. Expository essay topics can explore any area, including science, space, technology, and history.


Some topic examples for your expository essay include:



  • Explain how excessively playing video games can provoke teen violence.

  • Define the significances of the invention of the Internet

  • Describe the likely concerns of procrastination

  • Explain how overpopulation influences our lives

  • What are the major stress triggers among college students?

  • What are the ways to manage stress amongst college students them?

  • Investigate the change of education in the era of technology

  • Does the organization of a workplace influence its workflow? How and why?

  • Explain the goal of space exploration

  • Explain the viewpoints on Mars colonization

  • Explain the role of Astronomy in Ancient Greece


With your list of topics, you can narrow down to your preferred topic. It should be one you are familiar with and one that will be easy to write.


Do your research


Once you decide on your topic, it is time to research your topic. Even when already familiar with the topic, some research is required to get relevant and reliable information on the topic. You are required to cite sources through research. This ensures you get further exposure on the topic.


When researching your topic, start by reading an array of articles on the topic. This introduces you to different themes on the topic. Narrow your research to include the most credible resources and research guides. Take note of the topics that might be covered under your main topic.


The research part is the most important part of any writing. It gives you content for your work and gives you a better understanding of the topic. Ensure you treat this part with the seriousness it deserves.


Pick your guides


During the research, you may have come across multiple sources with amazing potential sub-topics for your essay. Since you cannot fit everything you find into your standard essay paper, you need to pick topics most relevant to your work. These should be topics that are mostly discussed on your subject, and the most relevant issues in the field.


For instance, if you are writing an essay on crypto-currency, you can choose to focus on bitcoin. You can also compare bitcoin to other cryptocurrencies that have come up as competition to bitcoin. This way, your article will present an unbiased stand on cryptocurrency while offering insight into information the reader may not be aware of.


Writing an outline


With your main topic, research, and examples guides, you now need to write an essay outline. A sample outline includes:



  • The introduction – this is the part of the expository essay where you introduce your topic. You can make it interesting by telling a background story on the topic, sharing statistics, or a quote that sums up the paper's theme. The introduction should also include a thesis statement. You can learn more on how to write an introduction for any paper here

  • The essay body – these parts will represent the sub-topics you chose from your research. Each sub-topic should be explored in a paragraph.

  • Conclusion - This is the last part of your expository essay. It should drive home the significance of your topic and you essay. Where relevant, you can suggest further research or discussion on the topic.


Write your thesis statement


You cannot write an expository essay without a thesis statement. While it may be tempting to make strong positions on your topic or argue a point in your thesis, this should not be done in an expository essay. The thesis in an expository essay serves to inform the reader what your essay is about and why it matters.


Writing the first draft


Once you have your thesis statement in place, you need to write your expository essay's first draft. Ensure you refer to your thesis statement when writing your first draft. The thesis statement is the guide to your writing. For this reason, each paragraph should fulfill what the reader expects after reading the thesis statement.


Throughout your work, ensure you make use of transition words. These include 'in addition to, furthermore or moreover' when supporting facts and 'however, but, on the other hand and instead' when opposing an opinion.


Editing your work


Once your draft is complete, you can take a break and put your work aside. Avoid editing your work immediately you finish writing it as this can cloud your judgment. Taking a break and returning to edit the work later allows you to have a fresh look into the work, ensuring you spot mistakes easily.


When editing your work:



  • Get another student to read over it. This allows you to tell whether others can understand the work.

  • Read the essay aloud. This will help to identify wrong wording, grammar issues, and other problem areas

  • Pass it through grammar editing apps to check grammar suggestions and correct spelling issues.

  • Pass it through a plagiarism checker and make the necessary changes. This will ensure your work is 100% unique.

  • Alternatively you can seek the services of a custom essay writing service to have your essay edited and proofread by professional paper writers.


Once you have edited your expository essay, format it according to the required academic writing guidelines before submitting it for marking.


With this comprehensive guide, you are better prepared to write a good expository essay, ensuring you meet all the course requirements. Remember, great research goes a long way. Ensure you consider a wide array of topics, including some that are not too common. This helps to ensure you write a unique and compelling essay.

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Published on: 22, Sep 2020
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