Expository Essay Writing Guide: Definition, Writing Tips, Topic, Examples

Expository Essay Writing Guide: Definition, Writing Tips, Topic, Examples
Table of Contents
  1. Expository Essay Writing Guide: Definition, Writing Tips, Topic, Examples
  2. Expository Essay Definition and Purpose
  3. Types of expository writing
  4. What is the Difference between Expository and Argumentative Essay
  5. Expository Essay Structure
  6. Expository Essay Outline
  7. How to Write an Expository Essay
  8. 1.Understand the assignment and type of expository writing
  9. 2.Brainstorm the topic and make a research
  10. 3.Formulate a thesis statement and draft an outline
  11. 4.Write your paper
  12. 5.Title your essay
  13. 6.Proofread and edit your paper
  14. How to Start an Expository Essay
  15. How Long Is Expository Essay
  16. Ideas for expository essay topics
  17. 7 Tips from Gurus for a Comprehensive Expository Essay
  18. Expository essay examples
  19. Need help with expository essay writing?

Received an assignment to write an expository essay but don’t know how to start or how to write it at all? No worries! We have collected all the necessary information in this article. They are often compared with informative essays (informative essay examples) It gives a clear expository essay definition (like movie review essay), explains its structure and writing process, offers great expository essay ideas as well as examples.

Expository Essay Definition and Purpose

An expository essay is a common type of academic writing which presupposes explanation, investigation of the idea, comparison, arguing, providing explanation or evaluation based on clear and specific evidence. The main purpose of an expository essay is to explain something, but it also differs.

The purpose of expository writing is to evaluate the student’s skills to analyze. Thus, it is a rather common essay type assigned to students.

Types of expository writing 

The type of expository essay differs based on the purpose set by the professor. But, in general, there are 5 most common types of expository writing.

  1. Process analysis essay. This type of expository writing presupposes providing an explanation of how something is done. It also includes description of the necessary equipment, step-by-step explanation of the process, possible side effects, as well as possible and desired outcome of the process.
  2. Definition essay. The main purpose of this essay type is to define something. The essay is much broader than just a definition or a definition paragraph and gives a bigger picture. It should provide all the possible definitions of the notion, explanation of connotations, as well as the peculiarities of its use in different contexts.
  3. Classification essay. Classification essay presupposes division of some ideas, items, things, notions, etc based on some common criteria.  Such expository writing develops analysis skills.
  4. Compare and contrast essay. From the name of the academic writing, also referred to as comparative essay, it presupposes comparing and contrasting at least two ideas, notions, things, etc. Comparing means discussing similarities of the chosen items. To contrast means to discuss the differences. Such essays help to choose between two things through weighting their pros and cons.
  5. Cause and effect essay. Cause and effect writing aims to establish the reason why something happened or what led to a particular situation. It also helps to understand the relationship between events and the effects or consequences of some decision, actions, etc.

What is the Difference between Expository and Argumentative Essay

One of the common questions is about the difference between the argumentative or persuasive and expository essay. Purpose or essence of persuasive writing is to present the existing arguments and convince the reader to take the writer’s viewpoint. The main purpose of the expository essay is to explain. Persuasive essay presupposes first-person narration, while in expository essay third person narration is common. Thus, considering this fact, an expository essay is more objective than argumentative.

Expository Essay Structure

The structure of an expository essay depends on the type of the writing assigned to you. Thus, always check the instructions if you want to receive a high grade. Try to check the instructions just as you receive the assignment to leave yourself some extra time in case you don’t understand the task well and need help.

However, in general, the essay should consist of at least five paragraphs: introduction, body, conclusion.

Expository Essay Outline

The general expository writing outline looks as follows:


  • Start with a hook
  • Introduce the topic
  • Provide general info on the issue discussed
  • Add a thesis statement

Main body paragraphs

  • Provide main ideas in the body
  • Each body paragraph discusses a new idea
  • All the ideas should be related to the thesis statement


  • Restate thesis statement
  • Summarize main ideas
  • Give general conclusion

How to Write an Expository Essay 

Expository essay writing is simple, but only in case you know how to do that. To write a comprehensive expository essay follow such steps.

a lot of papers with text and pans lying on them

    1.Understand the assignment and type of expository writing

Understanding the task is a crucial step. Check your instructions before writing to make sure you have extra time in case you don’t understand what should be done. Making sure you know the type of academic writing is also important, as the choice of topic depends on the essay type.

    2.Brainstorm the topic and make a research

When you have understood the task, it's time to choose the topic. If it was assigned by your teacher, great! If not, try to find interesting ideas on the internet or consider the topics covered in class. But do it considering the audience and the course. After you have chosen the topic for your paper, make a research to ensure that there is enough information on the issue to be covered in your paper and that it can be covered within the assigned word count.

    3.Formulate a thesis statement and draft an outline

The next step in expository essay writing is creating a thesis statement. Thesis statement is the main idea of your essay. Thus, it is logical to formulate the thesis statement and then create an essay plan based on it. An outline served as an essay plan. Just create a main idea per each paragraph or part of your essay. After this, you will develop these ideas.

    4.Write your paper

Quite logical that after planning comes writing. Start writing your first draft. Writing papers is easier with an outline. You just develop the ideas mentioned in your plan. However, make sure to express those ideas clearly and develop them logically using linking words. Also, make sure to include all the structural components of an essay: introduction, main body, and conclusion

    5.Title your essay

It is recommended to create a title for your essay after you have completed it. The explanation is rather clear. You may find a more catchy title when you know all the details of your paper.

    6.Proofread and edit your paper

A compulsory final step in essay writing is editing and proofreading. As Hemingway said, “Write drunk, edit sober”. If you have enough time left, proofread at least a few hours after writing to have a fresh view on your essay. It will allow you to correct all the mistakes and inconsistencies. Also, do not forget to check your paper for plagiarism before submission.

How to Start an Expository Essay

An expository essay starts with an introductory paragraph. As it is the first part a reader sees, it plays an important role of sparking the reader’s interest and enticing them into reading your paper. For this reason, it is recommended to start an essay with a hook sentence. A hook can be :

  • A provocative question
  • Real-life example
  • An anecdote
  • A relevant quote
  • Shocking statistics 
  • Unknown interesting fact

Regarding a quote. It is often recommended to start an essay with a quote by famous people. But often, these quotes are outdated. Thus, it is better to use some advice given to you or quotes by influential people still alive.

How Long Is Expository Essay

The length of an essay depends on the assignment given to you. Specify this question in the instructions or with your professor before starting your essay writing. Some teachers are strict about going both beyond and over the word limit. The fact is that the shortest essay length is five paragraphs. You should include an introductory paragraph, at least three body paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph.

Ideas for expository essay topics 

If you don’t know what to write about or are run out of ideas, our list with great expository essays will help you choose the great topic.

  1. The best destinations for vacation
  2. Explain the main reasons of aggression among teenagers
  3. Explain what are the pros and cons of artificial intelligence
  4. Are you for death penalty? Explain why
  5. Compare the pros and cons of online and face-to-face communication
  6. Explain what kindness means to you
  7. Explain the negative influence of marijuana
  8. Explain how students can become more effective
  9. Explain the likely consequences of skipping classes
  10. What are the main reasons of stress among college students
  11. Explain the effects of mass media on teenagers
  12. Distorted body image on the Internet and its influence on perception of beauty
  13. Explain the consequences of COVID- 19 on the global economy
  14. What are the reasons behind Black Lives Matter movement
  15. Explain the meaning of Cancel culture and its consequences
  16. Explain how frequent change of schools on teenagers
  17. Explain how Instagram has changed our world
  18. Does music we listen to affect our way of life?
  19. Does physical activity affects mental activity? Explain
  20. Healthy and unhealthy ways of coping with stress.

7 Tips from Gurus for a Comprehensive Expository Essay

If you want to make your essay flawless, follow these pieces of advice from professional writers

  1. Choose the topic that is interesting to you and relevant
  2. Create an outline before actual essay writing
  3. Create an essay-specific, strong, and succinct thesis statement that expresses your viewpoint
  4. Make sure to include an intro, main body, and conclusion in your essay.
  5. Each paragraph should be balanced, ie have a topic sentence, controlling and supporting ideas
  6. Do not repeat sentences or ideas through the paper
  7. Avoid adding new ideas to the conclusion paragraph

Expository essay examples 

Check a great expository essay example for your inspiration.

Need help with expository essay writing?

The above guide has provided you with all the necessary information for completing your assignment. It will help you become a pro in expository writing. If you have already completed the paper but not sure whether everything is properly done and want a  professional to check it. Or if you are not good at writing or are short of time, try our online writing services. We have a team of experienced writers with expertise in different fields. They will gladly edit the paper you have completed or will write a flawless paper from scratch based  on your instructions.