How to Write an Expository Essay Structure, Tips & Examples


It is a common observation that students find easy writing a difficult job. The underlying reason is the complexity that is intricated in the components and the essence which basically differentiates one essay from the other. Understanding this issue, we aim at explaining what an expository essay is, and what are its characteristics.


As the name indicates, an expository essay is defined as an essay that is meant to come up with an explanation or understanding of a concept, idea, or fact. Many people ask what is an expository essay, but they fail to reflect on the term which actually has its meaning. So, an expository essay in general is a narration in which the writer aims to develop a stance in the light of some facts and figures that can either educate the audience, prove something or help the readers understand either what they know is correct or incorrect. Many people confuse an expository essay with a descriptive essay but there are some major differences between the two based on the context. A student is required to explain and describe something that is already known or to negate the stance by providing correct information. One can also find it similar to the extemporaneously definition but the inclusion same approaches never make an essay similar to the other one.

Characteristics of an expository essay

Since it is one of the essays that is least talked about, a student should know the underlying understanding of the expository essay. It is one of the essays which requires the most critical thinking and analytical thinking. Following are some of the characteristics of an expository essay

  • An expository essay is based on an objective approach. One is not allowed or supposed to share his feelings in the essay, rather everything should be research-based. The inclusion of personal beliefs and personal understanding is strictly prohibited.

  • This type of essay is all about evidence-building. Simply states, a writer will not be able to write a complete essay until some evidence are collected about the main idea and how that idea should be conveyed. In some of the cases, students fail to come up with the required information, which damages the underlying essence.

  • An expository essay is always about research. Before writing this type of essay, a writer should be well-versed in how to conduct quality research and what are resources that should be utilized to carry out the subject research.

  • An expository essay is based on the ability of a writer to develop his point of view with facts and then convey it to the writer in the best possible way. It is the most important point because many students are still confused about how are a persuasive essay and an expository essay different, and the answer lies in the assembling of evidence which is highly research-oriented in the case of an expository essay, while a persuasive essay can sometimes allow the inclusion of emotions and the personal beliefs.

Expository essay outline

Since the outline is the foremost part of a full-length essay and it should be written prior to writing a full-length essay, one should first try to learn how to make an effective outline for an expository essay. The outline follows the same pattern as that of another essay.

  • Introduction
  • The first heading that is created or discussed is the introduction. It is the explanation of the topic or the background of the topic that makes this part of the essay. it is a thorough insight into how a topic is going to be discussed. i.e.: thesis statement
    However, it is of crucial importance to design a thesis statement beforehand because if there will be no thesis statement, the essay will not be deemed as quality work.

  • Discussion
  • Then comes the central section of art. It is named so because the abilities of students are assessed in this section. It is the second part where a student has to expand on the thesis statement. The discussion should have at least around three to five paragraphs. Each of the paragraphs should have a central idea that should be connected with the thesis statement. The point should be elaborated on in the full-length essay but it must be backed by the required facts and figures.

    One of the great misconceptions that should be avoided is that there should be no subheadings, one should only restrict to the major headings such as introduction, discussion, and conclusion.

  • Conclusion
  • It is the last and final section of the outline which should be a conclusive paragraph. Here one should summarize everything that is already discussed. it is important to ensure that there is nothing new added in the conclusion because it creates a highly negative impact and deforms the structure of the essay.

Structure of expository essay

Since an expository essay is defined as a series of cause and effect agents or research results that are carefully evaluated to make them eligible for the topic, it is important to ensure that the correct academic structure is followed. The structure of the expository essay should be the same as the other essays, i.e. a total of five paragraphs, each having its own understanding and yet connected with the other.

The essay should be started with an introduction paragraph in which the topic should be explained. Then, the purpose of the essay should be communicated and that purpose should be evaluated in the light of the latest and effective research. The results of the research should be based on the topic. Then, all the identified aspects are again concluded so that a windup thought can be generated. It is important to know that the conclusion can also include some recommendations, implications, or options for future research that can help the readers aim to know more about the topic.

Ideas to come up with an effective expository essay

As an expository essay is a bit technical when compared to the other types of essays, it is highlighted that the key to writing an effective essay is based on a number of agents. The very first aspect is the choice of topic, it is obvious that when a student will write about informative speech topics instead of relevant ones, it will never turn out to be great or effective.

There are different expository essay topics that can be utilized for writing an effective essay such as coming up with bashing myths about the Ebola Virus, or the Corona Virus. It is also important to have a clear understanding of the timeline of the essay, i.e., one should not use very old or recessive information, rather latest information should be used. other ideas for an expository essay include coming up with trending topics that you personally think need some creative or critical discussion. It will not only increase the knowledge but it can help to score good grades.

Formatting the expository essay

The formatting of the expository essay is alike other academic tasks. Firstly, the citation style should be accurate, or as per the requirements such as either MLA heading should be used or other styles. Then the font should be 12 Times New Roman, and the text should be double-spaced.

For better understanding, it is inferred almost all academic works such as an essay or commemorative speech follows the same formatting approach in terms of the layout or designing or sleeting the font size.

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