How to Write an Expository Essay: Topics, Prompts, Outline, Example, and Definition

Do you know how to write an expository essay? Many people regard an expository essay as a hard nut to crack. You could you be one of them but you do not have to.

Just as the description tool used in the cinema industry, the same technique is applicable in an expository essay. Movie-makers use exposition to offer the key plot points to the audience.

Similar rules apply when writing explanation essays. Are you eager to write an excellent expository essay but stuck on how to start it or not sure of its constituent sections?

No need to fret; luckily, this article will outline everything that you need to know about a descriptive piece.

You will also learn how to write an A+ expository paper. Continue reading.

An expository essay comes by the end of semester or exam. Professors use it as a perfect method of testing a student’s knowledge.

Learning to write this essay involves the development of valuable skills in creativity.

Besides, you write many expository essays in college. Although writing this paper is easy, you need some help in creating a perfect essay.

What is an Expository Essay?

An expository essay is a form of writing that involves explaining, informing, or describing something. From “exposition” word, we get the term “expository.”

With its structure as an academic paper, expository essays investigate ideas and making it understandable to an audience. It involves:

  • Looking at evidence
  • Idea expansion
  • Concept presentation

In all cases, the language used should be simple and straightforward.

Expository writings normally follow the simple five paragraph essay formats. It includes:

  • An attention-grabbing intro that consists of a thesis
  • Three body paragraphs
  • Conclusion

For every argument in the body paragraphs, you must use supporting evidence; such as in-class and exams, writing comes as a standard genre.

However, many students do not understand this and often write very fast with no preparation. The result is a total failure.

Do Expository Writing Come In Different Types?

The answer is YES! Expository writing comes in five major types as follows:

1. Process Essay

It is characterized by the “How To” kind of assignment. It is committed to enlightening the reader about a process such as how to paint a wall, or how to propose to a girl.

2. Cause and Effect Essay

It is an assignment characterized by a “Knee-Jerk” reaction. In this essay, you focus on elements such as:

  • Why
  • How
  • The result

3. Descriptive Essay

In this essay, you describe something such as a place, situation, or person. It is a unique paper because you have the freedom with your content.

Therefore, you write a beautiful or exciting paper, keeping him/her glued to your work.

4. Comparison Essay

In this essay, you analyze any two topics. The details include:

  • Finding their similarities or differences
  • Explaining their similarities or differences

5. Problem or Solution Essay

It is renowned as the prompt assignment with the universal standard.

In such a case, you are given the problem and a chance to resolve it.

The ideal strategy would be to introduce the problem briefly then fill the body with the solutions.

The Purpose of the Expository Essays

You now know what an expository essay is but you may be wondering what could be its purpose.

Well, despite being part of every college exam, it also serves as an informative writing introduction and one of the primary ways of rhetorical modes used widely. They occur as:

1. Scientific and Academic Writing

It includes:

  1. Compare and contrast essays
  2. Cause and effect essays
  3. Scientific journals
  4. Definition and classification essays
  5. Term Papers

2. Journalism

All news items are expository forms of writing because they fit into the “inform, explain, and describe” definition.

3. Business

It includes:

  1. Business letters
  2. Press releases
  3. Reports

For your better understanding, this article is also expository writing! This article’s primary purpose is to inform, explain, and describe the descriptive essay’s concept.

You probably understand it now and realize that expository writing can occur anywhere.

Could you be wondering how to arrive at a topic in a descriptive essay? Well, relax and continue reading.

How to Find a Topic for Your Expository Essay

Expository essay ideas are many, but you need to go for something that you can relate with or explain.

It could be something from your daily routine or rituals, proposals, or guides.

Some students consider formulating expository essay topics as an uphill task, but it is not usually the case.

In most cases, the instructor assigns the essay and expects an A+ custom paper from you.

If not, you only need to brainstorm. When hunting for your expository essay’s topic, always remember to keep the article prompts handy.

Examples of Expository Essay Topics and Ideas

When you decide to search for a topic, you should have a clear picture of what you want to write. If not, the following examples can help you narrow down on your search:

  1. Describe your hometown’s history
  2. What is the primary cause of poverty?
  3. Explain how movies are made
  4. Explain how memories work
  5. How is pop culture popular?
  6. Give historical background on certain professions
  7. What is the history of specific critical architectural developments from a particular time to a certain point?
  8. Describe a phobia
  9. How does gravity work?
  10. How does Wi-Fi work?

The above topics should give you a lead but remember that whatever topic you pick, it should spark your interest.

Nobody loves an uninspired and dull essay. The paper should be energetic and sound enthusiastic.

How Do You Write an Expository Essay?

At this point, writing an expository paper is not an uphill task.

Just like any other essay such as rhetorical analysis, how to write a literary analysis, persuasive essay structure, and reflective essays sample, the outline is essential.

Collect all your information and thoughts then correctly organize them in an expository essay format like a five-paragraph essay.

 Are you wondering why the outline is essential? In case you run out of ideas while writing, you can always refer to the draft!

Do not panic but focus and stick to your well researched and verifies argument and all will be well.

The Outline for An Expository Essay

The outline should include the following:

The Intro

In the intro, you need to state what your essay will address. You need to start with a hook.

The introduction of an expository essay is not different from other pieces.

It focuses on attracting the attention of the reader as it gives him/her the topic’s overview. At the end of the introduction paragraph, write the thesis sentence. The introduction includes:

  • The hook sentence
  • The background info
  • Thesis


This section of an expository essay gives you an opportunity to provide all ideas and information about our selected topic.

With the chance to unload all your information in details, explain the concept or topic. Use reliable references to back up your points.

Instructors often assign them during either exams or in-class. Therefore, professors expect fast writing from their students who should use their mind to give references.

The same applies to essays about cause and effectbest research paper topics, and response paper examples.  

In case the assignment is your homework, use the MLA format and relevant and up to date sources to write your essay. The body includes:

  • The second paragraph with the first topic
  • The third paragraph with the second topic
  • The fourth paragraph with the third topic

For better preparation, study your material sources. It makes picking references a downhill task.

Besides, professors usually know if a student has studied for the essay or not and apply all concepts learned in class.


Here, you should say all that you mentioned in the essay but written in summary form. Include all the major points and make an impact at this point.

The reader should relate to and ponder about your work. Your work should give a good impression. The conclusion includes:

  • The summary of the essay
  • Restatement of thesis
  • Strong and memorable final statement

Proofread Your Work

To write an expository essay to the end is an achievement. However, that is not enough.

You need to proofread to ensure everything is on point and the grammar is perfect.

Remember, watery text, and well-transited paragraphs will increase your score. You should check the following:

  • In the introduction paragraph, the thesis statement should appear near the end. Ensure that the statement includes your motive for writing the essay and it should state the topic.
  • The evidence should be explained clearly. Ensure that it gives support to the thesis. Each paragraph should have a topic sentence with supporting evidence.
  • The sources supporting the evidence should be reliable. The conversation should be relevant.
  • The spelling, grammar, and punctuation should be correct. Ensure that the essay is flawless and smooth to read. The reader should read and understand the piece with no distractions.
  • The whole paper should be formatted appropriately and use MLA format or the one that your instructor specifies.

Steps in Writing an Expository Essay

  1. Know your target audience
  2. Decide on what topic to use
  3. Research your problem in details
  4. Create an outline
  5. Format the framework appropriately
  6. Create an interesting introduction
  7. Write coherent body paragraphs
  8. Craft an assertive conclusion
  9. Proofread and edit

Features of an Expository Essay

Although you may encounter an expository essay while studying, it is also common in our everyday routine.

Specialists use them daily to give written instructions or when explaining something. The following features provide an excellent expository essay.

Use them to sharpen your writing skills.

1. Use of Facts

Always use facts to prove your point. Avoid personal opinion.

In this essay, your task narrows down to using only suitable facts and information in supporting your thesis statement.

You should to write in details, give explanations, and address your readers as if they do not know about the topic.

Lastly, give all the details about the subject although your audience can grasp them easily. Therefore, use reliable facts to support your argument.

2. Focus

Once you decide on the topic, you need to stay on point. Do not astray or wonder from the subject.

Although details are necessary for this piece, you need not be wordy in your explanations. Lastly, avoid giving unnecessary information.

3. Compare and Contrast

You need to come out clearly on either the similarities or differences of what you are writing about whether it is between two places, people, or objects.

It is not necessary to list them all, choose only the significant ones.

4. Causes and Effects

You cannot avoid explaining how something influences another in an expository essay. It is one of the main strategies of this paper. First, introduce an absolute fact. Then, list the causes and analyze them.

5. Process Description

It is one of the writing methods for this essay where you give in details about the process of doing something.

Ensure that you describe all the guidelines. The best way is to obtain all the necessary information before you even start writing.

Remember you are supposed to be the expert who is advising or giving information to the purported unknowledgeable readers.

6. Definition

You should explain or provide meanings to expressions or specific words. Use latest and reliable sources to get information on the purpose.

Avoid guesswork. Whether the object is living or an abstract, the meaning should be befitting and genuine.

7. Give a Solution

Ensure that you state the problem in your introductory paragraph and then use the body paragraphs to give solutions.

The best strategy is to pose a question and give detailed answers.

8. The 5-Paragraph Structure

Always use five paragraphs in your essay. Stick to the laid out conventional structure and format.

As an essay writer, Ensure that you write the thesis statement in the first/introduction paragraph then explain the thesis in the following three body paragraphs.

Finally, restate the main idea in conclusion.

With the above points, you now know the secret to write a winning expository essay.

When you explain different ideas in individual paragraphs and support them with reliable sources, achieving an A+ in your expository essay is a reality.

Moreover, the grammar should be correct and punctuated adequately while each paragraph flows and connects smoothly with the next.

You have no reason to fear: go ahead and write your expository essay today, use a college essay writer, or write my essay online. Remember to be creative!

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