How to Write an Expository Essay

What is an expository essay?

An expository essay is a unique literary genre written on a specific topic. The main feature of such a work is its authoring. The main features of the expository essay are a relatively small volume, the presence of the main topic (expository essay thesis statement) and its subjectively emphasized interpretation, free composition, internal semantic unity and ease of narration.

Expository writing definition

As the name implies, the student should expose something. It could be an object, experience, situation, emotion, theory, or something else that a professor assigns to them. 

This type of essay is intended to teach a student how to generalize obtained information. 

Essentially, an expository essay allows a writer to tell a story without limits. You have the artistic freedom to say what you want, as you wish. This contributes to the creativity of students and is widespread in the humanities. You should write a piece that captures the imagination of the reader, making the story as simple as possible. 

In practice, an expository essay has several varieties: This may be a theory expository, a generalization of the characteristics peculiar to someone/something, revealing some interesting data you found out while studying given phenomenon.

An expository essay is a creative work, as it involves the transmission of sensory perception of a phenomenon (process, etc.) by means of language. This essay uses all expressive and creative means capable of conveying the image of the idea, ​​an object or phenomenon that the author has. 

The task of the student is to transmit sensory perception with the help of verbs to convey the properties of the described phenomenon. 

However, value judgments should be avoided: good, bad, nice, etc. Since the reader will have to build his own attitude to what is being described, the main difficulty in writing is the selection of synonymous substitutions for evaluative words. 

One of the training exercises for preparing this essay can be considered the task of describing the subject of a person who has never seen this subject in his life. 

Each expository essay is intended to recreate in the imagination of the reader a certain image. At the same time, the subject of the expository essay has its own point of view on the image and can be free in assessments and methods of presenting the material.

To describe is to indicate, to reveal some important signs, characteristic features, signs by which we can recognize or present the subject of the expository essay.

Particular attention in the expository essay is paid to bright and interesting details, features. But at the same time, it is necessary to strive to ensure that these details do not look disparate, but form an integral picture where everything is interconnected.

Expository Essay Outline

How to write an expository essay? An expository essay, as a rule, has a three-part composition: it will contain an introduction, the main part, and a conclusion.

Expository Essay Introduction

How to start an expository essay? Make a plan for your work and carefully consider its structure. Decide for yourself where you will start your story, what you will reflect in the main section of the work, and what conclusions you indicate in conclusion. Everything that was invented in the process of preparing for writing an expository essay should be written on paper. Formulate, in one sentence, a topic for your basic ideas. Then list the arguments in favor of this statement. Basically, for each topic, there are about three arguments.

If the object is a phenomenon or situation, then in the introduction you can write what they are associated with or what is interesting in the first place.

Think about what attracts attention to the object, what makes it recognizable. This may be qualitative characteristics or actions that occur in it or with it.

Expository Essay Body

Avoid using obvious constructions like “This work focuses on the topic …”.

Try to use the inverted pyramid formula when writing, which implies the use of a sufficiently voluminous description of the topic at the beginning of the work and its subsequent gradual narrowing to a certain thesis. In small essays, it is necessary to write no more than 3-5 sentences, and in voluminous essays no more than one page.

First, describe the most significant signs and characteristics of the object so that it becomes recognizable, and then proceed to the details and features that complement the image, use original definitions and comparisons. Do not give banal characteristics; try to show how attentive and subtle you are. To describe the movement of thought, use verbs with a neutral meaning (one can see, one needs to understand, one starts to notice, etc.)

Expository Essay Conclusion

Write the final part of your work. Here it is necessary to summarize all the arguments and give an example of using your output in a more global sense. The arguments you have given should encourage the reader to draw certain conclusions. In the final part of the work, its main thesis should be mentioned again in order to remind readers what they are reading about.

Thoroughly work out the final summary of the above sentence. If the main function of the title and the introductory part of an expository essay is to encourage the reader to read your work, then the final sentence must make the reader remember you.

Expository Essay Format

Do not underestimate the importance of pagination in an essay, its length and overall presentation of the material. In practice, the requirements for the essay should be taken into account as much as possible so as not to worsen your work at random.

The circle of readers. Analyze who you want to reach with an essay? Who and what are you going to convince in this way? The essay should be written so that it is addressed to a certain circle of persons.

Expository essay Tips

Study the most suitable material for writing an essay to provide evidence of your arguments.

Suitable material can be searched on the Internet, in the library or in the database. Do not be shy when asking for a librarian for help; there is nothing reprehensible in this because this is their job.

Find out what sources can be used in work.

Do not ignore statements and facts that contradict your argument. The author of a good essay either mentions other points of view, citing counter arguments for his part or modifies other points of view when mentioned in accordance with his own views.

Analyze well-written works at In the process of research, you will probably have to come across good expository essays already written on your topic. 

Analyze the following points:

  • What statements does the author of the essay make? 
  • Why does the text sound so good? 
  • Is this related to the sources used, the writing style, the structure of the work, or something else?
  • What arguments does the author use in his work? 
  • Why do they sound so convincing? 
  • How are facts written and used by the author of the essay?
  • Is the author’s logic convincing enough? 
  • Are his claims corroborated by convincing examples?

Think of your own ideas. Of course, other people’s arguments can be cited as confirmation of their statements. But in some cases, it is required to make an expository essay a little more unique.

Create a list of your ideas. Associograms can help with this.

Wait for inspiration. It should not be forgotten that a suitable idea can visit you anywhere, so be prepared to use it.

Define the thesis of your work. From the ideas you have expressed, dwell on a few of the best as support for the topic chosen for writing an essay. Be prepared to confirm them reasonably.

Write a thesis that serves as a summary of basic ideas. This must be done so that readers understand what you are talking about and why. The thesis must be clearly focused on the topic you are revealing and what you want to talk about.

You should not make the thesis far from the topic. Present it in the form of a question or write it in the first person.

Write the bulk of your work. At this stage, you should consider the scope of the essay. It is not advisable to spread the idea of 10 pages if you are expected to write only 5 paragraphs. You can use the freerith method in your thoughts for now, you can make the text more coherent and convincing a little later.

You should not use generalizations. The reader may not accept your point of view and this definitely will not work for your essay. It is advisable to use the most restrained and very neat constructions when writing.

No need to expose the narrative in the first person. It is necessary to avoid such pronouns as “I”, “you”, “yours”, “we”, “mine”, “ours”. The expressed opinion is better to confirm with facts, it will look more convincing with these.

Expository Essay Topics for College

Expository essay topics are the most crucial part when talking about those actions where you have to decide on something.

The following interesting expository essay topics will surely wake your desire to write immediately after you came across the subject you are familiar with.

Expository essay topics university:

  • Why is there a gap between dream and reality?
  • What do dreams and reality have in common?
  • Why do people run away from reality?
  • What is the difference between a dream and a goal?
  • Do I need to make my dreams come true?
  • Why do people betray a dream?
  • Do I need to be true to my dream?
  • How do dreams change with age?
  • Why is the concept of dreams most often associated with childhood?
  • Why does the word “daydreaming” have a negative connotation for many adults?
  • How does the word “want” differ from “dream”?
  • Can a dream come true?
  • Can a purposeful person dream?
  • Why do they often say: “fear your desires”?
  • What will happen to a person if his dream is taken away?
  • Is a person always ready to fulfill his dream?
  • How are the concepts of “dream” and “meaning of life” related?
  • Do childhood dreams affect career choices?
  • Do you agree that you need to dream about the great?
  • Where does the “dream” end and the “goal” begin?
  • What is an “escape from reality”?
  • Do all dreams have to come true?
  • When does a conflict arise between a dream and reality?
  • How do you understand the phrase “dreaming is not harmful”?
  • What kind of person is said to be “floating in the clouds”?
  • How are dream and reality related?
  • Why do not dreams always come true?
  • When reality destroys a dream?
  • Why do not all dreams come true?
  • What is the essence of the contradiction between dream and reality?
  • Do you agree with the statement that “a man without a dream is like a bird without wings”?
  • When does a dream turn into a goal?
  • Is it possible to escape from reality?
  • Do realists dream?
  • Can reality give rise to a dream?
  • Can the dream of one person change the reality of many?
  • How do dreams change the world of science, art? Is it mandatory for every person to have a dream?
  • What are dreams for?
  • What, in your opinion, is a “cherished dream”?
  • How do you understand the expression “cruel reality”?
  • Why is it important to keep intergenerational communication?
  • Why is the theme of “fathers and children” often present in many works of literature?
  • “The present age” and “the past age”: is agreement possible?
  • The role of parental guidance in human life.
  • Is a conflict between “fathers” and “children” inevitable?
  • What are the sources of misunderstanding between people of different generations?
  • What can stop fathers and children from understanding each other?
  • How can the experience of fathers be valuable to children?