Expository Essay – Outline, Purpose & Types

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Posted on:
May 9, 2024
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May 9, 2024
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It’s possible that you’re here because you were just given an expository essay assignment or because you’re interested in digging deeper into ideas. No matter the reason, we’re here to help you understand expository essay definitions, how to write one, and some examples of them. First, let’s talk about what an explanatory essay is and why you would write one. Keep reading!

What is an Expository Essay?

An expository essay tells the reader about a situation, person, idea, or event by explaining different parts of it. It’s not meant to change people’s minds like persuasive writing does. Instead, it uses facts to teach and inform about the topic.

Expository writing can be used to answer a wide range of questions, from talking about personal experiences to outlining work tasks. It is probably the most popular type of essay writing in the world. If you ever feel like you have too many tasks, you can use our essay writing service to take a break and finish your work faster.

What is the Purpose of an Expository Essay?

The basic purpose of expository essay writing is to teach the audience or reader something. You might find it entertaining or convincing as a side effect, but those aren’t the author’s main goals. A well-written expository essay shows how knowledgeable the author is about the topic and often shows how they learned about it.

For example, take the job of writing an essay related to your class’s mock trial. Typically, an expository essay’s first paragraph will provide background information on the assignment, and the case study your class worked on.
The subsequent sections would elaborate on each stage of the simulated trial in greater depth, including topics such as discovery, preliminary arguments, cross-examination, closing arguments, jury selection, and the verdict. This would show the way your class handled each step. At the end of the writing, you would talk about the judge’s decision and the class’s decision.

Importantly, you do not state in your essay regarding the mock trial whether the verdict was correct or incorrect. As an alternative, it describes the complicated steps your class took, providing a comprehensive overview of the legal process as it relates to actual court cases. The main point of your essay is to present facts and processes, not to give your personal opinion or make a statement.

Types of Expository Essays

As was already said, there are multiple types of expository essays. Some examples of these are:

Types of Expository Essays

Types of Expository Essays


When you write a classification essay, you explore different topics within the same category and talk about what makes each topic unique while also pointing out what makes them similar to other topics in the same category.


An essay on herding dogs could begin with a thesis statement that explains how these dogs are different from other types of dogs. In the next few lines, I will go into detail on various herding breeds, such as heelers, corgis, and collies.


It is a type of essay that gives information about a subject to help the reader understand it better.


You could use first-hand accounts from original sources in your definition essay to dispel common myths about a historical event. It would also look at the political, social, as well as economic trends that affected the incident and how people saw it.


Like a recipe, a process essay tells the reader what they need to do to finish a job. The initial part of a process essay explains the process being talked about and what the reader can expect to happen as a result. Each chapter in the body acts as a step in the process, and the last chapter tells the reader what they must have done by following every step.

Compare and Contrast

In this type of essay, you back up your essay’s main point by looking at how the sources you used are different and how they are the same.


An essay that compares and contrasts school dress codes might look closely at the differences in what clothes are allowed and how well the rules are written in each one. The level of clarity in each dress code’s rules could also be looked into.

Cause & Effect Essay

Just like the name, a cause and effect essay looks at how certain acts or incidents lead to other things happening. A lot of the time, these writings try to figure out why things are the way they are by following the chains of events.


One example would be a cause-and-effect essay that looks at how changing market trends have affected businesses in the area over the last few decades and how those changes have affected the local economy today.

You might also learn more and get better at writing by reading our narrative essay.

Expository Essay Structure

An expository essay follows the standard structure for all essays: an opening, a main body that gives more information and support, and a conclusion that restates your thesis and provides new information. There isn’t a strict word count rule unless your teacher tells you otherwise, but your essay should fully explain your thoughts and follow a correct and logical flow.

Your expository essay will be well-organized if you follow this expository essay outline. Moreover, you can change the number of sections based on your supporting points:


Wondering how to start an expository essay? In this first part, you introduce the topic of your essay, state your thesis statement and try to get the viewer interested with interesting facts. Additionally, give your viewers the background information and supporting evidence they need. It will help them understand what your main point is.

Body paragraph #1

Give each of your supporting points its own paragraph. People usually think of a five-paragraph format as standard, but you may need more subsections to fully explain your thesis statement.

Body Paragraph #2

Some students mostly ask, Is it necessary to use transition words when writing an expository essay? You can use the right transition words and sentences to make the changes between lines go smoothly. These connecting words and phrases show how different paragraphs relate to each other and make it clear what each point is meant to do and how it fits into your overall case.

Body Paragraph #3

Focus on moving from the last writing sentence to the expository essay conclusion as you get close to the end. Don’t summarize too quickly; instead, give useful details that are similar to what you already said.


In the last part, you should repeat your thesis statement and briefly go over the main points you made in the body. Make sure the end fits together well by answering any questions your professor may still have and tying up any loose ends.

How to Write a Good Expository Essay?

Now that you have an idea of an expository essay outline, let’s have a look at how to write an expository essay effectively. When you are writing an expository essay, this part will show you the exact expository essay steps you need to take.

How to Write a Good Expository Essay

How to Write a Good Expository Essay

Conduct Research

First, read the task instructions very carefully to make sure you understand what you need to do, such as any topic and word limit. You could write down different ideas that go with the different types of explanatory essays and then figure out which type fits your chosen theme the best.

To come up with possible questions, think about what you’ve learned in class, what the teacher expects, and your own hobbies. Do some preliminary research on each topic to see what reliable sources are available and to improve your knowledge. This will help you come up with good expository essay topics that are both well-informed and interesting.

Make an Outline

As soon as you decide on a subject, you should start your study with three main ways to explain it in your body paragraphs. As you do your research, think about possible thesis statements and let them change naturally as you find more proof.

Make an outline for your expository essay by putting information in the right parts to make the writing process go more quickly. As soon as you finish planning, write a rough thesis statement. This will help you focus your research as well as your writing.

Write the Initial Draft

It’s time to fill in the blanks in your outline. Most of the time, it’s better to write the introduction in the end because you’ll have a better idea of what to say in it after writing the main paragraphs.

However, don’t forget to compose your thesis statement. Use what you have learned to make a research of the topic that flows well from one paragraph to the next. Make sure the facts you give are correct and fit with the ones that come before and after them.

Always keep in mind what the purpose of each body part is and check to see if the information you are giving fits that purpose. To make your writing easier to understand, use transition words within paragraphs.

Finish the Writing

After composing the initial essay draft, read it again and see if the different parts make sense. Don’t be afraid to write over parts of the information or totally get rid of them. As you write the first draft, you may think of new ways to tell the story that will make the whole thing stronger. You should not try to persuade anyone, and you should only use facts as evidence instead of your own views.

Each line should be checked to make sure it is clear and fits with the rest of the paragraph. Look at the information you’ve included to make sure it’s helpful and assists you in understanding the subject better. If the extra information is confusing or doesn’t add anything to the expository essay, it’s better to add less information.

Read the paper as if you have never heard of the topic before to see if it makes sense. Well done! You are almost done with writing and turning in an A-grade expository essay.

Revise the Essay

After you are done writing, go over the last draft of your expository essay to make sure it follows all the assignment’s rules and is formatted correctly. See if there are any spelling or grammar problems as well. As a last check, have a friend or family member look over the work. Don’t give up if you think you still need to make a lot of changes.

Take the extra time to read our persuasive essay guide for more ideas.

Expository Essay vs Argumentative Essay

The main goal of an expository essay is to describe, explain, or give information about a subject or theme. It should be written in a neutral tone, with the primary intent of giving facts, explaining ideas, and giving a good picture of the subject.

The basic purpose of an argumentative essay is to present a well-organized case or point of view on a certain topic. The writer has a strong opinion on a subject and backs it up with strong arguments, counterarguments, and proof. To persuade the reader, the words may be more passionate and strong.

Expository Essay Topics

Here is a list of expository essay topics:

  • Why daily exercise is good for your mental health.
  • What part does ChatGPT play in the patterns of unemployment around the world?
  • How to Deal with Stress at College.
  • What happens when forests are cut down?
  • A new way to learn is through distance learning.
  • The long-term effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • How AI is becoming more important in daily life.
  • What Does It Mean to Be a Hero in Literature?
  • What does plant photosynthesis do for the world’s environment?
  • Advantages of using more green energy across the globe.
  • Renaissance art after Michelangelo.
  • The pros and cons of working from home.
  • Why should companies allow people to work from home?
  • What the Industrial Revolution did to change the world today.
  • The study of beauty, or aesthetics.
  • How important is it to understand that money is growing?
  • Effects of computer games on brain development.
  • What effect do social media influencers have on popular opinion?
  • How American Hard Rock Fits into Society.
  • How music affects our mood and how we feel emotionally.
  • Heart and blood vessel diseases: causes and risk factors.
  • What role does religion play in society?
  • The Magna Carta is important for protecting rights and freedoms in the UK.
  • Nutrition Study: Losing Weight with the Grapefruit Diet.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q1: Can you use I in an expository essay?

Ans. When writing an expository essay, you should be objective: It’s not about your own thoughts or feelings. Instead, you should try to give a balanced and useful description of your subject. Do not use “I” or “you” in the first or second person.

Q2: What are the 5 elements of an expository essay?

Ans. The five elements of an expository essay include:

  • Structure
  • Subtopics, the thesis statement, and the topic sentence.
  • Transitions.
  • Proof and examples.
  • Conclusion.

Q3: What are the characteristics of a good expository essay?

Ans. Expository essays are multi paragraph descriptions of topics. There is no set number of words. There is a starting, middle, and an end to the essay. The writer uses facts, details, and examples to clearly and briefly explain, describe, and tell the reader about a subject.

Q4: How long is an expository essay?

Ans. There is no set length for an explanatory essay. The length depends on your teacher’s instructions or the reason you are writing it. Shorter expository essays can be as short as a few hundred words, while longer ones can be as long as several thousand words. Three to five body paragraphs are the norm, but it can be more or less depending on the topic and how much information you need to get across.

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