Writing an Expository Essay: Tips from 3 Experts

Writing an Expository Essay: Tips from 3 Experts

In properly learning how to write an expository essay, you must develop a strong thesis that is supported by relevant facts and statistics, examples, or other pertinent information.  An expository essay is a specific type of writing that involves providing the reader with information, explaining a topic, or defining a particular term.

Since an expository essay is meant to provide the reader with factual information, it should be written from a neutral point-of-view and without emotion.  In addition, it should be written in the third person, which means the article should not contain the word "I" or sentences such as "In my opinion...."

Before you begin writing the expository essay, you must develop your ideas.  This step of the writing process is usually referred to as "pre-writing."   During the pre-writing stage, you will brainstorm ideas for the document and you will begin to put them in order.

In order to start putting your ideas to order, you might utilize a number of different pre-writing strategies.  These include:

  • making a list;
  • creating a web;
  • developing a map;
  • engaging in freewriting;
  • drawing a tree diagram.

If you haven't already developed an argument, you should be able to determine one after conducting the pre-writing activities.  Although you will have an idea of what the report will be about before you begin pre-writing, the pre-writing stage will help you develop your ideas further and to hone in on your actual thesis statement.

Your thesis statement is one sentence that summarizes what the entire expository essay will be about.  Based off of your thesis statement, you will need to gather information that helps to support your statement.  This will involve conducting research in order to further develop the ideas you wrote about in the pre-writing stage.

In most cases, the thesis statement is included in the first paragraph of the expository article.  This first paragraph is called the "introduction" and is intended to grab the reader's attention and to provide the reader with the main idea.

Each of the subsequent paragraphs is used to support the topic sentence from the first paragraph.  Each of these paragraphs must have a topic sentence, which is a sentence telling the main idea of that paragraph, and the topic sentence must support your thesis.  The rest of the sentences within the paragraph are used to further explain and to support the topic sentence.  These supporting paragraphs are referred to as the "body" of the report and, in most cases, it should include at least three paragraphs in the body.

The final paragraph of the expository essay is the conclusion.  The conclusion should restate the thesis and the main ideas of the report, though the sentences should be worded differently.  The final paragraph should never introduce new material and the final sentence should summarize the report in a memorable or meaningful way.  In doing so, you will leave a lasting impression on the reader that will help your essay stand out from the rest.

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Viewpoint of Author #2
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An expository term paper is one that a pupil writes with the primary objective of informing the reader.  Expository term papers are therefore different from many term papers which encourage the reader to present a specific argument or interpretation.  Expository term papers are rather intended to explore and discuss a single topic in a thorough way.

Reports are long and in-depth texts; therefore, expository term papers must be on complex subjects.  Otherwise, the report will not achieve the length and breadth required for a report.  Students should choose a topic that has many different components or facets.  Therefore, while the topic should be specific, it should not be so specific that the learner will not be able to write about it for several pages.  

Though expository term papers do not posit arguments, they should nonetheless present thesis statements.  A thesis is the article's main idea.  The thesis for an expository term paper will likely identify the topic of the report and then explain how that topic is going to be explored.  For instance, the topic of the report may be on explaining the behavior of weather systems in mountainous areas.  The thesis for such a topic may be as follows: "Weather systems behave differently in mountainous areas than they do in non-mountainous areas.  By investigating the barometric pressure, precipitation patterns, and temperatures in adjacent mountainous and non-mountainous regions, it is possible to observe the interesting effects mountains have on weather."  This thesis clearly identifies the topic of the expository term paper—the behavior of weather systems in mountain areas—and explains how this topic will be explored—through the examination of the barometric pressure, precipitation patterns, and temperatures in adjacent mountainous and non-mountainous regions.

Determining who will be reading the expository term paper is central the success of such a report.  A student should always assume, unless instructed otherwise, that the audience for her assignment is her instructor and her peers.  Therefore, though an expository term paper is written to inform, an expository term paper written to inform one's classmates in an advanced biology class is different from an expository paper written to inform the average college pupil.  When writing an expository term paper, then, the pupil can assume that he does not need to inform his reader on background information about his topic if that background information has been discussed or acquired through the course of the class.

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Viewpoint of Author #3
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An expository essay is a type of assignment writing in which a learner will be required to write in-depth about a particular subject.  Many expository essays are also called research essays, as a student is required to research a subject in order to write the document.  In many cases, expository essays are also articles that are intended to uncover new ideas or information based on research.

Expository essays are meant to "expose" a certain idea or piece of information.  As the student exposes information in the report, the student should provide an analysis of multiple parts of the subject.  For example, a student may be required to write an expository essay about the Creative Class and its impact on urban development.  In order to create such an article, the learner will need to research and understand both the Creative Class as well as urban development basics.  The student would then need to explain how to Creative Class impacts urban development from all angles, including positive and negative angles.  

Many people regard expository essay writing as detective work.  A student takes a subject or question and writes an in-depth analysis of it in order to find out the truth (or the student's opinion of the truth).  Expository essays are particular popular in history, political science, and literature courses, as they require learners to think critically and write clearly about their thoughts.  

When writing an expository essay, students need to begin with an introductory statement.  This introductory statement should include an argument, which is a one-sentence statement of purpose.  The student will prove the thesis to be true throughout the document.  Each body paragraph that comes after the introduction should have new information that proves the thesis to be true.  

After the student has written the body of the expository essay, the student needs to wrap the report up with a conclusion.  The conclusion can be one paragraph or several paragraphs in which the student recaps information shared.  The student also expresses his or her own opinions and ideas in the conclusion in many cases.  

An expository report is different from a research essay in many cases.  A research essay conveys basic information and facts.  Students need to research a subject in depth in order to create a research article.  However, they may not need to think critically about that information.  

When a student needs to write an expository essay, the student not only needs to think critically during his or her research, but the student should also be motivated by his or her ability to uncover new information.  An expository essay is, therefore, about exposing the truth behind an idea or fact.  A research paper is about providing basic information that can then influence future expository essays.

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