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How to Write Expository Essays?

Blog Essay
Posted : 2019-03-21
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Sanjana Costa


How to Write Expository Essays?

Among the pile of pending essays sitting on your desk, expository essay happens to be one of them. While you are confident you can manage the rest, the expository essay is posing to be a problem. You just can’t fathom the best way to write one and don’t know how you will clear your academic year with good grades if this type of essay is done in a poor manner. You’re in a fix and you wish you could get some help.

Well, help is here! Writing an expository essay may seem like an insurmountable challenge to you but with the tips and tricks we’ve laid down below, it’s going to be a piece of cake. Once you go through them, you will see how easy an expository essay can be to write.

But first, let us give a lowdown on what an expository essay is.

Definition of an Expository Essay

The purpose an expository essay is to inform. Bear in mind the keyword here – inform. Unlike other essays, in an expository essay you are not supposed to influence your reader’s thought process in any way. You are merely supposed to state what is as it is. In an expository essay, your core objective should be simply to present the subject matter of your essay to your reader in a clear and concise manner.

Expository essays can take many forms. It can be a straightforward explanation, a comparison and contrast, a problem and solution and even the description of a particular process. However, you should keep in mind that an expository is different from an argumentative essay even though they may seem the same.

In an expository essay, you are supposed to be neutral, whereas in an argumentative essay you have to take a stance. Argumentative essays are also subjective and written in the first person, while expository essays are objective and written in third person.

Now that you can see what expository essays are all about, let us move on to the next section of this blog.

Tips on how to write Expository Essays

Expository essays are quite matter of fact and relatively easier to write. So let us get started on the valuable tips that’ll show you how to write an expository essay-

1. Examine the prompt

Assigned an expository essay? The first thing you will have to do is read the prompt that comes with it. You will find the central theme of your essay along with a list of all the rules you need to follow while composing. Read the prompt carefully 2-3 times to know what is expected of you and what it is you exactly need to do.

2. Generate topic ideas

Keeping the theme that you have been asked to work on by your teacher, start thinking of possible essay topic ideas. List all the ideas down first and then narrow it down to a topic you think would be able to work on with confidence. The topic should be interesting, within the scope of the assigned theme and something that you would like to work on yourself.

3. Do your research

You already have a topic to work on now so start with your research. Gather relevant information for your topic from a wide variety of sources – be it books, journals, documentaries etc. You can also scout the internet for information on your topic. The more research material you have at your disposal, the easier it will be for you to write your essay.

4. Evaluate the research material gathered

Collecting information is one thing. Ensuring that it’s credible is wholly different. Examine all of the research material you have gathered to see if you can rely on the information given in them. To find this out, you will have to check the credentials of the author, if the work concerned has valid citations, whether the author’s perspective is biased or balanced and if the date of publication is up to date. You can also cross-check the information you have just to be extra sure it’s correct.

5. Read the research material you have

Once you have narrowed down the list of resources you have to credible ones only, read through everything you have. Be thorough and ensure that you understand what the author is trying to say so you do not make any mistakes while composing your paper.

6. Give your essay an outline

Creating the structure of your essay is crucial as it will help you know which piece of information should go where. Now that the stage of preparing for your expository essay is over, get down to creating an outline for your paper. Divide it into three sections – introduction, main body and conclusion and jot down appropriate points in each section.

Remember, your essay will be typically made up of 5 paragraphs – one for introduction and conclusion each and three for main body – and will be roughly two pages long so plan accordingly. It’ll be good to develop your thesis statement at this stage.

7. Introduce your essay

Since the introduction of your essay is the first thing your reader as well as teacher are going to see, make sure that it creates a positive impression. Start your essay with a sentence that captivates your audience from the get go. However, this sentence should be related to the topic. Also, don’t beat around the bush much and dive straight into your topic after your opening sentence.

8. Establish context in your intro

Presenting background information in the introduction is key. It helps your readers understand your topic better as well as the reasons why you chose to write on it. Also, when providing context, think of what your readers would want to know about this topic. For example, if you wish to write on a book, mention the name of the book, the author and what it’s about in the introduction.

9. Give your thesis statement

Your thesis statement is essentially main point of your paper. You are supposed to mention the thesis statement towards the end of the introduction and ensure it’s not more than a sentence or two long. You can choose to lay down the methods you used to present the information you’ve gathered here.

10. Write the main body paragraphs

Your introduction should avoid a smooth transition to the main body paragraphs, which should at least be three in number. Begin each paragraph with a topic sentence that clearly states what you wish to talk about in the given paragraph. This topic sentence should support the thesis you have made in the introduction.

After the topic sentence, move on to supporting your topic sentence with cold hard facts. The evidence you provide to support your point should be specific as well as credible. Ensure that every body paragraph has something new to offer pertaining to your topic. Moreover, each body paragraph contain transitory terms as well so they present a stitched whole.

11. Present your analysis in each paragraph

Explanation and informing are the two purposes of an expository essay. Hence, when you are writing the body paragraphs, offer an analysis in each section. Explain how the material you have gathered helps in establishing your thesis. Just a sentence or two would be enough to help your readers gain more clarity.

12. Conclude your essay

The conclusion might seem like a short and unimportant part of your essay but it’s not. It’s actually a very critical element that completes your paper and makes it one sensible whole. In the conclusion section of your paper, you will have to restate the thesis of your essay and then say how your evidence helped in the overall establishment of it.

You also need to summarize all of your main points in this section of your paper. One sentence each per point should be more than enough. Your essay should not introduce new concepts under any circumstances. It should be a revisiting of your entire essay in a nutshell.

You can round up your conclusion with one final thought, which will serve as the last line of your essay. This final thought could be in the form of recommendations or a takeaway that will provoke your reader to think. A call to action is also a great idea as it’ll provide you with the chance to express what you think should happen next. You could also mention that further research in the field of your topic should be carried out.

13. Read your essay aloud to detect mistakes

Keep your essay aside once you’re done writing it. However, the next day pick it up again and read it out loud to yourself or a friend or anyone else you wish to. Reading your essay out loud will help you catch mistakes quicker. Whatever mistakes you find while reading, highlight them so you can change them later.

14. Edit your essay

In your reading-out-loud session you will come across mistakes you may have made while writing your essay. Well, it’s now time to correct them. Editing your paper will help you polish it and make it better than it already is. As you edit your expository essay, change any sentence you find too long or too awkward. Delete unnecessary details and add information where you think its lacking. Check if your essay flows as a unified whole and makes complete sense.

15. Proofread it

The next step after editing is proofreading. Proofreading is a way to know if your expository essay is formatted correctly, sticks to the rules made in the prompt and is free of technical errors. If you come across spelling or grammar errors in your paper, now is when you should correct them. Also, check if your essay is in the format desired by your professor in terms of word count, font size, font style and line and margin spacing. This final touch will help your expository essay achieve perfection.

16. Cite your essay accurately

Since an expository essay entails research, referencing it properly is a must. You should check the prompt for which format you should cite your essay in and ensure you use that citation style only. Bear in mind that every single source of information you have used for the composition of your essay should be duly cited in the correct manner. You can also give a bibliography and acknowledgment if your professor or teacher so desires.

17. Never plagiarize

The most important thing you need to know is that plagiarism is a crime you can be punished for shall you commit it. If your essay is found to be plagiarized, not only will you get a failure grade, you may also face other consequences depending on the educational establishment you are a part of. Hence, while writing your essay, ensure you pick an original topic or at least an original angle to the topic. Always write in your own words and never ever copy-paste from any resource. Another thing that can help you avoid plagiarism is referencing your paper accurately.

18. Read sample expository essays

If you are still not sure whether your expository essay is perfect or not, read up sample expository essays. You will find plenty of samples both online and in your school/college library. Go through the best ones you find and analyse their language, pattern, the format – basically everything about the essay to get an idea of what your essay should be like. If you find the essay you have written matches the quality of a sample one, well and good. If you think otherwise, revise your essay once more to make it perfect.

The key to writing an expository essay that never fails to impress is to follow all the rules. Especially that of objectivity and neutrality. You cannot take a biased stance in an expository essay. Keep your feelings detached from it to the extent possible and compose it in a manner so that it appears to be a presentation of real facts. Keep your language simple and straightforward as well. And don’t worry. This guide will always help you out whenever you get stuck. Good luck writing your expository essay!

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