expository-essayAssigned an expository essay and clueless where to start? Indeed, some of the definitions and extensive guidelines found on the web can be rather confusing. Fortunately, you have found a source for a clear and concise definition of this type of assignment. You’ll acquire some valuable tricks to help you complete an A+ quality paper, and some useful examples.
Expository Essay: Destroying the Myths

An expository essay is not necessarily a how-to paper, but it can be, if so assigned. Here are some typical expository essay examples:

  • how to change a flat tire;
  • chronological presentation of historical events;
  • comparison of two management styles;
  • analysis of the main causes of the financial crisis.

Expository Essays: Five Possible Patterns

  1. Description enumerates characteristic features, discusses examples and details. Cue Words: for example, the features are.
  2. Sequence or process uses a numerical or chronological order to discuss a subject (how to essays use this pattern). Cue Words: first, initially, second, … subsequently, finally.
  3. Comparison discusses main similarities and differences. Cue Words: in contrast to, as opposed to, alike, on the one hand, on the other hand.
  4. Cause and Effect discusses why something happened and what effects followed. Cue Words: because, as a result, due to, consequently, therefore.
  5. Problem and Solution poses a problem and offers one or more solutions. Cue Words: the problem is, the dilemma is, to resolve this, the solution is.

Expository Essays: Structure
The traditional five paragraph essay is a straightforward expository essay structure:

  1. Introduction
    • opening sentence
    • context
    • strong thesis statement.
  2. Body Paragraph 1
    • topic sentence
    • supporting sentence
    • analysis
    • transition.
  3. Body Paragraph 2
    Repeat as above
  4. Body Paragraph 3
    Repeat as above
  5. Conclusion
    • synthesis of main arguments;
    • restatement of a thesis sentence.

Expository Essay: Pitfalls to Avoid

  • Avoid personal opinion unless so assigned, for example in a personal statement.
  • ‘I’ or ‘we’ are almost never allowed;
  • Make sure that any step-by-step instructions are crystal clear. Any reader should be able to follow them successfully.

Expository Essay: Tricks to Use

  • do your best to be as objective as possible;
  • conduct research to learn what the published authorities on the topic have stated;
  • assume that your reader is not an expert: use simple, straightforward words to convey the background of the issue or problem;
  • on the other hand, avoid overwhelming your reader with too much background detail.

Expository Essay: Practice Prompts


  • features of Realism in Literature;
  • how to write a business letter;
  • compare and contrast the climate of South and North America;
  • potential effects of countries leaving the European Union;
  • proposed solutions for the problem of global warming.

Expository Essay: Example
See a fragment from a sample expository essay based on a sequence or process pattern:
An expository essay presents objective data or examples relating to a specific problem. There are seven basic steps to crafting an effective expository essay.
First, select a narrow expository essay topic. Pick something you’re comfortable with and that you, yourself, understand. Second, write a strong thesis statement. Find and idea or nuance to an idea that is yours alone; something that could be reasonably opposed by someone with different opinions. Push the envelope just a wee bit here. Third, select an appropriate pattern to develop the main idea and check the cue words that match the category of essay you will be writing (see above). Fourth, write topic sentences for your body paragraphs.
These are examples or supporting information based on your knowledge, observations, research or all three. Cite some authority about any assertion more controversial than the color of the sky – it looks scholarly. Exception is the assignment calling for personal opinion or inter-textual analysis. Fifth, write body paragraphs detailing these bolstering and buttressing arguments. Sixth, write a conclusion restating your thesis using different wording. Let it sit for a while, and take a mental health break. Finally, proofread the paper. Bribe a classmate to listen to you read it aloud.
Follow the above seven steps to write a perfect expository essay.
Attention to these guidelines, combined with some good research, correct grammar, and a dash of insight, will garner excellent grades for your expository essay.