What is an expository essayIf you are assigned an expository paper to write, it means that you need to describe, explain or give information about the topic. It sounds rather confusing, doesn’t it? Let’s define an expository essay in more detail to clear it all.

What Is an Expository Essay? Choose the Best Answer

What exactly should I do in my expository papers- describe or explain, or first describe and then explain? - you may ask. The answer is pretty simple – you may use any of these approaches, because expository papers have many faces. An expository essay can use at least 5 different templates:

  1. Descriptionpapers discuss characteristics such as colors, shapes, textures, as well as the author's feelings and emotions.
    Words to use: the characteristics are, typical of, for example...
  2. Sequence papers discuss historical events in chronological order or explain how something should be done, step by step.
    Words to use: first, second, third, next, ... finally.
  3. Comparison papers compare and contrast certain objects or phenomena, pointing out their similarities and differences.
    Words to use: similarly to, just like, by contrast to, on the other hand.
  4. Cause-and-effect papers look at the roots of certain problems and explain why and with what effects something happened.
    Words to use: due to, therefore, as a result, this is why, for this reason.
  5. Problem and solution papers pose certain problems and offer solutions to them.
    Words to use: the problem is, the solution is...

What Is an Expository Essay? Check Sample Topics

How do I know which template to use in every specific case?
You should not worry about this, because even if your teacher does not specify a particular template, you can use logic to make the right choice on your own.
For example:

  • If your topic is “Sunset in the city that never sleeps,” you should choose the descriptive template.
  • If your topic is “How to change a flat tire,” you should use a sequence template.
  • If your topic is “New York and Los Angeles,” you can use a comparison template.
  • If your topic is “The causes and effects of global warming,” you should use a cause-and-effect template.
  • If your topic is “The use of plastic bags,” you should use a problem and solution template.

As you can see, the answer to the question “What is an expository paper?” is pretty simple. Feel free to use this quick guide to avoid any unnecessary confusion when writing any type of expository papers.