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How to Write an Expository Essay: From Good Structure to Final Edits

20 Jun 2019

Like most research assignments, this homework type ceases to be challenging as soon as a person understands what should be achieved in the result. When seeking help on how to write expository essay, most American college students often forget that there is more than one way to complete such a task. Moreover, expository writing is frequently mistaken for an argumentative essay, which is only partially true. General purpose with exposition is, indeed, to expose or inform readers about a particular subject, event or an idea. In simple terms, the goal of such writing is to research, analyze, and process specific idea by providing due evidence to help the audience evaluate all facts revealed.

While the author can present a personal point of view, if applicable, in most terms, American university professors recommend keeping healthy balance, which means providing information from both camps of an issue. Usually, students have possibility to choose among compare and contrast, cause and effect, definition or classification essay styles among others, depending on chosen topic and discipline. Thus, author can illustrate, explain or uncover particular topic to make it accessible, interesting, and inspiring for readers. Making ideas clear, it is recommended to evaluate, argument, compare or investigate claims or events.

How to Write an Expository Essay

Expository Essay Types

Before being able to tell what is an expository essay, it is crucial to understand each type of exposition essay writing to note all specific requirements, ensuring that nothing is forgotten.

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  • Definition - this essay type provides definition of particular term or concept. In most cases, simple language is used to provide accessible explanation to general audiences. Obligatory elements of this particular writing include clear examples, description with help of literary devices, real-life examples, brief history, followed by analytical part. Major difference from argumentative writing is that description takes neutral tone without forcing reader to think negatively or positively regarding subjects in question.
  • Descriptive - in this case students usually have task to describe some object, place, practice or personal experience, challenging or confusing situation with the help of diverse sensory details. Composition of such writing includes lots of metaphors, allegories, comparisons, description of smells, senses, sounds in order to add particular tone.
  • Process Essay - this assignment has structure filled with graphs, charts, and all sorts of visuals because primary goal is to explain how particular process takes place. For Nursing students, it may be a description of medical practice. Likewise, it can be creation of solar panels, turbines or even cooking an apple pie.
  • Classification - approach such task as an imaginary table where each column has a clear description of every element. For example, applying classification to IT security solutions, the first step is to choose criteria, which should be used for further analysis. Correct structure and organization are the most important here since writer should start with name, description, and benefits of each object classified.
  • Compare and Contrast - for this kind of the expository writing, basically, compare and contrast between two objects, events or persons. Once again, unlike argumentative essay tasks, general tone should be neutral without bias or conclusions. Even if there are benefits to this or that object, it’s necessary to list them, supported by reliable sources. Same applies to existing flaws.
  • Cause-and-Effect - the most popular essay type usually requested by American colleges because of analytical qualities. Even if challenging, this assignment type aims to find out the causes of something with analysis of effects on another object, person, environmental issue. Writer should provide meaning of specific effect by carefully analyzing reasons that have caused it.
  • Problem and Solution - the most important step with this assignment variation is getting problem identified. Readers should understand why existing situation appears problematic or challenging. Final step would be to offer solution with explanation as to why it should work.

Expository Essay Outline

Most college students in the United States get stuck thinking about how to start an expository essay or what parts should be included. Considering that it’s basically a research paper, it uses classic 5 paragraph style, which is recommended by most educational institutions in the country.

  • Introduction - start with brief discussion of subject in question. No matter what kind of narration will be chosen, it’s crucial to include brief explanation of what is to follow. Do not make it overly complex, but do best to explain why topic is relevant, why it makes sense within particular paper. Final sentence is thesis statement, which makes strong, yet careful argument without taking sides. Make it meaningful and informative, not as an assumption why something is so!
  • Body Paragraphs - this is where most details relate while writing an expository essay. Include descriptions, statistics, interesting facts, charts, quotes, visually appealing images, just anything, which will help explain specific concepts or ideas to your audience. If applicable, sort content by criteria of importance or difference, especially if it’s compare and contrast essay. Depending on type, provide analysis, explaining why given research method has been chosen.
  • Conclusion - final essay paragraph represents wrapping up of all important facts in more accessible language. Task here is to help reader memorize everything that matters and guide him or her towards further information, which can be used for additional, deeper research. Make strong call to action if it fits within essay requirements, make personal assumption or give voice to your writing by using famous quote. This is your chance to liven up narration, adding emotional touch to scientific research.

Excellent Essay Writing Steps

  • Choose Topic - Narrow it down while choosing something that reflects necessary essay type. Topic should remain neutral, allowing audience make their own conclusions. When task requires comparison of two articles, it’s necessary to specify everything in the title to let readers see original information for possible reference. Expository essay topics should be reflecting like “Environmental Issues in New Jersey Suburbs” or “Genetically Modified Foods Popular Myths”.
  • Do Research - One of the most frequent tips that experienced writing experts share is sounding confident when exposing something. High self-esteem and clear language are achieved by sufficient research and information, which allows author to expose certain data to a full degree, especially if both sides of the same issue should be mentioned. Research academic journals, news reports, publications on topic to provide as much detail as possible.
  • Find Suitable Materials - regardless of how large or complex your assignment is e, it’s extremely important to search suitable materials, which can be utilized as sources to support diverse arguments or facts. This way paper becomes reliable as inclusion of statistics, news references or even basic scientific facts help to convince audience.
  • Define Exposition Method - another crucial part is defining required exposition method, which means that student should choose, unless already specified, particular research method. It can be descriptive, comparative, cause-and-effect, classification or any other method that fits within exposure writing guidelines.
  • Compose Outline - always start with an outline that will contain key points about particular idea with thesis statement and list of strong arguments. It should serve as a guide for what is included during the draft stage. Moreover, outline helps keep within unbiased exposure as information is sorted and structured by order of significance.
  • Brainstorm Thesis Statement - this part, usually final sentence of introduction paragraph, is alike to expository essay definition that helps readers connect with main idea, unknown concept or claim made by author. Keep brainstorming ideas out loud to see which makes more sense and fully reveals assumption or claim without leaning to either side. Remember that a key to success is presenting information, not taking sides!
  • Check Paragraphs for Topic Sentences - pay attention to how each paragraph is structured by using relevant topic sentence, which either reflects solutions or speaks about facts that help reveal or explain specific points. This way expository essay becomes more logical and to the point. Additionally, if there is any information that is not your own thought or something commonly known, always support it with reliable sources to avoid plagiarism issues.
  • Proofread & Edit Final Paper - do not underestimate careful editing for grammar, sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, wordiness, logic, and general clarity of ideas. Take enough time for editing where you leave the best parts, cutting out all what seems weak. Make sure to only correct mistakes during proofreading part. These are two separate tasks that should not be crossed for best results!
  • Check Sources, Citation and Formatting - Once all other points have been met, it is recommended checking Works Cited or References page for sorting issues and accuracy of citations. Remember to check format and page layout to make sure that nothing is missed.

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