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How to Write an Expository Essay – A Guide with Examples

Published by at November 3rd, 2021 , Revised On January 31, 2024

Expository essays are all about describing or explaining an idea, a topic, or a method rationally and reasonably without their personal bias”. They involve thorough research to establish an impartial and composed view towards any given topic or idea.

Unlike an argumentative essay, an expository essay does not present evidence to support arguments. It examines an idea or a topic, evaluates the existing sources, and puts forth your argument without justifying a particular point of view.

The success of an expository essay’s quality largely depends on your neutrality about the subject matter. The author will need to take a balanced approach by expressing his neutrality.

Definition of Expository Essay

“An expository is an essay type that involves presenting an unbiased, neutral, and balanced explanation of any given idea, process, topic, or set of ideas, backed by supporting evidence material. ”

When Should you Write an Expository Essay?

Expository essays are a common type of academic assignment in colleges and universities throughout the world. You could be asked to produce an expository essay as a standalone assignment or as part of a larger project.

Sometimes, the assignment brief may not indicate the type of essay you should complete. If you are unsure about whether the assigned essay is an expository type, then try and find keywords like “describe,” “explain,” and “explicate,” or check with your tutor to be sure what is expected.

If you are asked to write about a particular term or concept, make sure that you;

  • Explain it in detail concisely and clearly.
  • Do not let your personal opinions and thoughts form the basis of your expository essay.
  • In your writing, do not use the first and second person (‘I’ and ‘You’).

Structure of an Expository Essay

The expository essay follows the standard five-paragraph template, which includes an introduction, three main body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph. However, it is recommended to check your school’s guidelines to be sure of the structure you are expected to follow.


Like other essay types, an expository essay starts with an introductory paragraph, including a hook, background and rationale, and a thesis statement.

  • A hook helps to grab your audience’s attention.
  • The background sentence provides context to the information discussed throughout the essay.
  • The thesis statement states the topic and the key aspects of the topic discussed in the essay.

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Main Body

The expository essay’s main body should include a minimum of three paragraphs, although you can add more paragraphs to it depending on the length of the essay.

The main body is, undoubtedly, the most tricky part of the essay because it includes the use of logical transitions so the reader can move from one paragraph to another without losing the plot. Transitions are like the mortar that keeps your essay from falling apart, so it is vitally important to make sure that you use correct and appropriate transitions.

Each paragraph of the main body includes;

  • A topic sentence.
  • A clear and concise explanation of an idea or topic which links back to the thesis statement in the introduction.
  • A concluding line.


The conclusion paragraph should consist of the following three parts;

  • A summary sentence that provides a comprehensive summary of the research undertaken.
  • The overview sentence (s) link back to the key aspects of the topic.
  • A key takeaway point for the readers in the form of a concluding statement that emphasizes the importance and relevance of what has been investigated.

Tip: The conclusion paragraph serves to provide a summary of the research. Never introduce a new piece of information or evidence in this part of the expository essay. Here you only need to fortify the points you made in the main body.

Purpose of an Expository Essay

An expository essay aims to explain or define an idea, a topic, or a process. It requires the writer to take a very logical, balanced, and neutral approach to investigate the subject matter.

Frequently Asked Questions

An expository essay is a type of essay that presents a balanced and objective analysis or explanation of a specific topic. It provides information, explores ideas, and clarifies concepts using facts, evidence, examples, and logical reasoning without personal bias or opinions.

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