Writing guides12 January 2020

Take the Time to Learn How to Write an Expository Essay

What Is an Expository Essay?

An expository essay is a type of essay where the writer needs to explain, clarify, illustrate, or explicate something in a simple and understandable way. The tone of an expository essay is neutral, unlike the tone of an argumentative essay, as the goal is to inform the reader instead of persuading them with an argument.

Expository Essay Structure


  • Opening sentence
  • Background
  • Thesis statement

Main Body

Each paragraph consists of:

  • Topic sentence
  • Supporting evidence
  • Analysis
  • Transition


The structure of an expository essay utilizes a standard five-paragraph expository essay format. It consists of an introduction, typically three paragraphs for the main body, and a conclusion. Each paragraph of the main body is devoted to one subtopic. According to the context of the essay, the number of body paragraphs may vary. The introduction should include a proper thesis statement, and the essay should be based on facts, not on your viewpoint. All paragraphs should be connected with transitions.

How to Write an Expository Essay: Steps

Step 1: Select a topic

If your teacher has assigned a topic for you, you have no choice. In case you don’t have an assigned topic, you need to choose a good one. Select a topic that you know something about. It will be quite difficult for you to write about an issue you know nothing about. In order to make the process of choosing easier for you, make a list of topics you are interested in.

After making a list, narrow it down so that you can easily select a topic that you can research. Also, a topic must be interesting to you. If your topic is interesting to you, you have a good chance that it will be interesting to your readers as well.

Step 2: Conduct research

After you select a topic, it is time to conduct research. Even if you believe that you have enough knowledge about the topic, do research. While researching, you may discover more information about the issue. Select only relevant sources, such as from credible publications and articles written by experts in the sphere. While researching, don’t forget to take notes in order to remember important information while writing.

Step 3: Write an outline

After conducting research, you are ready to write an outline. Many students avoid this stage, but it is important if you want to have a well-structured paper. Usually, an outline contains the following:

  • The introduction, which includes an interesting story, a quote, or something that may interest the reader. It includes a thesis statement, which helps to understand the main theme of the essay.
  • The first paragraph of the main body, where you can present the first example of the thesis.
  • The second paragraph of the main body, with the second example of the thesis.
  • The third paragraph of the main body, with the third example of the thesis.
  • The conclusion, which shows the significance of your topic.

Step 4: Write an expository essay

After you have created an outline, it is time to start writing your essay. While writing, check whether you have stayed on track with your topic, and not diverged from it. Ensure that you use transitions in your essay. When you finish your writing, put the paper aside for a while, and then return to it to start proofreading and editing.

Step 5: Proofread and edit

Editing can greatly improve your essay – don’t skip this stage. Read your paper out loud – in this way, you can identify mistakes and weaknesses more easily. Try special apps or sites that check written texts for grammar and spelling. If you cannot edit well, you can ask your friend or relative to read your essay and find the mistakes.

Expository Essay Topics

If you don’t know what to write about, check out our topic ideas. They will help you to come up with your own theme, or you can choose one of the topics presented below.

Interesting Expository Essay Topics

  1. Analyze the broad cultural movement of romanticism.
  2. Compare the movies “The Black Balloon” and “The Castle.”
  3. Compare the differences between gas and electric cars.
  4. Explain what someone should do if he/she finds out an unexpected truth.
  5. Analyze how a selected film reflects culture or subculture. For example, “Boyz n the Hood” and “Menace II Society.”
  6. Show your understanding of the different ways in which people display heroism and courage.
  7. Think of two qualities or characteristics that you value in a friend. Write an expository essay explaining why you have chosen the two qualities or characteristics and why they are important to you.
  8. How does someone cultivate themselves to become an individual?
  9. What gives life meaning and purpose?
  10. How can a college student eat healthy while living on a tight budget?
  11. Explain how to be a happy camper.
  12. Describe a very important person in history (such as Nikola Tesla).
  13. What is a current, everyday object that might help people in the future learn about and understand how we live today? Explain what the item is, how it is used, and what it reveals about how people live today.
  14. Why do some teens join gangs?
  15. What is one invention that impacts the way you live?

Expository Essay Topics on Family Issues

  1. What image does a stay-at-home Dad with a working spouse have in American society today? Is he considered “manly”?
  2. The effects of special needs children on a family.
  3. Should the government provide married couples with tax benefits?
  4. What is the difference in upbringing of children by married parents and divorced parents?
  5. Compare the number of children that couples have in the USA with Australia.
  6. How does the increasing number of working women influence the role of the traditional family?
  7. Should parents go back to work right after the birth of a child?
  8. Should fathers have equal rights like mothers in custodial battles?
  9. Should the custodial laws be changed in the USA?
  10. How has technology influenced family life in the USA?

Expository Essay Topics on Literature

  1. Is Orwell’s vision far fetched, or could a society/government ever turn into what he predicted in “1984”? Discuss similarities between Orwell’s society in “1984” and our own (texting, social media, surveillance cameras, government, etc.). Which of these ideas depicted in the story have come true? Which ideas are exaggerated and would probably not come true? Use examples from both book and reality.
  2. Both “The Mask of the Red Death” and “Annabelle Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe use figurative language, symbolism, and imagery to develop the plot, elements of characterization, and theme. Develop an expository essay that analyzes and synthesizes information in a manner that makes a connection between figurative language and the themes of the chosen texts. Cite textual evidence to defend claims made within the essay.
  3. What makes Satan an antihero in Milton’s “Paradise Lost”?
  4. Explain the American Dream based on pieces of literature and outside sources.
  5. Discuss what “Beowulf” reveals about Anglo-Saxon attitudes toward courage, fate, the span of life, and the deceased.
  6. Is the novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” a story of courage and hope?
  7. Which writing style features are innate to the author of your favorite book?
  8. Compare the motives of the protagonist and antagonist from your chosen novel.
  9. How did “Harry Potter” change an entire generation?
  10. Was Shakespeare a genius?

It is not surprising that writing an expository essay can be considered difficult. If you find that you can’t cope with this assignment, leave it to us. In such conditions, you can spend your time as you want while our writer deals with your essay. Save your time and effort by placing an order on our site. You will get your college essay in the fastest possible way.

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