expository essay

What is expository essay definition, usage, and literary examples, expository essay definition.

An  expository essay  [ik-SPOZ-ih-tohr-ee ess-ay] is an essay in which the writer researches a topic and uses evidence to inform their readers or clarify the topic. They can take many forms, including a how-to essay, an essay that defines something, or an essay that studies a problem and offers a solution.

The Five-Paragraph Model

Most expository essays follow the five-paragraph essay model:

  • Introduction:  The introduction contains the thesis statement or main point of the essay. Here, the writer describes the subject and gives necessary  context .
  • Body:  This section is usually three or more paragraphs and offers supporting evidence for the thesis.
  • Conclusion:  The conclusion revisits the thesis and summarizes the writer’s main points.

Types of Expository Essays

There are several types of expository essays that can be written.

  • Cause and Effect:  These essays question why something happened and the outcome of that occurrence. For example, an essay of this type might question why there’s a large homeless population in Seattle and what effects it has on the city and its citizens.
  • Classification:  These break a broad subject down into several, in-depth subcategories. A classification essay might study the various kinds of movies, define genres, and break the most common genres down by subgenre (for example, action thriller and action adventure as subgenres of the action genre).
  • Compare and Contrast:  These essays lay out the similarities and differences of at least two subjects. One such essay might compare two different novels by the same author. These essays can explore the pros and cons of different choices as well, like living in the city versus living in the country.
  • Definition:  As indicated, a definition essay describes or defines something. For example, it might define the internet and provide a detailed explanation of how it works.
  • How-To:  Also called a process essay, a how-to essay gives the reader steps for creating or doing something. For example, a process essay might walk its reader through setting a table, step by step.
  • Problem and Solution:  This type of essay explores a problem and, using evidential support, offers potential solutions. For example, a writer might consider the example of Seattle’s homeless population, cite a solution that other cities have used successfully, and propose that same solution for Seattle.

Other Forms of Expository Writing

In addition to the aforementioned, there are other uses for expository writing. Most commonly:

  • Newspaper articles
  • Encyclopedic entries
  • Manuals/assembly instructions

Expository vs. Argumentative Essays

Expository essays are like argumentative essays in that they both require research. Unlike argumentative essays, expository essays are meant to inform their audience rather than persuade it.

Argumentative essays are often controversial and contain the writer’s personal opinions, whereas expository essays give factual information and explore a topic from many  perspectives . Educational spheres often use expository essays to test writing ability, reading comprehension, and/or the writer’s understanding of a topic.

Examples of Expository Essays

1. Susan Sontag, “Notes on ‘Camp’”

This is a definition essay that explores the meaning and usage of the slang word  camp . When she wrote the essay in 1964, people used the word to describe a person or thing as exaggerated, effeminate, or theatrical. Sontag suggests that camp isn’t a solid concept but rather a sensibility, and she acknowledges its connection to contemporary gay culture. Her definition of camp is given in the following passage:

[Camp] is not a natural mode of sensibility, if there be any such. Indeed the essence of Camp is its love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration. And Camp is esoteric–something of a private code, a badge of identity even, among small urban cliques.

2. David Foster Wallace, “Consider the Lobster”

Herein, Wallace reviews the 2003 Main Lobster Festival and questions the morality of boiling lobsters alive. He examines the problem from all facets, including whether a lobster feels pain, without directly asserting his opinion. After descriptions of the festival, physical properties of lobsters, and the common use of the crustaceans, Wallace poses the main question of the essay:

So then here is a question that’s all but unavoidable at the World’s Largest Lobster Cooker, and may arise in the kitchens across the U.S. Is it all right to boil a sentient creature alive just for our gustatory pleasure? A related set of concerns: Is the previous question irksomely PC or sentimental? What does “all right” even mean in this context? Is it all just a matter of individual choice?

3. Rebecca Solnit, “The Longest War”

From Solnit’s 2014 book of essays,  Men Explain Things to Me , “The Longest War” explores issues of male violence against women. Solnit uses both statistical and  anecdotal  evidence to inform her audience of the issue, which supports some of her argumentative essays that appear later in the book:

[T]hough a rape is reported only every 6.2 minutes in this country, the estimated total is perhaps five times as high. Which means that there may be very nearly a rape a minute in the United States. It all adds up to tens of millions of rape victims. A significant portion of the women you know are survivors.

Further Resources on Expository Essays

You can find more examples of expository essays on  LiteraryDevices.net .

Bibme.org  offers guidance for writing expository essays.

Essaytigers.com  provides step-by-step writing instructions and an additional argumentative essay and expository essay comparison.

Related Terms

  • Argumentative Essay
  • Expository Writing

match the type of expository essay to its correct definition

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1 Expository Essays

Tara Horkoff

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the function and use of expository essays
  • Identify eight types of expository essays
  • Apply expository essay structure

What Is an Expository Essay?

An essay that explains a writer’s ideas by defining, explaining, informing, or elaborating on points to allow the reader to clearly understand the concept.

Many of your future academic workplace writing assignments will be expository–explaining your ideas or the significance of a concept or action. An expository essay allows the writer the opportunity to explain his or her ideas about a topic and to provide clarity for the reader by using:

  • Explanations
  • Definitions

It may also include the writer outlining steps of a procedure in a way that is straightforward for the reader to follow. It is purely informative and often contains elements of summary.

Imagine you need to verbally explain a concept to your classmates, maybe a behavioural theory. What are the key elements on which you would focus? How would you organize the information? You could explain who came up with the theory, the specific area of study to which it is related, its purpose, and the significant details to explain the theory. Telling these four elements to your classmates would give them a complete, yet summarized, picture of the theory, so they could apply the theory in future discussions.

Although you did this verbally, you were still fulfilling the elements of an expository essay by providing definition, details, explanations, and maybe even facts if you have a really good memory. This is the same process that you would use when you write an expository essay. You may actually be doing this all the time; for example, when you are giving someone directions to a place or explaining how to cook something. In the following sections of the chapter, you will practise doing this more in different expository written forms.

The Structure of an Expository Essay

Sections versus paragraphs.

Before looking at the general structure of an expository essay, you first need to know that in your post-secondary education, you should not consider your essay as writing being constructed with five paragraphs as you might have been used to in high school. You should instead think of your essay in terms of sections (there may be five), and each section may have multiple paragraphs.

To understand further why you need to think beyond the five-paragraph essay, imagine you have been asked to submit a six-page paper (approximately 1,500 words). You already know that each paragraph should be roughly 75 to 200 words long. If you divide the required word count by five paragraphs (1,500 by 5), you end with 300 words per paragraph, way above the number you should have in a paragraph. If your paragraphs are too long, they likely have too many ideas and your reader may become confused. Your paragraphs should be two-third of a page at most, and never longer than a page.

Instead, if you think of your essays being divided into sections (with possibly more than one paragraph per section), your writing will likely be more organized and allow your reader to follow your presentation of ideas without creating too much distance between your paragraph’s supporting points and its topic sentence.

As you will see in Section 4.5: Classification , some essay forms may require even more than five paragraphs or sections because of how many points are necessary to address. . For the rest of this chapter, the term paragraph will also imply section.

Sections of an Expository Essay

An expository essay, regardless of its purpose, should have at least five sections, which are:

  • Introduction
  • First body section/paragraph
  • Second body section/paragraph
  • Third body section/paragraph

The introduction should state the topic of your paper: your thesis statement as well as brief signposts of what information the rest of the paper will include. That is, you only want to mention the content of the body paragraphs; you do not want to go in to a lot of detail and repeat what will be in the rest of the essay.

The first body section or paragraph should focus on one of your main points and provide evidence to support that point. There should be two to three supporting points: reasons, facts, statistics, quotations, examples, or a mix of these. Both the second and third body sections should follow the same pattern. Providing three body sections with one point each that supports the thesis should provide the reader with enough detail to be convinced of your argument or fully understand the concept you are explaining. However, remember that some sections will require more explanation, and you may need to separate this information into multiple paragraphs.

You can order your sections in the most logical way to explain your ideas. For example, if you are describing a process, you may use chronological order to show the definite time order in which the steps need to happen. You will learn about the different ways to organize your body paragraphs in the next chapter.

The concluding paragraph , or conclusion, can be a little tricky to compose because you need to make sure you give a concise summary of the body paragraphs, but you must be careful not to simply repeat what you have already written. Look back at the main idea of each section/paragraph, and try to summarize the point using words different from those you have already used. Do not include any new points in your concluding paragraph.

Consider Your Audience: How Much Do They Know?

Later in this chapter, you will work on determining and adapting to your audience when writing, but with an expository essay, since you are defining or informing your audience on a certain topic, you need to evaluate how much your audience knows about that topic (aside from having general common knowledge). You want to make sure you are giving thorough, comprehensive, and clear explanations on the topic. Never assume the reader knows everything about your topic (even if it is covered in the reader’s field of study). For example, even though some of your instructors may teach criminology, they may have specialized in different areas from the one about which you are writing; they most likely have a strong understanding of the concepts but may not recall all the small details on the topic. If your instructor specialized in crime mapping and data analysis for example, he or she may not have a strong recollection of specific criminological theories related to other areas of study. Providing enough background information without being too detailed is a fine balance, but you always want to ensure you have no gaps in the information, so your reader will not have to guess your intention. Again, we will practise this more in Section 4.10: Purpose, Audience, Tone, and Content .

What Comes Next?

In the next eight sections (4.2 through 4.9), we will look at different expository modes, or rhetorical modes, you will often be assigned.

H5P: Let’s take a moment to see how much you already know about types of Expository Essays. Match the type of Expository Essay to the most correct description.


  • the art of storytelling
  • to show or demonstrate something clearly
  • writing that appeals to our senses
  • to break down broad subjects into smaller parts
  • to explain how to do something or how something works
  • establish the way in which people communicate ideas
  • analyze two subjects in relation to each other
  • to determine how various phenomena relate

Expository Essay Type:

  • Process analysis
  • Illustration
  • Compare and contrast
  • Description
  • Cause and effect
  • Classification

Answer Key:

Rhetorical modes refers simply to the ways to communicate effectively through language. As you read about these modes, keep in mind that the rhetorical mode a writer chooses depends on his or her purpose for writing. Sometimes writers incorporate a variety of modes in any one essay. In this chapter, we also emphasize the rhetorical modes as a set of tools that will allow you greater flexibility and effectiveness in communicating with your audience and expressing your ideas.

In a few weeks, you will need to submit your first essay–an expository sample–and you will be given the choice of topic: one from each of the modes. Think about which types of expository essays are easier and which are more challenging for you. As mentioned, as you progress through your studies, you will be exposed to each of these types. You may want to explore a mode you find more challenging than the others in order to ensure you have a full grasp on developing each type. However, it is up to you. As you work through the sections, think about possible topics you may like to cover in your expository essay and start brainstorming as you work through the self-practice exercises.

After we explore each of the individual modes in the eight sections that follow, we will look at outlining and drafting; it is at this point you will want to fine tune and narrow the topic you will write about, so you can focus on that when doing the exercises.

Expository Essays Copyright © by Tara Horkoff is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Expository Essay

Definition of expository essay.

Expose means to uncover or lay something bare, or to discover something in a way that others know what it is. Expository is derived from exposition , which is a noun of ‘expose.’ An expository essay is a genre of writing which tends to explain, illustrate, clarify, or explicate something in a way that it becomes clear for readers. Therefore, it could be an investigation, evaluation, or even argumentation about an idea for clarification.

Types of Expository Essay

Expository essay is further divided into five major categories .

  • Descriptive Essay : A descriptive essay describes something, some place, some experience, or some situation through sensory information.
  • Process Essay : A process essay explains or shows a process of making or doing something.
  • Comparison Essay : A comparison essay makes comparison and contrasts between two things.
  • Cause/Effect Essay : A cause and effect essay finds out the cause of something and then its effects on something else.
  • Problem/Solution Essay : A problem/solution essay presents a problem and its solution for readers.

Difference Between an Expository Essay and an Argumentative Essay

As is clear, an expository essay is an exposition, explanation, investigation, or illustration for the purpose of clarification, therefore, its tone is often kept neutral. However, in an argumentative essay , a clear position about something is taken before the argument is presented. There is no issue of objectivity or neutrality.

Examples of Expository Essay in Literature

Example #1: how chinese mothers are superior (by amy chua).

“I’m using the term ‘Chinese mother’ loosely. I know some Korean, Indian, Jamaican, Irish and Ghanaian parents who qualify too. Conversely, I know some mothers of Chinese heritage, almost always born in the West, who are not Chinese mothers, by choice or otherwise. I’m also using the term ‘Western parents’ loosely. Western parents come in all varieties. All the same, even when Western parents think they’re being strict, they usually don’t come close to being Chinese mothers. For example, my Western friends who consider themselves strict make their children practice their instruments 30 minutes every day. An hour at most. For a Chinese mother, the first hour is the easy part. It’s hours two and three that get tough.”

This is an excerpt from a comparison/ contrast essay by Amy Chua, which explains how mothers are different in different cultures. This paragraph compares mothers from Chinese, Iranian, Jamaican, and Irish contexts .

Example #2: Learning to Read (by Malcolm X)

“It was because of my letters that I happened to stumble upon starting to acquire some kind of a homemade education. I became increasingly frustrated at not being able to express what I wanted to convey in letters that I wrote, especially those to Mr. Elijah Muhammad. In the street, I had been the most articulate hustler out there. I had commanded attention when I said something. But now , trying to write simple English, I not only wasn’t articulate, I wasn’t even functional. How would I sound writing in slang , the way I would say it, something such as, ‘Look, daddy , let me pull your coat about a cat, Elijah Muhammad — ‘ Many who today hear me somewhere in person, or on television, or those who read something I’ve said, will think I went to school far beyond the eighth grade. This impression is due entirely to my prison studies.”

This passage has been taken from a process essay. In this essay, Malcolm X tells the process of his learning. In this paragraph, he gives full detail how he learns letters.

Example #3: Summer Ritual (by Ray Bradbury)

“About seven o’clock you could hear the chairs scraping from the tables, someone experimenting with a yellow-toothed piano , if you stood outside the dining-room window and listened. Matches being struck, the first dishes bubbling in the suds and tinkling on the wall racks, somewhere, faintly, a phonograph playing. And then as the evening changed the hour, at house after house on the twilight streets, under the immense oaks and elms , on shady porches, people would begin to appear, like those figures who tell good or bad weather in rain -or-shine clocks. Uncle Bert, perhaps Grandfather, then Father, and some of the cousins; the men all coming out first into the syrupy evening, blowing smoke, leaving the wSWomen’s voices behind in the cooling-warm kitchen to set their universe aright. Then the first male voices under the porch brim, the feet up, the boys fringed on the worn steps or wooden rails where sometime during the evening something, a boy or a geranium pot, would fall off.”

This is an example of a passage from a descriptive essay. It has full description which tells us about sounds and colors; a type of sensory information.

Functions of an Expository Essay

The function of an expository essay is to clarify and expose things, ideas, persons, and places through description, process, comparison/contrast, or through problem solution. The objective of this type of essay is to make readers aware of things given in the essay. It proves full and detailed information in a way that readers become knowledgeable about the topic.

Related posts:

  • Elements of an Essay
  • Narrative Essay
  • Definition Essay
  • Descriptive Essay
  • Types of Essay
  • Analytical Essay
  • Argumentative Essay
  • Cause and Effect Essay
  • Critical Essay
  • Persuasive Essay
  • Process Essay
  • Explicatory Essay
  • An Essay on Man: Epistle I
  • Comparison and Contrast Essay

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How to Write an Expository Essay

4-minute read

  • 29th March 2020

An expository essay explains something. This means investigating an idea, looking at evidence, coming to a conclusion, and explaining your thinking. But how do you write a strong expository essay? Our top tips include:

  • Read the essay prompt carefully and using it to guide your research.
  • Come up with a thesis statement (i.e., a position that you’ll explain).
  • Plan the structure of your essay before you start writing.
  • Once you have a first draft, revise and proofread to make sure it is perfect.

For more advice on how this works, check out the guide below.

1. Read Your Essay Prompt

Most expository essay prompts will ask you to do one of the following:

  • Define and explain a concept or theory.
  • Compare and contrast two ideas.
  • Examine a problem and propose a solution.
  • Describe a cause and effect relationship.
  • Explain a step-by-step process.
  • Analyze a broad subject and classify examples into groups.

When you’ve been set an expository assignment, then, check the prompt or question carefully. You can use the phrasing to guide your research. You may also need to select a topic to write about. If so, try to think of something:

  • You already know at least something about.
  • You find interesting enough to research.
  • That fits with the instructions in the essay prompt (e.g., if you’ve been asked to contrast two things, you’ll need a topic that allows for a comparison).
  • That is narrow enough to discuss in one essay.

Start by brainstorming topics, then narrow it down to one or two ideas.

2. Come Up with a Thesis Statement

Once you have a topic, you’ll need to do some research and develop a thesis statement. This is the proposition or position that you’ll explain in your essay.

Your thesis statement should be something you can back up with evidence and facts, as well as something that answers the question in your essay prompt. Keep in mind, too, that an expository essay should present a balanced account of the facts available, not personal opinions. For instance, we’ve come up with thesis statements for a few example essay prompts:

When you’ve selected a thesis, make sure you’ve got evidence to back it up! This may mean doing a little more research before you start writing.

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3. Structuring an Expository Essay

The exact length and content of your essay will depend on the topic and prompt. However, most expository essays follow a similar basic structure:

  • Introduction – A paragraph where you introduce the essay topic and your thesis statement (i.e., the issue or idea you will explain in the essay).
  • Main Body – A series of short paragraphs in which you explain your thesis statement, providing evidence and arguments to support each point.
  • Conclusion – A final paragraph where you restate your thesis and how your evidence supports this. Try not to introduce any new information here (if it’s important, it should go in the main body).
  • References – If required, include a bibliography of sources you’ve used.

Before you start writing, then, create an essay outline with the structure above in mind and plan what each paragraph will say.

4. Editing and Proofreading

When you have a first draft, take a break and re-read it. Now comes the redrafting ! This is where you go back over your essay and look for areas to improve. Do you provide enough evidence? Is your argument clear? Even a few tweaks may increase your mark, so make sure to redraft at least once!

Finally, make sure to have your essay proofread before you submit it for marking. This will ensure your writing is error free and easy to read, giving you an even better chance of getting the grades you deserve.

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Expository Essay – Definition, Types & Structure

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An expository essay is a type of writing where the author presents facts and evaluates a concept about a place, an object, a person, or an experience. The writer is expected to present information regarding the concept unbiased and accurately while ensuring it is written in the third person and delivered in chronological sequence. Writing an expository essay is a common task for high school and college students, and knowing what it entails sets a successful and an unsuccessful student apart.


  • 1 Expository Essay – In a Nutshell
  • 2 Definition: Expository essay
  • 3 The purpose of an expository essay
  • 4 Types of expository essays
  • 5 Structuring an expository essay
  • 6 How to write an expository essay

Expository Essay – In a Nutshell

An expository essay aims to provide a solution or explanation of a subject or issue at hand. Techniques in writing this type of essay can come in handy when a fact-based analysis is required in any field. Learn everything you need to know about writing an expository essay in this article:

  • There are 4 types of expository essays: Descriptive essay, process essay , compare and contrast essay , and cause and effect essay .
  • An expository essay includes 3 main sections : Introduction, body, and conclusion.
  • Learn tips and tricks to consider when writing an expository essay

Definition: Expository essay

A style of academic writing known as an expository essay tries to clarify, observe, and describe a thought, problem, or notion. It entails looking into a theory, assessing the supporting data, outlining the theory, and then developing an argument based on the research.

Expository essays follow a format similar to other types of academic essays , such as persuasive essays or argumentative essays . The primary distinction is that the expository essay necessitates more investigation and factual information to substantiate the claim. Common examples of expository essays include a process, or how-to essay that provides instructions on how to accomplish a task, assembly instructions, and newspaper articles.


The purpose of an expository essay

An expository essay is written when the researcher intents to provide a solution or an explanation about a specific topic or issue. The primary purpose of such an essay is to explain or analyze a complex topic and is often used to explore complex or controversial issues. Mostly, these essays investigate an idea or subject, evaluate the evidence available, develop the idea, and provide an argument regarding that idea clearly and concisely.

Types of expository essays

There are four main types of expository essays:

Descriptive essay

A descriptive essay gives details on a particular person, place, thing, or experience. The author describes the topic with sensory information describing an individual, place, thing, or experience while giving in-depth information about the subject. Providing an intricate description of something or an event is the primary objective of such an essay.

Process essay

A process essay describes how to carry out a task or how something is supposed to take place. The author must ensure that the steps in the process are described in chronological order. A process essay’s primary goal is to give comprehensive directions on carrying out a task with minimal mistakes.

A beach description essay can discuss the sound of the waves lapping against the shore, the salty air, and the sensation of sand between the toes. Additionally, a person’s physical attributes, psychological traits, and interests could all be discussed in a descriptive essay about that individual.

A process essay on how to bake a cake might describe the processes involved, from combining the ingredients to placing the cake in the oven. Also, planting crops must follow a specific process lest they fail in their tracks.

Compare and contrast essay

A compare and contrast essay explains the differences and similarities between two or more individuals, things, places, or experiences. In a comparison essay, two objects are compared, and their similarities and differences are discussed. This essay’s primary goal is to make the reader understand the subjects under comparison.

Cause and effect

A cause and effect essay explains the reasons for something or the effects of something. This essay will discuss the causes of a problem or situation and its consequences. The main purpose of a cause-and-effect essay is to help the reader understand the reason behind a problem or situation.

In a compare and contrast essay about two nations, you might talk about how the two nations’ cultures, languages, and religions differ. Further, a compare and contrast essay on two books can discuss how the themes are similar but the character development differs.

An essay on obesity’s causes and effects can go over the factors contributing to the country’s rising obesity rates. Also, a cause and effect essay about the Vietnam War can go into the conflict’s origins and how it affected the Vietnamese people

Structuring an expository essay

The structure of this essay is similar to that of other essays, such as the five-paragraph essay.


The introduction:

Introduces the essay’s core idea while providing critical background information. Start your introduction with a catchy sentence to draw the reader in, such as rhetorical questions, quotations, anecdotes, concessions, intriguing facts, or questions that will be addressed in your body section. The thesis statement for a narrative essay has a slightly different function than an expository essay because the former can introduce the plot’s events.

A three-paragraph body is the standard format for such essays. The topic is introduced in the first paragraph, followed by complementary information in the second paragraph, and then the bottom-line section as the third body paragraph.

The conclusion:

An expository essay also has a conclusion, acting as the summary of the essay’s main points.

How to write an expository essay

The most efficient method to begin an essay is simply, to begin writing. Get your ideas down on paper first without worrying about grammar or spelling. Check it for grammatical and spelling issues when you’ve finished writing your essay.

Make sure your thoughts are concise, and your essay flows naturally while editing. Read your writing aloud as a means to verify this. If you become lost or confused while reading your work, this is a good indicator that you have probably not adequately ordered your work.

What is an expository essay?

This type of essay explores a specific subject or issue in detail and is often used to analyze a complex or controversial topic.

What are the different types of expository essays?

The most common types of such essays include cause and effect essays, compare and contrast essays, process essays, and descriptive essays.

What is the purpose of an expository essay?

This type of essay is usually used when the aim is to analyze complex and controversial topics.

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Expository Essay

Types Of Expository Writing

Caleb S.

Types of Expository Writing - Definition and Examples

11 min read

types of expository writing

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Writing an expository essay is quite more difficult than any other type of essay. Creating an impressive essay requires time, thorough research, skills, and knowledge. 

There are 10 main types of expository writing, each of which has a unique objective. They all are similar in nature but serve a different purpose. 

Read on to learn what are the different types of expository writing and what purpose they serve.

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  • 1. Expository Writing Definition
  • 2. What are the Types of Expository Writing?
  • 3. Types of Expository Writing Examples
  • 4. Tips for Expository Writing

Expository Writing Definition

Expository writing is a genre of writing that is used to explain, describe, inform, or clarify a particular expository essay topic to the reader. 

Unlike other forms of writing that may involve personal opinions or persuasion, the characteristics of expository writing include a focus on providing factual information in a clear and organized manner.

Expository essay writing is a very common form of writing; journals, newspaper articles, and essays usually demonstrate this type of writing.

While writing an expository essay, you need to explain everything in detail to make the idea clear for the reader. You can take help from  expository essay examples  to see what elements make a perfect expository essay.

What are the Types of Expository Writing?

There are 10 types of expository essay writing, including:

  • Compare and Contrast Essay 

Cause and Effect Essay

  • Problem and Solution Essay 

Process Essay

Definition essay.

  • Classification Essay 
  • Descriptive Writing
  • Exploratory Writing
  • Anecdotal Evidence
  • Sequential Writing

Let’s take a look at common types of expository writing one by one.

Compare and Contrast Essay

The  compare and contrast essay  is a type of essay in which the writer compares and contrasts two things. The writer compares the similarities between the two selected subjects and contrasts the differences in those subjects. The subjects should belong to the same category.

In the  cause and effect essay , the writer tries to find the cause of something; why did something happen? and what effects it might have. This type of essay has built around the reason that caused something to happen and its possible impacts.

There are two ways to structure a cause and effect essay:

  • Block structure:  All the causes are presented first, and then all of their effects.
  • Chain structure:  Each of the causes is followed by its effect straight away.

This essay could be based on assumptions or could be based on facts, but either way, they should be validated.

Problem and Solution Essay

In the  problem solution essay , the writer identifies a problem and then proposes its solution. The writer examines the particular subject from various aspects and perspectives prior to providing a solution. This essay is somewhat similar to the cause and effect essay.

The process essay refers to the process of something, i.e., how to make an apple pie. This type of writing includes a step-by-step process of making or doing something.

This is how you write a process essay; it provides the complete process of doing something. The goal is to provide the process in such a way that the reader can follow the sequence without any mistakes.

The  definition essay  is a type of expository essay that gives a complete description of the topic. It explains what the term or the topic of the essay exactly means. Some terms have concrete meanings like glass, book, etc. Whereas some have abstract meanings like love, respect, honor, etc.

The definition essay revolves around explaining the purpose, what, why, and how aspects of the topic of the essay. This essay could start with the dictionary definition and ultimately provide the extended definition.

Classification Essay

Classification essays are a type of expository writing that categorizes and organizes objects, people, ideas, or concepts into distinct groups based on shared characteristics, features, or criteria. The goal is to help readers better understand the relationships and differences between these categories. 

Descriptive Writing 

Descriptive writing is a type of expository writing that aims to paint a vivid picture of a person, place, object, event, or concept in the reader's mind. It uses sensory details and vivid language to create a sensory experience for the audience. 

Exploratory Writing 

Exploratory writing aims to investigate a topic or question from multiple angles, often without taking a definitive stance. It allows the writer and reader to explore various viewpoints and ideas. 

Anecdotal Evidence 

Anecdotal evidence refers to personal stories, individual accounts, or isolated examples that are used to support a claim or argument. While anecdotal evidence can be compelling and relatable, it is based on personal experiences and may not reflect broader trends or realities. 

Sequential Writing 

Sequential writing, also known as chronological writing, involves organising information or events in a clear, time-based order. This approach is often used when presenting a series of actions, or events in a logical sequence, making it easier for readers to understand a process.

Types of Expository Writing Examples

You can use these types of expository writing PDF examples as a guide when writing your own paper. These examples show you what types of information to include and how it all comes together in one cohesive piece.

Types of Expository Writing Middle School

Types of Expository Writing Structure

Expository Writing Examples Pdf

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Tips for Expository Writing

The following are some easy types of expository writing strategies and tips. They will help you write an amazing essay.

  • Write your introduction in the most interesting way possible. Start with a hook, thesis statement, or exciting detail to make readers want more.
  • Make your essay clear and concise so that it doesn't confuse readers.
  • There are many ways to support your topic. You can use facts, data, and authentic sources.
  • It is important to consider the audience of your paper before you start writing.
  • Use authoritative sources to gather data for your paper.
  • To avoid any errors in the essay, proofread and edit it before submitting it.

As we've explored various types of expository writing, it's clear that each type serves a unique purpose. 

By choosing the right type, you can engage readers and make complex ideas accessible to a wide audience.

Still, if you need help with an expository essay or any other type of essay, you can hire a professional essay writer. 

My PerfectWords.com  is an online writing service that you can rely on for getting quality essay help. 

Our  expository essay writing service has a team of experts that can create a perfect essay in no time. They can cater to all of your expository essay writing needs. From choosing a topic to crafting an expository essay outline to essay writing, they do it all.

So connect with our paper writing service today and get your essay in no time!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 4 characteristics of expository text.

FAQ Icon

The four main characteristics of expository text are;

  • Informative
  • Organization of the text

What are the five elements of expository writing?

The main five elements of expository writing are;

  • Topic sentence
  • Organization
  • Transitions
  • Evidence and examples 

How many types of expository writing are there?

There are generally eight common types of expository writing:

  • Process/How-To Writing
  • Cause and Effect Writing
  • Compare and Contrast Writing
  • Problem-Solution Writing
  • Definition Writing
  • Classification Writing

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  1. English

    Extended definition. consisting of the term to be defined, the class to which the term belongs, and various characteristics setting it apart from other members of its class. Topic sentence. States the main idea that a paragraph will explain; may include specifics or be general. Coherence. Consistently express one clear idea, especially in writing.

  2. Expository Writing Flashcards

    1. A transition word leading into a specific topic sentence that tells the reader what the paragraph will discuss. 2. Facts, details, and quotes backing up the topic sentence. 3. A closing sentence that wraps up the paragraph.

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  4. Expository Essay in Literature: Definition & Examples

    Examples of Expository Essays. 1. Susan Sontag, "Notes on 'Camp'". This is a definition essay that explores the meaning and usage of the slang word camp. When she wrote the essay in 1964, people used the word to describe a person or thing as exaggerated, effeminate, or theatrical. Sontag suggests that camp isn't a solid concept but ...

  5. How to Write an Expository Essay

    The structure of your expository essay will vary according to the scope of your assignment and the demands of your topic. It's worthwhile to plan out your structure before you start, using an essay outline. A common structure for a short expository essay consists of five paragraphs: An introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

  6. Expository Essays

    An expository essay allows the writer the opportunity to explain his or her ideas about a topic and to provide clarity for the reader by using: It may also include the writer outlining steps of a procedure in a way that is straightforward for the reader to follow. It is purely informative and often contains elements of summary.

  7. Expository Essay

    Definition of Expository Essay. Expose means to uncover or lay something bare, or to discover something in a way that others know what it is. Expository is derived from exposition, which is a noun of 'expose.'. An expository essay is a genre of writing which tends to explain, illustrate, clarify, or explicate something in a way that it ...

  8. How to Write an Expository Essay (Updated for 2021)

    When you write an expository essay, you are exposing the main ideas of the subject, expounding on a topic in detail, or explaining the meaning of a topic, idea, or phenomenon. You will typically be expected to have an introduction, body, and conclusion, plus a strong thesis statement to keep your ideas focused.

  9. How to Write an Expository Essay: Types, Tips, and Topics

    The body of your essay can be anywhere from 2-3 paragraphs to several paragraphs long. As you compose your outline, write down the different headings for your paragraphs so you can see exactly how each one transitions into the next. 4. Write your first draft. Start with an introduction, where you include your thesis statement.

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    An expository essay is a type of essay that involves explaining an idea or theme within a given subject or topic. We guide you through writing one with examples.

  12. How to Write an Expository Essay

    To write an effective expository essay, research needs to be conducted on the topic to find credible sources. Then, the findings should be presented along with their own analysis to explain the research and the connections between the sources. Every essay will have three parts: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

  13. How to Write an Expository Essay

    1. Read Your Essay Prompt. Most expository essay prompts will ask you to do one of the following: Define and explain a concept or theory. Compare and contrast two ideas. Examine a problem and propose a solution. Describe a cause and effect relationship. Explain a step-by-step process.

  14. Expository Essays

    An "expository essay" is an umbrella term used to describe different types of essays. These essays include classification essays, definition essays, process essays, compare and contrast essays, and cause-and-effect essays. Now that we've understood what is an expository essay, let's look at its types. 1. Classification essay

  15. Expository Essay Flashcards

    This type of writing is instructive and tells the reader about a task and how to do it. The reader may also include step-by-step instruction for easier understanding. Cook-books and user manuals are ideal examples of expository writing. Match the term to the correct definition. Learn with flashcards, games, and more — for free.

  16. Expository Essay ~ Definition, Types & Structure

    Definition: Expository essay. A style of academic writing known as an expository essay tries to clarify, observe, and describe a thought, problem, or notion. It entails looking into a theory, assessing the supporting data, outlining the theory, and then developing an argument based on the research. Expository essays follow a format similar to ...

  17. Types of Expository Writing

    Expository Writing Definition. Expository writing is a genre of writing that is used to explain, describe, inform, or clarify a particular expository essay topic to the reader.. Unlike other forms of writing that may involve personal opinions or persuasion, the characteristics of expository writing include a focus on providing factual information in a clear and organized manner.

  18. Expository Essay Definition and Structure (Outline)

    The purpose of expository essay writing is to present some information to the reader in a clear and objective way. As brought up above, expository essays shouldn't contain personal viewpoints on the topic. Here, the writer's job is to do factual analysis, find the most reliable sources, and include them in the essay.

  19. QUIZ 3: EXPOSITORY PROSE Flashcards

    Expository writing should consist of standard English. True. One type of context clue is direct explanation. True. Nonstandard English includes ungrammatical constructions, dialect and slang. True. Dictionaries are influential in standardizing the language. True. A thesaurus is a dictionary of _____.


    Study with Quizlet and memorize flashcards containing terms like Writing which explains rather than describes, narrates a story, or argues a point is called 𝑒𝑥𝑝𝑜𝑠𝑖𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑦 𝑤𝑟𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔., An essay which has a thesis supported with examples is called 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑐𝑒𝑠𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑎𝑙𝑦𝑠𝑖𝑠., An essay which explains how to do ...

  21. Nonfiction

    1. tells a story. 2. explains a subject by illustration. 3. paints a picture with words. 4. tries to startle the reader. explains a subject by illustration. Coherence in a nonfiction writing means that it _____. 1. narrates an exciting story. 2. combines the ideas properly. 3. describes a scene graphically.