Essay Writing: What is an Expository Essay?

You’ve just been given an assignment to write an expository essay, but you don’t have a clue what that phrase even means. Don’t worry; this article will help you understand the term and offer tips on how to write an expository essay that stands out for your teacher or professor.


An expository essay is more of an explanation than a personal opinion. Just as a research paper often takes one view and you spend the majority of your time substantiating it, an expository essay will provide insight on a topic with one key idea. You not only expound on the idea, but you must submit an argument one way or another. You may use comparison and contrast, examples, or even cause and effect.

How to Begin

You must begin your expository essay with a thesis statement that is narrow enough for the topic and stated clearly in the beginning. You must decide on your statement before you can take the next step in your essay writing. This provides the angle you will be using.

Prove Your Point

When writing an essay, you must prove your beginning statement in the body. Make sure it has a logical progression to keep your readers – or teacher – reading until the end. Transitions are the key to an essay that is easy to read.

Each paragraph should only have one thought or supporting evidence. Begin a new paragraph when you want to provide additional support for your position.

A Strong Conclusion

Essay Writing: What is an Expository Essay?Your conclusion shouldn’t just be a copy of your introduction. Instead, use the information and evidence you have provided throughout your essay to wrap up the topic in a convincing way. By the end of the paper, the reader should be swayed to the viewpoint of the essay writer… or he or she should at least admit the possibility of such a stance from having read your paper.

If you are struggling with writing an essay, think about it in terms of an argument with a friend. Pretend your friend has a different opinion of the topic than you. How will you convince him or her that you are right? That is essentially what an expository essay is trying to do. The only difference is the people you are trying to sway aren’t standing in front of you, and you must put your thoughts down on paper as the essay writer instead of just speaking them. Essay writing becomes much easier with practice, so don’t give up.