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        Expository Essays | Step-by-Step Manual with Examples

        • calenderMay 17, 2023
        • calender 9 min read

        The term “expository” refers to expounding on, or elaborating on a topic. Hence, the main goal of an expository essay is to provide factual information on a particular subject. Although writing an engaging essay is definitely a plus, it is secondary. The main goal of writing an expository essay is to educate. 

        An expository essay is a relatively unbiased piece of writing that explores a topic from all angles. In this article, we will explore the meaning of an expository essay and how to write one with the help of a few expository essay examples. Let’s take a look.

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        What is an expository essay?

        An expository essay is an unbiased, factual piece of writing that provides an in-depth explanation of a topic or set of ideas. It aims to explain a topic from all angles and takes no decisive stance on it.

        Expository essays make no new arguments on a topic but rather explain preexisting information in a structured format. They are mainly used in assignments or exams to test the student’s knowledge of a subject. 

        However, the expository essay definition remains incomplete without understanding the different types of 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

        A classification essay aims to group objects into distinct categories. It also involves comparing objects within the same group and highlighting their similarities and differences. For example, if the essay topic is evergreen trees, it would explore different types like pine and fir and discuss the similarities and differences between them.

        2. Definition essay

        A definition essay aims to provide a comprehensive explanation of a particular topic. As the name implies, the main goal is to define the subject matter in detail. So if you were writing a definition essay on the Victorian era, you would begin by defining the historical period. Then, you would move on to describe the cultural aspects such as fashion styles, notable figures, and societal norms that characterized that period.

        3. Process essay

        A process essay is a step-by-step guide to performing a particular task. It follows a logical, chronological order of detailed steps on how to achieve a desired outcome. For instance, if you want to write a process essay on “how to make a paper airplane” you will provide a step-by-step chronological guide on how to fold the paper in different ways to create the airplane. 

        4. Compare and contrast essay

        A compare and contrast essay aims to point out the subtle differences or unexpected similarities between two or more subjects. For instance, a compare and contrast essay about the types of ramen served in different parts of Japan may include the differences and similarities in the broth, ingredients used, types of noodles, and flavor profiles in each of them. 

        5. Cause and effect essay

        A cause-and-effect essay seeks to explore the aftermath of a specific incident. So a cause-and-effect essay on the Himalayan mountain range may analyze the movement of the tectonic plates that led to the formation of the Himalayas.

        Now that we’ve fully understood what’s an expository essay let’s understand its structure.

        Expository essay structure

        An expository essay is written in the third person and the expository essay format, like any other essay format, consists of an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. There is no limit on the length of your essay unless instructed by your teacher or professor. 

        The expository essay format typically consists of one paragraph for the introduction and conclusion and three paragraphs for the body. But you can add additional body paragraphs depending on the scope of your topic. Here’s the expository essay paragraph structure:

        1. Introduction

        The purpose of an introduction is to acquaint your reader with‌ your topic or thesis statement. It also involves using engaging information and a relevant context to captivate the reader.

        The thesis statement for an expository essay should be unbiased and should aim to provide the reader with more information on a topic. Here’s an example of an introductory paragraph for an expository essay:

        1. Hook
        2. Background information
        3. Thesis statement

        The Victorian era, spanning from 1837 to 1901, left an indelible mark on English society. With its strict expectations governing everything from fashion to employment, it was known to be a conservative society. But amidst the rigidity, the period also saw remarkable progress in industry, technology, and science. It’s a time of paradox, where tradition and innovation coexisted. In this essay, we’ll delve into the fascinating complexities of the Victorian era and how they shaped English society for generations to come.

        2. Body paragraph

        After understanding how to start an expository essay the next step is to construct substantial body paragraphs. Each body paragraph in an expository essay consists of a topic sentence, its explanation, and a transition statement. A single idea should be introduced in each paragraph. 

        These ideas can be arranged chronologically, in the order of importance, or even in a random manner, depending on the purpose and the message of your essay. For instance, a step-by-step guide will always be written chronologically, from the first to the final step.  Let’s take a look at an example of a body paragraph for an expository essay.

        1. Topic sentence
        2. Explanation
        3. Transition statement

        During the Victorian era, the social hierarchy was rigid, with the aristocracy and landed gentry holding most of the power, wealth, and privilege. Shockingly, the upper class comprised only 0.7% of the population, yet dominated England’s resources and politics. Meanwhile, the working class, who made up the majority of society, faced harsh living and working conditions and had limited opportunities for upward mobility. Working-class men in industrial cities had an average life expectancy of just 16 years. Despite these challenges, the Victorian era also saw a growing movement towards social reform, such as the National Health Service and Factory Act, aimed at improving the working class’s quality of life. Although the oppressive social hierarchy was highly apparent, the Victorian era represented a time of progress and change in England for many.

        3. Conclusion

        The purpose of the conclusion is to tie up loose ends and to provide a short summary of your essay. End your essay with a strong, meaningful statement that leaves a lasting impression. This helps reinforce the significance of your thesis statement to the reader.

        The conclusion should introduce no new information but rather focus on the broader impact and applications of your topic and central idea. Here’s an example of a concluding paragraph for an expository essay.

        1. Updated thesis statement
        2. Brief overview
        3. Concluding statement

        The Victorian era brought about significant changes in society, culture, and technology, including the rise of the middle class, the expansion of the British Empire, the emergence of new literary and artistic movements, and the advancement of science and technology. Despite its flaws, it laid the foundation for modern society and continues to impact contemporary culture. This essay explored the Victorian era’s impact on literature, social norms, and technological advancements, providing a comprehensive overview of this era’s influence on society and culture. Overall, the Victorian era’s legacy continues to shape our world today.

        Now that we’re familiar with the structure of an expository essay, let’s understand how to write it.

        How to write an expository essay  

        Although an essay is a highly versatile piece of writing, it follows the same basic steps. This involves choosing a relevant topic, crafting a clear thesis statement, creating a structured outline, and writing and revising your essay. Here are some simple steps to write an expository essay.

        1. Choose an appropriate topic

        An expository essay is based on accurate facts and information, so it makes sense to choose a topic you’re already familiar with. This will not only make the research process much easier but will also help you approach your topic in depth.

        2. Craft the thesis statement

        Create an interesting and succinct thesis statement that you can expound on. A thesis statement that is both intriguing and clear creates a strong foundation for your essay.

        3. Create an essay outline

        You can better understand how to structure your expository essay by constructing an outline.

        An outline not only provides flow to your essay but also serves as a base to fall back on when in doubt. It is created by constructing relevant topic sentences that support your thesis statement and arranging them in a logical order. 

        4. Write the first draft

        Once you have created the outline, the next step is to flesh it out and start writing your essay. Make sure that you use reliable sources of information and accurately cite them during your writing process.

        5. Revise and proofread 

        After the first draft of your essay is complete, make sure to proofread it and revise any structural, grammatical, or factual inconsistencies. If you have the option, it always helps to hire essay editing services that can handle this crucial task for you.

        Expository essay outline 

        Before embarking on your essay writing journey, make sure that you have a solid base to fall back on. This can be done by creating a comprehensive expository essay outline with a detailed thesis statement, relevant topic sentences, and supporting bits of information. 

        Here’s an example of an expository essay outline on the impact of the wheel on modern-day technology: 

        The Impact of the Wheel on Modern-Day Technology

        I. Introduction

        A. Hook: An interesting fact or a historical anecdote about the invention of the wheel

        B. Context: The significance of the wheel in ancient times

        C. Thesis statement: The wheel has been a crucial invention that has influenced modern-day technology in various fields.

        II. History and Evolution of the Wheel

        A. Origin and early uses of the wheel

        B. Development of the wheel and axle

        C. Role of the wheel in ancient civilizations, such as Mesopotamia, China, and Egypt

        D. The role of the wheel in the Industrial Revolution

        III. The Influence of the Wheel on Transportation Technology

        A. The invention of the modern-day car and its components

        B. The development of airplanes and trains

        C. The influence of the wheel on space exploration

        IV. The Influence of the Wheel on Manufacturing Technology

        A. The role of wheels and conveyors in modern factories

        B. The use of wheels in heavy machinery and equipment

        C. The influence of the wheel in assembly line production

        V. The Influence of the Wheel on Everyday Technology

        A. The role of the wheel in household appliances and gadgets

        B. The use of wheels in sporting equipment and toys

        C. The influence of the wheel on modern-day robotics

        VI. Conclusion

        A. Restate thesis statement

        B. Summarize the main points of the essay

        C. Final thoughts: The significance of the wheel on modern-day technology

        D. Call to action or recommendation for further research or action

        Expository essay example

        To help you in your writing process, we’ve provided a comprehensive expository essay example. It discusses the impact of Shakespeare’s work on modern-day literature. This expository essay sample deviates from the original five-paragraph structure and consists of an introductory paragraph, four body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph.

        Influence of Shakespeare on Modern-Day Literature

        William Shakespeare is widely regarded as one of the greatest playwrights in the history of English literature. His works have had a significant influence on modern-day literature, and his plays continue to be performed and adapted into various forms, including films, television shows, and novels. In this essay, we will explore the influence of Shakespeare on modern-day literature.

        Shakespeare’s influence on the English language cannot be overstated. He is credited with the invention of over 1,700 words and phrases, including “eyeball,” “fashionable,” “addiction,” and “bedazzled,” to name a few. His writing style, characterized by poetic language, rich imagery, and powerful themes, has inspired countless writers and poets over the centuries. Many writers have attempted to imitate his style or use his works as a reference for their writing.

        Moreover, Shakespeare’s plays, which were written over 400 years ago, still resonate with audiences today. His exploration of universal themes such as love, jealousy, power, and ambition, continues to captivate readers and audiences worldwide. The characters in his plays, such as Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, and Othello, are iconic and have become part of our cultural heritage.

        As a result, today’s media and entertainment have been heavily influenced by Shakespeare’s works. Many writers have adapted his plays into modern settings, retelling the stories in contemporary contexts. For example, the musical West Side Story, which is based on Romeo and Juliet, is set in 1950s New York City, while the film 10 Things I Hate About You is a modern retelling of The Taming of the Shrew.

        Shakespeare’s influence is not only evident in media but also in the language and themes used in modern literature. His exploration of human nature and the human condition has inspired many writers to delve deeper into the human psyche, exploring complex emotions and motivations. His use of metaphors, symbolism, and imagery has become a hallmark of literary writing, inspiring many writers to use similar techniques in their works.

        In conclusion, William Shakespeare’s influence on modern-day literature cannot be overstated. His works continue to be read and performed, inspiring writers and artists around the world. His use of language, themes, and characters has become part of our cultural heritage and continues to shape how we view the world. Shakespeare’s impact on modern-day literature is a testament to his enduring legacy as one of the greatest writers of all time.

        Now that you have clarity about expository essays, you can use this information to write expository essays. As providers of essay editing services, we realize that you may also have doubts about other types of essays like narrative essays, argumentative essays, and more.

        Keep reading with more resources from your loyal editors and proofreaders:

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        Nandita Linkedin

        Nandita is a budding writer with a background in Psychology. She adores mysterious movies with unusual plots, cozy coffee houses, and any conversation involving Agatha Christie!

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