How to Write an Expository Essay Step by Step

How to Write an Expository Essay Step by Step

Published by on 2021-05-20 19:10:06

Students need to master numerous academic papers. They all come with specific goals, structure, rules, and ambitions. It’s important to understand each one of those paper types as they carry unique nature and expectations. 

In this guide, we’ll explain how to write an expository essay step by step. These are all expository essay guidelines that you may need in your writing process. 

What Is an Expository Article?

So what does an expository essay mean? Well, it is a type of academic paper that should investigate or explain a topic. Its aim is not to take a side or make judgments, rather, a writer needs to draw a full picture of the subject by investigating and evaluating all sides of the issue. Thus, this type of paper is given to students to test their analytical abilities and teach them about unbiased writing styles. 

Also, students often confuse this type of paper with an argumentative essay. This is a mistake. The main difference between those two papers is that any argumentative work will always end up semi-biased and subjective. In this case, a writer needs to pick a side and present their opinions to support their stand on the issue. On the other hand, with the expository essay, a writer needs to discuss every side of the issue with the remaining neutral. Hence, a writer’s position on the issue here is irrelevant. Also, the use of the first-person pronoun is not allowed. 

Expository Essay Format

So let’s find out how to make a perfect paper. Here are all the necessary steps to writing an expository essay that you need to know. 

Expository Essay Format

Before we move on to any specific wiring instructions, you need to know the types of expository essays. There are five of them. Before you choose a topic, do your research, and start an outline, you need to know what options you can have here. So, here are four main types that every student needs to know when approached with this assignment: 

  1. Cause and effect
  2. Comparison or contrast
  3. Description
  4. Problem and solution

Let’s have a closer look at all of these types.  

Cause and effect

This type requires a writer to search for the causes of the given situation or problem at hand and to explore the consequences of those cases. Overall, a writer needs to find a problem, its roots, and its effects. 

Problem and solution

The problem and solution essay are similar to the previous type, though it comes with a few differences. In this case, a writer needs to find the problem and explore the possible solutions to it. Those solutions can be only theoretical, meaning the potential solutions, or the real ones, which mean the analysis and evaluation of taken actions. 


Many students may find the descriptive type of essays as the easiest one of all. It’s not hard to see why. A descriptive type gives the most creative freedom to students. All they need to do here is to pick a subject and offer a thorough description of it. Hence, you may describe a piece of art or explain a certain event in history. There are not many rules here except for being unbiased and using critical thinking. 

Comparison or contrast  

The comparison or contrast type is also similar to the previous one. The main difference here is that you need to pick at least two objects and compare them to one another. Hence, you get to describe both of those objects and contrast them. Once again, you don’t need to choose a side or tell your opinions. You need to stay objective and neutral. 

How to Write a Thesis Statement for an Expository Essay


You need to have a well-structured paper, and an outline can greatly help you with that. Hence, you need to dedicate some time and energy to outline your future work. Overall, an outline helps you organize your entire work, the flow of thought, and shape them in a logical order. An outline has all the main expository writing steps. Master all of them, and you will never have any problem with this paper ever again.

How to write an expository essay introduction

Start your introduction with a hook. It should be something that draws people in right away. This can be anything from a joke to some data and references. Next, add some background on the topic and reasons for writing. End your introduction with a thesis statement. Overall, your introduction must give people an idea of what to expect from your work.

How to write a thesis statement for an expository essay

A thesis statement defines the sole purpose of your writing. It is the goal of your paper. Its message must be very clear. Overall, you need to express what you are trying to achieve by writing this work and what outcomes you expect in the end. 

Three-body paragraphs

A five-paragraph structure is one of the most common formats of writing a paper. With this structure, you dedicate the first and the last one to the introduction and conclusion while leaving the three paragraphs in the middle to the main body. Of course, you can have more body paragraphs than that. It will all depend on the required size of your paper and word count.

However, you also need to understand that each body paragraph has to carry the thesis statement on its own. Thus, they all come with the core idea. You can’t have too many such paragraphs as you need to keep your work simple but informative. 

Expository Essay Guidelines

Each paragraph also comes with a supportive statement, evidence, and a brief conclusion. Also, you need to have a transition in the end so your readers will have an easier time moving from one thought to another. Overall, each paragraph must deliver, explain, and summarise a single idea. 

How to write an expository conclusion

Once you are done with the main part of your paper, it’s time to build your conclusion. At this stage, you practice everything this essay is about, which is a neutral, objective opinion. You need to collect all your main points that you have enlisted in the main body. Recount them, put them all together and draw a logical conclusion out of all the information you have written in the text above. Don’t try to form a particular opinion or subject anything to your judgment.

Also, don’t add any new information to the text. A conclusion can’t have anything in it that hasn’t been told above in the main body. If anything, you may state that the subject in question requires further research to deliver a fuller picture. 

Proofread It

At last, you have finished your work and think about having a rest. Well, not so soon. You need to complete one final task. You must proofread and revise your work. It is an essential step to having a perfect paper. First of all, look at any misspelled words or grammar mistakes. Next, take a look at your citation style. Are all of your references done in the same style? See if you have added all cited sources to the bibliography page. 

Among all the expository essay steps, proofreading is often neglected, which is a big mistake. Proofreading can give your work a straight-A look. The lack of errors and minor mistakes helps create a perfect first impression and shows your dedication to your work.