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The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.
What is an expository essay?
The expository essay is a genre of essay that requires the student to investigate an idea, evaluate evidence, expound on the idea, and set forth an argument concerning that idea in a clear and concise manner. This can be accomplished through comparison and contrast, definition, example, the analysis of cause and effect, etc.
Please note : This genre is commonly assigned as a tool for classroom evaluation and is often found in various exam formats.
The structure of the expository essay is held together by the following.
- A clear, concise, and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay.
It is essential that this thesis statement be appropriately narrowed to follow the guidelines set forth in the assignment. If the student does not master this portion of the essay, it will be quite difficult to compose an effective or persuasive essay.
- Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion.
Transitions are the mortar that holds the foundation of the essay together. Without logical progression of thought, the reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument, and the structure will collapse.
- Body paragraphs that include evidential support.
Each paragraph should be limited to the exposition of one general idea. This will allow for clarity and direction throughout the essay. What is more, such conciseness creates an ease of readability for one’s audience. It is important to note that each paragraph in the body of the essay must have some logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph.
- Evidential support (whether factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal).
Often times, students are required to write expository essays with little or no preparation; therefore, such essays do not typically allow for a great deal of statistical or factual evidence.
- A bit of creativity!
Though creativity and artfulness are not always associated with essay writing, it is an art form nonetheless. Try not to get stuck on the formulaic nature of expository writing at the expense of writing something interesting. Remember, though you may not be crafting the next great novel, you are attempting to leave a lasting impression on the people evaluating your essay.
- A conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided.
It is at this point of the essay that students will inevitably begin to struggle. This is the portion of the essay that will leave the most immediate impression on the mind of the reader. Therefore, it must be effective and logical. Do not introduce any new information into the conclusion; rather, synthesize and come to a conclusion concerning the information presented in the body of the essay.
A complete argument
Perhaps it is helpful to think of an essay in terms of a conversation or debate with a classmate. If I were to discuss the cause of the Great Depression and its current effect on those who lived through the tumultuous time, there would be a beginning, middle, and end to the conversation. In fact, if I were to end the exposition in the middle of my second point, questions would arise concerning the current effects on those who lived through the Depression. Therefore, the expository essay must be complete, and logically so, leaving no doubt as to its intent or argument.
The five-paragraph Essay
A common method for writing an expository essay is the five-paragraph approach. This is, however, by no means the only formula for writing such essays. If it sounds straightforward, that is because it is; in fact, the method consists of:
- an introductory paragraph
- three evidentiary body paragraphs
- a conclusion
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Chapter 4: What Are You Writing, to Whom, and How?
4.1 Expository Essays
- 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:
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:
- 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
- Compare and contrast
- Cause and effect
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.
Writing for Success - 1st Canadian H5P Edition by Tara Horkoff is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.
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Beginner’s Guide to Write an Expository Essay
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Published on: Jul 29, 2018
Last updated on: Oct 16, 2023
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Expository essays provide an investigation of an event, a place, or experience, evaluating the evidence. It requires a lot of effort, time, and good writing skills, as this essay explains the idea in detail. It requires you to do research to collect strong evidence and add ample details related to the topic.
Explaining something is not always easy. It takes critical thinking, research skills, and the ability to present your ideas interestingly to people who have not experienced or read about them before so they can understand what you are saying.
Are you looking for an expository writing guide?
Read on to learn more about it and understand how to write an expository essay step by step.
What Is an Expository Essay?
The expository essay is a genre of academic writing that discusses a topic in detail. It explains the main topic by providing the information in chronological order. This type of writing aims to give the reader all the information they need to understand a topic easily.
According to the expository essay definition:
An expository essay may seem like a descriptive essay but it is different from it. Similarly, an argumentative essay looks similar, but it is not. An argumentative essay is written to present an argument and prove a certain point of view. Whereas expository essays are written to provide information, define, and illustrate a certain topic.
What is the Purpose of an Expository Essay?
An expository essay's purpose is to provide a balanced, objective description of its topic with the format allowing for a clear and logical explanation instead of proving a point or providing a personal opinion.
You should use clear and simple language, not assume your audience knows something about the topic you are discussing.
It is better to stay objective and neutral in your claims when you write an academic essay. You should use a formal tone, no matter what type of expository essay you are writing.
Expository essays are common school assignments because they help improve students’ academic performance and allow developing writing skills that will be useful for their future.
Features of an Expository Essay
Types of Expository Essay
There are six types of expository essay :
- Compare and contrast essay: It is a type of essay that compares and contrasts two things. Learn to write a compare and contrast essay from our ultimate guide.
- Cause and effect essay: This essay tries to find out the causes of some things and their effects on something. Learn cause and effect essay writing with this guide.
- Process essay: This essay explains the process of making or doing something.
- Problem and solution essay: This essay presents a problem and provides its possible solutions.
- Classification essay: In this essay, the topic is divided into categories. The examples, ideas, and characters are defined for each category in the form of groups. Follow the link for a detailed guide on classification essay writing.
- Definition essay: This essay defines what the topic exactly means. A definition essay provides clear and specific information about the topic and uses examples to clarify it.
Difference Between Persuasive Essay And The Expository Essay
Expository essay topics.
Below are some useful expository essay topics and ideas for your ease.
Expository Essay Topics About Social Issues
- Explain why writing prompts are difficult to choose
- Explain why teenagers indulge in drugs
- What are the consequences of selling drugs?
- Describe productive ways a student can utilize their free time
- Explain why kids have a rough time when their parents are getting a divorce
- Explain how music affects your life
- Describe the effects of marijuana
- Describe the consequences of taking drugs
- Why do people become poor during Covid 19?
- What are the reasons for mental illness?
Expository Essay Topics About Education
- Effects of diversity in a classroom
- Importance of education
- The role of education in national development.
- Coping with illness while at college
- Private school vs. public school
- Who should set the curriculum for a class?
- The connection between education and wealth
- What is innovative education?
- Why is it important to read?
- Online schooling is important
Expository Essay Topics About Ethical Issues
- Issues behind unpaid internships
- Should prostitution be legalized?
- Why are some people dog lovers while others are cat lovers?
- Explain the relationship between education and quality of life
- What is the reason for fantasy books becoming best sellers these days?
- What is a smart consumer?
- What changes need to be made in your lunchroom?
- Ethics vs. leadership values
- Nursing ethics
- Is plastic surgery ethical?
Expository Essay Topics About Mental Health
- Benefits of good mental health
- Common mental health problems in our societies
- The main protective factors in mental health
- Important drawbacks of poor mental health
- How is color related to a mental state?
- Negative impact on mental health
- How do you decrease anxiety?
- Personality disorders of teens
- Medicines testing on animals
- An analysis of social media psychologists.
Expository Essay Structure
The format for every essay is generally the same. It has an introduction, a thesis statement, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. What makes these essays different from each other is the purpose due to which they are written. A typical 5 paragraph essay follows the pattern given below:
- A captivating hook statement
- Brief background information
- An intriguing thesis statement
- Body paragraph 1: First main point, its supporting evidence, and transition to the second body paragraph
- Body paragraph 2: Second main point, its supporting evidence, and transition to the third body paragraph
- Body paragraph 3: Third main point, its supporting evidence, and transition to the conclusion
- Restate the thesis statement
- Summarize all the main points
- Provide a good message
The expository essay structure is no different as far as the sections are concerned. However, it is different because of its highly explanatory nature. It explains the specific topic in detail while evaluating the evidence.
Expository Essay Graphic Organizer
Expository Essay Outline
There are specific steps that you need to take in order to write a good expository essay. To start, you should plan your paper and create an outline.
An expository essay outline helps you give a proper structure to your essay. The idea of an outline is to organize all the content that helps compile a good expository essay.
Moreover, an expository essay outline consists of three parts;
1. Expository Essay Introduction
Expository writing informs the readers or explains a certain topic. Therefore, adding an unknown and engaging fact will help hook your reader and keep them glued to your essay.
Don’t assume that your reader already knows everything about the topic. Create a background regarding your topic for the readers. This will help them understand the topic better.
Pay careful attention to the opening lines and consider the following points while writing an essay introduction paragraph:
- Provide interesting information or ask a question
- Introduce all the necessary information to help the reader understand what the expository paper is all about
- Write an effective thesis statement
2. Expository Essay Body Paragraphs
The body paragraphs are written to provide supporting evidence and to explain the topic in detail. Every paragraph discusses a separate point of the topic.
Each body paragraph begins with a topic sentence , provides facts and opinions to expand and explain the topic. Transition words are used to connect the paragraphs logically and to maintain the smooth flow of the essay.
The number of body paragraphs can vary according to the topic. Keep in mind the following points when you proceed to the body of the essay:
- Provide a key idea for each paragraph
- Include supporting sentences in each of your body paragraphs
- Explain the significance of your provided facts and examples
3. Expository Essay Conclusion
To conclude your essay, begin the concluding paragraph by restating your thesis statement. Your essay conclusion should be strong and powerful to give a concise overview of your topic.
Add questions or propose further action to engage the readers. Don’t add any new details in the concluding paragraph; just wrap up your essay and restate the thesis briefly.
Ensure the following information to come up with an effective and interesting expository composition.
- Provide an overview of the essay
- Discuss the possible solutions
- Discuss the importance of your research
How to Start an Expository Essay?
Before you start writing your essay, make sure that you have enough evidence and credible information to explain your idea.
Here is a step-by-step procedure for how to write an expository essay.
1. Choose a Topic
Pick an interesting and good expository essay topic to write an essay on. The topic must be captivating and fascinating enough to catch the reader's attention immediately.
2. Do some Research
The more information you have about a topic, the better you will write your essay. Thus, before writing an essay for class or just because your interest has been piqued - do some research.
The internet is always there with everything from books to videos that can help answer any question related to in-depth study and would provide great insight into how things work and why certain events happened.
Thus, never skip this step when you start writing your essay.
3. Write the Thesis Statement
In an expository paper, the thesis statement should summarize what you are trying to explain in your work. Make sure that it is not making any arguments or persuasive for one side of an issue.
4. Create an Outline
The easiest way to plan an interesting expository essay is by using an outline. When writing an expository essay, the main points of your argument should be clear in both the introduction and conclusion.
With the help of an essay outline, you should easily create a well-written essay. Thus, first, create it and then start writing the essay.
How to Write an Expository Essay
To write an expository essay, you will need to gather information and present it in a clear and concise way. Make sure to use evidence to support your points, and be sure to structure your essay in a way that is easy to follow.
Here are some steps that you should follow after creating the essay outline and start writing an essay.
1. Write the Introduction
An essay introduction is the first thing someone reads. It is your opportunity to make a good impression on the reader and explain what the essay will be about.
Writing a good introductory paragraph cannot be difficult, but if you follow these guidelines;
- Start with an interesting hook statement
- Provide background information
- End the essay introduction with a thesis statement
2. Prepare the Body Paragraphs
In an expository essay, you present information rather than making an argument. This makes the body paragraphs simpler to write. However, you should not just dump information randomly. Typically, you should have three body paragraphs, each discussing a specific issue related to your topic.
3. Craft a Conclusion
The conclusion of an expository essay is meant to remind the reader of the main points in the essay and state the hypothesis one more time.
The information presented in the conclusion connects to the main purpose. The thesis statement is restated and explained in greater detail.
4. Revise Your Essay
Do not forget to revise your essay as a good thorough read helps you refine your essay. Revise your essay to check the following things:
- Correct any spelling and grammatical errors
- Correct the punctuation errors
- Make sure that your essay is making sense
- Check if your content is in a logical flow
- Check the sentence structure
- Remove any irrelevant information
Expository Essay Examples
Here are some expository essay examples to clarify further how an expository essay should look like. Read the essay example and know the basic structure of this essay.
Below are some more examples for your help.
Expository Essay Sample
Expository Essay on Education
Expository Essay On Global Warming
Expository Essay Template
Expository Essay on Covid 19
Expository Essay Format
Expository Essay on Consumer Culture
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of an expository essay.
An expository essay's purpose is to provide a balanced, objective description of its topic with the format allowing for a clear and logical explanation instead of proving a point or providing a personal opinion.
How long is an expository essay?
Expository essays are often assigned as a writing exercise or as part of an exam, in which case you'll usually be given guidelines regarding length. You may also want to ask for some help if needed with your 800-word essay about the topic at hand.
What are the five elements of expository writing?
The main five elements of expository writing are;
- Thesis statement
What are the characteristics of expository writing?
The main characteristics of expository writing are;
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- The four main types of essay | Quick guide with examples
The Four Main Types of Essay | Quick Guide with Examples
Published on September 4, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.
An essay is a focused piece of writing designed to inform or persuade. There are many different types of essay, but they are often defined in four categories: argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive essays.
Argumentative and expository essays are focused on conveying information and making clear points, while narrative and descriptive essays are about exercising creativity and writing in an interesting way. At university level, argumentative essays are the most common type.
In high school and college, you will also often have to write textual analysis essays, which test your skills in close reading and interpretation.
Table of contents
Argumentative essays, expository essays, narrative essays, descriptive essays, textual analysis essays, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about types of essays.
An argumentative essay presents an extended, evidence-based argument. It requires a strong thesis statement —a clearly defined stance on your topic. Your aim is to convince the reader of your thesis using evidence (such as quotations ) and analysis.
Argumentative essays test your ability to research and present your own position on a topic. This is the most common type of essay at college level—most papers you write will involve some kind of argumentation.
The essay is divided into an introduction, body, and conclusion:
- The introduction provides your topic and thesis statement
- The body presents your evidence and arguments
- The conclusion summarizes your argument and emphasizes its importance
The example below is a paragraph from the body of an argumentative essay about the effects of the internet on education. Mouse over it to learn more.
A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.
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An expository essay provides a clear, focused explanation of a topic. It doesn’t require an original argument, just a balanced and well-organized view of the topic.
Expository essays test your familiarity with a topic and your ability to organize and convey information. They are commonly assigned at high school or in exam questions at college level.
The introduction of an expository essay states your topic and provides some general background, the body presents the details, and the conclusion summarizes the information presented.
A typical body paragraph from an expository essay about the invention of the printing press is shown below. Mouse over it to learn more.
The invention of the printing press in 1440 changed this situation dramatically. Johannes Gutenberg, who had worked as a goldsmith, used his knowledge of metals in the design of the press. He made his type from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony, whose durability allowed for the reliable production of high-quality books. This new technology allowed texts to be reproduced and disseminated on a much larger scale than was previously possible. The Gutenberg Bible appeared in the 1450s, and a large number of printing presses sprang up across the continent in the following decades. Gutenberg’s invention rapidly transformed cultural production in Europe; among other things, it would lead to the Protestant Reformation.
A narrative essay is one that tells a story. This is usually a story about a personal experience you had, but it may also be an imaginative exploration of something you have not experienced.
Narrative essays test your ability to build up a narrative in an engaging, well-structured way. They are much more personal and creative than other kinds of academic writing . Writing a personal statement for an application requires the same skills as a narrative essay.
A narrative essay isn’t strictly divided into introduction, body, and conclusion, but it should still begin by setting up the narrative and finish by expressing the point of the story—what you learned from your experience, or why it made an impression on you.
Mouse over the example below, a short narrative essay responding to the prompt “Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself,” to explore its structure.
Since elementary school, I have always favored subjects like science and math over the humanities. My instinct was always to think of these subjects as more solid and serious than classes like English. If there was no right answer, I thought, why bother? But recently I had an experience that taught me my academic interests are more flexible than I had thought: I took my first philosophy class.
Before I entered the classroom, I was skeptical. I waited outside with the other students and wondered what exactly philosophy would involve—I really had no idea. I imagined something pretty abstract: long, stilted conversations pondering the meaning of life. But what I got was something quite different.
A young man in jeans, Mr. Jones—“but you can call me Rob”—was far from the white-haired, buttoned-up old man I had half-expected. And rather than pulling us into pedantic arguments about obscure philosophical points, Rob engaged us on our level. To talk free will, we looked at our own choices. To talk ethics, we looked at dilemmas we had faced ourselves. By the end of class, I’d discovered that questions with no right answer can turn out to be the most interesting ones.
The experience has taught me to look at things a little more “philosophically”—and not just because it was a philosophy class! I learned that if I let go of my preconceptions, I can actually get a lot out of subjects I was previously dismissive of. The class taught me—in more ways than one—to look at things with an open mind.
A descriptive essay provides a detailed sensory description of something. Like narrative essays, they allow you to be more creative than most academic writing, but they are more tightly focused than narrative essays. You might describe a specific place or object, rather than telling a whole story.
Descriptive essays test your ability to use language creatively, making striking word choices to convey a memorable picture of what you’re describing.
A descriptive essay can be quite loosely structured, though it should usually begin by introducing the object of your description and end by drawing an overall picture of it. The important thing is to use careful word choices and figurative language to create an original description of your object.
Mouse over the example below, a response to the prompt “Describe a place you love to spend time in,” to learn more about descriptive essays.
On Sunday afternoons I like to spend my time in the garden behind my house. The garden is narrow but long, a corridor of green extending from the back of the house, and I sit on a lawn chair at the far end to read and relax. I am in my small peaceful paradise: the shade of the tree, the feel of the grass on my feet, the gentle activity of the fish in the pond beside me.
My cat crosses the garden nimbly and leaps onto the fence to survey it from above. From his perch he can watch over his little kingdom and keep an eye on the neighbours. He does this until the barking of next door’s dog scares him from his post and he bolts for the cat flap to govern from the safety of the kitchen.
With that, I am left alone with the fish, whose whole world is the pond by my feet. The fish explore the pond every day as if for the first time, prodding and inspecting every stone. I sometimes feel the same about sitting here in the garden; I know the place better than anyone, but whenever I return I still feel compelled to pay attention to all its details and novelties—a new bird perched in the tree, the growth of the grass, and the movement of the insects it shelters…
Sitting out in the garden, I feel serene. I feel at home. And yet I always feel there is more to discover. The bounds of my garden may be small, but there is a whole world contained within it, and it is one I will never get tired of inhabiting.
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Though every essay type tests your writing skills, some essays also test your ability to read carefully and critically. In a textual analysis essay, you don’t just present information on a topic, but closely analyze a text to explain how it achieves certain effects.
A rhetorical analysis looks at a persuasive text (e.g. a speech, an essay, a political cartoon) in terms of the rhetorical devices it uses, and evaluates their effectiveness.
The goal is not to state whether you agree with the author’s argument but to look at how they have constructed it.
The introduction of a rhetorical analysis presents the text, some background information, and your thesis statement; the body comprises the analysis itself; and the conclusion wraps up your analysis of the text, emphasizing its relevance to broader concerns.
The example below is from a rhetorical analysis of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech . Mouse over it to learn more.
King’s speech is infused with prophetic language throughout. Even before the famous “dream” part of the speech, King’s language consistently strikes a prophetic tone. He refers to the Lincoln Memorial as a “hallowed spot” and speaks of rising “from the dark and desolate valley of segregation” to “make justice a reality for all of God’s children.” The assumption of this prophetic voice constitutes the text’s strongest ethical appeal; after linking himself with political figures like Lincoln and the Founding Fathers, King’s ethos adopts a distinctly religious tone, recalling Biblical prophets and preachers of change from across history. This adds significant force to his words; standing before an audience of hundreds of thousands, he states not just what the future should be, but what it will be: “The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.” This warning is almost apocalyptic in tone, though it concludes with the positive image of the “bright day of justice.” The power of King’s rhetoric thus stems not only from the pathos of his vision of a brighter future, but from the ethos of the prophetic voice he adopts in expressing this vision.
A literary analysis essay presents a close reading of a work of literature—e.g. a poem or novel—to explore the choices made by the author and how they help to convey the text’s theme. It is not simply a book report or a review, but an in-depth interpretation of the text.
Literary analysis looks at things like setting, characters, themes, and figurative language. The goal is to closely analyze what the author conveys and how.
The introduction of a literary analysis essay presents the text and background, and provides your thesis statement; the body consists of close readings of the text with quotations and analysis in support of your argument; and the conclusion emphasizes what your approach tells us about the text.
Mouse over the example below, the introduction to a literary analysis essay on Frankenstein , to learn more.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, protagonist Victor Frankenstein is a stable representation of the callous ambition of modern science throughout the novel. This essay, however, argues that far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to portray Frankenstein in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as. This essay begins by exploring the positive portrayal of Frankenstein in the first volume, then moves on to the creature’s perception of him, and finally discusses the third volume’s narrative shift toward viewing Frankenstein as the creature views him.
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At high school and in composition classes at university, you’ll often be told to write a specific type of essay , but you might also just be given prompts.
Look for keywords in these prompts that suggest a certain approach: The word “explain” suggests you should write an expository essay , while the word “describe” implies a descriptive essay . An argumentative essay might be prompted with the word “assess” or “argue.”
The vast majority of essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Almost all academic writing involves building up an argument, though other types of essay might be assigned in composition classes.
Essays can present arguments about all kinds of different topics. For example:
- In a literary analysis essay, you might make an argument for a specific interpretation of a text
- In a history essay, you might present an argument for the importance of a particular event
- In a politics essay, you might argue for the validity of a certain political theory
An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.
An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.
The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept.
Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.
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How to Write an Expository Essay Outline: Structure, Example, and Template
26 Dec 2021
❓What Is an Expository Essay?
☝️Expository Writing Purpose
📑Structure of Expository Essay Outline
✏️Expository Essay Format and Style
📃Expository Essay Outline Example
Writing an expository essay is observed to be one of the most problematic and tedious for students. If you are required to write an expository essay, you are being challenged to lay out the facts. Although this work involves a lot of competence, it is a handy tool for demonstrating an in-depth analysis of the selected topic. Also, the text can include features of evaluation, research, and argumentation of the idea. Papersowl will provide professional assistance to help you craft an effective expository essay.
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What Is an Expository Essay?
An expository essay is a paper that contains an in-depth analysis of the problem or presents an opinion based on a specific fact. The main purpose of this genre is to clarify a particular topic by revealing a process or set of ideas. It is important to realize that the work is not intended to prove a point but to provide the reader with a balanced view of the topic. The work should be written objectively and impartially.
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The purpose of an Expository Writing
Expository writing aims to educate the reader by providing a comprehensive explanation of a topic, assuming little to no prior knowledge. This is accomplished by simplifying complex ideas into smaller, more manageable components and utilizing straightforward and succinct language. While entertainment or persuasion may be secondary advantages, the primary intention is to showcase the author's knowledge and expertise, often illustrating how they acquired it.
By the way, the purpose of expository writing is also to inform, explain, describe, or define a particular topic or concept clearly and concisely. This type of writing requires the author to present factual information, provide examples, and use evidence to support their claims. Expository essay, for instance, is often used in academic settings, but it can also be found in everyday life, such as in news articles, business reports, or even blog posts.
Another important aspect of expository writing is the use of evidence. The author must provide evidence to support their claims and help the reader understand the topic more thoroughly. This can include statistics, research studies, or even personal anecdotes. In a nutshell, expository writing aims to give the reader a deeper understanding of a particular topic or concept through comprehensive explanation, clear language, factual information, and evidence.
Structure of an Expository Essay Outline
Although writing any great essay is primarily creative, it should have a clear structure and plan. The structure is one of the most important elements because it involves highlighting the main meaningful elements of the text and establishing logical connections between them. An expository essay outline includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Your outline should show which three main arguments you want to discuss in each paragraph.
Usually, the introductory part of any essay is similar to each other. If, even on this part, the idea of writing an outline for an expository essay scares you, or if you have particular questions, don't hesitate to contact expository writing services online . We will gladly take this odious problem upon ourselves.
The very structure of the text plays a very important role in expressing the structure. First of all, its main function is to interest and encourage the reader to read the covered topic. Second, it will give the reader an idea of your expository essay topic .
Your first sentence statement should be like a hook that captures the reader's thoughts from the first second. A great tip for this is to start with a general statement about your topic. It can be anything, such as a certain quote, a question, an anecdote, a fascinating fact, or a dilemma that needs to be solved.
If, at this point, you have thoughts like who would write essays for me , then don't worry. We already have a solution. That way, after learning something new in the first sentence, people will be interested to see what you talk about next. The following sentences briefly present the main points and emphasize their connection with the thesis. It is important to add that the thesis of an essay, as a rule, is also based on facts and not on one's thoughts.
The main part of the essay is where the most difficulties and problems arise with understanding where to start and how to write an essay. The main part consists of one or several paragraphs. First, start with a general sentence that expresses the paragraph's main idea. Most body paragraphs have three sections covering concepts, explanations, and any arguments that may arise. To make things easier, write out specific textual evidence from other sources that you use to support your thesis. A variety of apt quotes and paraphrases are suitable for this. It is also essential to use reliable facts. An extraordinary hint on how to write an expository essay outline is also useful here. Avoid using the first or second person. When moving from one paragraph to another, it is important to remember to use transitional words. Each paragraph should be connected by one or two sentences that demonstratively lead from one idea to the next. This is necessary to ensure the linguistic flow is maintained.
After writing the two parts listed above, you are ready to complete the text. This part of the work is also quite responsible. How is it built? Conclusion - specific and brief information about what was listed in the introduction and body. In simple words - a simplified version of the entire text. Despite its brevity, it should be a strong enough reinforcement not to spoil the general impression and all previous efforts. Here it can be useful to restate the main idea of your subject, but in different words to emphasize its importance. In addition, this technique nicely directs the reader's attention to important things. Remind him why this topic should interest him. Do not introduce new information in this part, as this will lead to a new discussion.
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An Expository Essay Format and Style
The main feature of this genre that distinguishes it from others is the provision of all relative information without the author taking any specific point of view.
Recognizing the format and style required for writing an expository essay is essential. Also, it is necessary to present details and various examples clearly and concisely. Use facts to reinforce the content of the text. If you do not understand what style to choose for writing and doubt your decision, remember whether the professor gave you a certain task. Usually, they guide you. If not, then use the well-known APA and MLA standards. If you still do not know how to choose a citation style , then realize that the topic often determines the style of writing. So, for example, if your work concerns the discussion of humanities, it can be foreign languages or history, it is better to use MLA. If the chosen topic concerns expressing ideas in psychology or social sciences, APA is the most appropriate format.
What is a Good Expository Essay Outline Example?
Below is an expository essay template that you can follow.
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It is important to know that the body paragraphs of an expository essay may consist of two or more parts. The outline for expository essay includes the following:
I. Introduction Hook sentence to grab the reader's attention Background statements Clear, focused thesis statement Body paragraphs II. Main concept 1 Fact 1 and testimony to support the main idea Fact 2 and testimony to support the main idea Analysis III. Main concept 2 Fact 1 and testimony to support the main idea Fact 2 and testimony to support the main idea Analysis IV. Main concept 3 Fact 1 and testimony to support the main idea Fact 2 and testimony to support the main idea Analysis V. A conclusion Summarize the question of the thesis Discuss the large significance Reveal unanswered question
To sum up, there are four main kinds of essays, each with its role and task. As for the expository essay, it is needed to transmit information that is based on real facts. To write it correctly, you need to play on contrasts, your strong facts should speak for themselves, and it is equally important to provide commentary analysis. Be sure to take enough time to write an outline of an expository essay. That's how your paper will gain new colors. If you don't have time to write this essay, you can always pay for college papers . This is a great way to get a top quality paper without spending too much time and effort.
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How to write an outstanding expository essay
Table of contents:
- Expository essay definition
Types of expository essays
Structure and format of the expository essay.
- Expository essay introduction
Expository thesis examples
- Expository essay body paragraphs
- Expository essay conclusion
- Expository essay writing tips
“Write an expository essay for your homework.” There’s a sentence which strikes fear into the heart of many a student in Australia, whether they are in high school, or in university.
But don’t freak out if you’re one of them! Help is here. I’ll show you what an expository essay is, then the rubric you need to know to write a good essay from introduction to conclusion. By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll have all the tools you need for how to structure an expository essay, some prompts giving you clues for how to start, a guide to the types of expository essays, and a few tips to make your life easier along the way.
The purpose of expository essays
First of all, so, what is an expository essay? Simply put, an expository essay explores all angles of a particular topic in an effort to teach the audience something that they might not know. It sticks to the facts and maintains a neutral tone. This is not the place to share your opinion or give that heart-wrenching anecdote.
There are roughly five kinds of expository essays: problem and solution, comparison, how-to, descriptive, and cause and effect. I’ve got some examples of possible prompts to start you off.
Problem and Solution: How do you solve climate change? How do you improve your college grades?
Comparison: Compare and contrast life in Australia with life in America. Compare and contrast your own upbringing with that of your parents. Compare and contrast your high school with a high school in the UK.
How-to: How to become a vegan. How to get a date. How to find a geo-cache. How to start collecting butterflies. How to mine crypto-currencies.
Descriptive: Describe what it’s like to visit Uluru / Ayers Rock. Describe your best friend. Describe the last concert you went to.
Cause and effect: Why did Savage Garden break up? Why did Donald Trump win the American presidency?
When considering how to structure an expository essay, you may wish to take out a pen and paper and do an outline straight off the bat. This will help to keep you on the right path and give you a template that will show you how to start.
Typically, essays such as the expository essay are based on a 5 paragraph format, which is roughly one paragraph of introduction, three main points making up the body of the essay, and a one-paragraph conclusion. You need not follow this format if it doesn’t work for you, of course, but it’s probably best to bear it in mind as you make your outline.
As you think about your topic, consider making a graphic organizer to get your thoughts in order. This can be as simple as a brainstorming session with yourself, a concept map, or a Venn diagram, all the way up to extremely detailed statistical maps with studies you’ve carried out yourself.
Introducing the expository essay
Start your introduction with a hook that grabs your readers’ attention. A startling fact or a brief story is often what you need.
Follow up with setting expectations for the background, the context, and the audience for your essay. Make sure you don’t assume your reader knows the topic inside out already, especially if you’re discussing something niche or obscure. Your instructions on how to mine crypto-currency aren’t going to make any sense if your reader has never heard of BitCoin.
The most important part of your introduction, and indeed of your whole paper, is the thesis statement , or statement of purpose. This informs the reader of what the ultimate point of your essay is talking about. Remember, your statement needs to be unbiased and neutral for the expository essay; it should not take sides in any debate.
Some examples of thesis statements are just below.
Thesis: Climate change is a complicated question but there’s one part of it that’s very simple: action needs to be taken.
Thesis: If you want to mine crypto-currency, the process is easier than you might think.
Thesis: ‘90s Australian pop duo Savage Garden broke up for several reasons: different ambitions, a personality clash, and last of all, a tragic misunderstanding.
The body of your expository essay
Now at last we’re getting into the analytical meat of the expository essay. Here’s where you set out your carefully-outlined points and present your evidence. Each main point should be followed by the factual evidence supporting that point in the same paragraph. This is where having written and formatted a full outline comes in handy.
Your body should consist of at least three paragraphs. Some ideas for how to format these include three different takes or views on the situation, three opposing points of view, two opposite sides and one side which takes elements of both, three steps to solve a problem, three stages of a journey, and so on. Of course, it need not be just three points, but three is your minimum.
Concluding the expository essay
As you finish making your points and draw to a close, begin your conclusion by restating your main points and thesis in brief form. You can then conclude in one of several ways. For instance, by reframing the essay to have larger meaning or significance, or by asking questions you didn’t or couldn’t answer.
Hopefully, you’re now well on the way to writing the best expository essay Australia has ever seen! If you need a few more clues, see the writing tips below.
Expository essay writing tips
- Use transition words such as ‘however,’ ‘otherwise,’ ‘furthermore,’ and similar words to move between paragraphs smoothly.
- Your title should be eye-catching and should have something to do with your thesis statement.
- If expository essay writing has really thrown you for a loop and even this article hasn’t helped, why not consult professional assistance and consider buying an expository essay as an example for you?
- Write a first draft a few days before your essay is due, then get a friend or classmate to take a look at it before you revise it.
- It can sometimes help to read your essay out loud as if you were presenting it to your intended audience.
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Quick and Easy Guide on How to Write an Expository Essay
Understanding What Is an Expository Essay
If you clicked on this article, then you must have recently been assigned an expository essay homework. There is also a possibility that you are here because you enjoy exploring different ideas and concepts rather than solely scratching the surface. Well, that explains why you decided to research more about expository essay writing. We won't leave you hanging, so let's delve right into the expository essay definition.
It's only reasonable to first give you a clear explanation of what is an expository essay and what this kind of paper tries to accomplish. Simply put, an expository essay presents information on a topic. It explains something about a situation, person, idea, or occurrence and communicates knowledge about it to the reader. It does not attempt to persuade the reader of a certain point of view or present a convincing case. An expository essay depends on facts rather than personal opinion since it aims to inform the reader about a subject.
Expository writing involves anything from sharing your day to outlining a job assignment. Therefore it wouldn't be unfair to say that it is the most popular type of writing in the world.
Expository Essay Topics
Speaking of the above, there must be plenty of options to write your expository paper on, right? You're correct! But one needs a properly worded title that would make great expository essay topics. That's why our research paper service covered some interesting areas below. You can browse myriads of choices and find one that is just right for your endeavor!
Expository Essay Topics About Education
- School Dress Codes: A Physical And Mental Stress
- The Idea Of Free Higher Education
- The Issue With High School Massacres
- The Importance of College Success
- STEM versus STEAM educational approaches
- How literate people differ from uneducated ones
- The advantages of studying foreign languages.
- What changes should be made to the educational system in your nation?
- Does 'educated' have the same connotation as 'smart'?
- Can someone receive a top-notch education at home?
Expository Essay Topics About Mental Health
- Is it true that music impacts our mental and physical health?
- Are acts of heroism and patriotic acts typical in terms of mental health?
- Is there a need to increase mental health benefits under health insurance?
- Comparatively speaking, does the American mental health system lag behind other nations?
- Effects of mental health law
- The connection between antisocial personality disorder and parenting methods
- Learning-disabled kids can benefit greatly from school programs.
- How social anxiety is influenced by digital communication
- Patients with mental illness receiving physical care
- Issues with mental health and grief therapy
Expository Essay Topics About Society
- Advertisements seen via the lens of social science.
- Prejudices towards African Americans.
- The social implications of feminism.
- Global refugee crisis.
- Constructing a wall to separate Mexico and the US.
- The psychology of implicit racial prejudice and discrimination
- The effects of racism at work on the economy and mind.
- Gender roles in society: shifting perspectives and effects on families.
- Who was responsible for the cost of the War on Terror?
- Is peace education receiving enough attention from society?
Expository Essay Topics About Politics
- The connection between politics and religion
- What are the pros and drawbacks of democracy?
- How powerful are NGOs?
- What are the UN's primary responsibilities?
- What are the disadvantages of not having a state?
- Has the US soured relations with its European allies?
- What does the Human Development Index mean?
- Celebrity Influence in political campaigning
- What objectives does the anti-globalization movement seek to achieve?
How to Write an Expository Essay with an Expository Essay Outline
Outlining is one of the most vital steps for knowing how to write an expository essay. Many believe that creating an outline is a waste of time, but in reality, the more complete your expository essay plan is, the fewer hours you will have to devote to research and writing. An expository essay outline divides each paragraph of the essay into various components. By doing so, you may divide a more complex activity into more manageable components and better understand how various pieces of information will work together. Let's go through each section of the expository essay format prepared by our writer.
So, how to start expository essay on a strong note? Consider opening with a bold claim that is related to your topic. After that, go on to briefly describe your subject's significance. Finally, make a statement about your essay's core thesis or objective.
- Background information
- Thesis statement
II. Body Paragraphs
In your first body paragraph. introduce the first major point that backs up your primary statement. Then, support your claim with instances or facts, and then explain how these examples or evidence link to your thesis and support your core notion. Remember to include a transitional sentence that relates to the following paragraph.
If you follow a five paragraph essay format, then feel free to develop three body paragraphs with the similar order.
- Topic sentence
In your concluding paragraph, try restating your thesis statement in a different way to successfully conclude your work. Then put your essay's essential ideas in a brief summary before concluding with a powerful remark that will stay with your readers.
- Restate thesis
- Closing sentence
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How to Write an Expository Essay
Even though you now know a lot about the expository essay format, there are other things to keep in mind as well. In this section, we'll go over the specific steps you should take when figuring out how to write an expository essay.
The absolute first thing you should do when given an expository essay assignment is to carefully go over the guidelines. Make sure you completely understand what is required of you. If it is for class, you may be limited to certain topics and word counts, there may be restrictions on the quality of sources you can use, etc. You might write an incredible essay but get a low grade because you missed out on some small restriction or guideline.
Once you know exactly what you are supposed to do, it's time to think about different concepts you would like to explain. Make sure you are aware of the different types of expository essays so that when you brainstorm topics you have a tentative idea of what type of expository essay would be best suited for that topic.
Think about what has been covered in class, what the teacher might expect, and what you find interesting to try and come up with a list of topics. Do a little bit of research on each topic to figure out whether you can easily find reputable sources and to gain a further understanding of the topic. After keeping all these things in mind, you should end up with an expository essay topic that is appropriate, engaging, and high-scoring.
Fill Up an Outline
Once you have zeroed in on a topic it's time to do research. One of the best ways to plan your writing is to use an expository essay outline to organize interesting information. While conducting research focus on the body paragraphs rather than on the introduction or conclusion. Think about three main ways you can explain the topic and put information that fits into those subtopics under the appropriate body paragraphs.
While conducting research and filling out an outline, think about potential thesis statements. Coming up with a thesis statement too early will restrict your research, so it is better to develop a thesis statement as you find out more and more information. That being said, by the end of the planning stage you should have a finalized thesis statement
Planning out your essay beforehand will give direction to your research, cut down on the amount of time you spend on the assignment, improve the overall flow of the final essay, and make the actual writing process much easier.
Write the First Draft
Now is the time to translate your outline into full sentences. It is often useful to leave the writing of the introduction till the end because after writing the body paragraphs you will have a better idea of what to say in an introduction, but make sure that you write down your thesis statement.
Use the information you have found to create a cohesive analysis of the topic in each body paragraph. Make sure that the information you present is on topic and connects to the other facts around it. Think about what the purpose of each body paragraph is and question whether the information you are presenting fits that purpose or not. Make sure to use transition words within the paragraph and use transition sentences between paragraphs to improve overall comprehensibility and flow.
Finalize Your Draft
Go over the first draft of the essay and focus on whether the different paragraphs make sense or not. Don't be afraid to reorganize sections or completely get rid of some pieces of information. As you write your draft, new ways of expressing the information can come to mind that will make the overall essay more powerful.
Make sure that you are not trying to make a persuasive argument and that you are using facts rather than opinions as evidence.
Go over each sentence to make sure that it is clear and that it fits the purpose of the paragraph it is in. Look at the information you have included and make sure that it is useful and enhances understanding of the topic. It is better to have less information than more if the information is distracting or does not add anything to the essay.
Try and read the paper as if it is the first time you are coming across the topic to see if it makes sense or not. Congratulations, you are just one step away from being able to submit an expository essay!
Editing and Proofreading
Go over the final draft of your essay and check for formatting errors, grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, etc and make sure that it complies with all the guidelines of the assignment. Finally, ask a friend or relative to go over the paper to do the last check. If you feel like you still need to make a lot of changes, don't be disheartened, spend the extra time to make the changes or reach out to expository essay writing service .
Expository Essay Examples
One of the best ways to learn how to write an expository essay is to look at an expository essay example. Looking at expository essay examples can give you a deeper understanding of what is expected as well as how to write an essay that flows well. Make sure that you use any examples you find as inspiration rather than a place to directly source information or text!
Expository Essay Example
The shift from traditional to current methods in treating diseases has improved the quality of many services, products, and processes. However, many regions worldwide are still applying traditional medicines (Stefanov et al., 2020). Therefore, conventional western medicine and alternative Eastern medicine are two recognized approaches to treating multiple diseases. Researchers have developed the foundational differences between these two approaches that have helped establish the pros and cons of each. Each approach has advantages and drawbacks. There have been debates on which approach is cheaper in terms of time and cost of treatment. Also, there is ongoing concern on which approach is safer than the other.
As of 2019, there were over 3.5 billion social media users globally, and this figure still increases by 9% each year. It is impossible to deny that social media has become an important part of many people’s lives. There are various positive effects linked with the platforms, including better connectivity. However, addiction to social media platforms, the increased comparisons between individuals, and the fear of missing out have increased depression and sadness. Social media addiction has become rampant, which has negatively influenced the lives of many individuals in society. Checking and scrolling through the different social media platforms has become increasingly popular over time, leading to excessive and compulsive use.
FAQs on Expository Essay Writing
If the information was not quite enough for you to create an outstanding paper, our college essay writer has yet to supply you with further details about expository essays. Below you'll find the most frequently asked questions on this matter, so you won't have to spend extra time and effort researching any unanswered questions.
What are the Different Types of Expository Essays?
Since expository writing may take various forms, understanding the different sorts of essays will help you pick a topic and organize the essay's general trajectory and framework.
- Process Essays - In a typical process essay, the introduction presents what you will learn, the body paragraphs offer step-by-step instructions, and the conclusion discusses the significance of what you have taken away.
- Compare and Contrast Essays - The purpose of comparing and contrasting is to present facts and allow readers to reach their own conclusions. This is still an expository essay and not an evaluation of one over the other. A contrast essay may highlight differences, similarities, or both.
- Cause and Effect Essays - Cause and effect essays examine the reasons behind events or speculate on possible effects. They can also draw attention to relevant connections or provide details about a cause or consequence.
- Classification Essays - In classification essays, distinct items in the same category are compared, stressing their differences while pointing up the similarities that place them in the same category. Classification essays may be quite intriguing when attempting to classify something into a category it often does not belong to.
- Definition Essays - Apart from an argumentative essay format , the basic objective is to define a topic by providing information. In contrast to just providing the word's dictionary definition, a definition essay also builds on the term's general notion while thoroughly defining it.
What is the Most Important Part of the Expository Essay Structure?
The core of the outline for expository essay is your thesis. It's what your essay's audience will remember. It is critical to select a thesis statement that is both intriguing and provocative yet accurate and true. It is what makes the structure of expository essay powerful and constructive.
What is the Main Idea in Expository Writing?
Identifying the core concept, or the most crucial message the author wishes to convey, is the fundamental objective for all expository papers. The text's main concepts are frequently introduced early, generally in the introductory paragraph.
Using headings, subheadings, and other emphasis techniques, you may further emphasize key ideas. Main concepts, meanwhile, can also be inferred from the text and not explicitly expressed. Occasionally, you must draw the major concept from the text's specifics, assertions, and justifications.
Now that you know whats an expository essay, you must agree that writing an expository essay is a great method to learn how to effectively communicate information while also pursuing an interest of yours. Therefore, there are many ways in which knowing how to convey ideas and explain things will help you both professionally and individually.
And if you ever feel like you need an extra push towards pursuing your dream academic life, consider us your go-to college life partner. We won't criticize you no matter how many times you need essay writing help . The EssayPro team is loyal, always reliable, and never judgmental!
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Research your topic
Ways to make your readers understand
The structure of an expository essay
There’s a lot of variation in what people think an expository essay is and how it should be laid out. Here’s a fairly ‘in the middle’ example of what you could do with regards to structuring an expository essay:
A lot of people say that an expository essay should have a strong thesis statement that outlines the point or argument that you make in the essay. They expect this thesis statement to come at the beginning or end of the introduction. But expository essays are all about telling a reader about a topic and, if it is complex, explaining it to them as well. They are not meant to be highly biased essays where you try to support your own argument or take on something.
The thesis statement in an argumentative essay is a statement that expresses your view or stance on an issue or question. The thesis statement in an expository essay is a statement regarding a topic that your readers might not know anything about. It’s not opinionated, rather you’re just expressing in one or two sentences:
what your essay says, and
what you want your reader to understand by the end of your essay.
So say you are writing an essay about small carnivorous dinosaurs, a topic most readers wouldn’t know much about. Your thesis statement might be something like this, and come at the end of the introductory paragraph:
This is the end of the chapter. Click here to return to the main topic list
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Expository Essay structure
Table of Contents
The typical structure for an expository essay is the traditional five-paragraph essay. This includes an introduction, a conclusion, and three paragraphs for the body. This is the basic essay structure. Mostly the body paragraphs are limited to one subtopic each. Also in the expository writing the number of paragraphs may vary according to context. It does not matter how long your essay is. What is really important that the introduction includes your thesis statement and that an essay is based on facts rather than your opinion. And keep in mind to connect your paragraphs with transitions, as it is in all good writing.
Once you have your thesis settled and your method of writing decided, establish an outline for it. Give it an introduction, a discussion and exposition, and conclusion. Finish your work by demonstrating how your thesis has been proven through the facts presented. And after that, you just move forward to fill your outline with the content, arranging it in a proper structure.
The introduction to an expository essay focuses the reader to the writer’s purpose as well as indicates something about what the reader can expect to find in the remainder of the essay. Most introductions contain a thesis statement that announces the main point of the writer’s intention. Although some authors may choose to let the reader conclude what their thesis is. And so they may place the thesis statement at the end of the essay rather than at the beginning. There are many ways to write an introduction. Some of them are followed:
- General to specific. You may begin with a generalization about the topic and move further to a statement of the writing purpose.
- Thesis statement. The thesis is the key of main idea to be supported by the writer throughout the essay.
- Outline. Often introductions present the problem or topic to be discussed and then salvation or several subtopics to follow. So the reader may expect that the body of the essay will cover those subtopics.
- Quotation. It is often an attention-grabbing way of opening your writing.
- Description. Sometimes an effective way to start expository writing is to describe someone or something.
- Asking a question. You may begin with a question that is another good way to hook a reader’s interest.
Remember that you are limited only by your imagination. Focus on several options and then pick the one that more appropriate for your topic and purpose of writing.
Developing the Body Paragraphs of Expository Essay
Once you made your decision about your introductions go back to your outline and see if the main points and the specific examples will logically follow from your introduction. You may want to rearrange the main point in the order that will be most clear and logical to the reader. Usually the introductions indicate the structure of the essay’s body.
The expository essay consists of factual statements, supporting details and commentary. While the factual statements are somewhat obvious and known, and supporting details illustrate or elaborate those statements, commentary offers opinions, analysis, interpretations, and so on. Commentary supports the factual statements to note something significant. An expellant expository essay should include more commentary than other supporting details.
In order to present an idea clearly you often have to do a lot of telling in expository writing. You need to state things exactly and directly. Make sure that your reader is understands what you intend to say. To illustrate those telling statements you may provide examples that show the reader what you mean.
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In order to support connection within an expository essay, it is important to develop the main ideas and supporting details in a way that move logically and build well toward your conclusion. Several methods can be used to produce the connection between introduction, main body, and conclusion; between paragraphs and between sentences.
- Subtopics are often use in a long writings as guide points for the reader to follow.
- By repeating a key word or phrase, you can strengthen links between different parts of an essay.
- By maintaining an appropriate tone in your writing, serious or humorous, you can express a clear sense of your attitude toward the topic.
- Transition words and phrases help the reader understand how your thoughts are flowing and guide them through an essay. In fact, there is a big list of transition words to be found in different sources.
Writing Your Conclusion
A well written conclusion will not only restate the main idea of the essay but also add some intensity of its statements. The following is a few suggestions to write the conclusion:
- One way to conclude an expository essay is to simply summarize or restate the main points that were stated in your essay’s body. In order to have a more intensive effect, avoid just repeating yourself. Instead, use your conclusion to emphasize a main idea to leave the reader with.
- By asking a question you may confirm your closing statements more effectively.
- Some conclusions create a very clear sense of ending where you began, coming a full circle.
- Conclusion also provides the writer with opportunity to solve the problem.
As with introductions so there are many ways to finish you essay. While you are writing the conclusion make sure that the statements logically derive from the ideas you have presented and developed throughout your writing.
Structure of an Expository Essay
Introduction – Attention grabber
- Opening Sentence
- Introduction Content – Background
- Thesis Statement
Body Paragraphs – The number of them depends on the context.
- Topic Sentence
- Supporting Evidence
- Body Paragraphs Analysis
Conclusion – Closing ideas.
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Your 180 Expository Essay Topics & Writing Tips for 2024
- by Lesley V.
- October 17, 2023 November 10, 2023
In this blog post, you’ll find a massive list of expository essay topics for college papers.
They’ll help you choose an A-worthy writing idea for your assignment. Besides, you’ll see how to format explanatory papers. Practical tips on writing them are waiting inside, too.
Keep reading to find an interesting theme for your work. Get a bonus: a ready-made sample from our professional writers.
What Is an Expository Essay?
When you write an expository essay, you need to:
- Do research and investigate the topic.
- Examine the evidence you have about it.
- Explain the issue to inform the audience about it.
Important: Expository essays are explanatory. You don’t argue, reflect on anything, and don’t provide any counterarguments. (1) Think like a journalist: Your task is to explain the topic.
Types of expository essays
They are five, and each one is about describing and explaining:
- Definition: Describe and explain the meaning of some concept.
- Classification: Introduce a subject and then break it into categories, explaining each in detail.
- Process: Give instructions on how to do something. (Think of it as a problem-solution paper.)
- Cause and effect: Tell about why something happens and what results it brings.
- Compare and contrast : Take two or more concepts and describe their similarities and differences.
Whatever your essay type, teach readers and provide expressive info about the topic.
How to structure an explanatory essay
Expository essays are papers with a standard structure (2):
- Introduction. Start with an opening sentence about your topic, provide some context, and state a position you’d describe in a body.
- Body paragraphs. Provide the main idea and evidence, explain why you chose it (how it supports your thesis), and add a transition to the next chapter.
- Conclusion. Overview the ideas you discussed, show the significance of your synthesis , and leave the audience with the food for thought. It can be a question, offered solution, or next steps for them to take.
How to Choose Good Expository Essay Topics
What are good expository essay topics?
They are a bit controversial and thought-provoking. Such topics engage readers and evoke curiosity. Good expository topics inform about interesting concepts in different subjects. It can be in history, culture, philosophy, society, etc.
Choosing a worthy topic is challenging for college students. When they have no specific prompts assigned, doubts and questions appear:
“Is my idea good enough to cover?”
Below are easy tips that help you decide on creative ideas and topics for expository essay.
- Brainstorm: Take a pen and paper, clock in for 10-15 minutes, and list ALL topic ideas that come to your mind. Now you have something to choose from.
- Analyze: Read the list and decide which topics have the potential for development.
- Focus: Think of specific aspects of every topic. Will it be easy to explain it to the audience? Isn’t it too general?
- Research: Are there enough credible sources to use as evidence in your essay on this topic? What information will you provide to explain it?
Expository writing prompts for middle school students
Expository essay ideas below are for middle school students who practice writing:
These topics cover a range of subjects so you can adjust them to suit your interests. They also offer opportunities for research, critical thinking, and informative writing.
Expository essay topics: high school
Here is the list of high school writing prompts for students who have no idea what to cover in their essays:
They are engaging for older students who grow research and critical thinking skills.
Examples of expository essay topics for college students
These expository essay prompts are for college students with no assigned topics:
They challenge students to do in-depth research and critical analysis of complex subjects.
150 Best Expository Essay Topics by Subject
Social issues, health and wellness, government and politics, finance and economics, environment, technology and innovations, ethical issues.
- Discuss the pros and cons of standardized testing and its role in assessing student performance.
- Compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling and traditional public or private education.
- Examine the long-term benefits of quality early childhood education in preparing children for future success.
- Explore the responsibilities of teachers in shaping their students’ educational experiences and outcomes.
- Discuss the benefits and challenges of inclusive education for students with disabilities.
- Analyze the relationship between a student’s socioeconomic background and their academic performance.
- Investigate the growth of online education and its potential to revolutionize traditional classroom-based learning.
- Examine how access to quality education can either perpetuate or mitigate social inequalities.
- Discuss the advantages of teaching multiple languages in schools and how it can benefit students in a globalized world.
- Explore how social media platforms have transformed communication, relationships, and the spread of information in today’s world.
- Analyze the history, policies, and debates surrounding gun control and its implications for society.
- Examine the causes, consequences, and potential solutions to the opioid crisis in the United States.
- Discuss the disparities in the criminal justice system and their impact on minority communities.
- Investigate the factors contributing to homelessness, the challenges faced by homeless individuals, and potential solutions.
- Analyze how climate change affects societies, economies, and vulnerable populations.
- Explore the spread of misinformation and its consequences on public opinion, politics, and society.
- Discuss the stigma surrounding mental health issues and its effects on individuals seeking help and society as a whole.
- Examine the causes and consequences of income inequality and its effects on society.
- Investigate the prevalence of cyberbullying, its impact on young people’s mental health, and strategies to address it.
- Analyze the relationship between diet and overall health, including the effects of various dietary choices on well-being.
- Explore the stigma surrounding mental health issues and its impact on individuals seeking treatment.
- Examine the connection between physical fitness, exercise, and a longer, healthier life.
- Investigate strategies and lifestyle changes that can help prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
- Discuss the significance of quality sleep and its effects on physical and mental health.
- Analyze different stress management strategies and their effectiveness in promoting overall wellness.
- Explore the role of vaccination in preventing the spread of infectious diseases and protecting public health.
- Discuss holistic approaches to wellness, including alternative and complementary therapies, and their integration into healthcare.
- Examine the importance of addressing mental health in educational settings and the impact on student well-being and academic performance.
- Investigate the challenges and strategies for promoting health and wellness in the elderly population.
- Explain the steps of the scientific method and its importance in conducting scientific research.
- Analyze the evidence for climate change, its causes, and the potential consequences for the planet and society.
- Explore the structure and functions of DNA and how it influences genetic inheritance.
- Discuss the importance of space exploration, its impact on technology, and potential benefits for humanity.
- Examine the structure and functions of the human brain, including the latest research in neuroscience.
- Discuss the search for and discovery of exoplanets outside our solar system and their significance in the study of astrobiology.
- Explain the theory of evolution by natural selection, its evidence, and its impact on biology and society.
- Analyze the principles and applications of AI and machine learning in various scientific and technological fields.
- Explore the world of nanotechnology, its potential uses, and its impact on various industries.
- Discuss the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics and their relevance to modern physics and technology.
- Explore how language shapes culture and the impact of language preservation and revitalization efforts.
- Compare and contrast traditional cultural practices with modern popular culture and their influence on society.
- Discuss the portrayal of cultural stereotypes in media and their effects on public perception and identity.
- Examine the importance of including diverse cultural perspectives in the curriculum and its impact on students.
- Analyze the significance of cultural rituals and traditions and their role in maintaining cultural identity.
- Discuss the influence of globalization on the exchange of cultural ideas, products, and practices.
- Explore the relationship between food, culture, and identity, including the role of cuisine in cultural preservation.
- Examine the importance of folklore and mythology in preserving cultural heritage and passing down stories through generations.
- Investigate cultural taboos, their origins, and how they shape behavior and social norms in different societies.
- Analyze the factors influencing the outbreak of World War II and its effects on the 20th century.
- Explore the technological and societal changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution and their impact on the world.
- Analyze the transformations the Executed Renaissance brought in the 1920s-1930s and its consequences for understanding Ukrainian heritage as an independent culture.
- Discuss the history, key figures, and achievements of the Civil Rights Movement in America.
- Examine the factors that contributed to the Russo-Ukrainian war that started in 2014 and ongoing.
- Analyze the ideas and thinkers of the Enlightenment and their influence on contemporary thought and government.
- Explore the motivations, discoveries, and consequences of the Age of Exploration in the 15th and 16th centuries.
- Discuss the history of the women’s suffrage movement and the struggle for women’s rights and equality.
- Examine the political, economic, and ideological rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War era.
- Discuss the history of the Holodomor, its horrors, and its legacy in shaping international awareness of human rights.
- Analyze the functions and responsibilities of government in a democratic system.
- Discuss the history, purpose, and criticisms of the Electoral College in U.S. presidential elections.
- Explore the role of political parties in the electoral process and their influence on government policies.
- Examine the concept of the separation of powers in government and its significance in maintaining a system of checks and balances.
- Analyze the role of lobbying groups and their influence on government decision-making.
- Discuss the challenges and potential solutions related to campaign finance in electoral politics.
- Explore the influence and effectiveness of organizations like the United Nations in shaping global politics.
- Examine the practice of gerrymandering and its impact on fair representation in elections.
- Analyze the importance of a free press in a democratic society and the challenges it faces.
- Discuss the influence of social media platforms on political discourse, campaigning, and public opinion
- Analyze the causes and consequences of inflation and its effects on purchasing power and economic stability.
- Discuss the functions and tools of central banks to control money supply and interest rates.
- Examine the causes and implications of income inequality on economic growth and social well-being.
- Explore the factors that led to the financial crisis and its subsequent impact on the global economy.
- Analyze the rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and their potential impact on traditional financial systems.
- Discuss the consequences of trade conflicts and tariffs on international trade and economic growth.
- Examine the gig economy growth and its impact on the traditional job market.
- Explore the concept of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria in investment decisions and its influence on finance.
- Discuss the economic factors contributing to the rising healthcare costs and potential solutions.
- Analyze the challenges and opportunities for economic growth in developing countries and emerging markets.
- Analyze the science behind climate change, its causes, and the potential ecological and societal impacts.
- Explore the importance of conserving endangered species and the methods used to protect them.
- Examine the environmental and economic consequences of deforestation in different regions.
- Analyze the advantages and disadvantages of renewable energy sources: solar, wind, and hydroelectric power.
- Examine the environmental challenges of rapid urbanization and strategies for creating sustainable cities.
- Discuss the global issue of water scarcity, its causes, and potential solutions for sustainable water management.
- Explore the importance of biodiversity, the threats it faces, and strategies for preserving diverse ecosystems.
- Analyze the role of government policies and regulations in protecting the environment and mitigating pollution.
- Discuss the causes and consequences of ocean acidification on marine life and the broader environment.
- Analyze the development and applications of artificial intelligence and the ethical considerations surrounding it.
- Explore the growth of IoT and the integration of smart devices in everyday life.
- Discuss the advancements in 5G technology and how they will affect communication and industries.
- Analyze the concept of blockchain technology and its role in the rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
- Examine the importance of big data analytics in modern business strategies.
- Explore the use of robots and automation in industries, their benefits, and potential job displacement.
- Discuss the importance of cybersecurity and protecting personal data in the digital age.
- Analyze the biotechnology and genetic engineering advancements, their potential benefits, and ethical concerns.
- Explore innovations in green technology and their role in addressing environmental challenges.
- Discuss recent space exploration technologies and their significance for the future.
- Explain the fundamental principles and methods used in psychological research.
- Analyze the debate on the relative contributions of genetics and environment to human behavior.
- Discuss the relationship between stress and mental health, exploring its causes and consequences.
- Examine the stages of cognitive development in children by Jean Piaget and other theorists.
- Explore major theories of personality, such as Freud’s psychoanalytic theory and the Big Five personality traits.
- Analyze different theories and concepts related to human motivation, including intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
- Discuss various mental disorders, their symptoms, and treatment options.
- Examine the influence of social factors on individual behavior, including conformity, obedience, and group dynamics.
- Explore different learning theories, including classical and operant conditioning, and their real-world applications.
- Discuss the portrayal of psychological disorders in movies, literature, and media and their impact on public perception and stigma.
- Analyze the impact of religion on culture, values, and societal norms.
- Explore the similarities and differences between major world religions, such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism.
- Discuss how religious beliefs have inspired art, architecture, and cultural expression throughout history.
- Examine efforts to promote tolerance and understanding among different religious groups.
- Analyze the origins and evolution of sacred texts like the Bible, the Quran, and the Bhagavad Gita.
- Discuss the rise of religious fundamentalism and its impact on global politics and society.
- Explore the significance of religious rituals, ceremonies, and worship in different faiths.
- Analyze the relationship between religious beliefs and moral values, including the role of religion in shaping ethical principles.
- Examine the characteristics and motivations of new religious movements and cults in contemporary society.
- Discuss the historical and contemporary interactions between religion and scientific discoveries, including areas of conflict and harmony.
- Analyze various ethical theories, such as deontology, utilitarianism, and virtue ethics, and their applications to real-life moral dilemmas.
- Discuss the debate on whether individuals have free will or whether their actions are determined by factors beyond their control.
- Explore existentialist philosophy and its perspective on human existence, freedom, and the search for meaning.
- Analyze different theories of mind and consciousness, such as dualism, materialism, and the mind-body problem.
- Discuss epistemological questions, including the nature of knowledge, belief, and the criteria for justified belief.
- Examine philosophical arguments for and against the existence of God, as well as the problem of evil and religious experience.
- Explore ethical considerations related to the environment, including topics like animal rights and environmental conservation.
- Analyze political philosophy concepts, such as justice, authority, and the role of government in society.
- Discuss philosophical perspectives on beauty, art, and the nature of aesthetic experiences.
- Examine the impact of technology on human existence, ethics in technology, and questions about artificial intelligence and virtual reality.
- Analyze the foreshadowing as a literary device in classic and contemporary literature.
- Choose a classic novel and provide a detailed analysis of its themes, characters, and literary techniques.
- Explore the hero’s journey as a narrative archetype in literature and its significance in storytelling.
- Discuss the use of symbols and symbolism in a specific literary work and their deeper meanings.
- Examine how historical events and societal changes are reflected in literature from different time periods.
- Analyze how the story setting can impact the plot, characters, and themes of a literary work.
- Choose a novel and discuss the transformation and growth of a specific character throughout the story.
- Compare a literary work with its film adaptation, highlighting the differences and similarities in storytelling.
- Discuss a specific literary movement (e.g., Romanticism, Modernism, Postcolonial literature) and its influence on literature and culture.
- Analyze difficult ethical decisions healthcare professionals face, such as end-of-life care, organ transplantation, or medical experimentation.
- Discuss the ethical considerations in AI development, including issues like bias, privacy, and the use of AI in autonomous weapons.
- Examine the moral questions raised by genetic engineering, including designer babies, gene editing, and cloning.
- Analyze the ethical challenges in the business world, such as corporate social responsibility, whistleblowing, and ethical decision-making in organizations.
- Discuss the ethical treatment of animals, including animal testing, factory farming, and wildlife conservation.
- Explore ethical issues related to environmental protection, resource consumption, and climate change.
- Examine ethical concerns surrounding data privacy, surveillance, and the impact of technology on personal freedoms.
- Discuss topics like euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, and the ethical treatment of terminally ill patients.
- Analyze ethical challenges in the criminal justice system, including the death penalty and criminal profiling.
- Explore topics related to media ethics, such as journalistic integrity, sensationalism, and fake news.
Expository Writing Tips: How to Improve Your Paper
For your topic to turn into a stellar essay that’s worth a high grade, follow these tips:
- Read some expository essay examples to understand the structure.
- Create an essay outline before writing the draft.
- Write a thesis statement beforehand. It will help you build an engaging narrative .
- When writing, remember the readability and flow. Use synonyms, avoid cliches, and say no to passive voice and redundant adverbs. Don’t use lengthy and complex phrases to sound smart and make your essay longer . Make every word count.
- Edit and proofread your explanatory essay before submitting it.
Expository Essay Example
Choose Your Topic and Get a High Grade!
I hope this list of 180 expository essay topics will help you choose the best writing idea for your paper. Ensure to stick to the 3 C’s:
- Consider the assignment’s requirements.
- Choose a topic that fits your prompt but is also interesting to you.
- Check if you have evidence to refer to in your essay.
And now, over to you:
What topic from those in this article will you cover in your upcoming expository essay?
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What are the roots of the Israel-Palestine conflict?
Recent events are the culmination of a decades-long clash in the disputed region of the Middle East
- Israel and Palestine: a complete guide to the crisis
As with almost everything to do with this conflict, it depends on whom you ask. Some will begin with the Romans. Others will start with the late 19th-century Jewish migration to what was then the Ottoman Empire – to escape the pogroms and other persecutions in eastern Europe – and the rise of Zionism. Or the Balfour declaration by the British government in 1917 in support of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine and the ensuing conflicts with Arab communities there.
But the starting point for many people is the United Nations’ vote in 1947 to partition land in the British mandate of Palestine into two states – one Jewish, one Arab – following the destruction of much of European Jewry in the Holocaust.
Neither the Palestinians nor the neighbouring Arab countries accepted the founding of modern Israel . Fighting between Jewish armed groups, some of which the British regarded as terrorist organisations, and Palestinians escalated until the armies of Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan and Syria invaded after Israel declared independence in May 1948.
With Israel’s new army gaining ground, an armistice agreement in 1949 saw new de facto borders that gave the fledgling Jewish state considerably more territory than it was awarded under the UN partition plan.
What happened to the Palestinians who were living there?
About 700,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled – about 85% of the Arab population of the territory captured by Israel – and were never allowed to return. Palestinians called the exodus and eradication of much of their society inside Israel the Nakba , or “catastrophe”, and it remains the traumatic event at the heart of their modern history.
Arabs who remained in Israel as citizens were subject to official discrimination. They were placed under military rule for nearly two decades, which deprived them of many basic civil rights. Much of their land was expropriated and Arab Israeli communities were deliberately kept poor and underfunded.
What is the Palestine Liberation Organisation?
In 1964, a coalition of Palestinian groups founded the Palestine Liberation Organisation under the leadership of Yasser Arafat to pursue armed struggle and establish an Arab state in place of Israel. The PLO drew international attention to its cause with high-profile attacks and hijackings.
How did the occupied Palestinian territories become occupied?
In 1967 Israel launched what it said was a pre-emptive defensive war against Jordan, Egypt and Syria , as they appeared to be preparing to invade. The attack caught Arab governments by surprise and saw Israel achieve rapid victories including seizing the Sinai peninsula and the Gaza Strip from Egypt, the Golan Heights from Syria, and the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan.
The six-day war was a spectacular military success for Israel. Its capture of all of Jerusalem and newly acquired control over the biblical lands called Judea and Samaria opened the way to the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which became central to the conflict. Israel placed the Arab population of the West Bank under military rule, which is enforced to this day.
When did Hamas enter the picture?
The PLO was a generally secular organisation modelled on other leftwing guerrilla movements of the time, although most of its supporters were Muslim.
Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood had previously avoided armed conflict and were largely dedicated to working for a more religious society. But that position shifted under the leadership of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin , a charismatic quadriplegic living in Gaza who helped found several Islamist organisations in Gaza including Mujama al-Islamiya, which won support by establishing a network of social services including schools, clinics and a library.
Shortly after the outbreak of the first intifada, Yassin used support for Mujama al-Islamiya as the foundation for the formation of Hamas in 1987 in alliance with other Islamists.
Israel has always denied encouraging the rise of the Islamist movement in Gaza but it saw the groups as a way of undermining support for the PLO and recognised Mujama al-Islamiya as a charity, allowing it to operate freely and build support. Israel also approved the creation of the Islamic University of Gaza, which became a breeding ground of support for Hamas.
What was the first intifada?
Israel regarded the Palestinian population under its control as largely quiescent even as it went on expanding Jewish settlements in Gaza and the West Bank and expropriating Arab land. Palestinians were also treated as a cheap source of largely manual labour inside Israel.
That illusion was shattered in 1987 as young Palestinians rose up. The uprising was marked by mass stone throwing. The Israeli army responded with large-scale arrests and collective punishments.
The intifada is largely recognised as a success for the Palestinians, helping to solidify their identity independently of neighbouring Arab states and forcing Israel into negotiations. It also strengthened Arafat’s hand to make compromises with Israel, including adopting the principle of a two-state solution.
Whatever happened to the peace process?
As the first intifada wound down in 1993, the Oslo peace process started with secret talks between Israel and the PLO. Israel’s prime minister at the time, Yitzhak Rabin, signed an agreement with Arafat aimed at fulfilling the “right of the Palestinian people to self-determination” although Rabin did not accept the principle of a Palestinian state.
The Oslo accords established the Palestinian National Authority, granting limited self-governance over patches of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Further negotiations were intended to resolve issues such as the status of Jerusalem, the future of the Israeli settlements and the right of return for the millions of Palestinians still classified as refugees after their forebears were never permitted to return to their homes.
Some prominent Palestinians regarded the accords as a form of surrender while rightwing Israelis opposed giving up settlements or territory.
Among Israelis, the political charge against Oslo was led by the future prime ministers Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu , who fronted rallies at which Rabin was portrayed as a Nazi. Rabin’s widow blamed the two men for her husband’s assassination by an ultranationalist Israeli in 1995.
What caused the second intifada?
Peace negotiations sputtered along until the failure of Bill Clinton’s attempts to broker a final deal at Camp David in 2000, which contributed to the outbreak of the second intifada . The uprising was markedly different from the first intifada because of widespread suicide bombings against Israeli civilians launched by Hamas and other groups, and the scale of Israeli military retaliation.
By the time the uprising ended in 2005, more than 3,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis were dead.
The political ramifications of the intifada were significant. It led to a hardening of attitudes among ordinary Israelis and the construction of the West Bank barrier. But it also prompted the prime minister Ariel Sharon to say that Israel could not go on occupying the Palestinians’ territory – although he did not say that the alternative was an independent Palestinian state.
Is Gaza still occupied?
One consequence of the second intifada was Sharon’s decision to “disengage” from the Palestinians beginning in 2005 with the closing of Israeli settlements in Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank. It is not clear how much further Sharon would have gone with this policy as he had a stroke and went into a coma the following year.
The status of Gaza since the disengagement remains disputed. Israel says it is no longer occupied. The United Nations says otherwise because of Israel’s continued control of airspace and territorial waters, and also access into the territory, along with Egypt. Israeli has also blockaded the enclave since Hamas came to power in 2006.
In addition, many Palestinians in Gaza do not see themselves as a separate entity from the rest of their territories in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and so argue that as a whole they remain occupied.
Why does Hamas control Gaza?
Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections in part because of a backlash against the corruption and political stagnation of the ruling Fatah party. The Hamas leader Ismail Haniya was appointed prime minister. Israel began arresting Hamas members of the Palestinian parliament and imposed sanctions against Gaza.
Deteriorating relations between Hamas and Fatah resulted in violence. An agreement to form a national unity government fell apart and Hamas led an armed takeover of Gaza while Fatah continued to control the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. There have been no elections since.
Hamas has continued to attack Israel from Gaza, mostly using rockets until the latest ground incursion. Israel has maintained a tight blockade of the territory which has contributed to deteriorating living conditions and deepening poverty.
Where are we now?
Although western governments still pay lip service to a two-state solution, there has been no progress toward an agreement under Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu , who has repeatedly said he will never accept a Palestinian state.
His present government includes far-right parties that openly advocate the annexation of all or part of the West Bank to Israel and the continued governance of the Palestinians without full rights or the vote. Israeli and foreign human rights groups say Israel has increasingly carved out a form of apartheid in the occupied territories.
The killing by Hamas of more than 1,400 people in Israel, and retaliatory Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, which Palestinian authorities say have killed more than 10,000 people, have moved the conflict into uncharted territory.
- Israel-Hamas war
- Palestinian territories
- Yasser Arafat