What is an expository essay? Addressing this question, even for a seasoned essay writer is key to meeting the requirements of writing a good of such kind. The Cambridge Dictionary defines expository as explaining or describing something. An expository essay aims at explaining or describing a topic in a comprehendible or logical manner. The writer’s opinion or emotion is not required here. Expository essay has the following features;
- Its purpose is to inform, explain or describe
- Bring to the fore exhaustive information on a topic or issue
- It seeks to describe important facts
- It uses formal language to describe someone, something or an event, and is written in third
A student must keep in mind that a typical expository essay sample does not purpose to analyze something or even make a persuasive argument, but informs the audience. Therefore, when a student tasked with writing an expository essay writes a piece whose purpose deviates from the purpose of describing or informing readers, then it is possible that he or she has got the assignment wrong.
Having understood what an expository essay is, it is necessary to also look at expository essay examples most students will likely come across during their studies;
Types of Expository Essay
Descriptive essays are written to describe something, someone or an event. They are based on facts.
In this example of expository essay, a general topic is simplified or broken down into different categories. Each of the categories is then described or explained with examples.
Cause and Effect Essay
This type of essay describes the relationship between things or items and the effects or outcomes that follow. For instance, deforestation causes low water levels or even drying up of rivers and water catchment areas.
Compare and Contrast Essay
In this case, two or more topics are compared. The readers are given similarities and differences about the topics.
The above types of expository essays also qualify as examples of expository essays.
Writing a Good Expository Essay
When writing an expository essay, one must adhere to the norms and requirements expected of informative writing. The following steps can be used in the process of writing this type of essay;
First Step: Topic Selection, Brainstorming, and Research
Choosing the topic to write about is never always a walk in the park. The writer has to think through their topics. Usually, people tend to have a rough idea about a topic they come across, even with little information or knowledge about the topic. The mind will not draw blank and the rough idea may be based on something someone heard, read about or practices. Brainstorming can be achieved when one takes the initiative to sort out what they know through a number of techniques such as writing freely what immediately comes to the mind. This entails writing quickly, without stopping or editing things which immediately come to your mind about the topic in hand. Writing down the thoughts helps one be aware of what they already know, feel, think on the topic. One should remember that brainstorming exercise does not involve evaluation of ideas; however, it allows the writer to pour out all ideas and background knowledge they have on the topic. Evaluation and organization of the ideas only come later once they have been recorded on a paper.
After brainstorming, one will identify gaps in their knowledge on the topic, and this will direct him or her to conduct research to acquire more information or knowledge. Libraries or internet searches are awash with sources of information and knowledge. Books, journals, reports, conference papers and many other credible sources can be accessed.
One must exercise caution when looking for sources, especially on the internet. Not all websites or information are credible, reliable and reputable. Even when one gets the information they are looking for they must give credit to the authors, or else they risk committing an academic fraud known as plagiarism.
After conducting the research and obtaining the information needed, one should then re-organize their thoughts to evaluate whether they are clear on the topic.
Second Step: How to Write the Introduction
The introduction is the first paragraph of an essay that gives the audience the roadmap for deeper discussion. It introduces the reader to the topic in an interesting way and outlines the main ideas of the writer and also explains how the ideas will be presented in the main discussion or body of the essay.
There are three elements which make up the introduction; a hook, background information, and thesis statement. Expository essay examples contain a first sentence which is interesting and catches the attention of the reader. A hook sentence introduces the topic in an interesting way to make the reader to want to quench the thirst of reading the entire article. The background information should put into context the topic. It is a build up to the thesis statement. Thesis statement is usually put at the end of the introduction. It is very important because it informs the audience about the writer’s position about the topic and also brings out main ideas which will be discussed subsequently. A thesis statement has two main parts – a claim and the supporting information. A claim is a single sentence where the writer makes an assertion based on a generalization. It is debatable since it is not based on fact. Supporting information or details seeks to reinforce the claim made. Therefore, thesis statement combines a claim and supporting details into a single sentence towards the end of the introduction. The introduction of an expository essay sample would be;
Topic: Gun Control Policy by United States Federal Government
Introduction: That about 115,000 people are shot every year in the United States (according to The Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence) calls for tighter gun control regulations in the country. In 2011 it was reported that in 100 people, there is an average of 88 guns. Indeed, the fear of loss of safety is real in America. Both the proponents and opponents of stricter gun control regulation present genuine concerns. Proponents argue that weaker regulations have caused a proliferation of firearms in the hands or civilization which in so many instances has resulted in may loss of lives due to misuse of the firearms. They are supported by the statistics. Opponents of tighter gun control regulation argue that chipping off their right to bear guns will make them unable to protect themselves and more insecure. Gun control policy is a complex and controversial issue in America, of which understanding requires a national stakeholder dialogue to find a solution to the fears and safety of the American public.
Third Step: How to Write the Body Paragraphs of the Essay
A look at any good expository essay example shows that the body is the most detailed part. It contains logical sentences which include supporting details and evidences. This section has three parts; a topic sentence (gives the main idea of the paragraph), supporting sentence (explains and develops the topic sentence. It includes specific evidence from sources which support the thesis) and concluding sentence (is a concluding thought which also helps to transition to a new paragraph). An example of expository essay body would for instance be:
Gun control policy in United States has been a battlefront which lobby groups have attempted to take control over. The National Rifle Association (NRA) in 2016 spent about $54 million on lobbying and on political advocacy – which included contributions to Trump’s campaigns. The NRA remains one of the most influential interest groups in the politics of America. However, recently Gun control groups have become more organized and vocal, and have increased on their expenditures. Some of these interests groups supported by wealthy individuals have sought to challenge the capability of NRA. A host of factors have threatened the dominance and influence of the NRA on gun control policy. First, is the decrease in the revenues of NRA over the past two years, particularly in 2017 due to reduction in membership. The mid-term 2018 elections also saw proponents of gun control Democrats win a number of key seats.
Fourth Step: How to Write the Conclusion or Summary
This is the final part of the essay. In most expository essay examples the conclusion has close semblance to the introduction. It emphasizes in summary form the main points of the essay. It concludes the essay by reviewing discussions from the body paragraphs giving the audience the final thought.
The conclusion is made of three parts; restatement of the thesis (is done at the beginning of the conclusion, though in a manner different from introduction), summary of main ideas (from each of the body paragraphs to remind the audience) and the final thought (this is the writers final thought, opinion, solution or prediction on the topic or issue. It should also be interesting in order to leave the reader with a strong impression). An expository essay sample would conclude in the following way;
Lack of stronger gun control policies in America has continued to cause many losses of lives each year. Furthermore, many citizens are able to easily acquire firearms. Intense lobbying for and against stricter gun control restrictions have been spearheaded by influential interest groups that also have sought to control America’s politics. The most influential of all has been the NRA. This paper focused on the reasons advanced by the proponents and opponents of tighter gun control mechanisms. Safety of the public is crucial to the development and growth of the country. It suffices to say that there is a need to find a middle ground in the wake of the grandstanding over Gun control policy.
The above steps are guides to ensure the writer observes what is required of an expository essay. However, the following tips will ensure that the essay is written in a correct way.
- Before writing, the writer must consider a topic which is not only writable but also researchable. Not all topics or issues qualify for explanation or description in an expository essay.
- The writer should ensure that each part of the essay is coherent and concise. The introduction is very important as it should keep the audience hooked. The body paragraphs should contain details supported by facts, and the conclusion should give the reader an overview of the entire essay. A good example of expository essay should be written in a formal language and in third person to remain objective.
- Proofreading and essay editing is important because the writer is able to identify mistakes which were made during drafting It involves proofreading and editing the work to improve its style and clarity. This also readies the article for publishing or presentation to the audience. A friend, a colleague or a peer will helpful at this point.
In conclusion, writing an expository essay is a process which has requirements in order for the article to keep its purpose. Writing this type of essay brings to the fore the skills and talents of the writer. Most students have been confronted with the question what is an expository essay. Answering this question, not just by the students but also by experienced writers, is important in delivering to the audience what is expected. Expository essay is not just any other essay, but it aims to inform a reader through explaining and describing a topic. This is what a proper expository essay example would contain.
Typical examples of expository essays should be able to explain something, someone or an event in a factual manner. An expository essay has three parts; the introduction, the body and the conclusion. Brainstorming and research on the topic enables one to gather as much as needed information and facts on the topic. The topic should be unique and relevant. One must keep in mind that their sources are reliable, credible, reputable and less costly. Key to successful writing of an expository essay is good organization and understanding of the task. Hurrah! We are now good to go with essay writing having learned the tricks.