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Published Expository Essay Outline

Does Expository Writing Have You Confused?

Maybe you find yourself on this page because your instructor asked you to write an expository essay, and you aren't exactly sure what's expected of you—if so, you've certainly found the right place. Expository writing, or exposition, is a type of discourse used to describe, explain, define, inform, or clarify. It literally means "to expose." Exposition can be found in writing or oral discourse, but for the sake of this article, we'll stick with expository writing.

You are likely familiar with expository writing already, even if the name sounds unfamiliar. Common examples include newspaper articles, how-to manuals, and assembly instructions. Expository writing is also the most frequent type of academic writing!

Present the facts, and only the facts

If you are asked to write an expository essay, then you are essentially being asked to present the facts; there is no place for bias or opinion in expository writing. In a way, this makes writing simple—it is a matter of gathering and presenting the facts about a certain topic.

Something important to keep in mind when writing exposition is that you should not assume your readers have any knowledge of the topic; don't gloss over basic or important details, even if you think they're common knowledge.

When writing expository essays, it is best to use third person narration, although second person is acceptable in some instances, such as for instructions—or articles on expository writing.

Characteristics of expository writing

There are a few characteristics of expository writing you should remember when crafting an expository essay. The first is to keep a tight focus on the main topic, avoiding lengthy tangents, wordiness, or unrelated asides that aren’t necessary for understanding your topic.

In the same vein, be sure to pick a topic that is narrow, but not so narrow that you have a hard time writing anything about it (for example, writing about ice cream would be too broad, but writing about ice cream sold at your local grocery store between 5:00 and 5:15 pm last Saturday would be too narrow).

You must also be sure to support your topic, providing plenty of facts, details, examples, and explanations, and you must do so in an organized and logical manner. Details that can support your expository writing include:

  • Anecdotes
  • Comparisons
  • Quotations
  • Statistics
  • Descriptive details
  • Definitions
  • Charts and graphs

Formatting an expository essay

The typical format for an expository essay in school is the traditional five-paragraph essay. This includes an introduction and a conclusion, with three paragraphs for the body of the paper. Most often, these three paragraphs are limited to one subtopic each.

This is the basic essay format, but expository writing does not need to be limited to five paragraphs. No matter how long your essay is, be sure your introduction includes your thesis statement and that the paper is based on facts rather than opinions. And, as with all good essay writing, make sure to connect your paragraphs with transitions.

Methods for writing an expository essay

There are a few different methods for writing an expository essay. These include:

  • Compare and contrast
  • Cause and effect
  • Problem and solution
  • Extended definition

Generally, you will want to pick one method for each piece of expository writing. However, you may find that you can combine a few methods. The important thing is to stay focused on your topic and stick to the facts.

Now that you have a clearer understanding of expository writing, you're ready to write your essay. One final tip: be sure to give yourself plenty of time for the writing process. After you've completed your first draft, let your paper sit for a few days—this lets you return to it with fresh eyes. If you'd like a second opinion, our essay editors are always available to help.

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What Is an Expository Essay?

Assigned to write an expository essay? First look for the expository essay definition to make clear what expository writing is:

An expository essay is a type of written discourse that serves the purpose of explaining, describing and providing information to the reader. This is a simple expository essay definition. Expository essays can also be accurately termed the ''information'' or ''informative'' essays.

An expository essay serves to explain a topic in a logical and straightforward manner. Without many complications, these essays present fair and balanced analyses of different subjects based on facts, without any references to the author’s opinions or emotions. One of the typical expository essay prompts to a writer is to use the words “explain” or “define”. This expository essay prompt makes the writer “explain” in a simple, plain and direct manner.

Expository Essay Outline

The common method of writing an expository essay is a 5-paragraph approach. However, this is not the only formula for writing expository essays but it provides a basic and clear outline for easy reading. This format gives the expository essay an introduction, 3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion, hence the name is a 5-paragraph approach. Basically, the paragraphs entail:

Introduction. The introduction brings up the main thoughts of the essay and can be a great tool to capture your reader.

Body paragraphs. The body paragraphs discuss and provide in-depth information to the reader regarding the mentioned topic. Your thoughts should flow well, and get interesting one after the other to keep your reader interested in wanting to know more.

Conclusion. The conclusion echoes your introduction by showing that the introductory statement has been verified or explained in detail.

Analyzed events of situations should be reviews from several sources to make the essay stay focused on the context and be objective. The conclusion in your essay should never come as a surprise to the reader as it needs to easily come out from the essay. The conclusions and the analysis should be well connected to not leave your reader guessing what you meant.


If you are looking for expository essay examples here is a great one:

Expository Essay Example


Expository essays require you to avoid incorporating your emotions or opinions, therefore, you have to write in a way that will enable you to remain objective and imperative. The 3rd person writing is the most logical in this case. You need to keep a neutral voice and avoid pronouns like I, we, and you. Connection words such as for example, such as, furthermore, whereas, similarly, and conversely among more are used in these articles.

5 Steps to Writing a Winning Expository Essay

Step 1: Pre-write the expository essay. Students should take the time to brainstorm on the topic and main ideas, research, and take notes. Design an expository essay outline to show how the information will be presented in each paragraph in a logical sequence.

Step 2: Draft the expository essay. Consider how you will present your ideas with the 5-paragraph approach. Consider how the introductory paragraph will be, the 3 body paragraphs, and how the conclusion will spice up your essay.

Step 3: Revise the expository essay. Here you will need to review, modify and reorganize the work with the goal of making it the best it can be. Has the information been clearly communicated to the reader?

Step 4: Edit the expository essay. Proofread and correct the grammatical errors, and edit to improve the style and clarity.

Step 5: Publish the expository essay. Share your essay with the class or friends to get some reviews and know how they feel about it.


Check out the list of expository essay topics our writers have prepared for you:

50 Most Popular Expository Essay Topics


The topic is chosen. The time has come to get some expository essay prompts from the professional writers: 

When writing your expository bear in mind that a great essay is made by:

1. A clear, concise, and well-defined thesis statement that is presented in the first paragraph

2. Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, the body paragraphs, and the conclusion. Without logical progression of thought in your essay, a reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument, and its structure will crumble

3. Body paragraphs with reliable evidence support. These can be logical, factual or anecdotal. The body paragraphs should also have some or a strong logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph

4. Creativity to give your readers a lasting impression on essay’s evaluation

5. A catchy conclusion that spices up your expository essay content in style. It should not restate the thesis but instead, refer to it with reference to the evidence provided. 

If you are looking for an excellent expository essay that will be written according to your requirements, will contain proper formatting, language, and structure, feel free to contact our writing staff and place your order.

We have written hundreds of expository papers in the past and have developed extensive expertise in expository essay writing. You will be able to use the paper we deliver as a writing sample and thus better understand how expository essays need to be written. PrivateWriting is the service you can trust to write your expository essay.

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