What is an Expository Essay?

This type of essay is one of the common essay types that instructors like to give out. This essay is one that requires students to examine an idea, appraise evidence and support for the topic, expand on the idea, give examples and other details, and present a clear and concise argument for or against the topic. This is frequently done through a number of essay formats such as using comparison and contrast, cause and effect, descriptive, and several others. This variety of essay is commonly given as in-call writing assignments and is also commonly used on a number of English and writing based exams. The basic format and organization of the expository essay is typically comprised of the following:

  • A clear thesis statement that is presented within the introduction paragraph.
  • It is crucial that your thesis statement is focused, narrowed, and very clearly presented. This is the key to adhering to the guidelines your instructor has given for the assignment. If you cannot master this aspect of the essay, it can prove very difficult to get the rest of the paper done in an effective manner. The thesis has to carry the entire paper so it needs to address all of the requirements for the paper.

  • Transitions that move smoothly from the introduction, body, and conclusion.
  • Transitions are the part of the essay that help the reader know when you are changing points and moving to a new part of the essay. Think of them as road signs that tell the reader what to expect. Without the clear and logical progression through the paper, the reader will become confused and will lose their focus and the paper will not be successful.

  • Body paragraphs supported by clear examples and evidence.
  • Each individual body paragraph in your paper should be limited to focusing in and addressing a single general idea. When you focus on one topic per paragraph it is easy to navigate and it is also easier to focus in on that specific topic with clear and detailed examples and support. It is important to also remember that every paragraph and every point in your paper must relate back to the thesis statement.

  • Evidential support that supports essay points.
  • Since this essay type is often given as in-class work or on tests, there is no real opportunity to search for factual evidence. In these situations you have to rely on personal experiences, common sense, and known examples and situations that relate to the topic being given. Since this is the case with this essay type, most instructors will give topics that are easily supported by this sort of evidence.

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