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Expository Essay Writing Steps

An expository essay is one of the four common types of essays, others being descriptive, argumentative, and narrative essays. Expository essays are often assigned as part of SAT and other standardized testings, but high school and college students are often given expository essay assignments for their homework.

The objective of an expository essay is to explain a concept, idea, or a broader topic to the audience. The explanation can be done via various means, but the most popular approaches to writing an expository essay are definition, example, cause and effect analysis, comparison, and contrast. The methods you choose largely depend on the topic of the essay and the situation: when writing an expository essay at home, you have unlimited access to different sources and can use every method available to you, while in the classroom expository essays are usually time-restricted and cause you to choose the methods that are best suited for your goals.

When working on an expository essay, it is important to maintain the balance between a formulaic approach and creativity. Essay is a form of writing that doesn’t include much creativity, but finding your personal expository essay writing style will make your work more convincing and captivating to read.

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Choose your topic

The topic of your work sets the tone for everything you write in the expository essay. Stay away from topics that are too broad – they will be difficult to explore in a limited setting of writing an expository essay in the classroom.

Make essay outline

The outline is an important part of the work for two reasons. First, it helps the reader navigate through your essay to easily locate the parts they’re interested in. Second, you should use the outline as the basis for the writing, referring to it whenever you are not sure what to do next.

Choose your method of writing for this essay

The methods described above have all proven to be very effective for writing coherent expository essays, but which methods should you use for your work? Generally, it is advised to combine the methods: you can start with introducing the readers to the subject with the help of a definition and examples, and then support your point with analyzing and evaluating the information.

Define and write topic sentence of every paragraph

Each paragraph of your expository essay needs to be dedicated to a separate thesis or idea. Most scholars agree that five paragraphs are the optimal number for a good expository essay, but 3-paragraph essays are also very common.

Write introduction

When you already have a clear picture in your head about what your expository essay is going to look like, you can write the introduction for your work. It doesn’t need to be long – shorter introductions that instantly grab the attention of the reader work better than introduction where you try to explain the content of the essay in detail.

Write body paragraphs

You already have the outline and the ideas for every paragraph, which is very helpful for correctly structuring your thoughts and turning them into a great expository essay. Use the outline to work on each paragraph and explore one idea per paragraph.

Write conclusion

The conclusion is your chance to once again support the points outlined in the previous parts of the expository essay, and you shouldn’t try to turn it into something else. Briefly list the content of the body paragraphs and add one or two sentences to conclude your writing.

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