If you look for a definition of this kind of work, you will very often get rather ambiguous answers as to what it is and how it is supposed to be written. Sometimes it is understood as explanatory essay, sometimes the definition is so vague that it may include just any type of academic writing.
In short, expository essay is simply a piece of writing that explains something using facts abstracted from opinions. Its distinctive features are as follows:
- It should begin with a clear and succinct thesis statement.
- You present either someone else’s point of view or just stick to the facts, without referring to your personal opinion.
- It is usually written in the second person – especially if it describes a certain process or activity.
- Your essay should contain evidence that proves the thesis – logical, statistical, factual, based on an example – it doesn’t matter.
It is often said that the best way to understand something is to explain it to someone else. This is, probably, the main reason why students are given expository essays to write from time to time.
Here are some tips that will make your writing process easier:
- Imagine that you are a teacher and have to explain something to students who have absolutely no idea of it. If you were a student, what would be the best way to explain it to you?
- Be creative. Although expository essay does not require from you to write poems on the subject, you shouldn’t stick to the formulas of essay writing, even the ones you read here. If you see a good, picturesque locution that fits into your writing, don’t hesitate to use it.
- Don’t overdo – if you are asked to explain something, there is no need to write absolutely everything you know on the subject. Exclude the obvious.
Expository essay usually follows the classical essay construction. In the introduction you give a clear statement of your thesis. Remember that the topic your cover is most likely to be very limited one and the essay shouldn’t be very long, so don’t get too verbose. Every paragraph of the body should have a point that relates it to the thesis, no matter in what relations it is with the other: succession of events, distinctive features, etc. Finally, in conclusion you shouldn’t merely repeat the thesis you have started with, but do it while taking into account what you have said in the body.
All in all, the main principle of writing expository essays is that – explain in a way that would have been understandable for yourself.