Tips on Writing an Expository Essay
The purpose of the expository essay is to explain a topic in a logical and straightforward manner. Without bells and whistles, expository essays present a fair and balanced analysis of a subject based on facts—with no references to the writer’s opinions or emotions.
A typical expository writing prompt will use the words “explain” or “define,” such as in, “Write an essay explaining how the computer has changed the lives of students.” Notice there is no instruction to form an opinion or argument on whether or not computers have changed students’ lives. The prompt asks the writer to “explain,” plain and simple. However, that doesn’t mean expository essay writing is easy.
The Five-Step Writing Process for Expository Essays
Expository writing is a life skill. More than any other type of writing, expository writing is a daily requirement of most careers. Understanding and following the proven steps of the writing process helps all writers, including students, master the expository essay.
Expository Essay Structure
Usually, the expository essay is composed of five paragraphs. The introductory paragraph contains the thesis or main idea. The next three paragraphs, or body of the essay, provide details in support of the thesis. The concluding paragraph restates the main idea and ties together the major points of essay.
Here are expository essay tips for each part of the essay structure and writing process:
1. Prewriting for the Expository Essay
In the prewriting phase of writing an expository essay, students should take time to brainstorm about the topic and main idea. Next, do research and take notes. Create an outline showing the information to be presented in each paragraph, organized in a logical sequence.
2. Drafting the Expository Essay
When creating the initial draft of an expository essay, consider the following suggestions:
- The most important sentence in the introductory paragraph is the topic sentence, which states the thesis or main idea of the essay. The thesis should be clearly stated without giving an opinion or taking a position. A good thesis is well defined, with a manageable scope that can be adequately addressed within a five-paragraph essay.
- Each of the three body paragraphs should cover a separate point that develops the essay’s thesis. The sentences of each paragraph should offer facts and examples in support of the paragraph’s topic.
- The concluding paragraph should reinforce the thesis and the main supporting ideas. Do not introduce new material in the conclusion.
- Since an expository essay discusses an event, situation, or the views of others, and not a personal experience, students should write in the third person (“he,” “she,” or “it”), and avoid “I” or “you” sentences.
3. Revising the Expository Essay
In the revision phase, students review, modify, and reorganize their work with the goal of making it the best it can be. Keep these considerations in mind:
- Does the essay give an unbiased analysis that unfolds logically, using relevant facts and examples?
- Has the information been clearly and effectively communicated to the reader?
- Watch out for “paragraph sprawl,” which occurs when the writer loses focus and veers from the topic by introducing unnecessary details.
- Is the sentence structure varied? Is the word choice precise?
- Do the transitions between sentences and paragraphs help the reader’s understanding?
- Does the concluding paragraph communicate the value and meaning of the thesis and key supporting ideas?
If the essay is still missing the mark, take another look at the topic sentence. A solid thesis statement leads to a solid essay. Once the thesis works, the rest of the essay falls into place more easily.
4. Editing the Expository Essay
Next, proofread and correct errors in grammar and mechanics, and edit to improve style and clarity. While an expository essay should be clear and concise, it can also be lively and engaging. Having a friend read the essay helps writers edit with a fresh perspective.
5. Publishing the Expository Essay
Sharing an expository essay with a teacher, parent, or other reader can be both exciting and intimidating. Remember, there isn’t a writer on earth who isn’t sensitive about his or her own work. The important thing is to learn from the experience and use the feedback to make the next essay better.
Essay writing is a huge part of a education today. Most students must learn to write various kinds of essays during their academic careers, including different types of expository essay writing:
- Definition essays explain the meaning of a word, term, or concept. The topic can be a concrete subject such as an animal or tree, or it can be an abstract term, such as freedom or love. This type of essay should discuss the word’s denotation (literal or dictionary definition), as well as its connotation or the associations that a word usually brings to mind.
- Classification essays break down a broad subject or idea into categories and groups. The writer organizes the essay by starting with the most general category and then defines and gives examples of each specific classification.
- Compare and contrast essays describe the similarities and differences between two or more people, places, or things. Comparison tells how things are alike and contrast shows how they are different.
- Cause and effect essays explain how things affect each other and depend on each other. The writer identifies a clear relationship between two subjects, focusing on why things happen (causes) and/or what happens as a result (effects).
- “How to” essays, sometimes called process essays, explain a procedure, step-by-step process, or how to do something with the goal of instructing the reader.
Time4Writing Teaches Expository Essay Writing
Time4Writing essay writing courses offer a highly effective way to learn how to write the types of essays required for school, standardized tests, and college applications. A unique online writing program for elementary, middle school, and high school students, Time4Writing breaks down the writing process into manageable chunks, easily digested by young writers. Students steadily build writing skills and confidence, guided by one-on-one instruction with a dedicated, certified teacher. Our middle school Welcome to the Essay and Advanced Essay courses teach students the fundamentals of writing essays, including the expository essay. The high school Exciting Essay Writing course focuses in depth on the essay writing process with preparation for college as the goal. The courses also cover how to interpret essay writing prompts in testing situations. Read what parents are saying about their children’s writing progress in Time4Writing courses.
Presentation on theme: "Parts of an Expository Essay Introduction Body Paragraphs Conclusion."— Presentation transcript:
1 Parts of an Expository Essay Introduction Body Paragraphs Conclusion
2 No-no’s for Expository Writing Do not use the word “reason(s)” in any part of the essay. Do not use the word “you”. Do not “piggyback” words (repeatedly using the same word throughout the essay).
3 Introduction Paragraphs The first paragraph of an essay is called the introduction. The introduction should “funnel” ideas from general/broad to specific/narrow. The introduction should be at least three sentences in length. The last sentence in the introduction should be the topic (the general issue/item being addressed) and position (the writer’s opinion on the topic) sentence. Under no circumstance should there be reasons to support your opinion in the introduction!
4 Introduction Paragraph Example Throughout my life I have met many people that everyone seemed to admire. There was my high school football coach, my college English professor and even my cousin Steve. However, the most well liked person I have ever met is my close friend Pastor Ottis.
5 Introduction Paragraph Example Throughout my life I have met many people that everyone seemed to admire. There was my high school football coach, my college English professor and even my cousin Steve. However, the most well liked person I have ever met is my close friend Pastor Ottis. Topic/Position Sentence
6 Body Paragraphs Body paragraphs are the “meat” of any essay. The body paragraphs are where supporting details/reasons belong. In timed writing, there should only be two body paragraphs.
7 Body Paragraphs Body paragraphs include each of the following four elements: Transitions Statements One time when’s (OTW)/anecdotes Thesis tie-in
8 Body Paragraphs Transitions: These words/phrases help writing flow and connect ideas together. Use transitions in your body paragraphs (also, however, since, thus, therefore, on the other hand, etc.) Statements: These are the topic sentences of body paragraphs. Statements let the reader know what each body paragraph will be explaining. Statements must be very specific. The more specific the statement, the easier it is to support.
9 Body Paragraphs One time when’s (OTW)/anecdotes: These are little personal stories told to illustrate a point being made. Thesis tie-in: This is a sentence that ties a body paragraph back to the topic and position sentence in the introduction. These are the most difficult and most easily forgotten component of a body paragraph. Without a thesis tie-in, writing is off task.
10 Body Paragraph Example Pastor Ottis is extremely friendly. I remember the first time that I met him. My wife and I had just moved here from New York and we didn’t have many friends yet. We were standing around in the parking lot after church hoping someone would come and say hi when he approached us. “Hello,” he belted out as he smiled and introduced himself. He shook hands with my wife Chris and then gave a little hug to each of my children. I remember feeling the weight lift off my shoulders as we finally made a new friend in Florida. I know many other people who have had a similar experience with Pastor Ottis. He is constantly going out of his way to meet new people and welcome them with his friendly smile. It’s no wonder so many people have such high regard for him.
11 Body Paragraph Example Identify the body paragraph components in this example. Furthermore, Pastor Ottis is the most excellent listener I have ever known. One time when I became really discouraged over a misunderstanding at work, Ottis offered to come over to my house and discuss the situation with me. After he arrived he sat on the couch and like a sponge he soaked up every word I said. I recall being impressed with his genuine concern for my dilemma. Instead of rushing me and cutting me off when I was talking, he gave me all the time I needed to articulate the peculiar predicament I had found myself in. When he finally did speak, he encouraged me significantly and the key points that he brought up told me that he had heard every word I said. I have found very few people who will give others that kind of attention when they need it. I think that’s why he is so well liked.
12 Body Paragraph Example Pastor Ottis is the most excellent listener I have ever known. One time when I became really discouraged over a misunderstanding at work, Ottis offered to come over to my house and discuss the situation with me. After he arrived, he sat on the couch and like a sponge he soaked up every word I said. I recall being impressed with his genuine concern for my dilemma. Instead of rushing me and cutting me off when I was talking, he gave me all the time I needed to articulate the peculiar predicament I had found myself in. When he finally did speak, he encouraged me significantly and the key points that he brought up told me that he had heard every word I said. I have found very few people who will give others that kind of attention when they need it. I think that’s why he is so well liked.
13 Conclusion Paragraph The conclusion paragraph wraps up the essay briefly. The conclusion should quickly sum up the point of view and lightly brush upon the support (reiterating the statements in the body paragraphs). The conclusion starts with a closing type (refer to worksheets) and restates the topic and position similar to a thesis tie-in. An extra sentence or two added after the reiteration of support adds voice (spice it up).
14 Conclusion Paragraph Example It is worth reiterating that Pastor Ottis is an outstanding listener and an unusually friendly person. It’s simple to see why everyone who meets him finds him such an easy person to look up to.
15 Planning Web Body 1 Topic Position Introduction Body 2 Conclusion
16 Planning Web Body 1 Topic and Position Introduction Body 2 Conclusion First Supporting Reason Second Supporting Reason (Support) OTW Restate topic, position, and supporting reasons
17 Planning Web Body 1 Well liked person Introduction Body 2 Conclusion Extremely Friendly Best Listener First time meeting at church Listening about work trouble Pastor Ottis Friendly & best listener Most Liked Pastor Ottis