An explanatory essay is a structural academic writing that uses and presents facts to illustrate a certain topic. This essay writing form offers a neutral approach and is not biased or focused on falsifying a theory. Let us understand it in detail.

There are many types of essays that have few things in common. This can be structure and language, while some essays differ significantly. Most often, in terms of genre, essays are informative, general and educational on some controversial issues, literary essays.

Some essays explain specific topics, events or concepts to the readers. And this type of essay is called an explanatory essay. This essay requires thorough research, evaluation of evidence, explaining the idea, and establishment a conclusive argument.

What is an expository essay?

An expository essay explores different angles of a specific topic to provide information to the reader in an objective manner. For example, suppose the topic is universal healthcare. In that case, the paper will provide information on what universal healthcare is, how it works, which countries use it, and how it differs from privatized healthcare. All of these issues will be expressed in a neutral tone without trying to convince the reader of one side or the other.

Expository Essay Types 

Process essay

Have you ever noticed how recipes and instructions are written? This way, they can be a perfect example of a process essay. This is the point of explanatory essays: they go far beyond a purely academic field. The purpose of a process essay is to describe the steps in how something works or guide the reader through the process. If your job is to write how to cook your favourite dish, or to handle multiple tasks, go with this type of explanatory essay.

Classification essay

For a classification essay, you must research the various characteristics of a particular object or phenomenon and point out its distinguishing features. The next step will involve classifying them into several groups based on their general nature, providing the rationale for your choice.

Compare and contrast essays

The name speaks for itself. Compare and contrast essays indicate similarities and differences between objects, concepts, and phenomena. To make it quick and easy, you can create a table and list the common and different attributes in different columns. You can also draw a Venn diagram.

Descriptive essay

Descriptive essays explore the definitions of words and concepts to provide a detailed explanation of them. You can use anything to outline your argument, from the historical development of a word to examples of its current use. You can also discuss opposing conceptions of the concept discussed.

Problem and solution essay

To write a problem and solution essay, you must first outline the problem and its implications. Then, you can suggest one or several solutions. Please avoid counting your views only. Instead, if you mention a specific solution, describe how it works and what benefits it might bring.

Cause and effect essay

Cause-effect reasoning is challenging, especially if you need more confidence in your critical thinking skills. This type of explanatory essay requires a thorough explanation of the causes and consequences of an event or issue.

What is the purpose of an expository essay?

An explanatory essay provides a balanced, objective description of your topic by providing a logical and clear explanation rather than just proving a point.

You should use clear and simple language and not assume that your audience knows anything about the topic you are discussing.

When you write an academic essay, it is better to be fair and neutral in your claims. You should use a formal tone, no matter what type of explanatory essay you are writing.

Expository essays are common school assignments as they help improve students' academic performance and allow them to develop writing skills that will be useful for their future.

How to Write an Expository Essay

Write your explanatory essay in MLA format and follow a basic five-paragraph structure.

1. Prewriting and Outline.

To write a well-organized five-paragraph essay, it's essential to take some time to jot down relevant notes and research your expository essay topic. Once you brainstorm, outline an introductory explanatory essay detailing what information you plan to include in each paragraph. Before moving on to your first draft, remind yourself to write in the third person to ensure you don't accidentally state your personal opinion.

2. Write an introductory paragraph.

Your first paragraph should include a topic sentence that clearly states the main point of your thesis or essay. A good thesis should be simple enough that you can support it with three body paragraphs.

3. Write three body paragraphs.

Each paragraph of the essay's body should focus on its specific issue, which helps to develop and support the thesis statement in your topic sentence. Ensure you use factual information to support your thesis and maintain an objective approach.

4. Write a concluding paragraph.

This paragraph should only contain information you have already presented in the essay. Use this space to revise your thesis, summarize your supporting points from each body paragraph, and conclude your essay.

5. Revise and proofread.

Re-read your essay and double-check that your thesis is clear and supported with evidence from reliable sources. Next, make sure you present all information in a completely fair manner. Next, work to make paragraph transitions that are fluid and logical. Lastly, proofread to correct grammatical errors and poor word choices.

Expository Example

An expository article or report about a lake may, for example, discuss its ecosystem: the plants and animals that depend on it and its climate. It can describe physical details about its size, depth, the amount of rainfall each year, and the number of tourists that visit it annually. Information about when it was built, its best fishing locations, or its water quality may be included, depending on the audience for the piece.

An expository piece can be in the third person or second person. Second-person examples may include, for example, how to test lake water for contaminants or kill invasive species. Explanatory writing is useful and informative.

Conversely, a person writing a creative non-fiction article about a lake might associate that location with a defining moment in their life by writing the piece in the first person. It may be filled with feelings, opinions and sensory details and include dialogue and flashbacks. It's a much more evocative, personal writing than an expository piece, even though they're both non-fiction genres.

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