Expository Essay Writing Guide: Outline, Topics, Examples

Expository Essay Writing Guide: Outline, Topics, Examples

Students are systematically asked to prepare expository essays. Although it is one of the most common types of essays, it does not make it that simple. An expository essay has a specific structure and requires students to apply their critical thinking skills to write an A-level piece. Getting a commendable essay also involves having an organized and consistent writing process. Read on to learn how to write it outstanding with our expository essay writing service and get an excellent mark for it.

What is an Expository Essay?

An expository essay is a piece of writing that involves exploring a particular idea or issue, researching the existing evidence, and presenting a coherent and to-the-point argument. A writer should define concepts, exemplify the ideas, compare and contrast related phenomena, or provide cause-effect reasoning to reach the desired result.

What differs an expository essay from other writing assignments is its goal. The very name of the essay type gives a hint – to “expose” an idea. Thus, your objective is to inform the audience about a particular concept or view. Your argumentation must be based on hard facts, be simple, and explicit. The tone of the expository essay should be neutral; you shouldn’t try to persuade the reader or take sides. Whether you write descriptively or draw a comparison, you need to be unbiased.

Types of Expository Essays

Now that you know the expository writing definition, there is one more important aspect to consider: expository essays can be of various types, which influences their structure and content. You need to know the differences between them to write a quality paper. Commonly, there are six main types of expository essays:

Process or “how-to” essays

This type of expository essay explains how to get something to work. It guides the reader through the stages of a certain process. Process essays usually include the descriptions of steps and directions for the reader to follow. These can be technical instructions or recipes, for example:

  • “How to Bake a Cake”
  • “How to Repair a Bike”

Compare and contrast essays

Compare and contrast expository essays aim at discussing similar and divergent aspects of ideas, concepts, locations, or objects. To present your findings, you can use one of the following techniques: the alternating method, combination method, or block method. The examples of a compare and contrast essay can include the following topics:

  • “Democracy vs. Autocracy: Differences and Similarities”
  • “Comparison of In-Class Education and Homeschooling”

Cause and effect essays

Working on this type of essay, you need to investigate the cause-effect relations of a particular event. This entails identifying and classifying the reasons and discussing the results. The topics that fall within this type are:

  • “Causes of Unemployment in Your Country”
  • “What are the Reasons for Burnout at Work?”

Problem and solution essays

A problem and solution expository essay raises a relevant issue and analyzes it from different points of view. Having presented the problem, you need to develop a possible solution. For example, you can discuss:

  • “How Can the Influence of Social Media on Body Image Be Reduced?”
  • “How to Encourage Students to Be More Interested in Sports?”

Classification essays

Classification essays require a particular mastery of critical thinking as you need to categorize objects according to their distinctive features. Thus, these essays discuss the aspects of a certain broad topic in detail. You should explain the reason for sorting items into categories and provide examples. The classification essays include such topics as:

  • “Types of Holiday Destinations”
  • “The Impact of Social Media on Different Age Groups”

Definition essays

This type of expository essay focuses on the definition of a term or concept. It entails providing a common dictionary definition in addition to less conventional interpretations. You may add examples, explain the origin of the term, and refute the wrong understanding of the concept under discussion. For instance, you may discuss the following topics:

  • “What is Friendship?”
  • “What does Being Tolerant Mean?”

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Expository Essay Structure

There are several text structures you can use to write an expository essay and present your arguments. The block structure and the chain structure are the two most common types. The block method implies that you discuss one subject at first, and then you move on to another subject in a separate paragraph. For example, such a structure of a problem and solution essay may be illustrated in the following way:

  • Problem 1
  • Problem 2
  • Solution 1
  • Solution 2

The chain structure for the same problem and solution essay would look like this:

  • Problem 1
  • Solution 1
  • Problem 2
  • Solution 2

Thus, the chain structure allows you to discuss each aspect of the problem point by point, which is especially useful for longer papers. However, both of these structures are a suitable expository essay format. You should choose the method you feel more comfortable with.

Expository Essay Prompts

Students will typically encounter many different types of expository essay prompts throughout their school careers—from primary school to high school to the college/university level. In general, these prompts help students to get started writing an expository essay, and they may be inspirational in nature. They have a more focused purpose, too, requiring students to research and explain a specific topic to meet an educational objective.

For instance, a descriptive essay can be assigned to a student to teach him to describe something such as a place, a person, an experience, an object, or a situation. A cause and effect essay prompt may compel a student to discuss the causes and effects of cheating at school, thus reinforcing the idea that he should avoid cheating.

Here is a list of examples of expository essay prompts and what they are trying to achieve compiled by our online paper writing service professionals:

  • Were the Jews the primary targets of the Nazis during the Second World War?
  • This would require the writer to evaluate the circumstances surrounding the Holocaust and then decide, using evidence, whether the statement is correct.
  • Is animal testing ethical?
  • Here, the student should evaluate the pros and cons of animal testing and then present an argument, using evidence, for or against the practice.
  • Is cloning against humanity?
  • This prompt requires the writer to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of cloning in general and then explain his position, using facts, on the ethics of human cloning.
  • Which female leader do you consider your mentor, and why?
  • This prompt requires the student to choose a female leader as a mentor and use facts about that mentor to explain his choice, thus educating the reader about the virtues of his chosen female mentor.
  • If time travel were possible, which year would you want to go back to, and why?
  • This prompt requires the writer to explain which past time he would travel to, citing personal and perhaps historic reasons.

Expository Essay Topics

While the overall content of an expository essay will depend largely on the prompt, the student may have some freedom to choose the specific topic, or at least the angle; he wants to illuminate in the paper. For instance, he could explain the origin of a particular group of individuals in society; in such a case, the author should make the story as interesting as possible. For a process essay, the writer could explain the process of digestion in a cow. A descriptive essay could describe a time when the writer experienced depression, as well as what he believes to be the cause of it.

Lastly, the topic for a problem or solution essay could be how society can reduce or eliminate racism, using facts to expose the history of racism in specific communities.

Social Issues Expository Essay Topics

  1. Explain why there is a significant rise in the rate of teenage pregnancy
  2. What are the most significant negative consequences of alcohol abuse on college campuses?
  3. Explain how being “hungry for money” can affect one’s personality
  4. Why is there still gender inequality in workplaces across the world?
  5. Explain how double standards still can be observed in our lives
  6. How can dropping out of college affect your future?
  7. Explain the role of tolerance for the success of the team at work
  8. What causes children to start lying?
  9. Explain the main triggers of teenage suicides
  10. Is global warming our fault?

Education Expository Essay Topics

  1. How can a college degree influence your future career?
  2. Explain why it is considered a noble profession to teach others
  3. Is living in a dorm room an important stage of every person’s life?
  4. Define the possible consequences of introducing uniforms in schools
  5. How can your college experience change your mind and personality?
  6. Explain how being multilingual can benefit your career and life
  7. Should we stop using grades?
  8. Explain why standardized tests can’t really help assess students’ knowledge
  9. How did COVID-19 and lockdown influence the field of education?
  10. Explain what makes traditional schooling better or more beneficial than online schooling

Ethical Issues Expository Essay Topics

  1. Explain your understanding of morality
  2. Why do parents not tolerate their teen children staying with their boyfriends or girlfriends alone in the room?
  3. Explain why divorcing is sometimes better
  4. Do you believe there is still such a thing as “honor” in the 21st century?
  5. Explain the consequences of not integrating stricter gun control policies
  6. Is racism still an issue in the modern world?
  7. Explain how a teen boy should act if he finds out that his girlfriend is pregnant
  8. What are the consequences of early abortion?
  9. Express your position on the death penalty
  10. What is the “code of ethics” to you?

Health Expository Essay Topics

  1. Explain how college students can eat healthy without going over the budget
  2. What are the negative consequences of eating junk food on a daily basis?
  3. Explain how music can positively influence one’s mental health and wellbeing
  4. Will scientists and the World Health Organization find ways to cure “incurable” diseases?
  5. Define the effective methods of dealing with ADHD
  6. How can college students minimize stress and anxiety?
  7. Explain the importance of taking regular doctor appointments for staying healthy
  8. Is there a connection between poverty and mental health?
  9. Share effective advice on staying fit at college
  10. Why are soda drinks harmful to your health?

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Expository Essay Outline Writing

Traditionally, expository essays include five paragraphs:

  • Introduction
  • Main Body Paragraph 1
  • Main Body Paragraph 2
  • Main Body Paragraph 3
  • Conclusion

This is a standard way to approach this type of paper, but you can add alterations if the task requires it. Do not neglect to structure your essay as it allows you to organize your thoughts and present clear arguments to the reader.

Expository Essay Introduction

As with any other piece of writing, an expository essay should start with the introductory paragraph. Keep it short (3-5 sentences) but informative. In the first sentence, try to present the problem to the readers in an interesting way. This would be your hook. You should then write general information about the topic, mention why this issue is relevant, and outline the context in which you plan to discuss the problem. This part must be engaging and compelling for the audience to become interested in your piece. Keep in mind that the introduction lays the foundation for the further development of your argument.

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