5 Things to Know About Writing Expository Essays

An expository essay is a well formatted piece of writing that tries to inform and persuade a reader to believe a particular fact. By following a logical format, making concrete points that all tie together, and making your writing appropriate for your target audience, you will accomplish the main goals of presenting facts in a credible and interesting way.

Know Your Audience

Knowing who your audience is will help you to determine the tone that you will take in your essay. Writing for a college professor and writing an editorial for a newspaper read by a more common person will help dictate your vocabulary and how readable your essay will be. Once you determine your audience, and you know what point you are trying to make, you are well on your way to developing a strong thesis that the rest of your writing will be based on.

Thesis Statements Say It All

The thesis statement is the key to an expository essay. Without a solid thesis, the rest of your essay will be wander and your mission to convey an important argument will fail. The thesis is the last sentence in your introduction, and it will set the tone for your audience. This statement should be well thought out, and the first sentence of every paragraph, also known as your topic sentence, should relate to it in some way.

Back It Up: Intelligently

The body of your expository essay is only as good as your topic sentence. Your first sentence relates to the thesis, but needs to be backed up by evidence from credible sources. Some good sources of information include:

  • Academic Journals
  • Government Organizations
  • Individuals who work in the field that you are covering
  • Periodicals (not editorials)

Finding reliable information and citing it correctly will give your essay more credibility in the eyes of your audience, provided that you can keep their attention.

Find Your Flow

Transitions are a key part of an expository essay. They help your paper flow, and let one idea drift into the next seamlessly. Without a good transitioning sentence, which is the last sentence of a body paragraph, your paper will sound choppy, and the reader may not understand how one idea relates to another. Your traditions are mini conclusions and mini topic sentences in one- and keep the reader enticed to read the next paragraph.

Tie It Together

The conclusion of your paper should never start with “in conclusion.” In fact, your reader should only know that it is the end of your paper because it ties all of your key points from your topic sentences back into your thesis statement. The last sentence of your conclusion should leave the reader to keep thinking about your topic, while maintaining the commitment to the theme of your essay.

The next time you are getting ready to sit down and write an expository essay, make an outline that contains your thesis, topic sentences and evidence that support them. Pay attention to the words that you use and make sure that facts that you are presenting can be backed up with credible sources. If you do this successfully, you will be able to write an essay that will leave your reader to want to learn more, or possibly even convince your audience that your point is valid and answers a question they have been seeking the answer to.