Expository Writing The “How and Why” of Writing What is Expository Writing?

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Expository Writing

What is Expository Writing?

  • Expository writing is defined as presenting reasons, explanations, or steps in a process
  • Informational writing
  • An expository essay should follow a logical sequence and have three different main points
  • Logic and coherence is the main focus of an expository essay

How is it different ?

  • Expository writing does not tell a story
  • Expository writing does not persuade a reader but only gives facts and reasons
  • Expository writing can also give the steps of a process
  • An EXPOSITORY essay is a multi-paragraph essay with a specific structure.
  • It explains a position or opinion that you have regarding a topic or text.
  • It provides adequate textual evidence to support that opinion.
  • It is not a summary of the book.
  • It is not a book review or a book report.
  • It is not ONLY your opinion. You must base your ideas on events from the text.


  • When you organize an essay it needs to follow a logical sequence.
  • Novel: beginning of the book, middle of the book, end of the book.
  • 2/3/1: 2nd best idea, 3rd best idea, best idea.
  • Directions:
  • 1st step, 2nd step, 3rd step.
  • An EXPOSITORY essay contains ____ paragraphs.
  • All paragraphs have a name:
  • 1st Paragraph(s) : Introductory Paragraph(s)
  • Paragraph #2, 3, 4 etc.: Body Paragraphs
  • Final Paragraph(s): Concluding Paragraph(s)

Topic Sentences, Thesis Statements, and Subtopic are the Heart

  • Thesis: a statement discussing the topic of your paper.
  • Subtopics: the main ideas that support your thesis.
  • Topic Sentences: a statement that discusses the topic of each paragraph.

Definition of Terms

  • Thesis Statement: The main idea of the whole essay
  • Transition words: Words such as first, second, as a result, which make transitions easy in the essay.
  • Main Ideas: Each paragraph should have a main point or idea
  • Supporting Details: Details support the main ideas
  • Introductory Paragraph
  • Body Paragraphs = Subtopics
  • Concluding Paragraph

Expository Writing

  • Introduction of an expository should include the main idea and what the essay is about
  • The three main reasons supporting this main idea should also be included in the introduction

Thesis Statement

  • The thesis statement can be first in the paragraph, last in the paragraph or implied throughout the paragraph
  • OR more experienced writers use the inverted pyramid style introduction.

Introductory Paragraph – Inverted Pyramid


  • Hook- Hook your reader with a question, quote, short anecdote, or personal experience statement
  • Body Paragraphs
  • Purpose of Body Paragraphs:
  • To support your topic statement using direct quotations, specific textual detail, and strong explanations.
  • Elements of a Body Paragraph:
  • Topic Sentence
  • Textual Evidence
  • Explanation of Evidence
  • Concluding/ Transition Sentence
  • The first sentence in each body paragraph. It gives the reader specific information about what will be explained in the body paragraph. It is best to use words from the TOPIC STATEMENT in this sentence.
  • Sentences in the body paragraph which use the AUTHOR’S EXACT WORDS to help support your topic statement.
  • Sentences in the body paragraph which explain to the reader HOW YOUR TEXTUAL EVIDENCE SUPPORTS YOUR TOPIC STATEMENT.

Expository writing contd.

  • Paragraph two should introduce the first reason and give details to support the first reason
  • Paragraph three should introduce the second reason and give details to support the second reason
  • Paragraph four should introduce the third reason and give details to support the third reason
  • The conclusion should re-state all the reasons
  • Body Paragraph
  • Topic Sentence
  • Explanation of Evidence
  • Textual Evidence
  • Concluding Sentence
  • (repeat for each piece of textual evidence)

Evidence and Examples

  • Your evidence is the meat of the essay. You need to prove what you know.
  • Remember the Es:
  • -Examples
  • -Explanations
  • -Evidence
  • -Elaboration


  • Like shifting from one gear to the next in a car, a transition shifts from one paragraph to the next. It is the glue of an essay.

Transition words


  • Conclusions restate your thesis and subtopics, and remind your reader what you wrote about.
  • Do not include any new information in your conclusion.
  • Purpose of Concluding Paragraph
  • To summarize your main ideas for your reader, so they leave your writing with clarity.
  • Elements of Concluding Paragraph
  • Restate your topic statement
  • Review body paragraphs
  • Concluding Paragraph
  • Restate Thesis

Re-Cap: Expository writing needs:

  • One topic
  • Reasons supporting that topic
  • Details supporting the reasons
  • A conclusion re-stating the reasons
  • Transition words
  • Clear, concise, logical and informative language

Outlining an Expository Essay

  • Use an outline to organize your essay
  • Preplanning ensures you don’t forget anything.
  • Essay practically writes itself from the outline.

Outline for Expository

  • Outline for Expository
  • Title__________________________________________
  • I. Introduction:
  • A. Hook______________________________________________________
  • B. Background information______________________________________
  • C. Background information on topic_______________________________
  • D. Background information on topic_______________________________
  • E. Statistic or personal anecdote-optional___________________________
  • F. THESIS STATEMENT________________________________________
  • II. First Reason__________________________________________________
  • A. Fact/ or example_________________________________________
  • B. Detail__________________________________________________
  • C. Fact/ example___________________________________________
  • D. Detail_________________________________________________
  • E. Fact/example____________________________________________
  • F. Detail__________________________________________________
  • G. Sum- up statement_______________________________________
  • III. Second Reason_______________________________________________
  • A. Fact/or example_________________________________________
  • B. Detail__________________________________________________
  • C. Fact/example____________________________________________
  • D. Detail__________________________________________________
  • E. Fact/example____________________________________________
  • F. Detail___________________________________________________
  • G. Sum- up statement_______________________________________
  • IV. Third Reason_________________________________________________
  • A. Fact/example___________________________________________
  • B. Detail__________________________________________________
  • C. Fact/example___________________________________________
  • D. Detail___________________________________________________
  • E. Fact/example___________________________________________
  • F. Detail
  • V. Conclusion:
  • Re- state all reasons in conclusion
  • Clincher sentence- gives a summation of the above and a “feeling” about the whole essay.
  • Use transition words, plan reasons in a logical order, make sure you re-state reasons in your conclusion.

Editing your essay

  • Check that you have all the elements of an expository essay:
  • Reasons
  • Details
  • Transition words
  • Conclusion that re-states your topic
  • Grammar
  • Coherence, logic and clearly written
  • Expository Essay:
  • There are three different types of expository essays:
  • 1) Essay that is developed with examples and/or facts and statistics
  • 2) Essay that is developed with steps in a process
  • 3) Essay that is in a compare and contrast format
  • Example:
  • Paragraph 1: Introductory Paragraph
  • A. Thesis sentence____________________________
  • B. Background info____________________________
  • C. Statistics- if relevant__________________________
  • Paragraph 2: Reason#1 or Process #1 Use a transition word
  • A. Example/detail #1______________________________
  • B. Example/detail #2______________________________
  • C. Example/detail#3_______________________________
  • Paragraph 3: Reason #2or Process #2 Use a transition word
  • A. Example/detail #1______________________________
  • B. Example/detail#2_______________________________
  • C. Example/detail #3______________________________
  • Paragraph 4: Reason #3 or Process #3 Use a transition word
  • A. Example/detail #1_______________________________
  • B. Example/detail #2_______________________________
  • C. Example/detail#3________________________________
  • Paragraph 5:Conclusion:
  • Take a reason from each paragraph and RE-STATE it in the conclusion. Add a clincher sentence.
  • Evaluation:
  • Do you have a clear logical topic?
  • Have you introduced your topic in the first paragraph?
  • Do you have one reason per paragraph?
  • Do you have three details to support each reason?
  • Have you used transition words at the beginning of each paragraph?

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