Expository Essays

Expository essays explain something — such as an idea or event — in an informative way. Expository writing is strictly fact-based and does not include the author’s opinion of the issue.

Expository Essay Format

Like other types of essays, expository essays typically consist of three sections:

  • Introduction – Provide an overview of your topic and finish with your thesis statement, which previews the rest of the essay.
  • Body – The body paragraphs of an expository essay contain additional facts that follow the outline of your thesis statement.
  • Conclusion – The final paragraph of an expository essay is a summary of the essay, and any factual conclusions you have drawn on the topic.

Students sometimes get confused when writing thesis statements for expository essays. Even though you are not writing a persuasive argument, your thesis statement is still very important. Instead of presenting the points of your argument, an expository thesis statement presents the main ideas of the essay.

For example, an expository essay about American Civil War battles in Maryland might include one paragraph each about the Battle of Antietam, the Battle of Monocacy and the Battle of South Mountain.

Expository Essay Tips

Remember that expository essays present unbiased information. Your thesis statement should not contain opinionated material and you should write about facts that can be supported with research.

There are a few ways to remember how to write an expository essay:

  • EXPository essays EXPlain something
  • Expository essays are like Encyclopedia articles

Use these mnemonic devices to help keep you focused when writing your expository essay.