Expository Essay Writing Tips & Ideas for a Decent Paper

Expository essays are common in college assignments. Unlike persuasive and argumentative essays, expository essays provide information without any commentary.

Expository writing is thus aimed to mould your skill of explaining complex concepts and improving your research and critical thinking skills. If you are struggling with an expository essay assignment, this article will highlight the purpose, structure, and meaning of an expository essay, helping you address your assignment. 

We will also highlight some expository essay prompts to guide you toward selecting the most suitable topic. 

What’s an expository essay?

An expository essay is a paper that offers an explanation of a topic, a process, or a set of ideas. This essay is not aimed at convincing a reader towards a certain standpoint but rather to give a balanced view of the subject matter.

The expository essay is thus objective and offers a balanced analysis of a given topic. These essays may range from compare and contrast essays, cause and effect analysis essays, and process essays. 

What is the purpose of an expository essay?

An expository essay serves to educate an audience on a certain topic. This is achieved through crafting a logical explanation of a process, an event, or an idea using clear and simple language. For students, these essays are usually geared to show one’s mastery of a topic through a balanced, objective argument.

Structure of an expository essay

The expository essay often takes the 5-paragraph approach with an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. However, the essay is not limited to five paragraphs and can be as long as is needed to exhaust your thesis.


The introduction to your essay carries a hook to grab your reader’s attention to your topic. The hook may be a quote, a statistic, or a fact that is relevant to your topic statement. The hook is followed by a thesis statement that outlines the key topic your paper ought to address.

Some topics also require that you cover background information to highlight the development of an issue or event before diving into its analysis. The introduction then closes with a transitioning statement that builds towards the content of your first body paragraph.


The body of the essay carries paragraphs where you should develop your information in a logical order. Each paragraph should present a new idea on the topic and provide evidential support to support the claim. 

Ideally, each paragraph should transition to the next, bringing about a smooth flow of ideas in your paper. 


The conclusion of an expository essay provides the summary of all the claims made within your paper. This section should not tackle new arguments or take a stand on a topic. Instead, reiterate your key arguments and give an overall verdict on the topic/ event you were discussing. 

How to write an expository essay

If you are wondering where you could start off with your essay, we recommend these steps for a quality expository essay. 

1. Topic selection

When selecting your topic, settle for one that piques your interest. This will allow you to investigate the topic deeply, exhausting all the details regarding an event. 

Ideally, check various expository essay topics at your disposal and jot down ideas for each. Finally, settle on a topic that you are well familiar with as this will take lesser time to exhaust. Also, narrow your topic for easier completion without exceeding the prescribed word count. 

2. Develop an outline

Before you write your paper, prepare an outline of the key information regarding an event. The outline enables you to gauge gaps in your argument, making sure that you perform conclusive research. 

3. Prepare your draft

After preparing your research, expand your arguments, ensuring that your essay smoothly transitions from one point to the other. 

4. Edit and proofreading

Consult experts and peers on editing your paper to gauge various gaps and errors in structure and grammar. You may also opt to use various editing software, to nub common mistakes and save on time. 

Expository essay outline


  • Hook 
  • Background information
  • Thesis statement
  • Transition


Paragraph 1

  • Topic sentence
  • Supporting evidence
  • Conclusion
  • Transition sentence

Paragraph 2

  • Topic sentence
  • Supporting evidence
  • Conclusion
  • Transition sentence

Paragraph 3

  • Topic sentence
  • Supporting evidence
  • Conclusion
  • Transition sentence


  • Summary 
  • Restatement of thesis

Ideas for expository essay

  1. Describe your ideal holiday location. 
  2. What features make someone famous? 
  3. How does science help individuals live better lives? 
  4. Describe the implications of drug dealing on campus. 
  5. Explain why gang violence is rapidly spreading. 
  6. How do people's needs alter throughout time? 
  7. Have parental roles evolved over time? 
  8. What is the connection between AIDS and poverty? 
  9. What effects and causes do obesity have? 
  10. What is the meaning of home-schooling?
  11. Describe the characteristics of a good instructor.