Expository Essay

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An expository essay is a very straight forward assignment. Your job is to explain a topic in detail. Your essay will be completely fact based with no opinions or emotions expressed. The point of these assignments is to help you to learn how provide a factual explanation of something without inserting opinions or using emotions.

However, it is important to keep in mind that straight forward does not mean easy. In fact, these are quite challenging to write. After all, it is human nature to want to add opinion and perspective to our writing.

Finding a Topic That Best Represents You
  • 1

    Stick With What You Know. This is always a great tip. By writing about what you know, you can reduce research time significantly. Your own knowledge will help the writing process go quickly.

  • 2

    Make it Interesting. If your job is to explain something without emotion, hook readers by making the explanation as interesting as possible. Share interesting facts about your topic and really go into detail about the most compelling parts.

  • 3

    Think Outside The Box. Don’t be afraid to explore unique topics. This will help you to write an essay that stands out. Your instructor will appreciate that after they have read different versions of the same essay over and over again.

  • 4

    Just Because Your Essay is Factual Doesn’t Mean Your Topic Can’t be Emotional. Your writing needs to be straightforward and unemotional. However that doesn't mean your topic can’t have an emotional appeal. You can write about something touching such as how to speak to a friend after a loss.  You can also write about fun topics such as traditional holiday meals from around the world.

  • 5

    Make it Relevant to Your Class. If you’re taking an English composition class, you can probably take your pick of topics. If not, you should stick to what is relevant to your coursework.

  • 6

    Use Current Events. Catch up with the news before you pick a topic. You may find something quite interesting to explain. For example, what is fake news?

  • 7

    Write About What You’d Like to Learn About. What are you curious about? Pick a topic that you want to learn about, and you will enjoy the research and writing process.

  • 8

    Use Google to Narrow Your Topic. Use Google to help yourself with topic selection. If your initial idea is too broad, you can narrow it down by looking through your search results.

Points to Think About
  • 1

    Technical jargon doesn’t contribute to understanding.

  • 2

    Write to the level of your audience. Don’t dumb things down or go over their heads.

  • 3

    Taking detailed notes in the beginning will help you in the long run.

  • 4

    Write a list of questions readers might have about your subject. Then answer those in your essay.

  • 5

    Be wary of opinion words such as think and believe.

  • 6

    Using visual language can help readers picture what you are writing

Do and Don`t
Do
  • Rely on Heavily Factual Sources
  • Watch Videos to Increase Your Understanding
  • Break Complex Things Down Into Digestible Facts
  • Use a Chronological Sequence When Describing a Process
  • Ensure That Your Sources Are up to Date
Don't
  • Forget That There is Help Available if You Need It
  • Blow Off Study Group Meetings
  • Let a Day go by Without Writing
  • Ignore The Importance of Editing And Proofreading
  • Insert Unnecessary Details Just to Get Your Word Count Up
Mistakes to Avoid
  • Describing Things as Good Bad Better or Best - These are opinion words. Use them only when you have expert facts to back them up.
  • Keeping Disorganized Notes - It’s much easier to start organized than fix a mess.
  • Using Outdated Sources - If your source is behind the times, your essay will not be accurate.
  • Using Incorrect Citation Formatting - Use an app such as EasyBib to do your citations for you.
  • Picking a Topic That is Too Easy - Your professor will be unimpressed if you take the easy way out.
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