Writing an expository essay can be a daunting task. It requires research and precision to capture your reader’s attention while providing an informative and well-constructed piece of work.

But with the right tricks and tips, anyone can write an engaging and captivating expository essay that will draw in the reader and hold their attention.

This article provides 10 tips for writing an expository essay that engages your audience. Learn how to structure your paper, choose an appropriate tone, use reliable sources, and create a compelling thesis statement.

With these tips, you’ll be able to craft an expository essay that will have your readers hooked from start to finish.

What is Expository Writing?

An expository essay explains a topic in detail, providing information on a specific concept or subject. Many expository essays comprise:

  • An introductory paragraph – laying out the terms of research and the thesis to investigate.
  • Several body paragraphs – presenting the factual information and evaluating the evidence, using comparison and contrast, definition, cause and effect, and example.
  • A concluding paragraph that reinforces your thesis argument.

A standard format for the expository essay is the five-paragraph essay, using:

An introductory paragraphthree body paragraphs that provide evidence to examine the subject, and then a conclusion.

What Is The Purpose of Expository Writing?

An expository descriptive essay informs and educates the reader about a specific topic or subject – not to persuade or convince the reader of a particular perspective or statement.

Expository essays are commonly found in disciplines such as science, technology, business, and engineering but are used in academic and non-academic contexts. In educational contexts, they teach students about a particular topic, concept, or subject. In non-academic contexts, expository essays inform readers about a new product or service, describe an event that took place, or tell the story of an important person.

They can also be used to explain complicated issues and ideas that may be difficult to comprehend otherwise.

How Is Expository Writing Different From Descriptive, Persuasive, or Narrative Writing?


Perhaps the simplest way to understand expository writing is to compare it with descriptive essay writing, narrative text, and persuasive essay writing.

Each approach has a specific goal:

  • Descriptive writing determines a sense of place and time, providing a setting for the reader’s mind’s eye.
  • Narrative writing tells a story, which will contain some expository content (more about that later).
  • Persuasive writing aims to convince the reader to think in a particular way about a subject.

However, expository writing just gives the facts, intending to deepen the reader’s understanding.

So, now we’re clearer on the purpose of expository writing, let’s head into our tips.

1- Choose an Appropriate Topic for Your Expository Writing

When you’re selecting a topic for an expository essay, ensure it’s both interesting and relevant to your readers.

Choose a topic that interests you, but it’s also essential to choose a topic that will be useful for your audience.

Consider the following when choosing a topic for your expository essay:

Know your audience

Make sure your topic is relevant to the intended audience. You might be writing a process essay – essentially, an instructional/how-to article that offers a detailed description of a specific objective.

Make sure you use the words your audience might use, and use them in an engaging way.

Make sure your sources are relevant

Remember, expository writing is about the facts. You may discover contradictory sources as you research. Aim to be impartial and examine the conflicting information presented.

Research a fact by finding out what other scholars have said about it and determine the most likely to be true.

2- Workshop Your Ideas

Before writing, create a list of potential subtopics relevant to your research question.

Go for both broad and specific. A topic that is too broad may not have enough information to be used in a full-length essay. A topic that is too specific may be difficult to generalize and provide enough information for a full-length paper.

Build a mind map to brainstorm broad topics, then narrow them down into more specific topics you’ll explore in your body paragraphs.

Ensure you consider the broader subject to help narrow down your focus. Then, assign each fact to a body paragraph that adds factual evidence to support your thesis.

3- Create an Outline for Your Expository Piece

An outline is crucial, especially if you’re writing a lengthy essay. An outline allows you to organize your ideas and write a more concise essay. It enables you to avoid rambling or going off-topic, as well as keeping your essay succinct and well-structured.

An outline can be a helpful guide to keep you on track if you’re unsure of where to start.

Keep your thesis argument in mind when creating your outline, ensuring your sub-topics are relevant and you have enough information to fill out your body paragraphs.

4- Use Reliable Sources


Choose reliable sources and properly cite and reference all of your essay sources.

There are a few essential things to remember when choosing sources for your expository essay:

Consider the credibility of your sources

Are your sources reliable and trustworthy, especially if you use a reference to reinforce controversial or debatable information?

Refer to fact-checking sites if you’re exploring hot topics. The following sites can be helpful:

Refer to sources of online academic articles, like theconversation.com, rather than tabloid newspapers and biased publications.

If your source is a personal blog, consider whether the writer has an agenda. If you’re using a newspaper article, consider WHY they have reported that story.

Avoid personal opinions and present facts, and ensure your sources are relevant to your essay and correctly cite and reference them.

This demonstrates that you have completed the appropriate research and written your papers based on wide reading.

5- Write a Compelling Thesis Statement for Your Expository Project

Your thesis is the backbone of your expository essay. It’s what readers will take away from your essay. It’s essential to choose a thesis statement that is engaging and provocative while remaining factual and truthful.

Ensure your thesis statement relates directly to your topic, while also being broad enough to encompass everything you write in your essay.

There are some tips to keep in mind when writing a thesis statement for an expository essay:

Your thesis statement should be provocative enough to draw readers in – pique readers’ interests and make them want to read your essay.

6- Choose an Appropriate Expository Tone


While you want to be informative and educational, you also want to maintain an engaging and captivating tone.

Most expository essays use a range of tones and writing styles:


A descriptive expository essay defines characteristics and traits pertinent to your central question while presenting a range of examples that reinforce the thesis argument.

You’ll find descriptive expository writing in encyclopedias and academic settings.


Technical writing that details a series of steps is considered sequential exposition.

Examples of sequential writing include recipes, instructional pamphlets, and how-to guides.


Also referred to as “contrast expository writing,” this type of content demonstrates how two or more subjects or items are similar or dissimilar.

For example, a comparative piece might compare the benefits of owning a home against renting one or whether to travel by car or train.

Comparative content offers the pros and cons, helping the reader come to their own conclusion.


Causal expository writing explores how steps might lead toward a specific outcome.

Typical examples are personal blogs, where the writer documents their journey toward a specific goal, such as a new workout regime.


This type of content explores how one problem might lead to the next, with possible solutions along the way, typically including factual evidence and data rather than personal opinion.


Classification expository writing breaks a broad topic into groups and categories to represent how they affect each other.

7- Stick to the Facts

Unlike creative writing, expository writing should present an original argument using strict facts in a logical order to explain and develop a central question.

While exposition is part of creative writing, expository writing is strictly fact-based.

8- Gather Your Research and Create an Outline

Before you start writing expository essays, gather your research and create an outline detailing the sequence of evidence – always considering how you might hold your reader’s attention.

Write a structure, planning your first paragraph, then defining your main body paragraphs to your conclusion.

Remember the five-paragraph essay – this is a great structure to keep your content on track.

9- Be Creative With Your Expository Essay

It’s easy to make expository writing dull. Remember, you’re trying to share interesting facts; maybe you’re trying to reinforce an argument.

Use a combination of tones and styles with your content; keep on point by defining your subject and sticking to it.

10- How Exposition Serves Creative Writing

In creative writing, “exposition” refers to the back story. However, exposition is also the setting and the world – we demonstrate the world through example, and explain concepts that will affect the development of the plot.


Avoid making your first ten pages simply descriptive – it gets boring to read. Grab your reader’s attention with action – and embed exposition into the events between the characters.

Get Writing!

Ultimately, the best way to become practiced at expository writing is to do it. Keep our ten tips in mind, and go for it. Share your expository essay on your personal blog, or find a publisher who might be interested in sharing your words.

Thanks for reading!


Harry Wallett is the Founder and Managing Director of Relay Publishing. Combining his entrepreneurial background with a love of great stories, Harry founded Relay in 2013 as a fresh way to create books and for writers to earn a living from their work. Since then, Relay has sold 3+ million copies and worked with 100s of writers on bestselling titles such as Defending InnocenceThe Alveria Dragon Akademy Series and Rancher’s Family Christmas. Harry oversees the creative direction of the company, and works to develop a supportive collaborative environment for the Relay team to thrive within in order to fulfill our mission to create unputdownable books.

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