What Is Expository Writing: Questions and Answers

Unlike creative writing, the main task of expository writing is to ‘expose’ information in a way understandable to the reader. So, it may be treated as educational and explanatory writing but not persuasive. For example, students meet expository essays when reading a new paragraph in Biology, a scientific article in Chemistry, or an encyclopedia article when studying the structure of the Hadron Collider. It may not seem a big deal to handle such an assignment, but writing a good expository paper to cover a large auditorium is difficult. So, let’s look at the essential issues of expository writing.

Meaning of Expository Writing

Expository writing is one of the types in a row with persuasive, descriptive, and narrative. So, each type has peculiarities and requirements that differentiate it from others. The main task of this writing is not to describe, narrate, or persuade but to expose issues to the reader. It is commonly applied in essays, magazines and newspaper articles, manuals, encyclopedias, textbooks, and other publications issued to explain and educate. 

Expository writing is often applied as an educational tool in the academic world. Each paper, like each paragraph, has a definite structure that is required to follow. When working on your expository writing, it is crucial to consider the target audience and the presence of background knowledge of the main topic. The task of a writer is to produce informative writing that will contain enough information to grab the main idea and leave the feeling of information gained after reading. 

Do and Don’ts of Expository Writing

Perfect knowledge of certain writing rules and issues to avoid contributing to better outcomes. Like any academic writing, expository writing has some restrictions and must-have points. So, let’s be on the safe side. It is recommended to:

  • Be objective and clear.
  • Focus on the idea.
  • Consider the target audience.
  • Write on a known topic.
  • Select a strong thesis.
  • Cite external sources.
  • Make transitions between paragraphs.
  • Place arguments logically.
  • Follow the structure.

But some moments may spoil your expository writing or showcase your unawareness or incompetence. Here they are. Things that are worth avoiding:

  • Avoid 1st person. 
  • Don’t put several ideas into one paragraph.
  • Don’t give your personal opinion.
  • Don’t change the structure.
  • Don’t try to change the reader’s mind.
  • Avoid specific terms.
  • Don’t submit a paper without previous proofreading.

So, do not forget to organize your expository paper according to the general or provided by your teacher requirements. Moreover, consider formatting and do not hesitate to check your writing and make all the necessary adjustments. 

Expository Writing Style Types

Before launching the writing process, you need to know that there are different expository essay types. Although they have a lot in common, some peculiar features simultaneously make them special and specific.

  • Definition (descriptive) essay is considered the most creative, but it is still used to describe issues like the place, object, person, event, etc. But the writer should not fascinate or engage the reader; just explain. Try to involve all the reader’s five senses to make your description close to reality.
  • Cause and effect essays target to identify the cause and effect interaction and give explanations, for instance, historical events. Do not forget to support such an essay with evidence and facts.
  • The problem and solution essay is similar to cause and effect but also provides possible solutions. It aims to investigate the problem from different sides, considering details and applying critical analysis and thorough research.
  • Process essay looks like a step-by-step guide, known as a how-to essay. It is often applied in manuals, cookery books, or articles that provide tips. In writing such an essay, you must break your paper into small steps and represent each in detail.
  • Compare and contrast essay is a popular assignment in educational establishments. The task of such expository writing is to compare two selected or given objects. It is required to emphasize differences clearly and precisely.

So, before writing, it is crucial to identify what type you are handling and try not to mix the requirements and distinct features. 

Structure of Expository Writing

An expository essay has a definite structure like any other type of academic writing. The length of the paper should not exceed 500-800 words since the standard five-paragraph format is the most suitable for such writing. The typical structure must include an introduction, three (or more if necessary or required) paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Expository Writing Meaning of Proper Outline

However, it is also essential not to skip writing an expository essay outline since it may serve as a framework for your writing. It assists in structure organization and logical exposition of facts and details. Moreover, it may save your writing time since you will have all the necessary information under your hand. 

So, outline your writing according to the following plan:

  • Introduction: Define a hook, search for background information, and think over a thesis statement.
  • Main body: The structure of each paragraph must be similar and comprise a topic sentence, discussion, and arguments to support the main idea.
  • Conclusion: Summarize the essay and restate the thesis statement from the introduction.

Sticking to the structure defined in the outline, you will achieve the proper format while writing and avoid further adjustments. Moreover, while preparing the plan, you may use it as a draft and include all the citations you will use to support your arguments.

Tips for Effective Expository Writing

When facing an expository writing assignment, writers may get lost and need magic instructions to cope with the task without pitfalls. So, some helpful tips are easy to follow.

  1. Do not delay with a start. Begin preparing to write after receiving instructions for your assignment. It is good to make some initial drafts and add to them daily.
  2. Don’t hesitate to use literary devices to avoid making your expository essay bland but do not overdo it.
  3. Check the facts you use referring to credible resources.

So, try to use smart solutions for your assignments. And never underestimate your abilities. Using our step-by-step guide, you will master a new type of writing that is widely used and should be practiced to engage and inspire readers.


What are the 4 types of expository writing?

There are several types of expository writing. Each type has its requirements and differs from other types. So, the most popular types are descriptive essays, comparison essays, cause-and-effect essays, and process essays. However, we should not neglect problem and solution essays and classification essays.

What are the 5 characteristics of expository writing?

The distinct features of expository writing are informativeness, clarity, text organization, avoidance of 1st person, and impartial style without the aim of convincing the reader. 

What is the main purpose of expository writing?

The primary aim of expository writing is to reveal the facts and understandably explain the processes. In addition, it also targets to educate the reader by providing only checked information supported by evidence. But, it does not pursue the goal of convincing the reader but informing.

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