What are you doing surfing the net and reading blog posts, when you should be writing? Procrastinating again, huh?
Well that’s okay. I can’t blame you—writing an expository essay can be frustrating. It doesn’t have to be that difficult, though; all you need is a gentle push in the right direction. That’s what I’m here for—hold on while I put on my Kibin superhero cape.
This blog post contains a tutorial of how to write an expository essay outline. I’ve included some helpful imagery, advice, and a downloadable outline template for your convenience.
But Wait? What’s an Expository Essay?
That’s a great question. Sadly, the answer is probably a bit more vague than you want it to be. An expository essay is a catch-all category that describes any essay where you thoroughly expose the inner workings of a topic and teach the reader something new.
In fact, this blog post could be considered an informal expository essay.
Usually, your teacher will ask you to write an expository essay to prove that you have done your research on a subject. Your goal is to effectively explain what a reader needs to know about the topic and answer relevant and interesting questions.
For the purpose of this blog post, let’s say we are writing an expository essay on the evolution of Donald Trump’s hair (I grabbed this idea straight from Crystal’s blog post about expository writing – if you haven’t read it yet, you should hop over there now. I’ll wait).
My goal in this expository essay is to expose interesting information about the topic through the revelation of factual evidence.
To avoid the daunting stare of the blank page, and to make sure that your information is organized, always start with an outline.
Expository Essay Outline Structure
There is more than one way to pattern an expository essay, including sequential, spatial, topical, and many other patterns. Since we’re writing about the evolution of Donald Trump’s hair, we’ll use a chronological pattern that will expose how Trump’s hair has evolved over time.
Here’s how the general structure will look:
Let’s break this expository essay outline down into its parts.
Expository Essay Outline: Introductory Paragraph
1. Start with a hook sentence to get your readers’ attention. Remember, your hook should be both interesting and directly related to your topic.
My hook might be “Is billionaire Donald Trump’s spectacularly bad hair real or fake?” By posing such a salient question right off the bat, I am encouraging readers to continue reading.
Seriously, haven’t you always wondered?
2.Provide background and context for the topic.Don’t assume your readers know anything about Trump or his hair (as one of my English professors once taught me, to assume makes an ass out of u and me).
For example, “Donald Trump is an American real estate mogul and media personality. In 2012, he ran for President of the United States. Trump is currently worth 3.9 billion dollars, but aside from his business success, he is best known for his amazingly bad hair.”
3.Identify the question or thesis. Here’s where you get to the point of your essay.
My thesis might be, “This essay will reveal how Donald Trump’s hair has changed over the years, and it will answer whether his mop is the real deal or a weird wig.”
(If your expository essay takes an argumentative stance, you might want to check out these examples of argumentative thesis statements with a more serious tone.)
Expository Essay Outline: Body Paragraphs
Now that you’ve caught your readers’ attention, brought them up to speed on the basics, and laid out your thesis statement, your body paragraphs are set up to offer a deeper investigation into your topic.
The exact number of body paragraphs you incorporate will depend entirely on the parameters of your assignment and/or topic. My example includes four body paragraphs.
Each body paragraph should include the following elements:
- A topic sentence that gives the main idea for your paragraph.
- Factual evidence that answers your question or supports your thesis. In my example, I’ve incorporated two pieces of factual evidence for each topic, but your essay may use more or fewer.
- Your analysis of said evidence. This is where you dig in with your commentary on the importance of the evidence.
- A good transition sentence to weave your essay together. I’m not going to dig into transitions in this article, but you can read these posts on transition sentences and transition words.
Because we are dividing the text into a chronological pattern, each body paragraph in this expository essay outline will divide the evolution of Trump’s hair into a timeline, beginning with his youth and ending with his golden years.
It’s a hairvolution!
I. Topic 1: Trump’s Hair – childhood to 17
a. Fact 1 – Family photos show Trump as a fair-haired blonde boy with a side part
b. Fact 2 – As a child, Trump’s hair could be considered normal, even attractive. Trump’s mom, Elizabeth, said, “My Donny was such a cute kid with the prettiest head of hair I’ve ever seen.”
c. Analysis – Trump’s hair wasn’t always so weird; he started out as a normal child with a normal head of hair growing up in Queens, New York.
II. Topic 2: Trump’s Hair – young man, ages 18-30
a. Fact 1 – Military photos show that Trump’s hair was starting to exhibit some elaborate coiffing featuring a soft side sweep.
b. Fact 2 – Trump’s classmate, Fred Dunst, at the New York Military Academy said, “Trump always had the nicest, fullest head of hair. Why he started wearing it in that swoop will always be beyond me.”
c. Analysis – Trump’s hair was beginning its migration from normal to bizarre, but the transition wasn’t complete. Evidence shows that Trump has always had a penchant for outlandish dos.
III. Topic 3: Trump’s Hair – his prime, ages 31-59
a. Fact 1 – At the height of Trump’s career, his hair evolved into a poof formation beginning to resemble the hair we know today.
b. Fact 2 – Trump’s eyebrows had also begun to grow out of control–almost at the same rate as his growing assets.
c. Analysis – It’s certainly conceivable that Trump began to wear his signature hairstyle as a way to conceal the beginnings of male pattern baldness. His out-of-control eyebrows and coiffure indicate that his mind is more focused on business and less on his appearance.
IV. Topic 4: Trump’s Hair – his golden years, age 60+
a. Fact 1 – Trump’s signature side sweep has officially swept the nation. Bruce Handy for Vanity Fair writes that Trump’s hair is most likely the result of a rare and unsightly “double comb-over.”
b. Fact 2 – Trump denies allegations that his hair is a badly styled toupee in a Tweet.
c. Analysis –While many accuse Trump of fooling us all with a poorly styled wig, evidence points to the fact that his hair is the real deal. Trump recognizes that his hair is imperfect, but seems self-assured in his statement that’s it’s his–much like Trump Books, Trump Model Management, Trump Shuttle, Trump Ice, Trump Mortgage, Trump Vodka, and Trump Steaks are all his too.
Expository Essay Outline: Concluding Paragraph
Finally, it’s time to write your concluding paragraph. In this paragraph, you can do any of the following:
1. Summarize your question or thesis. “Trump’s hairvolution, much like the growth of his business empire, has been nothing short of extraordinary.”
2. Discuss the larger significance of the topic. For example, “Could bad hair be an indication of wealth? Maybe future research will compare the hair of billionaires, such as Liliane Bettencourt and Warren Buffet.”
3. Reveal unanswered questions. “While Trump’s hair definitely appears to be his own, there is still question about whether the strange, yellow color comes from a bottle. After all, shouldn’t the man be gray by now?”
Expository Essay Outline Download
If you’re in the position where you need to write an expository essay, but aren’t sure where to begin, feel free to get started with this expository essay outline template(Word .doc download).
If you need more help getting started, check out these example expository essays. Once you’ve shaped your outline into a full essay, get a Kibin editor to hunt down grammar and syntax errors before you turn it in.
Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.
Expository essays are essays that cover or expose a topic that you’ve selected, in a straightforward away. The purpose is to provide information about the topic, rather than influence what the reader thinks. In an expository essay, you want to explain your topic in a logical, direct manner. Expository essays are informative and should not include your opinion about a subject.
The entire purpose of an expository essay is to inform the reader about your selected topic, in a completely non-biased manner. Every student in a school with common core standards will need to know how to complete this type of essay. Take a look at an expository essay outline to help you get started, or consider using a writing tool that can guide you through the creation of a high quality essay.
Before you start working on filling in your template, some research is essential. An expository essay requires evidence to prove the point you are trying to make. It's not enough to simply state what you think without evidence. Imagine a scientist is reading your paper. What information would they want to verify? Make sure you have sources for everything that needs it.
Above all, these sources or evidence should be reputable. You can’t quote a Wikipedia article and expect that to be good enough. Likewise, a personal blog is not a good place to select your facts from. If you aren’t sure if your source is reputable, ask yourself what credentials they have. A government, educational, or similar source will likely be acceptable. Likewise, scientific publications are good places to start.
Choose an Essay Topic
Your topic may be assigned, but if you have a chance to select your own, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, look for a topic that interests you. It’s not necessary to know all about the topic, but if you are curious or interested in it, you’ll find it far easier to write.
Second, your topic should be fairly narrow. Big topics are better suited to books than an essay. If you have a large topic, consider the various ways you can narrow it down to make it fit into an expository essay. Once you have the topic in mind, you’re ready to start planning out your essay.
Structuring Your Essay
Whether you are writing for middle school, high school or college the correct expository essay format is important. Ideally, you want an essay that is easy to read and presents the information in a clear manner. That’s why there are specific methods of writing an expository essay.
Most expository essays are just five paragraphs long, with one paragraph each for the intro and conclusion. That leaves you with three paragraphs for the body of the essay. If you have more information, you can add more body paragraphs, but these will always be sandwiched between the introduction and conclusion. Keep in mind that while it's possible to write a longer essay, it's easiest to stick to the basics unless you have other instructions from your professor.
It’s also important to start out with an expository essay outline.An outline gives your writing project structure and keeps it focused. If you’re trying to write a high quality paper, clear, defined paragraphs that cover each section of information should be included. Writing up an outline ahead of time is a good way to ensure you write a great essay that stays on topic.
If you find yourself struggling to create an outline, you may want to start with a template. Working with a template can help you structure your essay and will allow you to create a top quality paper to turn in. Templates give you a prompt for each section, to get you thinking about what you need to cover.
Start at the Beginning
Your expository essay should start out with an introduction that uses a hook to grab the reader's attention. An interesting fact or an issue that needs a solution can be a useful way to begin. From there, introduce your main idea and provide some context. Without context, the reader is left wondering why they need to know what you have to say.
The introduction of the essay presents the topic and lets your reader know exactly what to expect from the essay. Cover the basic points that you’ll be discussing or talk about how you will answer a specific question. This section lets the reader know if they want to keep reading or not.
Next up is the thesis statement or the core of the entire essay. Remember that the thesis should not include any bias. Your opinion should not be referenced in the thesis, or anywhere else in the essay. This is what the entire essay will be based around, so give your thesis sentence some serious thought.
Flesh Out the Body of the Essay
Each of the three paragraphs in the middle of your essay will need to have its own topic sentence that supports the primary topic. These sentences should relate directly to your thesis sentence, so if you aren't sure what to write, keep this in mind. It's essential that you stay on topic and that everything throughout the essay relate back to that singular thesis statement.
After every topic sentence, fill out the paragraphs by providing more information to support the starting statement. This may include any evidence in the form of quotes, anecdotes, personal experience, etc. The best evidence will come from highly respected sources that people will believe.
Once you've stated your reasons for the thesis, don't forget to explain why the evidence is particularly important and why you chose it for inclusion. Analyze the evidence for the reader to ensure they come to the correct conclusion and understand why you found it essential to support the thesis.
Each of these body paragraphs should transition into the next to create flow. Do this through the use of sentences that create continuity. Creating a paper that is easily readable, rather than disjointed and piecemeal is important for success. Go back over it afterwards to ensure that each paragraph flows smoothly into the next.
Wrap It All Up in the Conclusion
The final paragraph should restate the thesis sentence and summarize the points made throughout the essay. Be careful not to add any new information, as this is only for reviewing what has already been said throughout the body of the essay.
Ideally, the conclusion will give the reader something to keep them thinking about the essay topic. What have they learned in the essay? Recap this, as well as adding the thesis statement. This will get them thinking, which is exactly the point of writing the essay.
The final step in writing your essay isn’t writing at all. Go back over everything and make sure it is worded correctly and for maximum impact. You should also look for any mistakes that need to be corrected. It can be helpful to have someone not associated with the project to read over it. Fresh eyes can often pick up far more than your own.
Once you've revised and edited the essay to ensure it is free from errors in both spelling and grammar, it's time to share your masterpiece with the world.