explanatory essay writing style

How to Write an Explanatory Essay: Comprehensive Guide with Examples

explanatory essay writing style

What Is an Explanatory Essay: Definition

Have you ever been tasked with explaining a complex topic to someone without prior knowledge? It can be challenging to break down complex ideas into simple terms that are easy to understand. That's where explanatory writing comes in! An explanatory essay, also known as an expository essay, is a type of academic writing that aims to explain a particular topic or concept clearly and concisely. These essays are often used in academic settings but can also be found in newspapers, magazines, and online publications.

For example, if you were asked to explain how a car engine works, you would need to provide a step-by-step explanation of the different parts of the engine and how they work together to make the car move. Or, if you were asked to explain the process of photosynthesis, you would need to explain how plants use sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to create energy.

When wondering - 'what is an explanatory essay?', remember that the goal of an explanatory paper is to provide the reader with a better understanding of the topic at hand. Unlike an opinion essay , this type of paper does not argue for or against a particular viewpoint but rather presents information neutrally and objectively. By the end of the essay, the reader should clearly understand the topic and be able to explain it to others in their own words.

Also, there is no set number of paragraphs in an explanatory essay, as it can vary depending on the length and complexity of the topic. However, when wondering - 'how many paragraphs in an explanatory essay?', know that a typical example of explanatory writing will have an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

However, some essays may have more or fewer body paragraphs, depending on the topic and the writer's preference. Ultimately, an explanatory essay format aims to provide a clear and thorough explanation of the topic, using as many paragraphs as necessary.

Explanatory Essay Topics

20 Interesting Explanatory Essay Topics 

Now that we have defined what is explanatory essay, the next step is choosing a good explanatory topic. A well-chosen topic is interesting and relevant to your audience while also being something you are knowledgeable about and can provide valuable insights on. By selecting a topic that is too broad or too narrow, you run the risk of either overwhelming your audience with too much information or failing to provide enough substance to fully explain the topic. Additionally, choosing a topic that is too controversial or biased can lead to difficulty in presenting information objectively and neutrally. By choosing a good explanatory topic, you can ensure that your essay is well-informed, engaging, and effective in communicating your ideas to your audience.

Here are 20 creative explanatory essay topics by our admission essay service to consider:

  • How does the human brain process emotions?
  • The benefits and drawbacks of remote work.
  • The science behind climate change and its effects.
  • The history and evolution of hip-hop music.
  • The impact of social media on mental health.
  • The benefits of learning a second language.
  • The process of how a computer operates.
  • The causes and effects of bullying in schools.
  • The impact of technology on modern education.
  • The reasons for the decline of bee populations and their importance to the ecosystem.
  • The effects of caffeine on the human body.
  • The process of how vaccines work to prevent disease.
  • The impact of video games on youth behavior and development.
  • The reasons for the gender pay gap and how to close it.
  • The benefits and drawbacks of renewable energy sources.
  • The history and cultural significance of tattoos.
  • The causes and effects of income inequality in society.
  • The process of how a book is published.
  • The impact of social media on political discourse.
  • The benefits and drawbacks of the gig economy.

How to Start an Explanatory Essay: Important Steps

Starting an explanatory essay can be challenging, especially if you are unsure where to begin. However, by following a few simple steps, you can effectively kick-start your writing process and produce a clear and concise essay. Here are some tips and examples from our term paper writing services on how to start an explanatory essay:

How to Start an Explanatory Essay

  • Choose an engaging topic : Your topic should be interesting, relevant, and meaningful to your audience. For example, if you're writing about climate change, you might focus on a specific aspect of the issue, such as the effects of rising sea levels on coastal communities.
  • Conduct research : Gather as much information as possible on your topic. This may involve reading scholarly articles, conducting interviews, or analyzing data. For example, if you're writing about the benefits of mindfulness meditation, you might research the psychological and physical benefits of the practice.
  • Develop an outline : Creating an outline will help you logically organize your explanatory essay structure. For example, you might organize your essay on the benefits of mindfulness meditation by discussing its effects on mental health, physical health, and productivity.
  • Provide clear explanations: When writing an explanatory article, it's important to explain complex concepts clearly and concisely. Use simple language and avoid technical jargon. For example, if you're explaining the process of photosynthesis, you might use diagrams and visual aids to help illustrate your points.
  • Use evidence to support your claims : Use evidence from reputable sources to support your claims and arguments. This will help to build credibility and persuade your readers. For example, if you're writing about the benefits of exercise, you might cite studies that demonstrate its positive effects on mental health and cognitive function.

By following these tips and examples, you can effectively start your expository essays and produce a well-structured, informative, and engaging piece of writing.

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Explanatory Essay Outline

As mentioned above, it's important to create an explanatory essay outline to effectively organize your ideas and ensure that your essay is well-structured and easy to follow. An outline helps you organize your thoughts and ideas logically and systematically, ensuring that you cover all the key points related to your topic. It also helps you identify gaps in your research or argument and allows you to easily revise and edit your essay. In this way, an outline can greatly improve the overall quality and effectiveness of your explanatory essay.

Explanatory Essay Introduction

Here are some tips from our ' do my homework ' service to create a good explanatory essay introduction that effectively engages your readers and sets the stage for the entire essay:

  • Start with a hook: Begin your introduction with an attention-grabbing statement or question that draws your readers in. For example, you might start your essay on the benefits of exercise with a statistic on how many Americans suffer from obesity.
  • Provide context: Give your readers some background information on the topic you'll be discussing. This helps to set the stage and ensures that your readers understand the importance of the topic. For example, you might explain the rise of obesity rates in the United States over the past few decades.
  • State your thesis: A good explanatory thesis example should be clear, concise, and focused. It should state the main argument or point of your essay. For example, you might state, ' Regular exercise is crucial to maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of chronic diseases.'
  • Preview your main points: Give your readers an idea of what to expect in the body of your essay by previewing your main points. For example, you might explain that you'll be discussing the benefits of exercise for mental health, physical health, and longevity.
  • Keep it concise: Your introduction should be brief and to the point. Avoid getting bogged down in too much detail or providing too much background information. A good rule of thumb is to keep your introduction to one or two paragraphs.

The Body Paragraphs

By following the following tips, you can create well-organized, evidence-based explanation essay body paragraphs that effectively support your thesis statement.

  • Use credible sources: When providing evidence to support your arguments, use credible sources such as peer-reviewed academic journals or reputable news outlets. For example, if you're writing about the benefits of a plant-based diet, you might cite a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
  • Organize your paragraphs logically: Each body paragraph should focus on a specific aspect or argument related to your topic. Organize your paragraphs logically so that each one builds on the previous one. For example, if you're writing about the causes of climate change, you might organize your paragraphs to focus on human activity, natural causes, and the effects of climate change.
  • Use transitional phrases: Use transitional phrases to help your readers follow the flow of your ideas. For example, you might use phrases such as 'in addition,' 'furthermore,' or 'on the other hand' to indicate a shift in your argument.
  • Provide analysis: Don't just present evidence; provide analysis and interpretation of the evidence. For example, if you're writing about the benefits of early childhood education, you might analyze the long-term effects on academic achievement and future earnings.
  • Summarize your main points: End each body paragraph with a sentence that summarizes the main point or argument you've made. This helps to reinforce your thesis statement and keep your essay organized. For example, you might end a paragraph on the benefits of exercise by stating, 'Regular exercise has been shown to improve mental and physical health, making it a crucial aspect of a healthy lifestyle.'

Explanatory Essay Conclusion

Here are some unique tips on how to write an explanatory essay conclusion that leaves a lasting impression on your readers.

How to Start an Explanatory Essay steps

  • Offer a solution or recommendation: Instead of summarizing your main points, offer suggestions based on the information you've presented. This can help to make your essay more impactful and leave a lasting impression on your readers. For example, if you're writing about the effects of pollution on the environment, you might recommend using more eco-friendly products or investing in renewable energy sources.
  • Emphasize the importance of your topic: Use your concluding statement to emphasize the importance of your topic and why it's relevant to your readers. This can help to inspire action or change. For example, suppose you're writing about the benefits of volunteering. In that case, you might emphasize how volunteering helps others and has personal benefits such as improved mental health and a sense of purpose.
  • End with a powerful quote or statement: End your explanatory essay conclusion with a powerful quote or statement that reinforces your main point or leaves a lasting impression on your readers. For example, if you're writing about the importance of education, you might end your essay with a quote from Nelson Mandela, such as, 'Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.'

Explanatory Essay Example

Here is an example of an explanatory essay:

Explanatory Essay Example:

Importance of Basketball

Final Thoughts

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Explanatory Essay: Definition, Outline, Writing Steps & Samples

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An explanatory essay  is a type of essay that aims to explain or describe a particular topic or subject. The purpose of an explanatory essay is to provide readers with information and to educate them about a topic in a concise manner.

In this article, we will discuss an explanatory writing definition, provide an outline of key components, and guide you through how to write an explanatory essay. Additionally, we will provide a well-written explanatory essay example to further illustrate required structure and format of writing the paper. Whether you are a college student or a professional, this article will offer all the tools you need to write a clear and effective explanatory essay. Our professional essay writers did their best to share all essential details on an explanatory essay – beginning with an introduction and ending with a conclusion. Let’s get started!

What Is an Explanatory Essay: Definition

An explanatory essay is a type of academic writing in which the writer presents an explanation or analysis of a specific topic or idea. Its main goal is to provide the reader with a clear, unbiased and well-supported understanding of the subject matter, through use of evidence and logical reasoning.  Instead of persuading or arguing with the reader, explanatory essays provide relevant information to them. Therefore, a writer must present information objectively, without injecting their own personal opinions or biases.  Additionally, explanatory writing can be used in professional settings as well, for example, in a scientific report, or in a business proposal to explain the process of a product or service creation, or to provide data analysis. According to definition of explanatory writing, it explains why things happen the way they are.

Explanatory essay basics

What is the Purpose of an Explanatory Essay?

Explanatory essay purpose is to provide an explanation or clarification of a particular topic or subject. This type of assignment is used to inform or educate readers about a specific concept or idea. Similarly to writing an informative essay , the focus is on offering a clear and comprehensive understanding of topic, rather than arguing about a particular point of view.  A writer should present information, define terms, and use evidence to support their explanations. Explanatory essay also aims to explain complex ideas in a clear and concise manner, making information accessible and understandable to reader.

Explanatory Essay Outline

Explanatory essay outline varies depending on information that author is trying to present. Aim of explanatory outline is to organize points into paragraphs and provide a framework on how to write an explanation paper. You can find an example of an essay outline online that can help guide you on what to do.  Below is an example of an explanatory essay outline template.

  • Background information on the topic.
  • Thesis statement.
  • First point supporting thesis statement.
  • Evidence or examples to support this point.
  • Explanation of evidence provided.
  • Concluding statement.
  • Second point supporting thesis statement.
  • Evidence or examples to support point.
  • Third point supporting thesis statement.
  • Summarize main points
  • Restate thesis statement
  • Call to action or future implications.

Explanatory Essay Structure

Structure of an explanatory essay typically includes an introduction , body , and conclusion .  Writing an explanatory essay begins with drafting an introduction . Introduction provides background information on topic and  thesis statement in closing sentence. Thesis statement offers the main idea of paper. Subsequent parts of an explanatory essay support the developed thesis statement using valid evidence.  Body of the paper is where writers present evidence, examples, and explanations to support their thesis statement. Body typically contains several paragraphs, each focusing on a specific aspect of topic and providing evidence to support it.  Finally, conclusion summarizes main points and arguments of the writing, and restates thesis in different ways. It also provides a final perspective on topic, and may offer some recommendations or suggestions for further reading or research.

Explanatory Essay Introduction

Have you been wondering how to write an explanatory essay introduction? A good introduction for an explanatory essay should have three main elements:

  • Background information
  • Thesis statement

The hook is an attention-grabbing and interesting sentence that entices reader to continue reading. It can be a surprising fact, a quote, or a thought-provoking question. Background information provides context for the topic being discussed and helps readers to understand significance of the issue. This section should be brief and to the point. Last part of introduction paragraph for an explanatory essay is a thesis statement . This is a statement that author will support by using facts, quotes and examples throughout the body of paper before concluding with personal opinion based on provided evidence.

Explanatory Essay Thesis Statement

It is important to know what is an explanatory thesis statement before exploring its purpose. Thesis is a statement that presents main idea or topic in a clear and concise manner. Thesis statement for an explanatory essay is an essential element as it serves as a roadmap for the entire work. It should be specific and arguable.  Thesis statement should be presented early in paper, typically in introduction, to guide reader's understanding of essay's main points. It should be specific enough to clearly convey a topic, but not so specific that it limits the paper’s scope. Additionally, it should be arguable, meaning that it should be open to interpretation and debate.  With this information, you can practice how to write a thesis statement for an explanatory essay.

Explanatory Essay Body

Next step after introduction is to write a body paragraph for an explanatory essay . Explanatory essay body paragraph provides evidence that supports thesis statement. It should include facts, statistics, expert opinions, examples and other evidence that help to prove thesis statement is accurate.  Body paragraphs should be written in a clear and logical manner, making a strong case for thesis statement. It should also be written in a way that is easy for readers to understand and follow, ensuring that evidence is presented in a clear and convincing manner.  To effectively convey information in the body of an explanation essay, it is important to use a variety of different techniques and strategies. This may include use of images, infographics, examples, theories, quotes, and other relevant information. By incorporating these different elements, writers can more effectively engage readers and provide a more comprehensive understanding of topic at hand. Additionally, use of these different techniques can help to break up text and make it more visually appealing and easier to read.

Explanatory Essay Conclusion

An explanatory essay conclusion is the final section of the paper that summarizes main points and restates the thesis statement. Conclusion for explanatory essays should be written in a way that ties all of information presented in paper together, providing a clear and concise summary of main ideas.  Steps on how to write a conclusion for an explanatory essay are as follows:

  • Restate the thesis statement.
  • Summarize main points: conclusion should sum up key points and evidence presented in paper, highlighting most important information.
  • Provide a sense of closure: indicate that paper has come to an end and that main points have been fully discussed. Your conclusion must show that the ideas have been explored fully.
  • Emphasize significance of the topic.
  • Provide final thoughts or recommendations: give reader something to consider after reading your work.

How to Write an Explanatory Essay Step-by-Step?

Best way to understand how to write an explanatory essay is by practicing certain steps involved in the process. By following these steps, writer will have a clear understanding of process and be able to effectively present information in a logical and easy-to-understand manner. Subsequent section will discuss how to do an explanatory essay by covering some important tips and considerations for each step, to help you produce a high-quality writing. Details on each step are discussed below.

How to Write an Explanatory Essay

1. Produce an Idea

First step in producing an idea in an explanatory essay is by thinking about what you are passionate about or interested in. This will make writing process more enjoyable and will also make it easier for you to have a strong understanding of the topic. When brainstorming a topic in explanatory essay writing, you should consider your audience and what they may be interested in reading about. More ways to brainstorm new ideas include looking at current events or trending topics in your field of study or area of interest.  Narrow down your list of ideas by evaluating which explanatory essay topics would make most interesting and informative writing. Once you have a topic in mind, do some preliminary research to ensure that there is enough information available to write a comprehensive paper.

2. Make a Detailed Research

Before writing an explanatory essay, you should do detailed research to collect relevant information. Here are some steps to follow when gathering information:

  • Identify topic and focus of your research paper. This will help you determine what types of sources to look for and where to find them.
  • Search for sources using a variety of methods, such as online databases, library catalogs, and search engines.
  • Evaluate credibility of each source. Check for things like author's credentials, publisher, and date of publication.
  • Take detailed notes as you read through your sources. Be sure to note author, title, and publication date for each source, as well as any key information or quotes that you plan to use in your paper.
  • Finally, review all sources again, and make sure they are reliable and trustworthy before you use them in your explanatory paper.

3. Use Appropriate Examples

Examples in explanatory writing are an effective way to explain a concept or idea because they provide a concrete illustration of topic being discussed. They can make complex ideas easier to understand by providing a real-world context. Using an appropriate explanatory essay example can help to strengthen credibility of information being presented. Sources used in this paper should be applicable to the real world. Examples can be used to persuade readers to see a certain point of view. For instance, when discussing a controversial topic, providing examples can help to demonstrate validity of the writer's argument. Also, providing illustrations helps the reader to understand unfamiliar concepts.

4. Create an Explanatory Essay Outline

Best way to know how to write an explanatory essay outline is to consider the amount of information gathered through detailed research and obtaining logical arrangement to ensure flow of ideas. Created through identifying a specific idea from detailed research and ensuring readers can easily relate logical flow throughout the paper. Appropriate outline for explanatory essay entails introduction, body and conclusion each containing specific information arranged in a logical manner to provide flow of your paper.  Example of an outline provided above follows a general structure and provides the best organization of communicating directly to readers. Moreover, a sample above shows a flawless way of obtaining information and opinion of an author. Besides, it provides an outline in a manner that is easy to follow and comprehend.

5. Write an Outstanding Beginning

Capturing attention of the reader to go ahead and read entire paper is dependent on the introduction. Therefore, providing a hook seems like the best way on how to start an explanatory essay. First step to capture your audience’s attention is usually to write an introduction paragraph for an explanatory essay. Introduction becomes the first paragraph in any type of writing, and it is important in capturing interest among readers.  Writing an effective introduction involves providing a hook and general description of the topic, background information and thesis statement. These elements provide an overview of your paper and instigate readers to expect more detailed information about your topic throughout the writing.

Explanatory Essay Introduction Example

Introduction paragraph is the beginning of paper and helps to introduce general ideas about topic and to capture attention and interest of your readers to continue reading. Introduction must begin with a hook, followed by scope of the topic and closing sentence should include a debatable thesis statement. Revising explanatory essay introduction examples can help you understand the concept better. Below is an example of introduction paragraph.

Why do teenagers commit suicide? The rate of committing suicide among teenagers have been on rise. Some leave suicide notes while others left nothing to show the cause of their actions. Suicide has been linked with mental disorders. Nevertheless, there has been a need to investigate other underlying causes apart from mental disorder. Therefore, there are several underlying factors that lead to suicidal actions among youths that need to be investigated. Increase in suicide rates among teenagers can be attributed to a combination of societal pressures, mental health issues, and a lack of access to proper resources and support.

6. Come Up With an Explanatory Essay Thesis Statement

Understanding how to write a thesis statement for an explanatory essay is essential in ensuring that the reader comprehends whole idea author is trying to prove. Thesis statement for explanatory essays provides main idea in a precise manner. It is usually written in concluding statement of introduction paragraph of explanation writing.  Effective thesis statement should be specific but must consider scope of the work. In addition, an outstanding thesis statement doesn’t include your emotions or opinion. Save arguments and viewpoints for an argumentative essay .

Explanation Essay Thesis Statement Example

Thesis statement is written in the concluding sentence. It is supposed to be specific and concise in providing the main idea of your paper. Additionally, to make it effective, thesis statement should be outstanding and debatable with open interpretation. Thesis statement sums up central point of the writing, and should articulate it in a few words without providing too much information. However, reader has to note specific ideas that author is trying to relay.  Example of an explanatory essay thesis statement is stated as follows:

Increase in suicide rates among teenagers can be attributed to a combination of societal pressures, mental health issues, and a lack of access to proper resources and support.

7. Support Your Ideas With Evidence

The central idea that author intends to express can only be validated through relevant evidence from credible sources. Supporting thesis statement is based on how well one knows how to write an explanatory body paragraph. Body of an explanatory essay entails evidence to support your topic. Evidence supporting the idea is obtained from detailed research conducted after identifying a specific idea.  Main aim of the body paragraph is to prove thesis statement. Some ways used to communicate in body include examples, facts and opinions among other evidence that are deemed relevant and credible. Having an effective body in writing requires presenting evidence in a clear and convincing way that will enable reader to easily relate important ideas to thesis statement. Including different techniques of presenting evidence in body of report, provides vivid understanding and wider perception of the topic.

Example of an Explanatory Essay Body Paragraph

Body paragraph provides evidence that supports thesis statement. Below is a perfect explanatory body paragraph example about factors that cause suicide among teenagers.

Society plays a significant role in shaping mental health of teenagers. With constant pressure to fit in and meet societal expectations, many teens struggle with low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy. Social media amplifies this pressure by providing a platform for teens to compare themselves to others and constantly measure themselves against impossible standards. This can lead to depression, anxiety, and ultimately, suicide. Mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, are also major contributing factors to suicide among teenagers. These conditions are often left undiagnosed and untreated due to a lack of access to proper resources and support. Many teens may not have the means to seek out professional help or may not understand the severity of their condition. Additionally, the stigma surrounding mental health can prevent teens from seeking help, leaving them to struggle alone with their thoughts and feelings. This further increases the risk of suicide.

8. Summarize Your Explanatory Paper

Last section of the explanatory essay writing is to summarize your evidence to support the thesis statement. Explanatory summary restates thesis statement and highlights important information presented throughout the work. Main idea is to link all information in the paper together to provide a common relationship between main ideas and thesis statements. Opinion of author is provided in summary section, which is dependent on depth of evidence provided in body. Author can agree or disagree with thesis statement, if it is efficiently supported by credible and relevant sources. Besides, the summary provides necessity of the topic at hand and possible recommendations.

Example of Explanatory Essay Conclusion

Conclusion paragraph starts by restating thesis and summarizing main points. Sample of an explanatory essay conclusion as one provided below will help you understand concept better.

In conclusion, suicide among teenagers is a complex issue that is influenced by a combination of societal pressure, mental health issues, and a lack of access to proper resources and support. It is important that we take a holistic approach to addressing this issue by solving underlying causes and providing teens with support and resources they need to navigate challenges of adolescence. This includes providing mental health education, addressing societal pressures, and increasing access to professional help and support. By working together, we can help to reduce suicide rates among teenagers and give young people the chance to live happy and fulfilling lives.

9. Proofread an Explanatory Essay

Final step in writing an explanatory article involves proofreading your work properly. It entails revising paper a couple of times to check if it has proper flow of thoughts, communicate to audience with the clear ideas, and understand if conclusion provides a concise value of the thesis statement. It is usually done a day after completion to easily spot mistakes. Moreover, proofreading explanatory essays aims at detecting minor errors and grammatical mistakes that might affect clarity and quality of the paper. During proofreading, any error or mistake is noted and necessary editing done to improve the value of the paper.

Explanatory Essay Format

Format for an explanatory essay depends on the discipline provided in the paper. There are different formats to write an explanatory essay including APA style format , MLA format and Chicago style paper format which are provided in instructions. Format provided in paper also dictates the style of structure and citation of sources used in the paper. The format does not have any influence on content of the paper and is usually based on a system preferred by the author. Writer uses the recommended format that seems easier and familiar. Therefore, explanatory papers can take any format with similar structure and enable the author to communicate effectively to readers.

Explanation Essay Examples

Explanatory writing examples  provided below show the required structure of the essays. Under the structure there are possible sections with some clarifications to help the reader understand the main idea. Explanatory essay samples are necessary to readers because they help in understanding how to build up the topic under study. Moreover, each of the example of explanatory writing provided below is important in learning different formats of writing, conveying a general idea of the work.

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Explanatory Essay Writing Tips

Writing tips are essential in ensuring an excellent explanation essay. Some of these writing tips are listed below:

  • Take advantage of transition and linking words and write a hook for an explanatory essay.
  • Cite sources from which facts were drawn. Sources should be credible and recent to ensure high value of paper. Following examples of explanatory essays is the best way of learning how to cite.
  • Proofread the paper. This involves revising work to ensure topic is analyzed in a logical manner that follows correct explanatory essay layout which is easily understood by audience.
  • Edit an essay. Follows after identifying and noting errors and mistakes during proofreading. It is done a day after completion of writing to ensure all mistakes are edited and paper’s value improved.
  • Share the paper with a close person as a way of further improving its value and ensuring explanatory essay meaning is maintained. In addition, by sharing, authors can get feedback on where to make necessary corrections and changes to ensure writing is more understandable and clearly communicates to the audience.

Explanatory Essay Checklist

Before final submission of the explanatory essay, there are several checks it should go through first to ensure a proper flow in the paper and that the intended information is easily understood by the reader. The checklist enables one to write a good explanatory essay. The checklist includes the following:

  • checkbox My explanatory writing is clear.
  • checkbox Provided information has required flow and is connected with transition words.
  • checkbox Supporting evidence proves my thesis statement.
  • checkbox I started an explanatory essay with a hook that grabs reader’s attention.
  • checkbox My writing is understandable to the reader or doesn’t leave them confused.
  • checkbox My summary ties key points to the thesis statement.
  • checkbox The citation and referencing style is appropriate to the paper format.

Bottom Line on How to Write an Explanatory Essay

The question of what is explanatory writing has various definitions but generally,  it is usually academic writing which provides analysis of a specific topic or idea to readers. Explanatory essay template provides the basic structure that can be followed in explanatory writing. Besides, explanatory essay examples provide vivid understanding on how to write a good explanatory paper. Through using templates and examples, one can master steps and structure of writing an explanatory essay.  Structure of explanatory paper has three parts that are logically arranged to enable readers to easily understand what the author intends to prove.  Besides, flow of ideas in a logical manner enables relating different evidence provided in body to thesis statement and accounting for correct conclusion. If you need more help on writing, feel free to seek more suggestions in our Blog. From guides on exemplification essay to tips on evaluation essay , you will find tutorial fitting any academic need.

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FAQ About Explanatory Essays

1. how is an explanatory essay different from an argumentative essay.

Differences between explanatory and argumentative essay is that explanatory paper is about presenting information to explain something while an argumentative writing is about persuading the readers to agree with an opinion. In the explanatory paper, the author provides an open interpretation of the topic before finally providing links between main ideas  that proves the thesis statement. 

2. Is an explanatory essay the same as an informative essay?

No. An informative essay is based on detailed facts and data while an explanatory paper requires author’s opinion on some certain points. Explanatory essay meaning is drawn from author’s presentation of idea and how well it is supported. Despite having an open interpretation and debatable thesis statement, clear facts about topic in explanatory paper are not easily determined. Author makes rational decisions based on the weight of evidence provided.

3. What is included in explanatory essay?

Explanatory essay is a type of writing where author presents some points of view on a certain topic, event or situation. Opinion of author is generally the idea supported by most of the evidence provided in body. Remember to include introduction, body, and conclusion to adequately support your claims and understand the difference between those parts of your paper.

4. Is an explanatory essay objective or subjective?

Explanatory writing is about presenting a balanced, objective description of the topic. The paper is objective and provides an all around perception of topic both opposing and proposing evidence on thesis statement. General description provides the author's idea and reader can easily understand point of view based on provided sources and evidence.

5. How many paragraphs are in an explanatory essay?

Explanatory essay has five paragraphs though it can include more. Paragraphs vary with subheading the author decides to include in essay. General structure requires one paragraph for introduction, three for body and last one for conclusion. However, in case of extra evidence in body and long introduction, more paragraphs can be used.

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How to Write an Explanatory Essay

A common writing assignment is the explanatory, or expository, essay. An explanatory essay describes your opinion on something, the ideas of another person, a process to follow, or an event that has taken place.

Rather than criticizing the information or debating its validity, you simply explain it and make it easier for your reader to understand. One you know the basic building blocks of an explanatory essay, you'll be able to write a great one.

  • Tell the reader why everybody should speak at least two languages.
  • State why the government should not observe religious holidays.
  • Discuss the gluten-free diet fad and whether it's necessary for most people.
  • Explain how the electoral college system works and show whether it's fair and effective, or not.
  • Describe the process you would follow when buying a new car.
  • Show that the Equal Rights Amendment needs to be fully ratified and how it would benefit the United States.
  • List the events that led up to World War I.
  • Make an argument for what you think will be the next world superpower.
  • Step 2 - Be Careful Not to Veer Into the Territory of Other Types of Essays It's best not to write a persuasive essay or process essay, even though you might be able to argue that both are technically explanations. Try to stay true to the explanatory style, which will demonstrate to your instructor that you fully understand the concept. While you should present evidence to back up your topic, your goal is not necessarily to sway the reader but to make a solid case. Likewise, your description of a process should be less of a step-by-step instructional guide and more of a discussion.
  • Step 3 - Gather Evidence to Support Your Essay The key to a well-written explanatory essay is good reasons to support your main idea. In some cases, these may be merely opinions, but as long as your reasoning is strong, your essay will be too. To write a solid essay, you'll want to get your information from reliable sources. If you're visiting a website you're not familiar with, check the About Us page to learn more about the organization publishing the information. Keep track of your sources and be sure to mention them in your paper, according to the style dictated by your instructor.
  • Step 4 - Outline Your Essay You won't be submitting your outline, so don't worry about using Roman numerals and indenting perfectly. Just do a little prep work to make the actual writing easier. It's just like an artist making a sketch before beginning a painting. Simple lists or text boxes will do. You could also try mind-mapping or using the old-school method of writing your ideas on separate index cards.
  • Step 5 - Write the Body of Your Paper An essay should contain a minimum of five paragraphs: an introduction, three body paragraphs , and a conclusion. However, this doesn't mean all essays should only have five paragraphs. It's simply a starting point. Your assignment will specify a word count or the number of paragraphs you need to include. Be sure to focus on one point in each paragraph, which you'll explain clearly in the first sentence. If you begin to branch off to another idea, transition to a new paragraph.
  • Step 6 - Finish with Your Conclusion and Introduction You should end your essay on a strong note. Tie your ideas together with powerful summary statements in a memorable final paragraph. But you're not finished there. Copywriters know that the first words on a page are the most important. It's often a good idea to leave your introduction for last. With the rest of your paper written, you'll better be able to draw the reader in with powerful language. The expository essay isn't as technical as it sounds. This assignment can cover a wide variety of topics. It's up to you to choose a subject you feel passionate about so you can do it justice.

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explanatory essay writing style

Expository Essays: A Complete Guide

Lindsay Kramer

You write a lot of essays, and while they might share some broad characteristics such as their structure, they can be quite different from each other. Some essays are meant to convince the reader that the position you’re arguing is the correct position, while others explore the differences and similarities between literary works. Beyond these, you might also be assigned to write essays that explain subjects, events, and concepts to the reader, sometimes walking them through processes. These essays are known as expository essays. 

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What is an expository essay?

An expository essay is an essay that communicates factual information. Broadly, this type of writing is known as expository writing . Expository essays rely on different structures to communicate their positions, like compare and contrast, process essays, and analyzing cause and effect. 

Expository writing is one of the four main types of writing . The others are persuasive, narrative , and descriptive writing. 

Knowing how to write an expository essay, along with knowing how to write other types of essays , is an essential skill for any student to master. Expository writing isn’t the place to be cute, clever, or edgy; it’s the kind of writing where you position facts and observations to let them speak for themselves in the most effective way possible. It’s the kind of writing you do when you’re analyzing information you’ve been assigned to study, thinking critically about concepts covered in class, and explaining the processes and reasons behind the conclusions you’ve reached. 

The purpose of expository writing

Expository writing has a clear purpose: to educate the reader. While it may also entertain or persuade the reader, these are secondary benefits and not the author’s goal. Well-crafted expository writing demonstrates the author’s expertise on the subject and in many cases demonstrates how they learned about their subject.

For example, you might be assigned to write an essay about the mock trial your class held. In this essay, you would introduce the assignment and the case your class worked on through the trial. Then in the following body paragraphs , you would describe each stage in the mock trial process (discovery, opening statements, cross-examination, closing statements, jury deliberation, and verdict) and how your class completed each of these stages. In the final paragraph, you would state the verdict your class reached and the judge’s ruling. 

Your essay about the mock trial doesn’t argue that the ruling was right or wrong. It merely explains the process your class used to work through the trial process and learn how real court cases move through the court system. In other words, your essay would present facts and process rather than opinion and commentary.

5 types of expository essays

As we mentioned above, expository essays come in many forms. These include the following:

1 Classification essays

In a classification essay, you write about various subjects within one category, discussing each subject’s unique characteristics alongside the characteristics that connect it with others in its category. For example, you might write a classification essay about different kinds of herding dogs. Your essay would start with a thesis statement about how herding breeds are different from other categories of dogs, then in each paragraph, discuss specific herding breeds (corgi, collie, heeler, etc.). 

2 Definition essays

A definition essay defines its subject by presenting clear facts about it. Your definition essay might challenge commonly repeated myths about a historical event by presenting firsthand accounts of the event from primary sources and discussing relevant social, political, and economic trends that impacted the event and influenced perceptions of it. 

3 Process essays

A process essay walks the reader through the steps involved in completing a task. A recipe has a lot in common with a process essay. A process essay’s opening paragraph explains the process that will be covered and the end result of following the directions. Each body paragraph is a step in the process, then the conclusion explains what the reader should have achieved by completing each step. 

4 Compare-and-contrast essays

In a compare-and-contrast essay , you support your thesis statement by examining the differences and similarities between the sources cited. For example, you might write an essay comparing and contrasting the dress code at your school with the dress codes at two neighboring schools. Your body paragraphs might examine the differences in which articles of clothing are and aren’t allowed as well as the overall preciseness of each dress code’s language and the amount of “gray area” present in each policy. 

5 Cause-and-effect essays

As the name implies, a cause-and-effect essay gets into how specific events and/or actions caused others to occur. They sometimes trace chains of events to explore why we find ourselves facing certain circumstances today. An example of a cause-and-effect essay might be one tracking how shifting market trends over the past few decades impacted the industries in your region, creating the current local economy. 

How to structure an expository essay

Expository essays follow the same general structure you use with every essay assignment : an introduction, body paragraphs that support and expand upon the points you made in your introduction, then a conclusion that reiterates those points and underscores your thesis. 

Unless your instructor requires your essay to hit a certain word count, there’s no specific length your essay needs to be. Similarly, it doesn’t need to have a specific number of paragraphs—but it does need to express your points thoroughly and accurately. To achieve this, your essay should follow this format, give or take the quantity of body paragraphs for the number of supporting points you make: 

Introduction

In the introduction, you present your essay topic and your thesis statement, ideally hooking your reader with intriguing facts. You also introduce your supporting evidence and all necessary context to help your reader understand your thesis. 

Body paragraph

Each supporting point you make needs its own body paragraph. Although the five-paragraph essay is typically considered the “standard” essay length, you might need a six-paragraph or longer essay to thoroughly communicate your thesis statement. 

Use transition words and sentences to transition between body paragraphs. Transition words and sentences are the phrases that express the relationship between two paragraphs, signaling to the reader why you’re making a specific point and how that point fits into your overall work. 

In your last body paragraph, you’ll need to transition to your conclusion. That doesn’t mean you should start summarizing here—give your final body paragraph as much insight and detail as you gave your previous body paragraphs. 

In your conclusion , you restate your thesis statement and summarize the points you made in your body paragraphs. It should neatly tie up any loose ends and answer any lingering questions the reader may have. 

How do you write an expository essay?

Before you write your next expository essay, familiarize yourself with the conventions and rules for essay writing . These general guidelines will help you structure your essay and determine the most effective way to present your information. But because you’re writing an expository essay, it’s also important that you understand and incorporate all the characteristics that separate expository essays from other kinds of writing. Keep the following rules for expository writing in mind:

  • Despite the taboo, insects make an excellent food source and could stem humanity’s looming food shortage, based on both their protein output and the sustainability of farming them.
  • The backlash to rock ’n’ roll music in the ’50s by religious groups and traditionalists actually boosted the genre’s popularity instead of diminishing it as intended.
  • Your tone should be objective and academic . While narrative and descriptive essays can take on artistic, impassioned, and familiar tones, expository essays stick to conventional language and a neutral tone.
  • Stick to the facts. An expository essay is not the place to express your opinion—or even present the facts in a way meant to change or shape the reader’s opinion. 
  • Always be completely sure of the facts you’re presenting. That means thoroughly vetting your sources, cross-checking them with other reputable sources, and properly citing every fact you put forth as the truth.

Start writing your expository essay the same way you would start the writing process for any other project: by brainstorming. If you weren’t assigned a topic, you’ll need to determine an appropriate topic on your own—brainstorming is where you’ll determine that topic. It’s also where you’ll determine your thesis statement, the most important component of your expository essay . Don’t move forward with outlining your essay until you have a thesis statement. 

Once you have a clear thesis statement, it’s time to outline your essay. With an expository essay, it’s especially important that you present accurate facts in a logical way. It can be very helpful to note your sources for each paragraph in your outline. 

With a completed outline, it’s time to start writing. Follow the standard writing process through this first draft, editing, and your revision. Once you’re finished, make sure you proofread your essay carefully—not only for grammar and spelling mistakes, but to double-check that you’ve properly cited every source and formatted your essay according to your assigned style guide.  

You write the essay, Grammarly gives it extra polish

In an expository essay, it’s especially important that your writing is mistake-free. Having spelling and grammatical mistakes in your writing undermines your credibility as a writer, so even if your ideas and insights are solid, readers won’t get as much out of your work as they would if it had no mistakes.

That’s why proofreading is so important . . . and why Grammarly is so helpful. Before you submit your essay, use Grammarly to catch any mistakes or unclear sentences that might have sneaked past you while you were proofreading your work. It can also ensure that the tone you’re using is the tone you want to be using—and that it’s consistent through your whole essay. 

explanatory essay writing style

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  • How to write an expository essay

How to Write an Expository Essay | Structure, Tips & Examples

Published on July 14, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

“Expository” means “intended to explain or describe something.” An expository essay provides a clear, focused explanation of a particular topic, process, or set of ideas. It doesn’t set out to prove a point, just to give a balanced view of its subject matter.

Expository essays are usually short assignments intended to test your composition skills or your understanding of a subject. They tend to involve less research and original arguments than argumentative essays .

Table of contents

When should you write an expository essay, how to approach an expository essay, introducing your essay, writing the body paragraphs, concluding your essay, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about expository essays.

In school and university, you might have to write expository essays as in-class exercises, exam questions, or coursework assignments.

Sometimes it won’t be directly stated that the assignment is an expository essay, but there are certain keywords that imply expository writing is required. Consider the prompts below.

The word “explain” here is the clue: An essay responding to this prompt should provide an explanation of this historical process—not necessarily an original argument about it.

Sometimes you’ll be asked to define a particular term or concept. This means more than just copying down the dictionary definition; you’ll be expected to explore different ideas surrounding the term, as this prompt emphasizes.

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explanatory essay writing style

An expository essay should take an objective approach: It isn’t about your personal opinions or experiences. Instead, your goal is to provide an informative and balanced explanation of your topic. Avoid using the first or second person (“I” or “you”).

The structure of your expository essay will vary according to the scope of your assignment and the demands of your topic. It’s worthwhile to plan out your structure before you start, using an essay outline .

A common structure for a short expository essay consists of five paragraphs: An introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Like all essays, an expository essay begins with an introduction . This serves to hook the reader’s interest, briefly introduce your topic, and provide a thesis statement summarizing what you’re going to say about it.

Hover over different parts of the example below to see how a typical introduction works.

In many ways, the invention of the printing press marked the end of the Middle Ages. The medieval period in Europe is often remembered as a time of intellectual and political stagnation. Prior to the Renaissance, the average person had very limited access to books and was unlikely to be literate. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century allowed for much less restricted circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.

The body of your essay is where you cover your topic in depth. It often consists of three paragraphs, but may be more for a longer essay. This is where you present the details of the process, idea or topic you’re explaining.

It’s important to make sure each paragraph covers its own clearly defined topic, introduced with a topic sentence . Different topics (all related to the overall subject matter of the essay) should be presented in a logical order, with clear transitions between paragraphs.

Hover over different parts of the example paragraph below to see how a body paragraph is constructed.

The invention of the printing press in 1440 changed this situation dramatically. Johannes Gutenberg, who had worked as a goldsmith, used his knowledge of metals in the design of the press. He made his type from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony, whose durability allowed for the reliable production of high-quality books. This new technology allowed texts to be reproduced and disseminated on a much larger scale than was previously possible. The Gutenberg Bible appeared in the 1450s, and a large number of printing presses sprang up across the continent in the following decades. Gutenberg’s invention rapidly transformed cultural production in Europe; among other things, it would lead to the Protestant Reformation.

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The conclusion of an expository essay serves to summarize the topic under discussion. It should not present any new information or evidence, but should instead focus on reinforcing the points made so far. Essentially, your conclusion is there to round off the essay in an engaging way.

Hover over different parts of the example below to see how a conclusion works.

The invention of the printing press was important not only in terms of its immediate cultural and economic effects, but also in terms of its major impact on politics and religion across Europe. In the century following the invention of the printing press, the relatively stationary intellectual atmosphere of the Middle Ages gave way to the social upheavals of the Reformation and the Renaissance. A single technological innovation had contributed to the total reshaping of the continent.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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An expository essay is a broad form that varies in length according to the scope of the assignment.

Expository essays are often assigned as a writing exercise or as part of an exam, in which case a five-paragraph essay of around 800 words may be appropriate.

You’ll usually be given guidelines regarding length; if you’re not sure, ask.

An expository essay is a common assignment in high-school and university composition classes. It might be assigned as coursework, in class, or as part of an exam.

Sometimes you might not be told explicitly to write an expository essay. Look out for prompts containing keywords like “explain” and “define.” An expository essay is usually the right response to these prompts.

An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.

An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.

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Expository Essays

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The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.

What is an expository essay?

The expository essay is a genre of essay that requires the student to investigate an idea, evaluate evidence, expound on the idea, and set forth an argument concerning that idea in a clear and concise manner. This can be accomplished through comparison and contrast, definition, example, the analysis of cause and effect, etc.

Please note : This genre is commonly assigned as a tool for classroom evaluation and is often found in various exam formats.

The structure of the expository essay is held together by the following.

  • A clear, concise, and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay.

It is essential that this thesis statement be appropriately narrowed to follow the guidelines set forth in the assignment. If the student does not master this portion of the essay, it will be quite difficult to compose an effective or persuasive essay.

  • Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion.

Transitions are the mortar that holds the foundation of the essay together. Without logical progression of thought, the reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument, and the structure will collapse.

  • Body paragraphs that include evidential support.

Each paragraph should be limited to the exposition of one general idea. This will allow for clarity and direction throughout the essay. What is more, such conciseness creates an ease of readability for one’s audience. It is important to note that each paragraph in the body of the essay must have some logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph.

  • Evidential support (whether factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal).

Often times, students are required to write expository essays with little or no preparation; therefore, such essays do not typically allow for a great deal of statistical or factual evidence.

  • A bit of creativity!

Though creativity and artfulness are not always associated with essay writing, it is an art form nonetheless. Try not to get stuck on the formulaic nature of expository writing at the expense of writing something interesting. Remember, though you may not be crafting the next great novel, you are attempting to leave a lasting impression on the people evaluating your essay.

  • A conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided.

It is at this point of the essay that students will inevitably begin to struggle. This is the portion of the essay that will leave the most immediate impression on the mind of the reader. Therefore, it must be effective and logical. Do not introduce any new information into the conclusion; rather, synthesize and come to a conclusion concerning the information presented in the body of the essay.

A complete argument

Perhaps it is helpful to think of an essay in terms of a conversation or debate with a classmate. If I were to discuss the cause of the Great Depression and its current effect on those who lived through the tumultuous time, there would be a beginning, middle, and end to the conversation. In fact, if I were to end the exposition in the middle of my second point, questions would arise concerning the current effects on those who lived through the Depression. Therefore, the expository essay must be complete, and logically so, leaving no doubt as to its intent or argument.

The five-paragraph Essay

A common method for writing an expository essay is the five-paragraph approach. This is, however, by no means the only formula for writing such essays. If it sounds straightforward, that is because it is; in fact, the method consists of:

  • an introductory paragraph
  • three evidentiary body paragraphs
  • a conclusion

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What is an Explanatory Essay Definition?

explanatory essay writing style

There is no definite black and white in our multifaceted world. Any number of situation, topic, or event can have more than one viewpoint for it. The core consideration is the approach of that specific situation, topic, or event. Hence, it is quite difficult to sway any of the core way of thinking or ideological beliefs. Hence, the best way to approach usually involves the incorporation of different facts, logic, statistics, and critical evidences to provide an insight to the idea and its validity. An explanatory essay is the literal definition of it.

So what do you have to write in explanatory essay? It is somewhat simple to understand. An explanatory paper is the form of writing that involves the incorporation of author’s presentation of a certain viewpoint based on certain event, topic, or even a situation. It is quite important to note that the view does not have to be agreed by the writer; however, it requires attention to facts and figures backed by intensive research for writing an explanatory essay. As a writer, you would have to elucidate the situation, event, or topic without any criticism by supporting it with sound analysis.

Explanatory Essay Outline

While you are going to write an explanatory essay, the key to success is formulating a logical plan. The explanatory essay’s outline can vary from one subject matter to another. It is mainly because of the depth of topic and associated information that is essential to be presented in explanatory paper. However, most of the explanatory essay varies from one to two pages in length. Prior to writing an explanatory essay, you should prepare an outline by following the underlying steps:

  • You should start writing by an introduction that should be concise and information for the readers.
  • After a concise introduction, you should start by writing a main body that usually comprises of five paragraphs. Each of the three to five paragraphs should be backed by concrete evidences, findings, and analysis on the subject matter.
  • Based on the body, you will have to wrap up by concluding the existing facts and analysis as presented in previous section.

Writing Introduction for an Explanatory Essay

The introduction paragraph for an explanatory writing is your first attention seeking beacon and can be considered as the most important part of it. You need to make it vivid and eye-catchy so that your reader would like to keep interested in your explanatory essay. Hence, it is of vital importance that you pay substantial attention on an opening statement. You can provide the readers with three core prompts:

  • Asking about a highly disputable question, providing the readers with a ethical dilemma, relevant quote, even something that could captivate the attention of readers at the first instance.
  • Provide the key details pertaining to available information that does not appear to be common knowledge for the readers. By doing that, you can easily draw a clear picture for the readers about your explanatory essay thesis statement.
  • Writing an effective and impressive thesis statement for the explanatory essay. A thesis statement for the explanatory writing should present logical facts to the readers while helping them to clearly articulate your main idea.

Body Paragraphs of an Explanatory Essay

Based on the depth of topic, the body can vary from three to five paragraphs by following steps:

  • Use key ideas for every paragraph having their own approach. However, each paragraph could have identical general style. The topic sentence should be presented that would concisely explain the information that would be introduced. At the very same instance your sentences need to be flow smoothly from the first to the next point for every paragraph.
  • Facilitate each of the paragraphs with substantial supporting logical evidences. Hence, presenting a claim or thesis is essential for supporting the thesis statement. It is vital to establish a good connection between topic sentence and provided facts so that your readers can easily connect the dots.
  • Elaborate the reason why the provided logical facts and evidences play an important role. By doing it, you can readily validate your logical claim and successfully strengthen your position as provided in explanatory paper. At the end of each body paragraph, it is essential to provide readers with a concluding statement that can iterate the significance of the logical facts and topic sentence. By doing that, you can link the paragraphs to the thesis statement. Following this systematic approach for three to five paragraphs can result in completion of body of explanatory essay.

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Conclusion: How to End an Explanatory Essay

You are now at the end of your explanatory essay. But there are still three key components that are essential for properly concluding an explanatory essay. It includes:

  • In the first step, you will need to reiterate your thesis statement. By doing that you are going to bring back the attention of readers back to the core of your explanatory essay. You can also strengthen your elaborated viewpoint.
  • For the next step, summarization of the key supporting statements as presented in each body paragraphs is an essential important part. You can restate the key points highlighted in each of the paragraph concisely. By doing that, you will tell the readers that you have successful and logically strengthened your thesis statement thereby increasing the overall credibility of your writing.
  • In the last part, you will need to make concluding remarks for an explanatory essay. It can also include elaboration of your viewpoint from the global point of view. You can also ask your readers with a call for potential action so that you can captivate your readers for further research.

What is an Explanatory Essay Example?

College and university students are overwhelmed by a number of complex tasks that can negatively impact their grades and performance. If you are having problems to maintain a healthy work-life balance, you can find the readymade explanatory essay. This will not only make you manage your time effectively; but, it will also help you to find help writing the explanatory essays. For more information on the explanatory paper, you can find in the following article:

Bottom Line

An explanatory essay is the form of writing that can allow you to showcase your writing talent and skills effectively if it is written properly. Choosing an interesting or even a non-interesting topic can be the first step for you. By doing that, you can even make the non-interesting topic quite interesting by spending ample time researching about the facts and figures. Your readers will have to see the details through your lens and that will make you the most important character in your explanatory essay. Besides that, adhering to details by developing logical arguments that are supported by thorough analysis can make your explanatory paper to be captivating for the readers. The explanatory writing is not that technical as it looks like. All you have to do is to captivate the readers through concise arguments that are backed by thorough logical analysis, facts, and figures. That would make your explanatory essay a perfect one.

Writing an explanatory essay has never been that easy. So what are you waiting for? Come and have a look to make your essays stand out from the rest.

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  • 15 Explanatory Writing

Explanatory Writing Chapter Opener

Start-Up Activity

Pick a photo from The 50 Most Powerful Pictures In American History , explain it to your class, and give three reasons why it matters. Then have students browse the collection, choose their own photos to analyze, and present them. ( Warning: Some images are graphic.)

Point out that the process students followed is similar to the process of writing an explanatory essay. Explanatory writing seeks to explain a topic to readers by analyzing and evaluating information. Students will need to research and interpret information rather than simply report on it. They will need to form new understandings rather than simply give the facts. Encourage students to approach the explanatory forms in this chapter with a genuine interest in the topics and with the patience to explore them carefully and thoroughly.

Think About It

“The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. [Don't be] a cuttlefish spurting out ink.”

—George Orwell

State Standards Covered in This Chapter

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.2
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.4
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.2.A
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.2.B
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.5
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.2.C
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.2.D
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.2.E
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.2.F
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.8
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.1
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.2
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.3
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.5
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.6
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.4
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.10
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.11-12.1
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.11-12.2

LAFS Covered in This Chapter

Lafs.1112.w.1.2, lafs.1112.w.2.4, lafs.1112.w.2.5, lafs.1112.w.3.8, lafs.1112.ri.1.1, lafs.1112.ri.1.2, lafs.1112.ri.1.3, lafs.1112.ri.2.5, lafs.1112.ri.2.6, lafs.1112.ri.2.4, lafs.1112.w.4.10, lafs.1112.l.1.1, lafs.1112.l.1.2, teks covered in this chapter, 110.38.c.10.b, 110.39.c.10.b, 110.38.c.9.a, 110.39.c.9.a, 110.38.c.5.c, 110.38.c.9.c, 110.38.c.9.d, 110.39.c.9.c, 110.39.c.9.d, 110.38.c.9.b.i, 110.39.c.9.b.i, 110.38.c.5.f, 110.38.c.9.b.ii, 110.39.c.5.f, 110.39.c.9.b.ii, 110.38.c.11.e, 110.38.c.11.f, 110.38.c.11.g, 110.39.c.11.e, 110.39.c.11.f, 110.39.c.11.g, 110.38.c.4.f, 110.38.c.7.d.i, 110.39.c.4.f, 110.39.c.5.c, 110.39.c.7.d.i, 110.38.c.4.g, 110.38.c.5.d, 110.39.c.4.g, 110.39.c.5.d, 110.38.c.7.d.ii, 110.39.c.7.d.ii, 110.38.c.7.e.i, 110.39.c.7.e.i, 110.38.c.8.d, 110.39.c.8.d, 110.38.c.10, 110.39.c.10, 110.38.c.1.c, 110.39.c.1.c, 110.39.c.39.d, page 162 from write for college, quick guide: explanatory writing.

Before assigning specific forms of explanatory writing, give students a sense of the goals and objectives of this major mode. Explanatory writing seeks to inform readers about a topic or explain how something works. It requires high-level thinking to analyze and evaluate a topic both closely and broadly. Typically, explanatory writing asks students to compare, contrast, classify, define, connect, evaluate, and so on.

Next, lead students through the quick guide for PAST questions and the trait-based recommendations for explanatory writing.

Using PAST to Understand Assignments

Teach students to analyze writing assignments.

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Page 163 from Write for College

Details that explain.

Stress the importance of gathering a variety of supporting details for explanatory writing. The best explanatory writing elaborates ideas with multiple levels of supporting details. After reviewing the types of the details on this page, have students practice elaborating with the following minilessons:

Elaborating with Supporting Details

  • Elaborating Ideas Using Different Levels of Details  

Use a variety of details.

Bridge support

Elaborating Ideas Using Different Levels of Details

Teach elaboration with levels of detail.

hieroglyphics

Page 164 from Write for College

Guidelines: writing a process essay.

A process is a sequence of events that leads to a specific outcome. Processes make up the fabric of daily life—from buying groceries to growing braids to developing research papers. Help students effectively analyze processes by using the following strategies:

  • Focus on how to do something (instructions), how something works (operation), or how something develops or happens (natural phenomenon).
  • Provide an overview of the process and point to the outcome; break down the process and show links between the various stages.
  • Carefully explore the process and develop an expertise that you can share with the reader.

When your students are ready to write their own process essays, lead them through this page. Download and distribute the Time Line to help them organize their details for writing. After the first drafts are done, distribute the Checklist for Revising and Editing Process Essays .

File

Thinking About a Process

Prepare students for how-to or process writing.

explanatory essay writing style

Using Time-Order Transitions

Teach about chronological transitions.

illustration of a clock character holding a pencil

Page 165 from Write for College

Process essay.

Have volunteers read each paragraph of the sample process essay. After they have finished, ask the following discussion questions:

  • How does the writer grab readers' interest at the beginning of the essay? (By presenting shocking statistics about the topic.)
  • What primary pattern of organization does the essay follow? What other pattern is used in the essay? (Chronological, cause-effect)
  • What types of details are included in the final paragraph? (Facts and statistics, analyses)

Page 166 from Write for College

Guidelines: writing a classification essay.

Classifying organizes and clarifies knowledge by grouping things based on similarities and differences (for example, kinds of hair styles, genres of music, types of Chinese cuisine). The essay of classification, then, takes what is scattered or all mixed together, discovers patterns or categories, and creates a framework for understanding. To introduce the form, help students understand these key objectives:

  • Consider different principles of grouping to create different understandings of the material. For example, different classification schemes for cars could include horsepower, weight, use, size, or image.
  • Create categories that are consistent (criteria are applied to all items) and complete (all items fit somewhere).
  • Establish a purpose for the classification to determine the kind of grouping needed. Whether giving the big picture or putting elements in a larger context, classification makes sense of information.
  • Avoid isolating items within categories. Show the connections between the example items (parts) and the whole.

Before students begin working on a classification essay, lead them through the writing guidelines on this page.

Download and distribute the Classification Diagram and Checklist for Revising and Editing Classification Essays .

Selecting Topics with the Basics of Life

Use broad subjects to find specific topics.

Selecting Topics

Forming a Thesis Statement

Focus on part of your topic.  

Forming a Thesis

Page 167 from Write for College

Classification essay.

Have volunteers read each paragraph of the sample classification essay. Help your students see that the writer explains individual categories in separate paragraphs. When you finish reading the essay on the next page, lead a discussion about it, using the suggestions on page 168 of this Teacher's Guide .

Page 168 from Write for College

Classification essay (cont.).

Have volunteers finish reading the sample classification essay. Then lead a discussion, prompting student responses with the "Reading for Better Writing" questions and other questions like these:

  • How does the writer get the reader's attention in the first paragraph? (with interesting background information about the topic)
  • What is the main idea of the first body paragraph? What types of details support the main idea in this paragraph?  (For one group of orchids, the traditional smell factor takes a completely different twist; examples, explanations)
  • What transition words or phrases connect each body paragraph with the next? ("one group," "other types," "while some orchids lure pollinators through mimicry," "another group")
  • What type of orchid do you find most interesting? Why?
  • What final thought does the writer leave with the reader? (a clever quotation that directly relates to the topic)
  • What strategy used in the model could help improve your own classification essay?

Page 169 from Write for College

Guidelines: writing a definition essay.

The essay of definition explores the significance of a difficult concept, idea, or ideal and shares that deeper understanding with the reader. To kick off your discussion of this particular explanatory form, read out loud or listen to this professional example from linguist Geoff Nunberg: As Fissures Between Political Camps Grow, 'Tribalism' Emerges As The Word Of 2017 . Discuss how the essay delivers more than a dictionary definition of the word, exploring its origins, evolution through time, and current context.

Help your students select their own words to define. Review the writing guidelines and have students read the sample definition essay that starts on the next page. Note that this model and the professional one include many types of details: quotations, facts, negative definitions, dictionary definitions, word origins (etymology), and synonyms and antonyms. As students gather information about the terms they wish to define, they should find these same sorts of details (and perhaps more).

When leading students through the guidelines for creating strong beginnings, middles, and endings, help them realize that this structure is not simply academic. It's about helping readers become interested in the topic, understand what you want to say about it, learn the details you have to share, and carry the information away with them.

Discovering Word Origins (Etymology)

Use shared inquiry to find word origins.

Word cloud

Page 170 from Write for College

Definition essay.

Have volunteers read each paragraph of the sample definition essay. Help your students see that the writer goes beyond a simple definition (which could occur in a single sentence). When you finish reading the essay on the next page, lead a discussion about it, using the suggestions on page 171 of this Teacher's Guide .

Page 171 from Write for College

Definition essay (cont.).

Have volunteers finish reading the sample definition essay. Then lead a discussion, using the "Reading for Better Writing" questions and questions like these:

  • How does the writer get the reader's attention in the first paragraph? (with an intriguing question)
  • How does the writer define "eclectic"? (choosing elements from different sources or systems, implying variety)
  • What detail most powerfully supports the definition?
  • What final thought does the writer leave with the reader? (returning to the eclectic items from the first paragraph)

Page 172 from Write for College

Guidelines: writing a cause-effect essay.

The cause-effect essay explores causal links within a chain of events, developments, or conditions. Students should probe their topics by asking “why?” and testing out “because” answers. To get them thinking about cause-effect relationships, place students in small groups and instruct them to . . .

  • Brainstorm a list of trends they've noticed in a certain arena: school, politics, technology, fashion, music, movies, sports, etc. (Economics)
  • Speculate on the causes behind and the effects of one such trend. (The rise in cryptocurrency)
  • Fill out a cause-effect chart with plausible causes and important effects. ( Causes: Desire for secure online purchases; dissatisfaction with traditional banking; technology capability  Effects: Unregulated exchanges, decentralized banking, massive energy consumption from "mining," new investment strategies)
  • Report your topic and conclusions to the class.

Make sure students know they can trace the links in the cause-effect chain in either of two directions: forward from an initiating action to its various results, or backward from an event or a condition to its possible causes.

After you complete the activity, lead students through the writing guidelines in the handbook. Because two-part essays can be difficult to organize, introduce three common organization patterns students can follow in their middle paragraphs. An effect-focused essay names a single cause and follows with its many effects (as in the example essay on pages 173–174). A cause-focused essay introduces multiple causes and leads to one effect. A combination approach deals more evenly with causes and effects. Students should choose an approach that works well for their topics.

After they finish their first drafts, help students revise and edit. Download and distribute the Checklist for Revising and Editing Cause-Effect Essays .

Analyzing with a Cause-Effect Chart

Analyze causes and effects of any topic.

Chemcial Cause Effect

Page 173 from Write for College

Cause-effect essay.

Ask volunteers to read each paragraph of the sample cause-effect essay. Have students track the causes and effects in a cause-effect chart as the volunteers read. After finishing it on the next page, lead a discussion about it, using the "Reading for Better Writing" questions on the following page.

Page 174 from Write for College

Cause-effect writing (cont.).

After volunteers have read to the end of the essay, ask students to share the details they gathered in their cause-effect organizers. What were the main cause and two main effects discussed in the essay? Then lead a discussion focused on the "Reading for Better Writing" questions.

Make sure to point out the way the writer integrated outside sources into the essay. Let students know they will likely need to conduct research to learn the nuances of the cause-effect relationship discussed in their essays. Make sure they cite sourced material to support their main ideas.

Page 175 from Write for College

Guidelines: writing comparison-contrast essays.

After the discussion, invite students to compare two topics. Start with apples and oranges. Despite the conventional wisdom, you can compare them. Both are sweet fruits grown on trees and available in grocery stores, with Vitamin C. Both are colors founds on the rainbow spectrum (red, yellow, or green apples; orange oranges). However, apples have a thin skin and oranges have a thick rind, apples grow in the north and oranges grow in the south. Apples taste great with caramel, but oranges less so.

With this sample comparison, embolden students to compare and contrast any two subjects, whether they have a lot in common (hip-hop and R&B) or almost nothing in common (a pencil and a surgery).

Use this page to support your students' writing of comparison-contrast essays. After they select their topics and prepare to gather details, provide them either a T-Chart or a Venn Diagram to help them gather and organize details for their writing.

After students have selected topics and gathered details about them, point them to the comparison-contrast section of the " Text Structures Revealed " infographic to help them decide on methods of organization. Then have them begin drafting.

Download and distribute the Checklist for Revising and Editing Comparison-Contrast Essays to help them revise and edit their work.

Comparing with a Venn Diagram

Analyze similarities and differences.

Presidents Venn Diagram

Page 176 from Write for College

Comparison-contrast essay.

Have volunteers read each paragraph of the sample comparison-contrast essay. Use the side notes to help students talk about what they are reading, and encourage them to record comparison details in a Venn diagram or T-chart. Continue the reading onto the next page, and then lead a discussion using the suggestions on page 177 of this Teacher's Guide .

Page 177 from Write for College

Comparison-contrast essay (cont.).

Finish the read-through of the sample comparison-contrast essay. Then lead a discussion, prompting students with questions like the following:

  • How did the writer get the reader's attention at the beginning of the essay? (With a provocative question: "Who is the greatest American athlete of all time?")
  • What organizational pattern does the writer use to compare the two athletes—subject-by-subject, similarities-differences, or point-by-point? (Point-by-point)
  • What detail was most interesting in the essay?
  • Comparison-contrast is the primary organizing pattern in the essay. What secondary pattern does the essay follow—problem-solution, chronological, or cause-effect? (Chronological)
  • What final thought does the writer leave with the reader? (The writer reiterates the main comparison—both athletes overcame poverty and prejudice—and sums up their impact on sports and culture.)

Page 178 from Write for College

Guidelines: writing a problem-solution essay.

“A problem well defined is a problem half solved.”

—Proverb

Like a cause-effect essay, the problem-solution essay explores a causal chain reaction; however, it seeks to break a link in the chain to end a harmful situation. This assignment helps students analyze problems and how they were (or could be) solved. Discuss these key points to help students develop problem-solution essays:

  • Explore a real problem—demonstrating a concrete, detailed, and personal understanding of it.
  • Present a creative, reasonable, and well-supported solution—attacking the problem’s root causes. (No bandages allowed!)
  • Develop a simple structure: describe the problem and analyze possible solutions. Deciding how to combine and balance these elements, however, is complex. Should the problem be simply described or carefully explicated? Should one solution rise to the top of the possibilities?
  • Use a tone that fits the seriousness of the problem.

When your students are ready to write their own problem-solution essays, help them find topics. Hand out problem-solution webs to use as they gather details for their essays. Point out that this writing activity will require thorough research to understand all parts of the problem. Then review the remaining writing guidelines on this page.

Solving Problems Critically and Creatively

Help students improve problem solving.

explanatory essay writing style

Page 179 from Write for College

Problem-solution essay.

Have volunteers read each paragraph of the sample essay. After each paragraph, ask your class, "What is the writer doing in this paragraph?"

  • Beginning paragraph: "Getting the reader's attention (with a surprising statistic) and identifying the problem"
  • First middle paragraph: "Providing background information to introduce the problem"
  • Second middle paragraph: "Showing what happens when cells develop antibiotic resistance"
  • Third middle paragraph: "Focusing on another effect of antibiotic resistance"

Page 180 from Write for College

Problem-solution essay (cont.).

Continue having volunteers read each paragraph. After each, ask, "What is the writer doing in this paragraph?"

  • Fourth middle paragraph: "Providing historical context about the problem"
  • Fifth middle paragraph: "Reporting on the seriousness of the problem"
  • Sixth middle paragraph: "Explaining a solution but identifying its drawback"
  • Seventh middle paragraph: "Outlining a multi-step solution and discussing the first step"

Page 181 from Write for College

Have volunteers complete the reading of the sample essay. After each paragraph, ask, "What is the writer doing in this paragraph?"

  • Eighth middle paragraph: "Explaining the second step of the solution"
  • Ninth middle paragraph: "Explaining the third step of the solution"
  • Ending paragraph: "Summarizing the argument and giving a call to action"

When you've completed the reading, discuss the "Reading for Better Writing" questions at the bottom of the page.

Page 182 from Write for College

Guidelines: response to an explanatory prompt.

Often, on-demand writing prompts focus on explanatory topics. Lead your students through the guidelines on this page, helping them understand how to read the prompt, ask and answer the PAST questions about it, and create a quick list. These activities should take about 5 minutes at the beginning of the writing period. Then show students how to use their quick lists to organize their responses: write a beginning paragraph based on the focus and write a middle paragraph for each main point in the list.

After bringing their work to a close, students should spend about 5 minutes revising and editing their work. If you wish, you can download and distribute the Checklist for Revising and Editing Explanatory Prompt Responses to support them as they practice.

Then give them a time frame (usually between 35 and 50 minutes) and provide them this explanatory prompt:

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. claimed, "A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus." How would you define a leader? What traits or qualities does a leader have? In a definition essay, explain what a leader is and how to become one.

When students do their own PAST analyses for this prompt, they should come up with responses like these:

  • P urpose: To define what it is to be a leader
  • A udience: General audience
  • S ubject: Aspects of a good leader
  • T ype: Definition essay

Download and distribute the Explanatory Assessment Rubric to help students self-assess their essays.

Analyzing Writing Prompts

Practice studying the parts of a test prompt.

Photo of a blue exam book

Page 183 from Write for College

Prompt response.

Demonstrate how one student read the explanatory prompt from page 182, analyzed it using the PAST strategy, and wrote a quick list to organize the response. Then have volunteers read aloud each paragraph of the response.

Page 184 from Write for College

Sample explanatory prompts.

Refer students to this page when they need to practice on-demand writing. Periodically assign different prompts from the page to help students become more comfortable with on-demand writing assessments.

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Using graphic organizers.

Refer students to the sample graphic organizers when they are gathering details for their explanatory essays. As you can see, the page shares organizers for each explanatory form from this chapter. The same organizers can also help students pick out key details in the explanatory texts they read. 

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Evaluating explanatory writing.

Download and distribute the Assessment Rubric for Explanatory Writing when it comes time for students to evaluate their work. (You might also provide this rubric at the beginning of the writing process so that students know the target they are shooting for.) Assign a grading scale, such as 1 (Not at all) to 6 (Completely). The cumulative score can then be multiplied by 3 to reach a percentage (with a perfect score of 108—an A+, or 8 points of extra credit). As an alternative, you can divide the cumulative score by 6 and round the result to reach an overall letter grade: 6 = A+, 5 = A, 4 = B, 3 = C, 2 = D, and 1 = F.

  • 01 One Writer's Process
  • 02 Traits of Writing
  • 03 Prewriting
  • 05 Revising
  • 07 Publishing
  • 08 Improving Sentences
  • 09 Building Paragraphs
  • 10 Mastering Essays
  • 11 Writing with Style
  • 12 Writing Terms and Techniques
  • 13 Personal Writing
  • 14 Narrative Writing
  • 16 Argument Writing
  • 17 Literary Response Writing
  • 18 Creative Writing
  • 19 Conducting Research
  • 20 Summaries, Paraphrases, and Abstracts
  • 21 Report Writing
  • 22 Writing the Research Paper
  • 23 MLA Research Paper
  • 24 APA Research Paper
  • 25 Writing in Science
  • 26 Writing in Social Studies
  • 27 Writing in Math
  • 28 Writing in the Workplace
  • 29 Reading Nonfiction
  • 30 Reading Literature
  • 31 Reading Graphics
  • 32 Listening and Note Taking
  • 33 Speaking Effectively
  • 34 Building Vocabulary
  • 35 Writing on Demand
  • 36 Answering Document-Based Questions
  • 37 Taking Exit and Entrance Exams
  • 38 Taking Advanced Placement* Exams
  • 39 Marking Punctuation
  • 40 Checking Mechanics
  • 41 Understanding Idioms
  • 42 Using the Right Word
  • 43 Parts of Speech
  • 44 Using the Language
  • 45 Student Almanac

How to Write an Explanatory Essay With Examples

25 November 2023

last updated

Higher educational institutions require students to write papers that explain some concepts. In this case, an explanatory essay refers to academic tasks, which allow learners to provide clear explanations for some unique concepts. Basically, this guide provides detailed information on how to write an explanatory essay. For example, students must choose topics that are supposed to provide clear explanations. Besides, explanatory essay topics contain some guiding words, like “explain,” “viewpoint,” “discuss,” “describe,” and “detail.” Then, outstanding explanatory essays are products of keen considerations, collection of the necessary and adequate evidence, and drafting. Besides, such essays should include a clear introduction, a hook, and a clear thesis. In turn, other essential elements include objective and irrefutable evidence, topic sentences, supporting examples, and relevant explanations.

General Guidelines of Writing an Explanatory Essay

1. definition of an explanatory essay.

An explanatory essay refers to a type of composition that allows authors to present some perspective on a specific topic. In practice, readers may fail to agree with the writer’s point of view. However, the explanatory compositions’ primary goal is to prove the validity of some concepts. Therefore, one must rely on accurate research and logic to make an essay feasible.

Explanatory essay

2. Purpose of Writing an Explanatory Essay

Scholars write explanatory essays when showing other people’s views or report a specific situation or occurrence. In higher learning institutions, these essays are common in some subjects, like history and other humanities. Also, scholars rely on these essays to explain facts and real situations in these areas of study. Besides, they must give unbiased explanations to support facts and evidence. In turn, the approach used must allow one to discuss a specific subject effectively. Hence, students must provide sufficient evidence to reach a specific outcome.

3. Clearness

Writers prepare explanatory compositions when providing an unbiased point of view. For example, a scholar must evaluate existing evidence and create a logical and unique argument. In this case, the primary aim of presenting such facts is to ensure that readers appreciate ideas without experiencing any form of confusion. Moreover, lucid explanations must show why things happen in a specific way. In turn, outstanding papers allow readers to have a rational understanding of presented ideas, even when they disagree.

Possible Explanatory Essay Topics

Learners may come across different types of explanatory essay topics in the course of their studies. Basically, such topics differ from other types of compositions, which makes it easy for leaners to identify them. Hence, possible topics for writing an explanatory essay that one may consider are:

  • Explain how two individuals of different interests and backgrounds could become unlikely allies.
  • Tell about a world-class athlete. Explain why you include this person in that category.
  • Describe the purposes of the Internet. Include various viewpoints, including that of users and providers.
  • Discuss a public health issue that you think is serious enough to warrant immediate attention.
  • Describe a significant environmental problem and what you believe should be done about it.
  • Discuss some events in the life of your favorite actor, author, sports figure, famous leader, or performer. Also, explain how these events relate to the person’s achievements.
  • You want to buy a new state of the art computer. Detail the steps you would have to take to ensure that you will make an appropriate decision regarding this significant investment.
  • Brothers and sisters do not always get along. Describe the kinds of problems this discord creates in families and how to handle a situation like this.
  • Your goal is to write a paper about an individual newly arrived from another country. Discuss some kinds of information you would include.
  • Your best friend’s birthday is coming up. Describe the plan you created to make this birthday celebration the kind your friend will always remember.

Students may identify a unique pattern from explanatory essay topics. From 10 examples provides above, a writer can locate common phrases available. Moreover, such terms act as guidance to show that an essayist must provide detailed explanations of various concepts. In turn, some of these sign positing words include “explain,” “viewpoints,” “discuss,” “describe,” and “detail.” Also, one must rely on such terms to make an accurate decision on the most appropriate format for writing explanatory essays.

Writing an Explanatory Essay: A Step-By-Step Guide

Step 1: preparation.

Writing an explanatory essay requires one to make necessary preparations. Basically, failing to prepare adequately can undermine the overall quality of the work presented. In most cases, writers who fail to take the required preparation score low grades. Hence, important steps that one must follow when writing explanatory essays are:

A. Defining a Topic

Students must define explanatory essay’s themes or questions clearly. For instance, writers must understand essay topics or prompts. Basically, the most effective way of defining a subject is identifying all the complex terms and finding their accurate meaning. Finally, scholars must figure out all the concepts required in the response before embarking on the writing process.

B. Addressing All the Issues

Prudent writers take their time to address all the issues that relate to a specific explanatory essay’s theme. For the topic “Discuss some events in the life of your favorite actor, author, sports figure, famous leader, or performer. Also, explain how these events relate to the person’s achievements,” one must define significant concepts that this famous person faced during his or her life. Then, students may opt to describe a “sports figure.” In this case, learners should provide a clear explanation of the preferred athlete’s performance and how it relates to personal achievements. Therefore, one must consider all the terms that can lead to an adequate description of a topic.  

C. Preparing Ideas

Outstanding writers must prepare ideas that remain relevant to assigned topics in question. For instance, one should gather all the ideas that support an explanatory issue directly. In this case, a good writer organizes the main ideas together, intending to enhance the overall flow of a topic. Also, essayists must organize thoughts before responding to explanatory prompts. In turn, some essential tools, like flow charts and flashcards, help authors to recognize vital concepts that must appear in their compositions. Therefore, one should consider preparing ideas to avoid unnecessary omissions.  

D. Considering the Audience

Explanatory essays intend to convince readers that a position taken remains valid. Basically, one should identify the intended audience together with their specific needs. In this case, good writers should prepare their work to appeal to a particular audience. For instance, one should consider the knowledge and language competency of intended readers. Then, writers should use exciting and straightforward language for young readers that may not limit their reading abilities. In practice, one should identify a unique means of persuading readers by using figurative language to support the validity of the evidence presented. In turn, the approach enhances the overall ability to pass the intended message to a specific audience.

E. Considering a Structure

The process of considering the audience requires one to identify the general structure of the writing and its role in supporting the main message. For example, learning institutions require students to utilize a unique design when communicating the main message. In this case, authors must focus on a traditional essay structure to enhance the primary ideas’ flow. Besides, this process helps identify significant flaws that may undermine the essay’s overall quality.

Step 2: Setting Up the Stage

Scholars should set up the stage for writing an explanatory essay. As a rule, one should not begin writing a composition without organizing the necessary ideas. Instead, students must take basic steps needed to understand a topic and gather the essential information to support the main arguments. In this case, writers include all the necessary details in an explanatory essay. Hence, these steps that one must follow when setting up the stage are: 

A. Finding Sources

Academic essays contain evidence obtained from credible sources . Basically, an outstanding writer must search for reliable sources to authenticate examples and facts to present them in their explanatory essays. Moreover, scholarly sources should contain credible evidence that supports the writer’s point of view directly. Then, students should gather evidence from a wide range of sources. In this case, all learning institutes require learners to use peer-reviewed articles, volumes, reports, and credible websites as evidence sources. Besides, such rules ensure that writers obtain current indisputable evidence to prepare explanatory essays. In turn, a prudent student should avoid doubtful websites that may contain information that is irrelevant to the essay’s topic.

B. Making Notes

Note-taking is an important activity in any writing process. For instance, essayists should make notes from researched sources. Basically, students should engage in a critical reading process for all the scholarly sources to identify the subject’s evidence. Then, one should take relevant notes as part of the actual preparation. In turn, quality notes play a significant role in allowing writers to remember and organize the relevant evidence to support all the arguments. Hence, a prudent author must engage in a practical note-taking process when preparing an explanatory essay.

C. Creating an Outline

The length of an essay outline varies depending on the topic and evidence presented. Basically, a prudent student writes an explanatory essay’s outline that reveals the main points of five paragraphs. However, students must focus on developing an exhaustive outline. As a rule, an exceptional outline must include a brief introduction, a working thesis statement , and main points that support central arguments. In turn, writers should provide a suitable general description for explanatory essays, which contains relevant evidence that supports established arguments and claims.

D. Writing an Annotated Bibliography for an Explanatory Essay

By definition, an annotated bibliography means a list of bibliographic entries for sources identified for writing a paper. In this case, one should follow the necessary formatting guidelines in preparing bibliographic entries. However, each entry must contain a suitable annotation that highlights essential details. As a rule, a credible annotation should have three paragraphs, namely a summary, an evaluation of a text, and a reflection on its applicability to a study. In turn, these three sections play a crucial role in ensuring that an author examines the source’s relevance in supporting main arguments. Besides, the process helps one to understand specific parts of sources that must be used to support ideas in an explanatory essay.   

Step 3: Start Writing an Explanatory Essay

The writing process plays a crucial role in preparing explanatory essays because it allows writers to bring all the ideas together. Basically, students have a primary duty of ensuring that they present essential ideas in supporting their arguments. In turn, the most important aspect is to ensure that one must follow the necessary steps in creating the most outstanding explanatory compositions.

A. Creating a Draft

One should utilize notes prepared with a working thesis previously to develop a draft of an explanatory essay. Basically, acceptable drafts should follow the essay’s format and must contain all the relevant parts and sections. In this case, writers should organize explanatory drafts with the introduction, body, and conclusion as three significant parts. In this case, the process of uniting the information together helps to create a unique picture of an explanatory essay. Besides, it helps authors to identify necessary factors that relate to their compositions. Hence, drafting an explanatory essay marks the first step in organizing information in a way that reveals a good flow.   

B. Putting Everything Together

Essayists should put the information together into a complete paper that communicates the intended message. For instance, a writer should include all the evidence gathered in the previous section of a composition. Besides, one must ensure that all the paragraphs or subsection follows a logical order. In this case, the primary goal of putting everything together is to ensure that one can read and grasp the intended message. Also, this step lays the foundation for revising a paper and ensures that all the evidence presented supports the essay’s central argument.   

C. Finding New Sources or Deleting Old Ones

A prudent writer should not stick to sources identified initially. Basically, one must become flexible when identifying credible sources that support an explanatory essay effectively. In this stage, essayists should review the sources’ applicability in enhancing the clarity of the communicated message. Moreover, if some sources fail to align with presented ideas, students must find new ones. In this case, writers should look for those scholarly articles that contain weightier evidence to support thesis statements and other opinions presented in explanatory essays. Also, scholars may add more sources to avoid distracting the flow of ideas throughout an essay. In turn, authors should delete previous sources if they fail to present weightier evidence to the central argument.  

D. Altering an Outline

Prudent essayist remains flexible enough to alter the initial procedure. As a rule, this process must take place after adjusting some sources used in the first draft. Basically, one should consider making the most essential and mandatory changes in addressing some issues that relate to a specific subject. In this case, essayists must alter some of the claims presented to ensure that they add some significance to a topic. Moreover, a reviewed essay outline plays an essential role in creating a suitable structure for a final explanatory essay. Therefore, one should revise the essay’s general description to capture the new evidence from the revised draft.  

E. Developing a Working Thesis

Each paper should have a remarkable thesis statement that covers the main ideas or central messages. Basically, arguments made in an explanatory essay should reflect a thesis statement. As a rule, a thesis sentence refers to the information that captures the writer’s position. Also, this statement should appear in the introduction paragraph. Then, students should rely on the draft and revised outline to create a working thesis statement. In turn, this approach can ensure that one understands the intended message in one sentence. Hence, the central claim must reflect on what essayists plan to communicate to the explanatory essay’s targeted audience.  

Step 4: Wrap It Up

The final stage in writing an explanatory essay involves polishing all the elements. Basically, the primary goal is to ensure that the one submits a flawless paper that effectively communicates the main message. In this case, learners bear the responsibility of polishing their work and ensuring that it captures all the intended ideas. Hence, specific steps that one must consider when preparing to polish an explanatory essay are:

A. Revisions

Outstanding papers are products of several revisions. In particular, one must engage in a rigorous revision process to ensure that an explanatory essay meets the necessary quality. Basically, writers should consider specific elements during the revision process. For example, some aspects include spelling, grammar, and paragraphs. Then, one should ensure that all words follow the accepted spelling depending on the language used. Also, the grammar in a paper should enhance the paper’s readability. In turn, wise authors rely on their friends to identify such flaws. As a result, the strategy makes it easier to identify common mistakes that can undermine the overall essay’s quality.  

Prudent writers consider the significance of the editing process in enhancing the essay’s quality. For example, an essayist should consider making essential changes in an explanatory essay during the editing process. In this case, the method may involve removing vague statements and adding more evidence to enhance the essay’s quality. Then, one should consider critics to make necessary changes in an explanatory essay and ensure that it meets desired outcomes. Hence, editing is a rigorous process that must focus on improving the paper’s ability to communicate main ideas.

C. Topic Sentences

Outstanding explanatory essays should have topic sentences that relate to the central claim. For instance, one must ensure that each paragraph begins with a topic sentence. Basically, this opening statement must dwell on a single idea and reveal a unique connection to the thesis statement presented in the introduction. In this case, writers must ensure that all the paragraphs begin with precise topic phrases. Otherwise, a paper may appear unclear and fail to provide the intended explanation about the topic. As a rule, one must avoid discussing many points in a passage to enhance the overall quality. As a result, focused explanatory essays gain more marks.

D. Concluding Sentences

Outstanding essays contain closing. Basically, the last sentence in each body paragraph must summarize the main idea covered in this part. In turn, one must ensure that this line gives a summative closure to the passage without introducing new evidence or arguments to a paper. However, failure to include effective closing can disrupt the readers’ attention to the primary message. Moreover, the last sentence in a section must connect to the ideas presented in the topic sentence of the following passage.

E. Transitions

Each passage must link to the next section through a linking phrase. For example, one must use transitioning words throughout an explanatory essay to ensure that it has an adequate flow of the main ideas. Besides, relevant transitions must appear inside the essay’s text. Unfortunately, some learners make a mistake of using many transitioning phrases in writing. Also, such flaws distract the paper’s readability and may result in the distortion of the main message. Hence, one must rely on significant transitioning elements to communicate the intended message to the audience.  

F. Formatting

Many learning institutions require students to follow specific formatting styles and guidelines. Basically, a successful writer must follow such guidelines when preparing their explanatory essays to ensure that they meet the necessary academic standards. In this case, students must make the relevant professor’s essential consultations to avoid losing grades due to poor formatting. Besides, an explanatory essay’s rubric from the appropriate faculty acts as useful formatting guidelines. In turn, a prudent writer must rely on such tools to ensure that the work submitted meets the necessary quality. Therefore, each student must consider the essential formatting guidelines for explanatory essays. 

G. Peer Reviewing

Peer reviewing is an essential step in the writing process that college students tend to ignore. For instance, writers must share their work with peers for the reading and reviewing process. In this case, one should identify other scholars with adequate knowledge in the subject matter to read an explanatory essay and provide a positive critique. Basically, such choices play an instrumental role in determining the possible flaws in written documents. Then, students should consider the feedback and its role in promoting the essay’s quality before making any changes. As a rule, essayists must consider several critics and their role in enhancing the work’s readability and significance.

Explanatory Essay Outline Template

An explanatory essay has a unique outline that enhances the ability to communicate the intended message. In this case, a writer should rely on a scheme to avoid unnecessary omissions. Hence, the main elements that one must include in an explanatory essay are:

I. Introduction

A. An attention-getter.

B. Contextual information that presents all sides that supports the argument.

C. A clear thesis statement that covers three arguments presented in the body of an explanatory essay in one sentence.

A. The first body paragraph.

  • A topic sentence that identifies the first argument.
  • Accurate evidence that supports this argument, which should contain an accurate citation.
  • An explanation of the evidence presented, which helps readers to understand the intended message.
  • A concluding statement that solidifies this argument and reveals its standing. Also, the concluding statement must be connected to the next paragraph.

B. The second body paragraph.

  • A topic sentence that identifies the second argument.
  • Accurate evidence that supports this argument, which should contain an accurate citation
  • A concluding statement that solidifies this argument and reveals its standing. Also, the concluding statement must connect to the next paragraph.

C. The third body paragraph.

  • A topic sentence that identifies the third argument.

III. Conclusion

A. A restated thesis statement.

B. A summary of three arguments presented in the essay’s body paragraphs.

C. A final statement that leaves readers with a unique impression.

Important Features of Explanatory Essays

An outline for expository essays is unique since all the sections focus on providing an adequate explanation of significant concepts. In this case, the number of body paragraphs should vary depending on the essay’s length. Moreover, one must ensure that topic sentences provide a detailed explanation of the central claim. In turn, writers should ensure that the essay’s body paragraphs offer concise and precise answers to the main arguments. Then, one may know that a paper pertains to an explanatory essay if all the statements included in an outline provide direct support to a written piece. However, other compositions, like argumentative papers, contain paragraphs that provide counterarguments and rebuttals. Hence, an expository essay’s outline appears unique since all the main points presented must support a thesis statement directly.

Breaking Down an Eplxanatory Essay’s Outline

The introduction of an explanatory essay must begin with a hook. Basically, the approach enables writers to capture the readers’ attention. In this case, essayists should give a brief overview of the topic to show the scope that the work must take. Besides, the closing sentence should include a thesis statement. In turn, outstanding papers should have debatable thesis statements.

II. Body Paragraphs

The body of an explanatory essay should contain the main arguments that support the thesis statement. Basically, students must ensure that all the topic sentences relate to the thesis statement. In this case, essayists must support the central claim with adequate evidence. Also, explanatory essays must contain accurate in-text citations in all the sentences that contain borrowed evidence.  

An explanatory essay should contain a summative conclusion. Basically, the last paragraph should restate the thesis statement and summarize all the topic sentences presented in the text. As a rule, the closing section should not contain new evidence. Instead, one should bring the work to a satisfactory closure that joins all the main ideas together.

Example of Writing an Explanatory Essay

Topic: Explain the Impact of the Rising Child Gangs

I. Sample of an Explanatory Introduction

Every human being strives to develop a sense of belonging. However, most teenagers fail in the process of creating relevant social circles. In this case, the majority of juveniles join various gangs, intending to achieve a sense of belonging. Moreover, the rise of teenage gangs is a major social problem in the twenty-first century. Although most individuals may disregard adolescent gangs’ impacts, they promote crime, drug and substance abuse, and lower education turnout among the juveniles.

II. Example of Body Paragraphs in an Explanatory Essay

A. argument 1.

Teenage gangs promote juvenile crime. For example, most teenagers who join gangs tend to engage in delinquent activities. In this case, many youths develop a sense of belonging when they engage in crime. Basically, they focus on establishing superiority among their social circles. Moreover, stealing and fighting are some of the activities that enable youths to develop a sense of belonging. In turn, gangs motivate juveniles to engage in such unbecoming activities. Besides, established bands give teenagers the courage to violate the law. Hence, the rising teenage gangs promote juvenile delinquency and encourage drug and substance abuse. 

B. Argument 2

Teenage gangs are responsible for rising rates of drug abuse among teenagers. For example, many teenagers learn how to use drugs through peer influence. In this case, they interact with friends who have access to cheap illegal drugs. Also, the process exposes most of the young teenagers to hard drugs. Then, the majority of the drug addicts began such behaviors during their teenage life. Besides, the membership to groups that engage in drug abuse contributes towards the addiction process. In other instances, gangs provide the necessary protection to the youths interested in drug abuse. Therefore, teenage gang membership has a close association with drug abuse and lower education turnouts among the juveniles.

C. Argument 3

Gang membership plays a significant role in undermining adequate education access. For example, being a member of a teenage gang distracts most students from focusing on their education. In this case, many juveniles concentrate on fulfilling the needs of their respective bands. Moreover, the process interrupts their ability to meet educational expectations. Then, the majority of teenagers who engage in delinquent activities and drug abuse records the lowest performance in their studies. In turn, the peer pressure forces them to remain in their respective gangs that promote such unfitting behaviors. Eventually, they lose the ability to focus on their academic goals and may drop out of their studies. 

III. Conclusion Sample for an Explanatory Essay

In conclusion, teenage gangs have detrimental impacts on juvenile lives. Firstly, the preceding evidence proves that teenage gangs motivate crime. In this case, the majority of youths who engage in such activities tend to embrace stealing and fighting. Besides, such children tend to engage in drug and substance abuse. Then, peer pressure and the need to remain relevant in their respective social circles motivate the juveniles to embrace drugs. Finally, gang membership lowers education turnout among youngsters. In turn, a large number of youths who belong to specific gangs tend to record poor academic performance. Thus, they may lose an opportunity to end their schools. 

Summing Up on How to Write an Explanatory Essay

Explanatory essays refer to common types of academic assignments that students must complete in their studies. Basically, explanatory essay topics give clear explanations of various ideas. Also, a scholar may choose a suitable topic from a wide range of issues in multiple areas of study. In practice, one may identify the topic to an expository essay through some phrases, like “explain,” “viewpoints,” “discuss,” “describe,” and “detail.” Besides, the explanatory writing process requires one to consider the question, gather the necessary evidence, collect adequate evidence, and create a draft. Hence, key points that one must remember when writing explanatory essays are: 

  • An explanatory essay’s introduction must contain a hook. 
  • All papers should contain a clear thesis statement.
  • Essays should contain relevant ideas that explain a specific subject.
  • A written work must end with a summative conclusion that brings the entire paper to closure.
  • An explanatory essay’s outline must consist of a brief introduction, a working thesis statement, a body, and a final summary.
  • The body section of an explanatory essay outline must contain topic sentences with brief points.    

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