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Expository Essay

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, exempla, the analysis of cause and effect, etc. When writing an essay, follow these eight basic steps:

·         Select a topic:
Be sure the topic is narrow enough to make it manageable within the space of an essay

·         Write a thesis sentence:
Be sure the thesis statement(or sentence) expresses a controlling idea that is neither too
broad nor too specific to be developed effectively

·         Select a method of development:
Check through all the methods before you finally settle on the one which will best serve your thesis:



compare and contrast

cause and effect


process analysis

·         Organize the essay:
Begin by listing the major divisions which the body paragraphs in your essay will discuss; then fill in the primary supports that each body paragraph of the essay will contain

·         Write topic sentences for the body paragraphs of the essay:
For each body paragraph, furnish a topic sentence that directly relates to the thesis sentence

·         Write the body paragraphs of the essay:
Each body paragraph should develop the primary support covered in that paragraph's topic sentence

·         Furnish a paragraph of introduction:
An introductory paragraph should state the thesis of the essay, introduce the divisions in the body paragraphs of the essay, gain the interest of the reader

·         Write a paragraph of conclusion:

§         Restate the thesis and divisions of the essay

§         Bring the essay to an appropriate and effective close

§         Avoid digressing into new issues

Source: Ida Masters Hollowell, James A. Levernier, A. Franklin Parks, Structuring Paragraphs: A Guide to Effective Writing. 2nd ed. New York: St. Martin's,1986