What is Expository Writing? – Definition & Examples

Instructor: Andrew Sedillo

Andrew Sedillo has instructed Language Arts, Social Studies, and Technology at a middle school level. He presently holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Education, Master’s of Arts Educational Learning Technology, and a Graduate certificate in Online Training and Learning.

This lesson will assist you in identifying and understanding the major components of expository writing. Learn more about expository writing and see some common examples. Then, test your skill with a quiz.

Definition of Expository Writing

Expository writing is writing that seeks to explain, illuminate or ‘expose’ (which is where the word ‘expository’ comes from). This type of writing can include essays, newspaper and magazine articles, instruction manuals, textbooks, encyclopedia articles and other forms of writing, so long as they seek to explain. Expository writing differs from other forms of writing, such as fiction and poetry. In fact, this lesson itself is an example of expository writing.

The expository essay is a instrument that is often used in the academic world. If you’ve attended school, it’s very likely you’ve written one. Most expository essays have an introductory paragraph in which a thesis or objective is stated, several main figure paragraphs that prove or explain what is in the introduction, and a concluding paragraph in which everything is summed up.

When writing an expository essay, it’s significant to write with the assumption that your audience has little to no background skill about the main topic. Your duty as the writer is to provide the reader with as much information as you can. The reader should feel as if he or she has learned something after reading your essay.

Examples of Expository Writing

There are different types of expository writing that are used for different purposes. Let’s take a look at some examples. Very first, a descriptive essay can be used when the writer wants to describe the characteristics or features of a person, place, thing, process, event, etc. Descriptive essays, more than other types of expository writing, seek to stimulate the reader’s senses.

For example, if you dreamed to describe what chocolate chip cookies are like, you might write: ‘Chocolate chip cookies are one of the most popular desserts in the world. They can be either crispy or soft and have a sweet smell to them reminiscent of a bakery. They taste rich and melt in your mouth. When they bake, they ‘wrinkle’ up in the oven, and the combination of the nooks and crannies in the dough with the mouth-watering chocolate chips on top make them hard to fight back.’ These several sentences have aptly described chocolate chip cookies using look, smell, taste and touch. You could also describe a process, such as running a marathon, in which you told the reader about how much you sweated, how you lost your breath going up hills, how you couldn’t see three feet in front of you because of the fog, etc.

Next, process writing is often used in instruction manuals and other technical writing lumps. A process essay should be well-structured, so that someone reading it can go after sequential directions. An example of such a chunk of writing would be practically any instruction manual you might happen to have, from how to operate your toaster oven to how to switch a tire on a bicycle. Software manuals are total of this type of writing. Many examples of process writing have step-by-step instructions, such as ‘Step 1: Put neck corset on dog. Step Two: Link leash to cangue. Step Three: Open door and step outside with dog.’

Now let’s take a look at comparison essays. which display how two or more things are similar or different. For example, an article about football positions might say: ‘Broad receivers and taut completes are almost the same thing on the football field. They are both positions on offense that are designed to score points. What makes these positions different, however, is the formation in which they line up on the football field. In addition to formation differences, the taut end is used more for blocking than a broad receiver.’

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Next, a cause/effect essay will recount an event or events and explain why one or more things occurred. For example: ‘Johnny was rated very by college scouts in the nation and had a good chance of getting into several top schools. He was averaging almost 200 yards rushing in high school football games. Johnny was jumpy that another athlete would begin to catch up to him in stats, so he determined to take sports-enhancing drugs. Unluckily for Johnny, he was eventually drug tested. This led to him not only to being kicked off the football team but to being denied several scholarships from Ivy League universities. He eventually ended up taking night courses at a community college while working full-time at a car wash. It took him four years to finish his associate’s degree.’ This paragraph explains nicely the cause and effect pattern of how Johnny’s life went downhill.

Ultimately, a problem/solution essay states a problem and then proposes one or more solutions. Newspaper editorials are good examples of problem/solution writing. For example: ‘Our public schools waste over 70% of the paper, plastic and glass that they use. There are ways we can get teachers and students to reduce the waste. One solution would be to put a recycling bin in each classroom. This would at least begin to make people more aware of the problem. Another idea would be to have a contest to see which classroom can produce the most recycling or the least amount of trash. The winner could be treated to a pizza party.’

Lesson Summary

Expository writing is writing that seeks to explain, illuminate or ‘expose’ (which is where the word ‘expository’ comes from). This type of writing is different from creative writing. Expository essays are used via academia, but this type of writing is also used in magazines, newspapers, technical writing and other areas. Five of the most common types of expository writing are descriptive essays. process essays. comparison essays. cause/effect essays and problem/solution essays.

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