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.
Contributors: Jack Baker, Allen Brizee, Elizabeth Angeli
Last Edited: 2013-03-11 10:04:15
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.
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
Informative essay writing is an art that every student needs to master. In order to graduate from any educational establishment, one has to accomplish a lot of writing assignments successfully. Thus, essay writing skills are of utmost importance when it comes to student’s academic performance and grades. In this post, we will share with you some tips on how to work on an essay and pay special attention to hints and strategies for writing essays as well as examples of informative essay topics.
A special feature of an informative essay is that it sparks the reader’s interest to the discussed topic. Therefore, to produce a high-grade paper, you should know virtually everything about the theme of the essay and express your thoughts in an organized manner. Profound research, detailed outline, close following our recommendations, and informative essay examples will help you master an outstanding piece. Still, you can always read our post with some writing tips and become a guru of essay writing.
GET A HIGH GRADE
An Informative Essay: Where to Start?
The very first step to getting started with an informative essay is studying assignment requirements and instructions very carefully as well as collecting relevant information. Find out what sources (primary or secondary) are required to know where to get the information. Specify the formatting requirements, word count, and essay content. Ask about the deadline to start working on the essay as early as possible so that you have time to make all necessary corrections.
The second step is choosing a topic. Selecting a theme of your writing is an extremely important decision since it influences other stages of your writing. You need to pick a topic that you can easily find information about. At the same time, your writing should not, in any case, be trivial and boring; surprise a reader with some interesting facts and intriguing statements. Think about your audience. This is necessary to get the correct idea about what new you can tell people in your composition.
After you find the topic, it’s time to do the research and brainstorm on the theme. This process is quite labor-intensive and requires a lot of time and attention. Not to miss out any important detail in your writing, it is essential to make notes and write down interesting and informative facts that you can include in your essay. Make sure to collect all the information before moving forward. Otherwise, you risk forgetting about some main points. Once the supporting material is in place, you are to write down your ideas to form an outline and proceed with the first draft of the paper.
Informative Essay Topics – How to Choose the Theme?
Choosing informative essay topics can stall your writing process for a long time, since you simply do not know what to write about. In addition to the case where your teacher formulates the exact topic of the essay, the choice of a theme can be reduced to narrowing the direction given by the tutor. When picking a particular topic, pay attention to the availability of literary sources and relevant information to use in your writing. In some cases, it is more logical to search the necessary information first and then proceed with choosing a topic and working on an essay.
As it has been earlier stated, choosing the right topic for an informative essay is half the battle. Therefore, before deciding what to write about, make sure that the topic is interesting to the audience. Avoid picking beaten themes that have already been discussed millions of times. Apart from being attractive and catchy to the audience, the topic should be also motivating to you. Otherwise, you will not be able to do the detailed research and collect all the necessary information. In case you are excited about the theme, the writing process will be much easier and the result will pleasantly surprise you.
There is no rule on what topic to choose for an informative essay. Everything depends on your interests, preferences of your tutor, the academic level required, word count, and the discipline. It will be difficult to prepare a 500-word essay on a broad topic; however, 500 words will be perfectly enough to write about your weekend or hobby. Here, you should also understand that easy informative topics will never get a high grade. Therefore, it is recommended to write about some interesting, complex, and engaging themes. Although there are no good/ bad informative essay topics, we have prepared a list of themes that might inspire you to find a special theme for your informative essay.
Good Informative Essay Topics
- The most interesting event in my life
- My favorite book
- What is friendship/ love to me?
- In what time would you like to be if you had a time machine and why?
- Life without the Internet
- Family and family values
- Why is tolerance so important today?
- What is my favorite film?
- Music is the best healing therapy
- How to become a true leader?
Informative Essay Topics for Middle School
- Great inventions of mankind
- The Internet is an integral part of our life
- Relationship between parents and children
- How to save the environment?
- Bad habits
- Modern society: progress or degradation?
- Why freedom and independence are important today?
- How to become a writer?
- My favorite Hollywood actor/ actress
- Meaning of money in modern world
- Skills necessary for becoming a leader
Informative Essay Topics for College Students
- The impact of modern technology on our lives
- Secrets of gestures and body language
- What does the body language say?
- The biggest leaders in the history
- What does handwriting say about a person?
- Astrology as a science
- Seven wonders of the world
- How to become a perfect wife/ mother?
Easy Informative Essay Topics
- The book I’ve recently read
- Why is reading so important?
- The film I've recently watched
- Which book is worth reading at any age?
- Reaching success at work
- Nature protection is the acutest problem of the 21st century
- How must the word “honesty” be defined in dictionaries?
GET ORIGINAL TOPIC IDEAS
Informative Essay Outline – How to Prepare It?
Once you have explored the Internet and come up with the ideas you are excited to write about, this means that you have found your topic and are ready to proceed with the task. It would be a good decision to prepare several topics and let your friend or a teacher choose the best and most informative one. This way, you will kill two birds with one stone – find the topic that will be interesting both to you and your reader. The most important aspect here is to write down your ideas carefully without missing out on any important detail. This is where a detailed outline will be of great service to you.
Writing an essay can be quite problematic, especially if you do not feel inspired or cannot collect your thoughts in a logical sequence. But do not worry – a little planning, research, and diligence will help you structure your piece in the most effective way. When preparing an informative essay outline, remember that an essay should begin with an introduction (containing a thesis), a body, and a conclusion. Although a good essay cannot be written without a plan, the outline should not be too large. In it, you are to state only the main idea of each separate paragraph of your writing. We make sure that each paragraph is relevant to the topic of our essay. Looking at the outline, you shouldn’t be distracted by minor details. It should help us focus on the main idea.
Informative essay outline example
- Nature protection is the acutest problem of our times (introduction)
- The biggest environmental problems of today
- The problem of deforestation
- Air pollution
- Water pollution
- Effects of environmental problems
- The threat of global warming
- Destruction of the natural environment of life
- Non-indigenous species
- We should protect nature
Make sure that each point of the outline is thoroughly discussed in the paper and none of the paragraphs is missed out.
How to Write an Informative Essay?
When writing an informative essay, do not forget about the rule “5 wh?”. Having determined the subject of reasoning and your attitude towards it, ask five simple questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why? Answering each of them in your writing will help you create an informative masterpiece and keep your reader interested till the very last word. As a general rule, an essay should contain 5 paragraphs.
- Introduction – introduce the importance of the topic and write down a thesis statement.
- Body – provide arguments in support of the statement.
- Conclusion – generalize the arguments from the previous parts of the essay, restate a thesis, without introducing any new ideas.
How to Write an Informative Essay Introduction?
The first paragraph is for you to introduce the topic to the reader. Here, you are to provide some background information and demonstrate why this theme is important to be discussed. When writing an introduction for your informative essay, you need to grab the interest of the reader. You can start your writing with either a question or an interesting statement. You can find some inspiration on how to write a great essay hook here. As a general rule, an introduction should contain up to 7 sentences, along with a thesis statement. However, there are no restrictions here.
How to Write an Informative Essay Thesis?
After choosing the topic, the first thing to do is to formulate a thesis. A thesis statement is not a certainly proven fact and not the result of observations. A thesis is the main idea of your essay, which you can formulate in several statements. The presence of this statement in the text not only helps the reader understand the basic idea of the essay. It also helps them see how much you understand this idea, how much of text is consistent with it, and that you know how to write an informative essay. A thesis statement is usually 1 or 2 sentences long that shortly cover all the main points of your writing.
How to Write an Informative Essay Body?
At this stage, you are to describe the main points that support the thesis. Devote a small paragraph to each of them, without mixing the ideas. Make sure each subsequent paragraph is different from the previous one and doesn’t break the logical chain. The main criteria to be followed for the argumentation are topics, sequence, chronology, and contrast. According to these principles, you can form a comprehensive and effective body of your essay.
Major mistakes in argumentation
- Repetition – Do not state the same idea in two different sections. Each new paragraph should contain a new idea and argument.
- Extra information – Make sure that all the statements directly relate to the main topic. Even if you have an insurmountable desire to write an incredibly interesting fact, read it a few times and think if it has anything in common with the thesis statement.
- Inconsistency – If you are discussing the main point, make sure that it has a connection with the informative statement above. Do not confuse the logical connection introducing some unrelated ideas.
How to Write an Informative Essay Conclusion?
In the last part of the essay, you need to restate your main idea in a concise manner It is a section where you summarize the argument and briefly repeat the thesis. Of course, it is not the best idea to reiterate a thesis in a conclusion in the same way as it has been written in the introduction. Use different wording and support your idea with the arguments discussed in the body.
Major errors in the conclusion
- New arguments – The conclusion is inherently an informative but a summarizing part. Do not introduce new ideas at the end; it's better to add one more paragraph to the body.
- Reiteration – It is not necessary to describe the structure of the written work and literally repeat what was written above. If the reader has reached the conclusion, they have already read all the main points of your essay.
Informative Essay Examples for Your A-grade Writing
Unfortunately, not all students can boast of brilliant writing skills and have enough time to do profound research and prepare for essay writing. But if you were assigned to write an informative essay and do not how to write an informative essay, our company can help you with it. Our writers will do everything for you from elaborating an outline and formatting the paper to forming your main points into a catchy and interesting-to-read piece. All you need to do is to place an order with all the assignment specifics; we will do the rest for you!