How to Write a Good Expository Essay Outline
Knowing how to write a good expository essay outline makes writing a good expository essay an easy and simple process. If you do not know how to outline this essay, you should seek help from experienced expository essay writers so that you can come up with a properly structured essay. An expository essay can be defined as an essay in which the student or the writer is required to investigate a specific idea, evaluate the available evidence, expound the idea and then set an argument about that idea in a concise, clear manner.
An outline on the other hand refers to a formal system that is used in thinking about and organizing an essay. Using an outline enables you to see whether the ideas that you have for writing your essay are connected, to determine the best way of presenting them and whether the evidence that you have is sufficient to support your points. A good outline will enable you to picture your expository essay before you write it.
A quick guide on how to write a good expository essay outline
An expository essay, just like most essays, has three major sections which should be outlined before the actual writing. These are the introduction, the body and the conclusion.
To write a good expository essay, outline the major sections of your essay as follows:
- Write the outline for the introductory paragraph
The introductory paragraph or simply the introduction is one of the parts of an expository essay.
To outline this paragraph:
- Draft a hook sentence that will capture the attention of the readers. Make it interesting and related to the topic of your essay directly.
- Establish the context or provide background information. Avoid the assumption that readers are aware of your topic.
- Create a thesis statement to put your main point across in a simple but clear manner.
- Outline the body paragraph
The body of an expository essay should provide a deeper investigation of the topic. The number of paragraphs to include in the body depends on the expository essay topic or assignment’s parameter. However, there are elements that each paragraph of the body should encompass which you should highlight in the outline.
- Topic sentence: This introduces the main point or idea of the paragraph.
- Factual evidence: This is the answer to the question or support for the stated thesis statement.
- Analysis of the evidence: This entails digging in with a commentary of the significance of the stated evidence.
- Transition sentence: This is a sentence that links one paragraph to the next. Transitions weave an expository essay together while ensuring logical flow of ideas and information.
- Outline the conclusion
To outline the concluding paragraph of your expository essay, you can do the following:
- Summarize your thesis statement.
- Discuss the global or larger significance of your essay topic.
- Reveal the unanswered questions.
The outline for your expository essay should enable you to come up with an essay that reads well. Using it, you should come up with an essay whose ideas, evidence, and analysis are presented in a logical manner.
Review samples to know how to write a good expository essay outline
Reviewing expository essay outline samples will give you ideas on how to outline your expository essay. Good samples will guide you in structuring your essay by drafting a good outline.
Here is a sample outline for an expository essay that you can use as a guide for writing an outline for your expository essay:
Thesis: I need help from a family member to make major decisions.
Context: My mother is the one I think of first because I admire her the most.
Hook: I admire my mother because she is responsible, patient and intelligent.
Body paragraph 1
Topic sentence 1: Intelligent
Evidence 1: She is quick to learn
Example: At the age of 15 years, she had completed her high school education.
Example: Her ability to analyze and solve problems is excellent.
Evidence 2: Her communication skills are excellent.
Example: She expresses what she thinks in a clear manner.
Example: She enjoys public speaking.
Evidence 3: My mother is enthusiastic
Example: She sees problems like challenges.
Example: She likes learning new skills and things.
Body paragraph 2
Topic sentence 2: Responsible
Evidence 1: At home
Example: My mother taught me to complete my homework daily.
Example: She always takes care of my sister and I any time we fall sick.
Evidence 2: At work
Example: She accomplishes her tasks as well as responsibilities.
Example: She arrives at her workplace on time.
Evidence 3: She takes her responsibilities with friends
Example: She advices her friends whenever they need advice.
Example: She always gives favors to her friends whenever they ask for them.
Body paragraph 3
Topic sentence: She is helpful
Evidence 1: She likes helping other people.
Example: She like teaching children.
Example: She does volunteer work at the hospital.
Evidence 2: At work
Example: She pays close attention to details at the office.
Example: She assists co-workers any time they need her help.
Evidence 3: At home
Example: She enjoys organizing the house.
Example: She likes working as a team member.
My mother is the first person I think of any time I need help from a family member to make major decisions because she is responsible, patient and intelligent.
A glance at this outline gives the reader a comprehensive idea of what the essay will cover. For you as a writer, it enables you to organize the main points into individual paragraphs of the body. Note that although the outline can be rigid, it should not hinder your flexibility while writing the essay. If you change the direction of your essay, add new paragraphs or adjust it. Reorganization is a common aspect of outlining and writing expository essays. The purpose of an outline is to keep you focused and organized.
Additional tips on how to write a good expository essay outline
A good outline for an expository essay acts like a map or detailed direction which includes parts or sections of an essay divided into areas that should enable you to build the essay.
Here are additional tips that will make creating a good outline for your expository essay easier:
If your instructor provided guidelines while giving the assignment, consider them while creating the outline for your essay. Remember that the outline should enable you to include specific information or details in your expository essay to ensure that it meets the requirements set by the instructor.
- Know the major parts of an expository essay that should be outlined
When you know the major parts of an expository essay, outlining it becomes easy. This is because the outline will enable you to include notes and data gathered during research. When you create an outline before conducting research, you will focus your research into finding information that every section of your essay requires.
- Label sections of your outline
This is one of the major tips on how to write a good expository essay outline. Every section of your essay should be labeled. For instance, the outline should have the introduction section which comes first. The introduction should introduce your essay topic, include a hooker and present your main point or thesis statement. This section should be labeled clearly in your outline. Your outline should also have a body with paragraphs that explain points that relate to the thesis statement. The final section is the conclusion which synthesizes the arguments or points included in the body.
- Make your conclusion effective
The conclusion of an expository essay enables you to leave readers with something to think about after reading the essay. It should wrap your essay by restating your thesis. You can also acknowledge counter arguments while providing rebuttal. No new information should be introduced in the conclusion. Come up with an outline that enables you to write such a conclusion without interfering with the logical flow of ideas and information.
- Make your exposition complete
The outline of your expository essay should enable you to complete your exposition. If you fail to complete your exposition, readers will be left with unanswered questions. Therefore, come up with an outline that enables you to reach a logical conclusion of the exposition. Make sure that using the outline you can come up with an expository essay that does not leave doubts about its intent.
Generally, you should follow these tips on how to write a good expository essay outline to make the process of drafting an outline easy. Remember that your essay outline is the map that will guide you throughout the writing process. If the outline is not good, even your essay will not be good.
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An expository essay is a piece of written work that aims to define and investigate a topic for the reader. This can be accomplished in several ways: defining a term, comparing and contrasting, analyzing a cause and effect, etc. The main objective is to prove a thesis through factual evidence. Putting together an explanation might sound easy, but it is quite a challenge to write a convincing piece that defends your thesis!
Table Of Contents
An easy way to understand what an expository essay is would be to look at it as a debate. When preparing for a debate, your goal would be to When researching and gathering information for your essay, it would be ideal to keep these thoughts in mind. Think about writing with your reader’s questions in mind. When a reader is enlightened, that’s a definite sign that you have created some fantastic literature!
5 Main Types of Expository Writing
There are 5 main types of expository essays:
Descriptive Essay(/blog/descriptive-essay/): This is an essay in which the writer is asked to describe something. This could be a person, place, experience, situation, etc. Descriptive Essays are unique in the sense that you have a lot of freedom when it comes to the content. You should present something exciting or beautiful, all the while keeping the reader interested.
Process Essay: The classic “How To” assignment. The purpose of this essay is to teach the reader about learning a process: How to build a car, how to edit a paper or even how to flirt with a girl!
Comparison Essay: Simple sounding enough, a comparison essay makes you critically analyze any two subjects, finding and explaining their similarities and/or differences.
Cause and Effect Essay: The “Knee-Jerk” reaction assignment. Cause and effect essays are concerned with why and or how things happen and what happens as a result.
Problem / Solution Essay: The universal standard prompt assignment. In this situation, we have a problem and are looking for solutions. The essay is broken down into a brief intro to the problem and filled with content about the solutions.
What is the Purpose?
Spend some time thinking about the purpose of your writing. Why are you writing an expository essay? What are you trying to accomplish with this essay? Find some reasons as to why you are writing it and the overall goal. If it was assigned by your school teacher, read the assignment guidelines scrupulously.
Break the Ice
Before you begin writing a paper, take time and build up your ideas before deciding on an essay topic. If you want to simplify the process, you can try activities such as listing, clustering, freewriting, and questioning. These will help you brainstorm ideas for your essay.
Listing: Put all your thoughts on paper. Look over this list and group similar ideas. This will help you narrow down your options.
Clustering: Take a blank piece of paper and write a brief explanation of the topic and circle it. Then draw three more lines extending from the bigger circle. Write corresponding ideas at the end of the lines. Keep going and build your cluster until you create as many connections as necessary.
Freewriting: Turn on non-stop mode for about 10 minutes. Write whatever comes to your mind. As you finish writing, review what you have written. Underline or highlight the most appropriate information. Then sort out things that you have written by sections. Use this trick until you come up with the most suitable topic.
Questioning: On a piece of paper write: “Who? How? What? Why? When? Where?”. Answer each question with as much detail as possible. This will give you an outline for your writing to build on.
Expository Essay Topics (examples)
- Descriptive Essay:
- Describe a time when you experienced depression, and what you believe led to that?
- Describe a tricky situation you were in, and how you managed to handle it.
- Process Essay:
- Develop a tutorial and describe the process of building a custom computer.
- Create a step by step tutorial of solving a common societal problem, i.e. littering.
- Comparison Essay:
- Compare and Contrast Apple with Windows. Which product is better in which sphere? Which product is more user-friendly?
- Compare and Contrast living standards in the USA and Mexico.
- Cause and Effect Essay:
- What are the causes and effects of procrastination?
- What can be done to improve time efficiency?
- Describe the causes and effect of cheating at school. How do we teach students to avoid this behavior?
- Problem / Solution Essay:
- How can we as a society reduce or even eliminate racism?
- How can we motivate students to increase effort at school?
The Subject Makes or Breaks the Essay
There is a chance that your work may fall flat if you have not chosen one of the really good expository essay topics. Not all topics out there are interesting or meaty enough to be thoroughly investigated within a paper. Make sure you put effort into choosing a topic that has a lot of material to cover it and pique the interest of readers!
- Trending Topics: Are there any hot issues that deserve some deep discussion? If so, consider educating people on this seemingly new occurrence through the use of a well-written essay.
- A topic close to your heart: It is easy much easier to defend a thesis if you find yourself passionately thinking about the topic. If you have an advocacy and want to inform others, choose this path and you might be able to sway beliefs!
Comparing the past and the present is a good way of framing an argument, especially if a lot has been written about it.
Do not Forget to…
Come Up With A Catchy Title
It is often considered the best approach to grab your audiences attention with a catchy title. As we all know it is quite common for people to judge a book by its cover, despite having been told that it is not always the case. Nonetheless, when students are aware of such a challenge they can take the time needed to craft a title that will do their work justice.
Gather research on your Topic
Hey, Sherlock Holmes, it’s time to do some detective work! Before you start out with the content, ponder upon your thesis and gather supporting documents for your paper. This is as important as the people in the courtroom, in the sense that a statement means nothing without sufficient evidence. Research should not only agree with your arguments but come from reputable and credible sources as well. It should also be up to date and relevant to the discussion at hand.
This is an important step that our writers recommend you to take before you start writing. Before you start writing, it is advised to consider the expectations and needs of the readers. If there are guidelines for the expository essay, you need to follow them strictly and write accordingly. Include everything that might have been expected by your instructor.
Create a Thesis
A powerful thesis statement expresses the main argument of the paper. It should take a clear stance in the debate/topic and should not be more than two sentences in length.
Make sure your thesis is debatable. Do not state facts or sentences that have no purpose. For example, "Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth president of the United States," is not an appropriate thesis because it states a fact.
Your statement should provide enough details. Try to avoid just saying that something is "good" or "effective." Instead of these, say what makes something "good" or "effective”.
The Format / Structure
Even if you are not familiar with writing an expository essay, you will realize that it is like any other academic paper that seeks for you to display your informed argument about a certain topic. This is especially true for the short papers you will experience in examinations, testing you about facts that you should have learned throughout the course. Also, it is very helpful to create a graphic organizer for assistance.
Create an Outline
There might be a lot of things you want to talk about, but in the end, there is a need to get straight to the point. To aid you in the quest of making an expository essay with brevity and straightforwardness, create an outline that corresponds to your points, arguments, and research.
The 5 paragraph format is the universal standard for expository essays, meaning it is recommended to write within this style. The paragraphs follow this order: Introduction, Body Paragraph 1, Body Paragraph 2, Body Paragraph 3 and Conclusion.
Craft an Intriguing Introduction
Expository essays are not meant to be opinionated pieces, so introductions that include a personal plight – as is the usual fare when asked to write an essay - are out of the question. Examples of interesting introductions would be to cite relevant news articles and historical events to introduce your topic. Starting off with a significant occurrence, discovery, or study will give you more points in factual research as well.
Construct an Eloquent and Informative Body
The body paragraphs should have at least 2-3 Arguments and a Counterargument : Each argument deserves its own paragraph. They also need to have supporting documents, like facts and statistics, to make the reader believe what you are trying to say.
While most people have got the argument and evidence part of an essay down, they forget to include another important piece. One way to make a paper more complete would be to address a point that argues against the thesis and then disprove it through logic or statistics. It effectively tells your reader that you have thought about your topic from multiple angles!
What is the number?
The common length of an expository essay is five-paragraphs; however, it can definitely be longer than that. Check your assignment guidelines or ask your teacher if you are not sure about the required length.
Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence
Do it to introduce the main idea of the paragraph. It should introduce the claim that will be defended in said body paragraph.
Present a Claim
A claim is a sentence that can be arguable but is used as a primary point to support or prove an argument. Your claim should be a statement that can relate to the thesis statement and makes it stronger.
After you have started a topic sentence, support it with specific evidence from your research.
Finish With A Concluding Statement
Write how the evidence you have provided in that paragraph connects to your thesis. Explain the significance of the claim in regards to the overall argument.
Keep Things Moving Smoothly
To keep your writing smooth, make sure your paragraphs transition well. Furthermore, the conclusion of each body paragraph should summarize your main point.
Show Assertiveness in the Conclusion
The conclusion answers the questions you have brought out in the reader through the introduction while calling back the arguments you have laid out. An essay conclusion should be a construction made of the past few paragraphs. Don’t repeat your words like a broken record. You need to do a straightforward synthesis that delivers an impact upon your reader.
Bring the final thought or call to action
Imagine that the last sentence of your essay would be your last words. What would you say? How would you call people to action? Spend time thinking about these questions to make your final sentence like a time bomb.
- Explain the significance of your topic;
- Explain how it affects the audience;
- Call them to action;
- Present new questions to think about.
Edit and fact check
Once the expository essay is complete, you should read it over once or twice. Often, people get excited over adding new information, making a messy paper with no direction, so cut down if you need to. Next, recheck all the facts and statistics you cited. You never know, you might end up contradicting yourself if you didn’t look into your sources carefully.
Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team
Dr. Judy, from EssayPro
This article describes the writing process of an expository essay with a focus on some general types of expository essays. A point that I want to articulate is that each paragraph in your expository essay should have its idea. This would allow your essay to be clear and have minimal repetition. Each paragraph should also have a logical connection to the thesis and argument that you are making. A common mistake that newbie writers make is getting off track and adding information that doesn’t connect to the main point of your essay. You can avoid that easily by creating a well-structured outline and linking each of your paragraphs back to your thesis at the end of each paragraph. Another tip that I have for you is to try to be creative in your essay! Academic writing does not have to be boring. The truth is, you may not be writing a creative masterpiece, but you don’t have to be bone-dry with your writing. Leave a lasting impression on your reader!
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