Exposition Text Example Simple Essay

Tips on Writing an Expository Essay

The purpose of the expository essay is to explain a topic in a logical and straightforward manner. Without bells and whistles, expository essays present a fair and balanced analysis of a subject based on facts—with no references to the writer’s opinions or emotions.

A typical expository writing prompt will use the words “explain” or “define,” such as in, “Write an essay explaining how the computer has changed the lives of students.” Notice there is no instruction to form an opinion or argument on whether or not computers have changed students’ lives. The prompt asks the writer to “explain,” plain and simple. However, that doesn’t mean expository essay writing is easy.

The Five-Step Writing Process for Expository Essays
Expository writing is a life skill. More than any other type of writing, expository writing is a daily requirement of most careers. Understanding and following the proven steps of the writing process helps all writers, including students, master the expository essay.

Expository Essay Structure
Usually, the expository essay is composed of five paragraphs. The introductory paragraph contains the thesis or main idea. The next three paragraphs, or body of the essay, provide details in support of the thesis. The concluding paragraph restates the main idea and ties together the major points of essay.

Here are expository essay tips for each part of the essay structure and writing process:

1. Prewriting for the Expository Essay
In the prewriting phase of writing an expository essay, students should take time to brainstorm about the topic and main idea. Next, do research and take notes. Create an outline showing the information to be presented in each paragraph, organized in a logical sequence.

2. Drafting the Expository Essay
When creating the initial draft of an expository essay, consider the following suggestions:

  • The most important sentence in the introductory paragraph is the topic sentence, which states the thesis or main idea of the essay. The thesis should be clearly stated without giving an opinion or taking a position. A good thesis is well defined, with a manageable scope that can be adequately addressed within a five-paragraph essay.
  • Each of the three body paragraphs should cover a separate point that develops the essay’s thesis. The sentences of each paragraph should offer facts and examples in support of the paragraph’s topic.
  • The concluding paragraph should reinforce the thesis and the main supporting ideas. Do not introduce new material in the conclusion.
  • Since an expository essay discusses an event, situation, or the views of others, and not a personal experience, students should write in the third person (“he,” “she,” or “it”), and avoid “I” or “you” sentences.

3. Revising the Expository Essay
In the revision phase, students review, modify, and reorganize their work with the goal of making it the best it can be. Keep these considerations in mind:

  • Does the essay give an unbiased analysis that unfolds logically, using relevant facts and examples?
  • Has the information been clearly and effectively communicated to the reader?
  • Watch out for “paragraph sprawl,” which occurs when the writer loses focus and veers from the topic by introducing unnecessary details.
  • Is the sentence structure varied? Is the word choice precise?
  • Do the transitions between sentences and paragraphs help the reader’s understanding?
  • Does the concluding paragraph communicate the value and meaning of the thesis and key supporting ideas?

If the essay is still missing the mark, take another look at the topic sentence. A solid thesis statement leads to a solid essay. Once the thesis works, the rest of the essay falls into place more easily.

4. Editing the Expository Essay
Next, proofread and correct errors in grammar and mechanics, and edit to improve style and clarity. While an expository essay should be clear and concise, it can also be lively and engaging. Having a friend read the essay helps writers edit with a fresh perspective.

5. Publishing the Expository Essay
Sharing an expository essay with a teacher, parent, or other reader can be both exciting and intimidating. Remember, there isn’t a writer on earth who isn’t sensitive about his or her own work. The important thing is to learn from the experience and use the feedback to make the next essay better.

Essay Variations
Essay writing is a huge part of a education today. Most students must learn to write various kinds of essays during their academic careers, including different types of expository essay writing:

  • Definition essays explain the meaning of a word, term, or concept. The topic can be a concrete subject such as an animal or tree, or it can be an abstract term, such as freedom or love. This type of essay should discuss the word’s denotation (literal or dictionary definition), as well as its connotation or the associations that a word usually brings to mind.
  • Classification essays break down a broad subject or idea into categories and groups. The writer organizes the essay by starting with the most general category and then defines and gives examples of each specific classification.
  • Compare and contrast essays describe the similarities and differences between two or more people, places, or things. Comparison tells how things are alike and contrast shows how they are different.
  • Cause and effect essays explain how things affect each other and depend on each other. The writer identifies a clear relationship between two subjects, focusing on why things happen (causes) and/or what happens as a result (effects).
  • “How to” essays, sometimes called process essays, explain a procedure, step-by-step process, or how to do something with the goal of instructing the reader.

 

Time4Writing Teaches Expository Essay Writing
Time4Writing essay writing courses offer a highly effective way to learn how to write the types of essays required for school, standardized tests, and college applications. A unique online writing program for elementary, middle school, and high school students, Time4Writing breaks down the writing process into manageable chunks, easily digested by young writers. Students steadily build writing skills and confidence, guided by one-on-one instruction with a dedicated, certified teacher. Our middle school Welcome to the Essay and Advanced Essay courses teach students the fundamentals of writing essays, including the expository essay. The high school Exciting Essay Writing course focuses in depth on the essay writing process with preparation for college as the goal. The courses also cover how to interpret essay writing prompts in testing situations. Read what parents are saying about their children’s writing progress in Time4Writing courses.


Exposition can be seen in music, films, television shows, plays, and written text. It is the writer's opportunity to give background information to the reader or listener about the setting, establish the theme and introduce the characters.

  • In music, the exposition is the first part in the sonata form which introduces the themes used in the composition or the opening section of a fugue.
  • In a play, film or television show, exposition would be used anywhere in the work to give background information on characters and other parts of the work.

Exposition in written texts also gives background and character information; but, it can be more difficult to understand as a literary tool than exposition in music, plays or other visual entertainment since there are so many ways to present the information in written text.

Ways to Present Exposition

The word “exposition” comes from the Latin and means “to place.” It informs, describes, and explains. Regardless of the type of exposition you write, the writing needs to be concise and easy to understand.

There are several types of exposition:

  • Description exposition - The writer explains the characteristics of a topic, shows examples, and describes features.
Example: The U.S. flag consists of thirteen alternating stripes of red and blue, representing the 13 original states. In the top left of the flag there is a field of blue with fifty stars, one for each state.
  • Comparison exposition - The writer shows how two topics are alike or different.
Example: The alligator has a u-shaped, round snout and tends to live in freshwater swamps and streams. The crocodile has a long, v-shaped nose and can live in saltier waters as well as freshwater habitats.
  • Cause and effect exposition - The writer explains the cause of an event and thoroughly investigates the effects.
Example: The Civil War was caused because of conflicts between states on the subjects of states' rights and slavery. Before the war the southern states relied on slaves to plant and harvest the crops. These southern states wanted to make decisions separate from the northern states and banded together as "The Confederates," threatening to leave the U.S. The northern soldiers were victories in the Civil War, reestablishing that states in the south had to confirm to U.S. laws, including the abolishment of slavery.
  • Problem and solution exposition - The author sets forth a problem, and then explains possible solutions to it.
Example: This family was a victim of a problem they could have avoided-a problem that, according to Florida park rangers, hundreds of visitors suffer each year. "Several times a month," ranger Rod Torres of O'Leno State Park said, "people get scared and leave the park in the middle of the night." Those people picked the wrong kind of park to visit. Not that there was anything wrong with the park: The hikers camped next to them loved the wild isolation of it. But it just wasn't the kind of place the couple from New Jersey had in mind when they decided to camp out on this trip through Florida. If they had known about the different kinds of parks in Florida, they might have stayed in a place they loved.”
  • Sequence exposition - The writer shows events in either chronological or numbered order.
Example: The timeline of the Civil War included these key timeframes:
1600s - States begin to adopt laws regarding slavery that are appropriate for their individual states.
1700s - Some states are beginning to express thoughts that slavery should be abolished.
1800s - Rebellion starts against slavery with seven states threatening to secede from the U.S. Lincoln was inaugurated. The Civil War began which the north eventually won.

Exposition: The Way to Step into the Story

Exposition gives the reader or listener the full spectrum of the story. By adding more details the writer can open the door and let the reader fully step into the story or the music.

Do you have a good example to share? Add your example here.

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Examples of Exposition

By YourDictionary

Exposition can be seen in music, films, television shows, plays, and written text. It is the writer's opportunity to give background information to the reader or listener about the setting, establish the theme and introduce the characters.In music, the exposition is the first part in the sonata form which introduces the themes used in the composition or the opening section of a fugue.In a play, film or television show, exposition would be used anywhere in the work to give background information on characters and other parts of the work.Exposition in written texts also gives background and character information; but, it can be more difficult to understand as a literary tool than exposition in music, plays or other visual entertainment since there are so many ways to present the information in written text.

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