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How to Write a Compelling Expository Essay Outline

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Writing an expository essay is an unavoidable part of the learning process. You may receive it as an assignment or a test. Either way, you need to know how to structure, format, and logically present your ideas.

Do you need to learn how to write an outline? This article will teach you all you need to know about expository essay outlines to maximize your writing skills.

Types of expository writing

The five main types of expository essays include;

Process essays

This is the basic “how-to” essay. These essays aim to teach the reader how to do something as a learning process. For instance, how to fix a car, how to wash your hands, how to get research paper help, or how to cook pasta.

The cause and effect essay

This essay analyses which reactions occur as an impact of specific actions. It is also known as a knee-jerk reaction essay. The basic takeaway from such papers is that for every action, there is an aftermath.

The descriptive essay

In this essay, you are expected to describe something. This can be anything, including a person, place, event, or experience. In descriptive essays, you can write the content however you want it, you have content freedom. Descriptive essays are usually exciting and exciting to keep your audience intrigued.

The problem and solution essay

This is the universal standard prompt essay. This essay focuses on the solutions to a problem. You begin by describing the problem in a few paragraphs, then fill your essay with solutions.

The comparison essay

This essay uses critical analysis to compare two subjects to each other. Your research will consist of finding and explaining the similarities and differences between the two.

Purpose of expository essays

Expository essays follow a ‘describe, explain, inform’ structure. This means that expository essays are used to educate. Some of the reasons for expository essays include;

  • To develop critical thinking skills that teach you to look at the topic unbiasedly from different angles
  • The professor can use the essay to test the students’ knowledge of various subjects
  • Expository essays build your research skills
  • They are used to show how much a student remembers from the course at the end of a semester and in exams
  • An expository is also a form of a reporting project, that improves your reporting skills
  • You develop organizational skills when you learn to gather and present facts and information based on the topic
  •  Expository writing is a skill that is useful in most careers, since you will be required to submit written reports

Subjects of study for expository essays

Expository writing is one of the four main rhetorical writing techniques. It is not limited to specific fields of study. It is versatile and broad. For instance, most news articles, academic journals, press releases, and business letters are considered expository writings.

When given an expository essay as an assignment, you can write about anything you want. Some of the fields you can write about include;

  • Education
  • Business
  • Wars
  • Journalism
  • Religion
  • Law
  • Family
  • Music
  • Sociology
  • Literature
  • Science
  • Health

How to write an expository essay outline

The outline acts as a guide or a blueprint of your complete paper. It is crucial to create an outline for all your essays. An outline will help you structure your paper and organize your thoughts.

If you neglect writing an outline, there are higher chances of you writing off the topic and getting confused about the structure. The basic format of an expository essay is;

  • An introduction that entices the reader and reflects on the topic
  • The body which presents all the points and ideas to support the thesis
  • A conclusion that summarizes the entire paper and brings out its significance

This is what to include in your expository essay outline;


The introduction consists of a hook in the form of a quote, statement, anecdote, dilemma, or question. This is to entice your reader and pique their attention. It is followed by brief background information on the chosen topic. The last sentence is the thesis statement which specifies what aspect of the topic you will focus on.

Body paragraphs

This can be three paragraphs or more, depending on the instructions and expectations of your professor. All of them follow the same format and technique. In each paragraph, present a new point and elaborate enough to convince your reader.

The first sentence of each paragraph should be the topic sentence. This is used to state the main idea of that paragraph. Follow this with supporting evidence both scientifically and in real life.

 This helps to verify and legitimize the point you are making. The last sentence of each body paragraph should be a summary of the whole paragraph.


The conclusion is a summary of all the main ideas of your essay. Restate the essential parts of your essay, like the thesis statement and the main issue being addressed. Instead of repeating them, find a clever way to paraphrase them.

Relate your idea to a broader topic to show its relevance. Lastly, present how your research is of value and give a call to action. This way, you will leave your audience thinking they will want to continue with the study on their own.

Final remarks

You cannot escape expository writing. It is part of the education and career system as a requirement. The best way to go about it would be to learn how to write one. As you read this article, your knowledge of an expository essay will improve, and with practice, you can become an expert in writing.

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