How to Write an Explanatory Essay: Comprehensive Guide with Examples
What Is an Explanatory Essay: Definition
Have you ever been tasked with explaining a complex topic to someone without prior knowledge? It can be challenging to break down complex ideas into simple terms that are easy to understand. That's where explanatory writing comes in! An explanatory essay, also known as an expository essay, is a type of academic writing that aims to explain a particular topic or concept clearly and concisely. These essays are often used in academic settings but can also be found in newspapers, magazines, and online publications.
For example, if you were asked to explain how a car engine works, you would need to provide a step-by-step explanation of the different parts of the engine and how they work together to make the car move. Or, if you were asked to explain the process of photosynthesis, you would need to explain how plants use sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to create energy.
When wondering - 'what is an explanatory essay?', remember that the goal of an explanatory paper is to provide the reader with a better understanding of the topic at hand. Unlike an opinion essay , this type of paper does not argue for or against a particular viewpoint but rather presents information neutrally and objectively. By the end of the essay, the reader should clearly understand the topic and be able to explain it to others in their own words.
Also, there is no set number of paragraphs in an explanatory essay, as it can vary depending on the length and complexity of the topic. However, when wondering - 'how many paragraphs in an explanatory essay?', know that a typical example of explanatory writing will have an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
However, some essays may have more or fewer body paragraphs, depending on the topic and the writer's preference. Ultimately, an explanatory essay format aims to provide a clear and thorough explanation of the topic, using as many paragraphs as necessary.
20 Interesting Explanatory Essay Topics
Now that we have defined what is explanatory essay, the next step is choosing a good explanatory topic. A well-chosen topic is interesting and relevant to your audience while also being something you are knowledgeable about and can provide valuable insights on. By selecting a topic that is too broad or too narrow, you run the risk of either overwhelming your audience with too much information or failing to provide enough substance to fully explain the topic. Additionally, choosing a topic that is too controversial or biased can lead to difficulty in presenting information objectively and neutrally. By choosing a good explanatory topic, you can ensure that your essay is well-informed, engaging, and effective in communicating your ideas to your audience.
Here are 20 creative explanatory essay topics by our admission essay service to consider:
- How does the human brain process emotions?
- The benefits and drawbacks of remote work.
- The science behind climate change and its effects.
- The history and evolution of hip-hop music.
- The impact of social media on mental health.
- The benefits of learning a second language.
- The process of how a computer operates.
- The causes and effects of bullying in schools.
- The impact of technology on modern education.
- The reasons for the decline of bee populations and their importance to the ecosystem.
- The effects of caffeine on the human body.
- The process of how vaccines work to prevent disease.
- The impact of video games on youth behavior and development.
- The reasons for the gender pay gap and how to close it.
- The benefits and drawbacks of renewable energy sources.
- The history and cultural significance of tattoos.
- The causes and effects of income inequality in society.
- The process of how a book is published.
- The impact of social media on political discourse.
- The benefits and drawbacks of the gig economy.
How to Start an Explanatory Essay: Important Steps
Starting an explanatory essay can be challenging, especially if you are unsure where to begin. However, by following a few simple steps, you can effectively kick-start your writing process and produce a clear and concise essay. Here are some tips and examples from our term paper writing services on how to start an explanatory essay:
- Choose an engaging topic : Your topic should be interesting, relevant, and meaningful to your audience. For example, if you're writing about climate change, you might focus on a specific aspect of the issue, such as the effects of rising sea levels on coastal communities.
- Conduct research : Gather as much information as possible on your topic. This may involve reading scholarly articles, conducting interviews, or analyzing data. For example, if you're writing about the benefits of mindfulness meditation, you might research the psychological and physical benefits of the practice.
- Develop an outline : Creating an outline will help you logically organize your explanatory essay structure. For example, you might organize your essay on the benefits of mindfulness meditation by discussing its effects on mental health, physical health, and productivity.
- Provide clear explanations: When writing an explanatory article, it's important to explain complex concepts clearly and concisely. Use simple language and avoid technical jargon. For example, if you're explaining the process of photosynthesis, you might use diagrams and visual aids to help illustrate your points.
- Use evidence to support your claims : Use evidence from reputable sources to support your claims and arguments. This will help to build credibility and persuade your readers. For example, if you're writing about the benefits of exercise, you might cite studies that demonstrate its positive effects on mental health and cognitive function.
By following these tips and examples, you can effectively start your expository essays and produce a well-structured, informative, and engaging piece of writing.
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Explanatory Essay Outline
As mentioned above, it's important to create an explanatory essay outline to effectively organize your ideas and ensure that your essay is well-structured and easy to follow. An outline helps you organize your thoughts and ideas logically and systematically, ensuring that you cover all the key points related to your topic. It also helps you identify gaps in your research or argument and allows you to easily revise and edit your essay. In this way, an outline can greatly improve the overall quality and effectiveness of your explanatory essay.
Explanatory Essay Introduction
Here are some tips from our ' do my homework ' service to create a good explanatory essay introduction that effectively engages your readers and sets the stage for the entire essay:
- Start with a hook: Begin your introduction with an attention-grabbing statement or question that draws your readers in. For example, you might start your essay on the benefits of exercise with a statistic on how many Americans suffer from obesity.
- Provide context: Give your readers some background information on the topic you'll be discussing. This helps to set the stage and ensures that your readers understand the importance of the topic. For example, you might explain the rise of obesity rates in the United States over the past few decades.
- State your thesis: A good explanatory thesis example should be clear, concise, and focused. It should state the main argument or point of your essay. For example, you might state, ' Regular exercise is crucial to maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of chronic diseases.'
- Preview your main points: Give your readers an idea of what to expect in the body of your essay by previewing your main points. For example, you might explain that you'll be discussing the benefits of exercise for mental health, physical health, and longevity.
- Keep it concise: Your introduction should be brief and to the point. Avoid getting bogged down in too much detail or providing too much background information. A good rule of thumb is to keep your introduction to one or two paragraphs.
The Body Paragraphs
By following the following tips, you can create well-organized, evidence-based explanation essay body paragraphs that effectively support your thesis statement.
- Use credible sources: When providing evidence to support your arguments, use credible sources such as peer-reviewed academic journals or reputable news outlets. For example, if you're writing about the benefits of a plant-based diet, you might cite a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
- Organize your paragraphs logically: Each body paragraph should focus on a specific aspect or argument related to your topic. Organize your paragraphs logically so that each one builds on the previous one. For example, if you're writing about the causes of climate change, you might organize your paragraphs to focus on human activity, natural causes, and the effects of climate change.
- Use transitional phrases: Use transitional phrases to help your readers follow the flow of your ideas. For example, you might use phrases such as 'in addition,' 'furthermore,' or 'on the other hand' to indicate a shift in your argument.
- Provide analysis: Don't just present evidence; provide analysis and interpretation of the evidence. For example, if you're writing about the benefits of early childhood education, you might analyze the long-term effects on academic achievement and future earnings.
- Summarize your main points: End each body paragraph with a sentence that summarizes the main point or argument you've made. This helps to reinforce your thesis statement and keep your essay organized. For example, you might end a paragraph on the benefits of exercise by stating, 'Regular exercise has been shown to improve mental and physical health, making it a crucial aspect of a healthy lifestyle.'
Explanatory Essay Conclusion
Here are some unique tips on how to write an explanatory essay conclusion that leaves a lasting impression on your readers.
- Offer a solution or recommendation: Instead of summarizing your main points, offer suggestions based on the information you've presented. This can help to make your essay more impactful and leave a lasting impression on your readers. For example, if you're writing about the effects of pollution on the environment, you might recommend using more eco-friendly products or investing in renewable energy sources.
- Emphasize the importance of your topic: Use your concluding statement to emphasize the importance of your topic and why it's relevant to your readers. This can help to inspire action or change. For example, suppose you're writing about the benefits of volunteering. In that case, you might emphasize how volunteering helps others and has personal benefits such as improved mental health and a sense of purpose.
- End with a powerful quote or statement: End your explanatory essay conclusion with a powerful quote or statement that reinforces your main point or leaves a lasting impression on your readers. For example, if you're writing about the importance of education, you might end your essay with a quote from Nelson Mandela, such as, 'Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.'
Explanatory Essay Example
Here is an example of an explanatory essay:
Explanatory Essay Example:
Importance of Basketball
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Explanatory Essay Writing Guide
Before writing any type of assignment, you must understand its definition. For example, students who need to write an argumentative essay should understand its purpose, format, and how it differs from other kinds of papers. The following approach can be applied to any other type of academic writing, including an explanatory essay.
In this article, our write my essay for me service professionals will try to explain what an explanatory essay is, its primary goal, and key features. Even though many people think that there is nothing more simple than writing an explanatory essay, for most students, it can still be a challenge to distinguish explanatory paper from other types of essays.
If you need to write an explanatory essay, we highly recommend you read this article till the end. Guidelines outlined in our manual will help you gain new knowledge and enhance your writing skills. Designing explanatory essay will become an easy task for you once you put recommendations from our professional paper writing service into practice.
What is an Explanatory Essay?
An explanatory essay is a type of academic paper in which the author presents some point of view or opinion on a particular topic, subject, event or situation. It’s worth noting that explanatory essay is also known as expository essay.
When completing this kind of assignment you shouldn’t necessarily agree with the point of view you are writing about. Your goal is to report a certain event or situation and offer an analysis of a given subject. Try to present information or arguments of other people impartially. It’s also essential that you do not include any form of criticism in your explanatory essay. You shouldn’t argue or persuade while giving explanations. Let readers make their conclusions rather than persuading them to agree or disagree with the given point of view.
Explanatory essay is all about presenting a neutral view on the set topic by providing analysis from research. Its primary goal is to present a lucid explanation as to why things happened the way they did. After reading your essay, the audience should have a clear understanding of your point of view, even if they don’t pick your side.
Usually, the author of the explanatory essay decides upon a set topic and then approaches the issue from a specific angle. In most cases, this angle is complicated and gives room for discussion. The author presents a point of view of his or her choice that fairly explains why a certain outcome was reached.
Explanatory Essay Topics
In most cases, explanatory essay topics are pre-assigned to students by their teachers or college professors. For instance, you can be asked to explain how your brain works or outline the events that led to the 2008 financial crisis.
If you are asked to select the essay topic by yourself, remember that explanatory papers are based on facts. That’s why our custom essay writing professionals recommend that you choose a neutral topic that can be easily explained. The idea here is that the more controversial the topic, the more points of view you will need to explore in your essay, making it more complicated and time-consuming. Fortunately, we can explain almost everything as long as it falls within the parameters of the given assignment. Here are a couple of explanatory essay topics created by our paper topic generator you can choose from:
Beginner Explanatory Essay Topics
- Describe the day you came to school for the first time. How did it make you feel?
- What qualities do you believe make someone a good friend?
- Explain what makes dogs the best pet for a person.
- Who is your favorite superhero or movie/book character? Why?
- Describe your dream home.
- Who is that person you admire and look up to the most?
- Define what happiness means to you.
- Who is your favorite teacher?
- Tell what kind of food you love most and explain why you love it.
- What kind of job do you think will suit you the most?
Intermediate Explanatory Essay Topics
- What is the best lesson that parents can teach their kids?
- Describe your favorite kind of sport.
- What unique traditions does your family have?
- Tell about something you are really good at and could teach it to others.
- Does the word “responsibility” mean the same thing for adults and children?
- Describe what you believe makes a person truly rich.
- What is your favorite place on the planet?
- Explain how someone you know (a friend, teacher, parent) helped you become a better person.
- What is the school subject you enjoy the most?
- Describe how having a sibling can affect one’s personality.
Advanced Explanatory Essay Topics
- Explain one of the forms of cyberbullying and suggest ways to address it.
- Do you believe animals can really feel your fear?
- Describe a moral dilemma you have faced. How did you handle it?
- Do you believe in UFOs and aliens? Explain your point of view.
- Explain how your personality has changed as you were growing up.
- How can we measure happiness?
- Define your generation. What makes it different from other generations?
- Explain how you understand the universe.
- How do you imagine your perfect future?
- Describe your first work experience ever. What did it teach you, and how did you handle it?
College Level Explanatory Essay Topics
- Define the positive and harmful effects the Internet has on a human personality and life.
- What real-life lessons do you wish you’d learn 5 years ago?
- Tell about someone who has authority in your eyes and explain why.
- Do you think expressing the whole spectrum of emotions is better than suppressing them?
- Explain what experience was the most life-changing for you.
- How to cope with financial difficulties?
- Explain the benefits of social networks for modern students.
- What makes a person generous?
- Describe the technological advancement that took place over the last decade.
- Define what difference you see between “living” and “existing”.
Explanatory Essay Format
The typical format for an explanatory paper is the traditional 5-paragraph essay. Usually, this includes an introduction, three body paragraphs (limited to one subtopic each), and a conclusion. This is a basic essay format.
Keep in mind that the explanatory writing doesn’t need to be limited to five paragraphs — you can make it longer. No matter how many paragraphs you decide to include in your essay, be sure that your introduction includes a powerful thesis statement. Also, double-check if the paper is based on facts rather than personal opinion. Last but not least: make sure to connect paragraphs with transitions.
Explanatory Essay Outline
In simple terms, an explanatory essay outline is a plan for your explanatory paper. Usually, it varies based on the length of the topic and the information the author is trying to present. The goal of the outline is to organize the main points into paragraphs — it offers a so-called framework of how to write an explanatory essay. As it was mentioned in the paragraph above, most explanatory essays follow the basic essay structure. They consist of:
- Body paragraphs;
Most explanatory essays tend to be a page or two in length. That's why the overall essay is usually around 5 paragraphs long. Remember that your introduction should present the topic to the audience. Also, it’s vital that you incorporate the thesis statement in the last paragraph. After you are done with it, try to develop the body paragraphs with the information detailed in the thesis statement. Finally, include a conclusion that summarizes your essay's key points after the restatement of the thesis. As you can see, creating an explanatory essay outline is not that difficult as it may seem at first glance. And now let’s dig deeper into the definition of the explanatory essay thesis.
When talking about a thesis statement, most people usually mean one or two sentences that summarize the main idea of their academic paper and clearly express what it is they are going to say about the given topic. Overall, your thesis statement identifies what topic will be discussed and the purpose of your essay. As the explanatory essay is tailored to explain or acquaint your readers with something, the goal of the explanatory thesis is to tell readers what it is you are going to explain and what aspects of the topic will be considered.
Before you start writing your explanatory essay, there are some crucial tips to follow. The first recommendation is to carry out proper research and data collection. Explanatory essay authors should ensure that the information in their writing is a blend of personal views and ideas acquired from external sources. Explanatory essay relies heavily on solid research, focus on finding external sources that will supplement your personal opinion. Note down all the important information from those sources and use them as evidence in your essay. So, the first thing you should do is find multiple trusted sources that defend your thoughts. We suggest you look to online journals, historical dictionaries, or find relevant books in your college library to use them as trusted sources.
After collecting all the needed information, the next step is to develop a clear explanatory thesis. A concise thesis will make it easier for readers to understand the essence of the topic from a summarized point of view. In other words, explain what you will be showing to your audience. Be neutral — you are not arguing or criticizing, just stating facts. Remember, you are not supposed to take any side as that causes a loss in the outlook of an explanatory essay.
Another recommendation is to choose a neutral topic you'd like to explain. If your teacher or professor didn’t give you a specific topic, select the one that will be understandable for you. Just choose such a topic that is in line with your assignment.
Once you’ve chosen a suitable topic, it’s time to draft an outline of your explanatory essay. The best option here is to stick to five paragraphs that were mentioned above: draft an introduction, three main body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The outline helps students ensure that they follow a logical pattern to detail all their trains of thought. After completing all of the above steps - review your material and start writing your explanatory paper.
Each explanatory paper should start with an introduction. Try to capture your audience’s attention. No matter how you decide to do that - it may be a quote, rhetorical question, catchy motto, or anecdote. Feel free to improvise and use your imagination. Picking a hook thesis statement is also important. After presenting a thesis statement, include any necessary information that gives a background of the topic. The last sentence of your introduction should integrate a thesis statement to give a preview of the content in the body paragraphs.
No matter how many paragraphs you decide to include in your explanatory essay, they all should follow a similar style. They all should be in-line with each other and maintain a certain flow in the paragraphs. Within each paragraph, you are to include a claim that is linked to the thesis statement. This way, it will be easier to connect all the points.
Try to support your claims with evidence from external sources. Make your readers feel confident about the information you present to them. Don’t forget to integrate a concluding statement that offers a summary of the claim's significance. Concluding statement should go along with the thesis statement. In simple terms, all body paragraphs in your explanatory paper should follow this format.
Conclusion Of Explanatory Essay
The explanatory essay must have a proper conclusion. When finishing your explanatory paper, follow these recommendations:
- Restate your thesis. This way you will bring your readers’ attention back to the main point as well as add strength to your presented point of view.
- Summarize your supporting points presented in each of the body paragraphs accordingly. Restate the importance of each one. This way you will logically defend your explanatory thesis.
- Provide an overall concluding statement. In other words, explain the value of the particular point of view chosen from a global perspective. Your goal here is to captivate your readers to study the subject further on.
How to Write an Explanatory Essay - Writing Tips
Some useful tips will help you write an excellent explanatory essay. Here are some of the most powerful ones:
Take advantage of transitions and linking words
While connecting all your body paragraphs, use transition words and sentences. They will make your explanatory paper flow more smoothly. Some of the words you can use to connect your sentences are:
- For instance;
- In comparison;
- Firstly, secondly, thirdly;
- On the other hand;
- In conclusion, to summarise.
Cite your sources
This one is an absolute requirement when writing an explanatory essay. You better try hard in this area. A successful explanatory essay will be factual and contain verifiable information. Cite your sources and make it easy for the audience to check where you drew your facts.
Revise your essay
After completing your explanatory paper, it’s always a good tip to revise it a couple of times. To make your revision phase more effective we advise you to answer the following questions:
- Does the essay give an objective analysis that unfolds logically? Did I use relevant facts and examples in your essay?
- Has the information in my paper been communicated to the audience? Is the word choice precise?
- Did I use transitions and linking words in the essay to help the reader’s understanding?
- Does the concluding paragraph communicate the value and meaning of the thesis statement and supporting ideas?
Edit your essay
Double-check your paper for different of mistakes and typos. When proofreading your paper, make sure that nobody distracts you. It would be perfect if you revise and proofread your essay in silence. If you notice any kinds of errors - edit your paper to improve both style and clarity. Even though your essay should be clear and concise, also think on how to make it engaging and lively as well.
Share your essay with a close person
Showing your essay to your parent, friend or other readers can be both useful and exciting. They can give you their opinion on what should be changed. They can also notice some grammar or punctual mistakes you missed while writing the essay. Overall, it always good to use the feedback to make your essay even better.
Explanatory Essay Example
Read the following essay sample to understand this type of essay better. If you need more examples, don’t hesitate to buy essay samples from our website.
What are the benefits of social networks for modern students?
According to the World Health Organization, people spend around 6 years and 8 months on various social media in their lifetime. These numbers are both impressive and terrifying. Given that the average lifespan across the world is 72 years, in 2020, the time spent on social networks makes up almost 10% of our entire life. And these figures keep changing and hitting higher points every year. Unsurprisingly, students are the largest group of active social network users. There always have been plenty of controversies concerning this matter. But, there is a belief that social media can actually have quite a few benefits for them.
One of the most obvious benefits of social media is that it keeps people connected. Clearly, many modern students are using these channels to make connections and communicate with their peers. Also, though it may not sound like too big of a deal, it can have a very positive effect on their lives in college. A recent study has shown that social media can play an integral role in the process of adjustment to college. The research found that student-centered networks can provide first-year students with so-needed support and help them adapt to the new environment faster, easier, and more effectively.
Another benefit of social networks for students is that such channels can boost students’ overall literacy and reading skills. Various literacy studies confirm that the general level of literacy and reading skills among younger generations is dropping. The biggest issue behind that is the fact that young people almost never pick up a book when they are outside of the class. They are just no longer interested in books as they make them bored. However, this does not mean that students don’t read at all. In fact, they do. It’s just that they are more inclined to read the information provided in smaller chunks and, preferably, containing some eye-catching animations, videos, or images. In other words, they are much more interested in reading publications on blogs, websites, and, of course, social networks. Keeping all that in mind, it shouldn’t surprise you that, according to the National Literacy Trust, social networks really can (and already do) help modern students enhance their reading skills and overall literacy.
Finally, the last significant benefit of social media is the accessibility of education. Such channels have provided us with plenty of opportunities for distance learning. The global quarantine has shown us that the effectiveness of distance learning can equal the effectiveness of traditional learning. But only if we integrate the right tools in the process. Among such tools are various social network channels. Numerous researches have found that social media can bring extra value in terms of education. It enables students to search for information, collaborate, and stay engaged and motivated through the learning process. Also, such channels make education more accessible. They can have a practical use in creating the right conditions for efficient distance learning. At the same time, they also streamline both learning and teaching processes and help deliver better results.
Based on what has been discussed earlier, we can conclude that social networks do have a number of weighty benefits for modern students. Such channels encourage continuous learning, create new opportunities for distance learning, boost students’ levels of literacy and skills, and also serve as great tools for communication and support. We can’t deny the fact that social media is invading our lives at a rapid pace, so the only thing we can do is to adapt to this and start making the most of it.
We hope we managed to explain how to write a great explanatory essay. Now you know how this type of academic paper differs from other essays and what writing style and topic to choose when preparing such kind of assignment.
We sincerely hope that the tips outlined in our guide will help you enhance your writing and get better grades. However, if you have difficulties with completing this kind of assignment, our team of professional writers is always ready to help you draft a top-notch explanatory essay from scratch. All you need to do is order an essay you need. In addition to helping you create a great informative essay , we can also help you with other types of assignments, such as coursework, dissertation writing, or research paper. If you experience any kind of difficulties writing an explanatory essay — welcome to our first-class service!
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2 Explanatory Essay Examples That Make the Grade
The explanatory essay (sometimes called an expository essay ) is one of those standard essays that you’ve probably written at least a few times in your academic career. The explanatory essay often takes the form of a cause and effect essay , a definition essay , a how-to essay , or a compare/contrast essay.
Perhaps you’ve written this type of essay before. But even if you think you can write an explanatory essay standing on your head or standing on one foot and blindfolded, every once in awhile you find yourself with an essay assignment that you’re not quite sure you know how to handle.
If you’re in that position right now and could use a little help, check out these two explanatory essay examples. They will remind you of what a well-written explanatory essay looks like.
Hopefully, the examples also provide inspiration for your own paper.
Explanatory essay example #1: How to Conduct a Good Job Interview
The first essay is a how-to essay that explains how someone conducted a job interview.
The writer speaks from experience, without the use of any evidence from sources to support ideas. While this strategy is certainly acceptable, you’ll want to check with your professor as to whether you should be using sources to support your explanatory how-to essay.
I’ve included a few additional comments to point out what the writer does well in this paper and what the writer might do to improve.
(Click any image below to enlarge.)
Explanatory essay example #2: Is the Little Mermaid a Bad Role Model?
This essay is a critique of an article. Remember, an explanatory essay essentially explains information. It doesn’t offer the opinion of the writer.
For the most part, the writer of this essay sticks to that rule and objectively reviews the article without offering personal opinion about the topic.
I’ve included a few additional comments throughout the paper to point out its strengths and identify areas that might be revised.
Writing Your Own Explanatory Essay
Armed with a few reminders of what to do (and not do) in an explanatory essay, you’re ready to move on to writing your own.
If you’re feeling a little unsure about a topic for your paper after reading the explanatory essay examples, read 24 Explanatory Essay Topics That Will Expand Your Horizons .
And if you need help putting it all together, read How to Write an Explanatory Essay That Explains It All or this quick breakdown of an explanatory (a.k.a. expository) essay .
Still struggling? If you want a few more tips about getting started, try prewriting or outlining . These strategies are sure to help you get the creative juices flowing!
Of course, always remember to complete the final step of the writing process: revision. Kibin editors are at your service .
Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays .
About the Author
Susan M. Inez is a professor of English and writing goddess based out of the Northeast. In addition to a BA in English Education, an MA in Composition, and an MS in Education, Susan has 20 years of experience teaching courses on composition, writing in the professions, literature, and more. She also served as co-director of a campus writing center for 2 years.
- essay examples
- expository essay
- Types of Papers
- Explanatory Essay
- How To Write An Explanatory Essay With Examples
How to Write an Explanatory Essay With Examples
Higher educational institutions require students to write papers that explain some concepts. In this case, an explanatory essay refers to academic tasks, which allow learners to provide clear explanations for some unique concepts. Basically, this guide provides detailed information on how to write an explanatory essay. For example, students must choose topics that are supposed to provide clear explanations. Besides, explanatory essay topics contain some guiding words, like “explain,” “viewpoint,” “discuss,” “describe,” and “detail.” Then, outstanding explanatory essays are products of keen considerations, collection of the necessary and adequate evidence, and drafting. Besides, such essays should include a clear introduction, a hook, and a clear thesis. In turn, other essential elements include objective and irrefutable evidence, topic sentences, supporting examples, and relevant explanations.
General Guidelines of Writing an Explanatory Essay
1. definition of an explanatory essay.
An explanatory essay refers to a type of composition that allows authors to present some perspective on a specific topic. In practice, readers may fail to agree with the writer’s point of view. However, the explanatory compositions’ primary goal is to prove the validity of some concepts. Therefore, one must rely on accurate research and logic to make an essay feasible.
2. Purpose of Writing an Explanatory Essay
Scholars write explanatory essays when showing other people’s views or report a specific situation or occurrence. In higher learning institutions, these essays are common in some subjects, like history and other humanities. Also, scholars rely on these essays to explain facts and real situations in these areas of study. Besides, they must give unbiased explanations to support facts and evidence. In turn, the approach used must allow one to discuss a specific subject effectively. Hence, students must provide sufficient evidence to reach a specific outcome.
Writers prepare explanatory compositions when providing an unbiased point of view. For example, a scholar must evaluate existing evidence and create a logical and unique argument. In this case, the primary aim of presenting such facts is to ensure that readers appreciate ideas without experiencing any form of confusion. Moreover, lucid explanations must show why things happen in a specific way. In turn, outstanding papers allow readers to have a rational understanding of presented ideas, even when they disagree.
Possible Explanatory Essay Topics
Learners may come across different types of explanatory essay topics in the course of their studies. Basically, such topics differ from other types of compositions, which makes it easy for leaners to identify them. Hence, possible topics for writing an explanatory essay that one may consider are:
- Explain how two individuals of different interests and backgrounds could become unlikely allies.
- Tell about a world-class athlete. Explain why you include this person in that category.
- Describe the purposes of the Internet. Include various viewpoints, including that of users and providers.
- Discuss a public health issue that you think is serious enough to warrant immediate attention.
- Describe a significant environmental problem and what you believe should be done about it.
- Discuss some events in the life of your favorite actor, author, sports figure, famous leader, or performer. Also, explain how these events relate to the person’s achievements.
- You want to buy a new state of the art computer. Detail the steps you would have to take to ensure that you will make an appropriate decision regarding this significant investment.
- Brothers and sisters do not always get along. Describe the kinds of problems this discord creates in families and how to handle a situation like this.
- Your goal is to write a paper about an individual newly arrived from another country. Discuss some kinds of information you would include.
- Your best friend’s birthday is coming up. Describe the plan you created to make this birthday celebration the kind your friend will always remember.
Students may identify a unique pattern from explanatory essay topics. From 10 examples provides above, a writer can locate common phrases available. Moreover, such terms act as guidance to show that an essayist must provide detailed explanations of various concepts. In turn, some of these sign positing words include “explain,” “viewpoints,” “discuss,” “describe,” and “detail.” Also, one must rely on such terms to make an accurate decision on the most appropriate format for writing explanatory essays.
Writing an Explanatory Essay: A Step-By-Step Guide
Step 1: preparation.
Writing an explanatory essay requires one to make necessary preparations. Basically, failing to prepare adequately can undermine the overall quality of the work presented. In most cases, writers who fail to take the required preparation score low grades. Hence, important steps that one must follow when writing explanatory essays are:
A. Defining a Topic
Students must define explanatory essay’s themes or questions clearly. For instance, writers must understand essay topics or prompts. Basically, the most effective way of defining a subject is identifying all the complex terms and finding their accurate meaning. Finally, scholars must figure out all the concepts required in the response before embarking on the writing process.
B. Addressing All the Issues
Prudent writers take their time to address all the issues that relate to a specific explanatory essay’s theme. For the topic “Discuss some events in the life of your favorite actor, author, sports figure, famous leader, or performer. Also, explain how these events relate to the person’s achievements,” one must define significant concepts that this famous person faced during his or her life. Then, students may opt to describe a “sports figure.” In this case, learners should provide a clear explanation of the preferred athlete’s performance and how it relates to personal achievements. Therefore, one must consider all the terms that can lead to an adequate description of a topic.
C. Preparing Ideas
Outstanding writers must prepare ideas that remain relevant to assigned topics in question. For instance, one should gather all the ideas that support an explanatory issue directly. In this case, a good writer organizes the main ideas together, intending to enhance the overall flow of a topic. Also, essayists must organize thoughts before responding to explanatory prompts. In turn, some essential tools, like flow charts and flashcards, help authors to recognize vital concepts that must appear in their compositions. Therefore, one should consider preparing ideas to avoid unnecessary omissions.
D. Considering the Audience
Explanatory essays intend to convince readers that a position taken remains valid. Basically, one should identify the intended audience together with their specific needs. In this case, good writers should prepare their work to appeal to a particular audience. For instance, one should consider the knowledge and language competency of intended readers. Then, writers should use exciting and straightforward language for young readers that may not limit their reading abilities. In practice, one should identify a unique means of persuading readers by using figurative language to support the validity of the evidence presented. In turn, the approach enhances the overall ability to pass the intended message to a specific audience.
E. Considering a Structure
The process of considering the audience requires one to identify the general structure of the writing and its role in supporting the main message. For example, learning institutions require students to utilize a unique design when communicating the main message. In this case, authors must focus on a traditional essay structure to enhance the primary ideas’ flow. Besides, this process helps identify significant flaws that may undermine the essay’s overall quality.
Step 2: Setting Up the Stage
Scholars should set up the stage for writing an explanatory essay. As a rule, one should not begin writing a composition without organizing the necessary ideas. Instead, students must take basic steps needed to understand a topic and gather the essential information to support the main arguments. In this case, writers include all the necessary details in an explanatory essay. Hence, these steps that one must follow when setting up the stage are:
A. Finding Sources
Academic essays contain evidence obtained from credible sources . Basically, an outstanding writer must search for reliable sources to authenticate examples and facts to present them in their explanatory essays. Moreover, scholarly sources should contain credible evidence that supports the writer’s point of view directly. Then, students should gather evidence from a wide range of sources. In this case, all learning institutes require learners to use peer-reviewed articles, volumes, reports, and credible websites as evidence sources. Besides, such rules ensure that writers obtain current indisputable evidence to prepare explanatory essays. In turn, a prudent student should avoid doubtful websites that may contain information that is irrelevant to the essay’s topic.
B. Making Notes
Note-taking is an important activity in any writing process. For instance, essayists should make notes from researched sources. Basically, students should engage in a critical reading process for all the scholarly sources to identify the subject’s evidence. Then, one should take relevant notes as part of the actual preparation. In turn, quality notes play a significant role in allowing writers to remember and organize the relevant evidence to support all the arguments. Hence, a prudent author must engage in a practical note-taking process when preparing an explanatory essay.
C. Creating an Outline
The length of an essay outline varies depending on the topic and evidence presented. Basically, a prudent student writes an explanatory essay’s outline that reveals the main points of five paragraphs. However, students must focus on developing an exhaustive outline. As a rule, an exceptional outline must include a brief introduction, a working thesis statement , and main points that support central arguments. In turn, writers should provide a suitable general description for explanatory essays, which contains relevant evidence that supports established arguments and claims.
D. Writing an Annotated Bibliography for an Explanatory Essay
By definition, an annotated bibliography means a list of bibliographic entries for sources identified for writing a paper. In this case, one should follow the necessary formatting guidelines in preparing bibliographic entries. However, each entry must contain a suitable annotation that highlights essential details. As a rule, a credible annotation should have three paragraphs, namely a summary, an evaluation of a text, and a reflection on its applicability to a study. In turn, these three sections play a crucial role in ensuring that an author examines the source’s relevance in supporting main arguments. Besides, the process helps one to understand specific parts of sources that must be used to support ideas in an explanatory essay.
Step 3: Start Writing an Explanatory Essay
The writing process plays a crucial role in preparing explanatory essays because it allows writers to bring all the ideas together. Basically, students have a primary duty of ensuring that they present essential ideas in supporting their arguments. In turn, the most important aspect is to ensure that one must follow the necessary steps in creating the most outstanding explanatory compositions.
A. Creating a Draft
One should utilize notes prepared with a working thesis previously to develop a draft of an explanatory essay. Basically, acceptable drafts should follow the essay’s format and must contain all the relevant parts and sections. In this case, writers should organize explanatory drafts with the introduction, body, and conclusion as three significant parts. In this case, the process of uniting the information together helps to create a unique picture of an explanatory essay. Besides, it helps authors to identify necessary factors that relate to their compositions. Hence, drafting an explanatory essay marks the first step in organizing information in a way that reveals a good flow.
B. Putting Everything Together
Essayists should put the information together into a complete paper that communicates the intended message. For instance, a writer should include all the evidence gathered in the previous section of a composition. Besides, one must ensure that all the paragraphs or subsection follows a logical order. In this case, the primary goal of putting everything together is to ensure that one can read and grasp the intended message. Also, this step lays the foundation for revising a paper and ensures that all the evidence presented supports the essay’s central argument.
C. Finding New Sources or Deleting Old Ones
A prudent writer should not stick to sources identified initially. Basically, one must become flexible when identifying credible sources that support an explanatory essay effectively. In this stage, essayists should review the sources’ applicability in enhancing the clarity of the communicated message. Moreover, if some sources fail to align with presented ideas, students must find new ones. In this case, writers should look for those scholarly articles that contain weightier evidence to support thesis statements and other opinions presented in explanatory essays. Also, scholars may add more sources to avoid distracting the flow of ideas throughout an essay. In turn, authors should delete previous sources if they fail to present weightier evidence to the central argument.
D. Altering an Outline
Prudent essayist remains flexible enough to alter the initial procedure. As a rule, this process must take place after adjusting some sources used in the first draft. Basically, one should consider making the most essential and mandatory changes in addressing some issues that relate to a specific subject. In this case, essayists must alter some of the claims presented to ensure that they add some significance to a topic. Moreover, a reviewed essay outline plays an essential role in creating a suitable structure for a final explanatory essay. Therefore, one should revise the essay’s general description to capture the new evidence from the revised draft.
E. Developing a Working Thesis
Each paper should have a remarkable thesis statement that covers the main ideas or central messages. Basically, arguments made in an explanatory essay should reflect a thesis statement. As a rule, a thesis sentence refers to the information that captures the writer’s position. Also, this statement should appear in the introduction paragraph. Then, students should rely on the draft and revised outline to create a working thesis statement. In turn, this approach can ensure that one understands the intended message in one sentence. Hence, the central claim must reflect on what essayists plan to communicate to the explanatory essay’s targeted audience.
Step 4: Wrap It Up
The final stage in writing an explanatory essay involves polishing all the elements. Basically, the primary goal is to ensure that the one submits a flawless paper that effectively communicates the main message. In this case, learners bear the responsibility of polishing their work and ensuring that it captures all the intended ideas. Hence, specific steps that one must consider when preparing to polish an explanatory essay are:
Outstanding papers are products of several revisions. In particular, one must engage in a rigorous revision process to ensure that an explanatory essay meets the necessary quality. Basically, writers should consider specific elements during the revision process. For example, some aspects include spelling, grammar, and paragraphs. Then, one should ensure that all words follow the accepted spelling depending on the language used. Also, the grammar in a paper should enhance the paper’s readability. In turn, wise authors rely on their friends to identify such flaws. As a result, the strategy makes it easier to identify common mistakes that can undermine the overall essay’s quality.
Prudent writers consider the significance of the editing process in enhancing the essay’s quality. For example, an essayist should consider making essential changes in an explanatory essay during the editing process. In this case, the method may involve removing vague statements and adding more evidence to enhance the essay’s quality. Then, one should consider critics to make necessary changes in an explanatory essay and ensure that it meets desired outcomes. Hence, editing is a rigorous process that must focus on improving the paper’s ability to communicate main ideas.
C. Topic Sentences
Outstanding explanatory essays should have topic sentences that relate to the central claim. For instance, one must ensure that each paragraph begins with a topic sentence. Basically, this opening statement must dwell on a single idea and reveal a unique connection to the thesis statement presented in the introduction. In this case, writers must ensure that all the paragraphs begin with precise topic phrases. Otherwise, a paper may appear unclear and fail to provide the intended explanation about the topic. As a rule, one must avoid discussing many points in a passage to enhance the overall quality. As a result, focused explanatory essays gain more marks.
D. Concluding Sentences
Outstanding essays contain closing. Basically, the last sentence in each body paragraph must summarize the main idea covered in this part. In turn, one must ensure that this line gives a summative closure to the passage without introducing new evidence or arguments to a paper. However, failure to include effective closing can disrupt the readers’ attention to the primary message. Moreover, the last sentence in a section must connect to the ideas presented in the topic sentence of the following passage.
Each passage must link to the next section through a linking phrase. For example, one must use transitioning words throughout an explanatory essay to ensure that it has an adequate flow of the main ideas. Besides, relevant transitions must appear inside the essay’s text. Unfortunately, some learners make a mistake of using many transitioning phrases in writing. Also, such flaws distract the paper’s readability and may result in the distortion of the main message. Hence, one must rely on significant transitioning elements to communicate the intended message to the audience.
Many learning institutions require students to follow specific formatting styles and guidelines. Basically, a successful writer must follow such guidelines when preparing their explanatory essays to ensure that they meet the necessary academic standards. In this case, students must make the relevant professor’s essential consultations to avoid losing grades due to poor formatting. Besides, an explanatory essay’s rubric from the appropriate faculty acts as useful formatting guidelines. In turn, a prudent writer must rely on such tools to ensure that the work submitted meets the necessary quality. Therefore, each student must consider the essential formatting guidelines for explanatory essays.
G. Peer Reviewing
Peer reviewing is an essential step in the writing process that college students tend to ignore. For instance, writers must share their work with peers for the reading and reviewing process. In this case, one should identify other scholars with adequate knowledge in the subject matter to read an explanatory essay and provide a positive critique. Basically, such choices play an instrumental role in determining the possible flaws in written documents. Then, students should consider the feedback and its role in promoting the essay’s quality before making any changes. As a rule, essayists must consider several critics and their role in enhancing the work’s readability and significance.
Explanatory Essay Outline Template
An explanatory essay has a unique outline that enhances the ability to communicate the intended message. In this case, a writer should rely on a scheme to avoid unnecessary omissions. Hence, the main elements that one must include in an explanatory essay are:
A. An attention-getter.
B. Contextual information that presents all sides that supports the argument.
C. A clear thesis statement that covers three arguments presented in the body of an explanatory essay in one sentence.
A. The first body paragraph.
- A topic sentence that identifies the first argument.
- Accurate evidence that supports this argument, which should contain an accurate citation.
- An explanation of the evidence presented, which helps readers to understand the intended message.
- A concluding statement that solidifies this argument and reveals its standing. Also, the concluding statement must be connected to the next paragraph.
B. The second body paragraph.
- A topic sentence that identifies the second argument.
- Accurate evidence that supports this argument, which should contain an accurate citation
- A concluding statement that solidifies this argument and reveals its standing. Also, the concluding statement must connect to the next paragraph.
C. The third body paragraph.
- A topic sentence that identifies the third argument.
A. A restated thesis statement.
B. A summary of three arguments presented in the essay’s body paragraphs.
C. A final statement that leaves readers with a unique impression.
Important Features of Explanatory Essays
An outline for expository essays is unique since all the sections focus on providing an adequate explanation of significant concepts. In this case, the number of body paragraphs should vary depending on the essay’s length. Moreover, one must ensure that topic sentences provide a detailed explanation of the central claim. In turn, writers should ensure that the essay’s body paragraphs offer concise and precise answers to the main arguments. Then, one may know that a paper pertains to an explanatory essay if all the statements included in an outline provide direct support to a written piece. However, other compositions, like argumentative papers, contain paragraphs that provide counterarguments and rebuttals. Hence, an expository essay’s outline appears unique since all the main points presented must support a thesis statement directly.
Breaking Down an Eplxanatory Essay’s Outline
The introduction of an explanatory essay must begin with a hook. Basically, the approach enables writers to capture the readers’ attention. In this case, essayists should give a brief overview of the topic to show the scope that the work must take. Besides, the closing sentence should include a thesis statement. In turn, outstanding papers should have debatable thesis statements.
II. Body Paragraphs
The body of an explanatory essay should contain the main arguments that support the thesis statement. Basically, students must ensure that all the topic sentences relate to the thesis statement. In this case, essayists must support the central claim with adequate evidence. Also, explanatory essays must contain accurate in-text citations in all the sentences that contain borrowed evidence.
An explanatory essay should contain a summative conclusion. Basically, the last paragraph should restate the thesis statement and summarize all the topic sentences presented in the text. As a rule, the closing section should not contain new evidence. Instead, one should bring the work to a satisfactory closure that joins all the main ideas together.
Example of Writing an Explanatory Essay
Topic: Explain the Impact of the Rising Child Gangs
I. Sample of an Explanatory Introduction
Every human being strives to develop a sense of belonging. However, most teenagers fail in the process of creating relevant social circles. In this case, the majority of juveniles join various gangs, intending to achieve a sense of belonging. Moreover, the rise of teenage gangs is a major social problem in the twenty-first century. Although most individuals may disregard adolescent gangs’ impacts, they promote crime, drug and substance abuse, and lower education turnout among the juveniles.
II. Example of Body Paragraphs in an Explanatory Essay
A. argument 1.
Teenage gangs promote juvenile crime. For example, most teenagers who join gangs tend to engage in delinquent activities. In this case, many youths develop a sense of belonging when they engage in crime. Basically, they focus on establishing superiority among their social circles. Moreover, stealing and fighting are some of the activities that enable youths to develop a sense of belonging. In turn, gangs motivate juveniles to engage in such unbecoming activities. Besides, established bands give teenagers the courage to violate the law. Hence, the rising teenage gangs promote juvenile delinquency and encourage drug and substance abuse.
B. Argument 2
Teenage gangs are responsible for rising rates of drug abuse among teenagers. For example, many teenagers learn how to use drugs through peer influence. In this case, they interact with friends who have access to cheap illegal drugs. Also, the process exposes most of the young teenagers to hard drugs. Then, the majority of the drug addicts began such behaviors during their teenage life. Besides, the membership to groups that engage in drug abuse contributes towards the addiction process. In other instances, gangs provide the necessary protection to the youths interested in drug abuse. Therefore, teenage gang membership has a close association with drug abuse and lower education turnouts among the juveniles.
C. Argument 3
Gang membership plays a significant role in undermining adequate education access. For example, being a member of a teenage gang distracts most students from focusing on their education. In this case, many juveniles concentrate on fulfilling the needs of their respective bands. Moreover, the process interrupts their ability to meet educational expectations. Then, the majority of teenagers who engage in delinquent activities and drug abuse records the lowest performance in their studies. In turn, the peer pressure forces them to remain in their respective gangs that promote such unfitting behaviors. Eventually, they lose the ability to focus on their academic goals and may drop out of their studies.
III. Conclusion Sample for an Explanatory Essay
In conclusion, teenage gangs have detrimental impacts on juvenile lives. Firstly, the preceding evidence proves that teenage gangs motivate crime. In this case, the majority of youths who engage in such activities tend to embrace stealing and fighting. Besides, such children tend to engage in drug and substance abuse. Then, peer pressure and the need to remain relevant in their respective social circles motivate the juveniles to embrace drugs. Finally, gang membership lowers education turnout among youngsters. In turn, a large number of youths who belong to specific gangs tend to record poor academic performance. Thus, they may lose an opportunity to end their schools.
Summing Up on How to Write an Explanatory Essay
Explanatory essays refer to common types of academic assignments that students must complete in their studies. Basically, explanatory essay topics give clear explanations of various ideas. Also, a scholar may choose a suitable topic from a wide range of issues in multiple areas of study. In practice, one may identify the topic to an expository essay through some phrases, like “explain,” “viewpoints,” “discuss,” “describe,” and “detail.” Besides, the explanatory writing process requires one to consider the question, gather the necessary evidence, collect adequate evidence, and create a draft. Hence, key points that one must remember when writing explanatory essays are:
- An explanatory essay’s introduction must contain a hook.
- All papers should contain a clear thesis statement.
- Essays should contain relevant ideas that explain a specific subject.
- A written work must end with a summative conclusion that brings the entire paper to closure.
- An explanatory essay’s outline must consist of a brief introduction, a working thesis statement, a body, and a final summary.
- The body section of an explanatory essay outline must contain topic sentences with brief points.
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How to Write an Explanatory Essay
A common writing assignment is the explanatory, or expository, essay. An explanatory essay describes your opinion on something, the ideas of another person, a process to follow, or an event that has taken place.
Rather than criticizing the information or debating its validity, you simply explain it and make it easier for your reader to understand. One you know the basic building blocks of an explanatory essay, you'll be able to write a great one.
Step 1 - Choose a Topic That You Understand Well
Although an explanatory essay might sound complicated, it's very basic in fact. You can explain almost anything as long as it falls within the parameters of your assignment. The following are just a few examples:
- Tell the reader why everybody should speak at least two languages.
- State why the government should not observe religious holidays.
- Discuss the gluten-free diet fad and whether it's necessary for most people.
- Explain how the electoral college system works and show whether it's fair and effective, or not.
- Describe the process you would follow when buying a new car.
- Show that the Equal Rights Amendment needs to be fully ratified and how it would benefit the United States.
- List the events that led up to World War I.
- Make an argument for what you think will be the next world superpower.
Step 2 - Be Careful Not to Veer Into the Territory of Other Types of Essays
It's best not to write a persuasive essay or process essay, even though you might be able to argue that both are technically explanations. Try to stay true to the explanatory style, which will demonstrate to your instructor that you fully understand the concept.
While you should present evidence to back up your topic, your goal is not necessarily to sway the reader but to make a solid case. Likewise, your description of a process should be less of a step-by-step instructional guide and more of a discussion.
Step 3 - Gather Evidence to Support Your Essay
The key to a well-written explanatory essay is good reasons to support your main idea. In some cases, these may be merely opinions, but as long as your reasoning is strong, your essay will be too.
To write a solid essay, you'll want to get your information from reliable sources. If you're visiting a website you're not familiar with, check the About Us page to learn more about the organization publishing the information. Keep track of your sources and be sure to mention them in your paper, according to the style dictated by your instructor.
Step 4 - Outline Your Essay
You won't be submitting your outline, so don't worry about using Roman numerals and indenting perfectly. Just do a little prep work to make the actual writing easier. It's just like an artist making a sketch before beginning a painting.
Simple lists or text boxes will do. You could also try mind-mapping or using the old-school method of writing your ideas on separate index cards.
Step 5 - Write the Body of Your Paper
An essay should contain a minimum of five paragraphs: an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. However, this doesn't mean all essays should only have five paragraphs. It's simply a starting point.
Your assignment will specify a word count or the number of paragraphs you need to include. Be sure to focus on one point in each paragraph, which you'll explain clearly in the first sentence. If you begin to branch off to another idea, transition to a new paragraph.
Step 6 - Finish with Your Conclusion and Introduction
You should end your essay on a strong note. Tie your ideas together with powerful summary statements in a memorable final paragraph. But you're not finished there.
Copywriters know that the first words on a page are the most important. It's often a good idea to leave your introduction for last. With the rest of your paper written, you'll better be able to draw the reader in with powerful language.
The expository essay isn't as technical as it sounds. This assignment can cover a wide variety of topics. It's up to you to choose a subject you feel passionate about so you can do it justice.
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What is an Explanatory Essay and How to Get Started
Table of contents
So you’re watching a movie with your younger sibling, and after it gets over, your confused sibling asks, “I didn’t understand. What was the movie about?”
The next thing you do is break down the movie and explain it in a way that your sibling can understand.
Now imagine having to write an essay on it - that’s essentially what an explanatory essay is.
Don’t worry - in this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about writing explanatory essays and how you can submit a well-written one that will help you get the highest grades.
What is an Explanatory Essay
An explanatory (also known as expository) essay requires you to describe and explain a particular point of view, incident, event, or situation.
Unlike the other kinds of essays, such as argumentative and persuasive, explanatory essays are more about presenting information, facts, statistics, and examples to explain the situation rather than taking a side and persuading the readers to agree with your opinion.
Students must evaluate the situation and present a clear, logical explanation of what transpired while keeping a neutral standpoint.
The purpose of such essays is to encourage students to pay attention to the details, consider factual observations, analyze and write with utmost clarity.
6 Types of Explanatory Essays
These are the six types of explanatory essays you will come across in school and college.
In this type of essay, you are required to explain, expand and define a complicated concept to your readers in a more straightforward, and easier-to-understand way.
Furthermore, through the introduction, you should explain the concept and give your personal take on what you understood of the topic.
Following the introduction is the body paragraph in which you write a detailed and well-researched analysis of the assigned topic. These points are then finally summarized in the conclusion.
Some examples of definition essay questions include:
- What is contemporary music?
- Explain the concept of sleep paralysis.
- What is your definition of a superhero?
Cause and effect
This type of essay revolves around a situation that was caused which eventually had some kind of an effect. You have to cover basic questions like “what was the reason for this cause” and “what are the outcomes or repercussions of this.”
There are two ways you can approach this type of essay:
- Chain Pattern: which indicates explaining each cause with its effect one after the other;
- Block Pattern: in which the first paragraph is devoted to all the causes, and the second paragraph talks about all the effects that came after.
Some examples of cause-and-effect essay questions include:
- Cause and Effect of Smoking in Individuals.
- Cause and Effect of Homelessness in the World.
- Cause and Effect of Social Media Addiction.
Compare and contrast
In this type of essay, your purpose is to identify and lay out the similarities and/or differences between two ideas, phenomenons, situations, things, people, or even a period of time.
Majority of the time, the two subjects that are being compared or contrasted fall under a broad category. For example, if you are writing an essay about high school and college, you can find similarities and differences in the way of teaching, the grading system, the campus, the curriculum, the activities, etc.
Like the cause and effect essay, this type is also approached in the chain and block pattern.
Some examples of compare and contrast essays include:
- Facebook vs. Instagram: Better for Business?
- American English vs. British English: Know the Difference.
- Labrador Retriever vs. Golden Retriever: Which Breed is Best?
This type of explanatory essay is a prevalent one. In this, you are required to explain the entire procedure and the correct steps of making or doing something. This is why most of the topics for this type of essay start with a “how-to”.
The purpose of writing “how-to” essays is to provide the readers with necessary steps in such a way that it makes it easier for the readers to follow them correctly and systematically, without causing any mistakes.
Some examples of how-to essay questions include:
- How to Rent an Apartment in New York.
- How to Apply for a Permanent Residency Visa.
- How to Start an Entrepreneurial Business and Succeed.
In this type of essay, you will be given a broad topic from which you must sort out points into different groups or sections accurately.
In other words, arrange objects, scenarios, and people with the same characteristics into different categories and further explain your reasoning of why you segregated it this way.
Using examples and references for each category will help bring quality to your essay and authority to your writing.
Some examples of classification essay questions include:
- What is the most dangerous type of driver you find on the road: Drunk, Distracted, or Speeding?
- What is the best type of portable electronic device: Smartphones, Laptops, or Tablets?
- What is the best type of American music: Blues, Jazz, or Hip-Hop?
Problem and solution
In this type of essay, there is a problem or an issue that is being raised through the topic given by your professor, and your job is to figure out the best way to solve the problem.
This can be done by looking at the problem from different angles and scenarios and brainstorming to find the correct solution that suits all the attributes.
Some examples of problem and solution essay questions:
- The Growing Concern of Animal Abuse.
- Lack of Clean Water in India.
- Bribery Being Considered a Normal Practice.
How to Structure an Explanatory Essay
Creating an outline is the first step to writing an excellent explanatory essay. Here’s what the structure comprises.
The introduction of explanatory essays is the first and most crucial paragraph that your professors will read, and based on how good of an introduction it is, they will be instigated to continue reading the rest of the essay.
Your introduction needs to be strong and exciting enough to grab the attention of your professors.
The introduction covers the first two paragraphs of the essay, which also includes the thesis statement. In this, you need to give a brief description of the topic and essential points that your professor will come across while reading the explanatory essay.
The middle and central portion of your paper consisting of 3 paragraphs, is the body of your explanatory essay.
Through the body paragraphs, you can describe and expand the given topic in detail and use references, data, and other supporting evidence to back up the claims you made and the facts you added to the essay.
In this body paragraph, you can use relevant images, infographics, examples, theories, quotes, etc., to detail the contents of the essay further and make it a more exciting read.
Lastly, we have the conclusion paragraph, which summarizes all the crucial points made in the essay, as well as your (the writer’s) views on this specific topic.
This paragraph is equally as crucial as the introduction.
This is because, when your professors read your conclusion paragraph, they will have a summarized understanding of the entire essay and will be left with a positive lasting impression of your writing and the content you chose to include to draft the essay.
8 Steps to Start a High-Scoring Explanatory Essay
Writing explanatory essays are like educating people about a particular concept. The best ones are those that engage the reader and leave them with everything they need to know about the topic.
Now that you know what is an explanatory essay, its purpose, and the various types, let’s take a look at the steps involved in writing a winning essay and scoring the best grades.
Pick a Neutral Topic
One of the most critical aspects of writing an explanatory essay is having a neutral point of view.
Many students don’t realize the difference between explaining and persuading. An explanatory essay needs you to describe/explain instead of taking sides and persuading the reader.
Hence, it’s imperative to pick a topic that’s non-controversial and which allows you to be neutral. So, brainstorm and make a list of topics that interest you. Then, narrow them down and look at them with an ‘expository’ lens and evaluate the scope to explain it in detail.
Conduct Research and Gather Evidence
What is an explanatory essay without proper and in-depth research?
Give yourself ample time to look into credible and reputable sources to do research and gather evidence that can be used to validate your arguments while writing the essay.
From facts and quotes to statistical data, survey results, and examples - lookout for any kind of factual, anecdotal, or logical evidence that can be used in the paper.
Here's an explainer video by Raynor Memorial Libraries, offering practical advice on how you can conduct research for your explanatory essay
Outline your Ideas
After all the extensive research, you will be left with a whole lot of information and data. Don’t make the mistake of diving right into the writing stage.
Take a moment to organize your thoughts and outline your ideas to avoid getting overwhelmed and, worse, leaving out important points.
Writing a five-paragraph explanatory essay generally means devoting one paragraph to the introduction and conclusion and three paragraphs to the body.
Creating an outline is just jotting down the points you plan to include in the introduction, body, and conclusion paragraphs. This rough outline serves as a skeleton and ensures your paper follows a logical flow.
Regardless of how stressed and pressed you are for time, don’t miss out on this step.
Craft a Strong Thesis Statement
The importance of a strong thesis statement cannot be emphasized enough - it forms the backbone of every essay.
The thesis statement is essentially two to three sentences that appear at the end of the introductory paragraph. They need to clearly communicate what the rest of your essay is about and make the reader want to know more.
Remember - an effective thesis statement is concise, debatable, and supportable. Make sure you’re able to justify it in the succeeding paragraphs.
If you find yourself spending too much time wondering “how to write the thesis statement” and developing it, work on a rough version and come back to refine it after you’re done writing the entire paper.
Start with an Enticing Hook
“How do I start an explanatory essay” you may wonder.
The key is to grab the reader’s attention by starting with an enticing hook. A hook may be a rhetorical question, a quote, a startling statistic, a funny anecdote, an interesting fact, a metaphor, or anything else that would reel the readers in and pique their interest.
The hook is the first one or two sentences of the essay, after which you need to go on to give background information that will offer context on the topic.
Lastly, end the introductory paragraph with a strong thesis statement you crafted earlier.
Validate your Arguments with Facts and Examples
Now comes the meat of your explanatory essay and the most time-consuming section - the body paragraphs.
It’s advisable to devote one paragraph to each idea wherein you state the main opinion, offer evidence, and smoothly transition to the following picture.
Speaking of evidence, here’s where your research efforts need to pay off. Make sure you offer enough evidence to justify your arguments and back your claims up. This will only strengthen the paper and your writing.
Feel free to use charts, graphs, and illustrations, if necessary.
Wondering how to use and apply evidence in your explanatory essay?
Here’s a video of Ariel Bissett offering some valuable tips
The reader needs to see a logical connection between the main ideas you’re stating and the thesis statement - so make sure you’re able to correlate each of them back to the statement made.
Stay within the word count because it’s easy to get carried away while writing this section.
Wrap up with a Strong Conclusion
“How do I end my explanatory essay” is a valid question to have because, like it or not - the concluding paragraph has the highest recall value, and your instructor is most likely to remember your writing basis this section.
So, if you think you can summarize the thesis statement, you’re mistaken.
An ideal conclusion needs to reinstate the thesis statement while touching upon the main ideas and evidence you highlighted in the essay.
Once you’ve wrapped up the critical points, leave the reader with a powerful call to action that makes them think and effectively puts across the point you set out to make.
Edit and Proofread
After days of hard work, you ought to set aside time to edit and proofread the essay. You don’t want to submit a paper filled with silly mistakes and let all your efforts go down the drain.
So, make sure you read the essay multiple times and watch out for grammatical and spelling errors, and see that your paper covers all the points and flows in a logical manner. It’s also essential to use the correct transition words to make for a smooth reading experience.
To avoid any unintentional plagiarism , you must accurately cite all the sources you have referred to in the paper in the required style (MLA, APA, Harvard, etc.).
An explanatory essay is a typical assignment, but that doesn’t make it easy to tackle. It’s important to stay true to the rules of writing an explanatory essay and remember the core purpose, explaining or describing a concept, situation, event, etc., and not sharing your opinion or stance.
If you’re still worried about how to go about it, we at Writers Per Hour can help you out. Our professional writers are experts at explanatory essay writing and can offer you the assistance you need to score well.
All you need to do is write to us saying, “I need help with my explanatory essay,” and we will get the best-suited writer on the job to deliver a high-quality explanatory essay written from scratch.
Last edit at Dec 23 2022
Stefani is a professional writer and blogger at Writers Per Hour . She primarily contributes articles about careers, leadership, business, and writing. Her educational background in family science and journalism has given her a broad base from which to approach many topics. She especially enjoys preparing resumes for individuals who are changing careers.
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What is an Explanatory Essay Definition?
There is no definite black and white in our multifaceted world. Any number of situation, topic, or event can have more than one viewpoint for it. The core consideration is the approach of that specific situation, topic, or event. Hence, it is quite difficult to sway any of the core way of thinking or ideological beliefs. Hence, the best way to approach usually involves the incorporation of different facts, logic, statistics, and critical evidences to provide an insight to the idea and its validity. An explanatory essay is the literal definition of it.
So what do you have to write in explanatory essay? It is somewhat simple to understand. An explanatory paper is the form of writing that involves the incorporation of author’s presentation of a certain viewpoint based on certain event, topic, or even a situation. It is quite important to note that the view does not have to be agreed by the writer; however, it requires attention to facts and figures backed by intensive research for writing an explanatory essay. As a writer, you would have to elucidate the situation, event, or topic without any criticism by supporting it with sound analysis.
Explanatory Essay Outline
While you are going to write an explanatory essay, the key to success is formulating a logical plan. The explanatory essay’s outline can vary from one subject matter to another. It is mainly because of the depth of topic and associated information that is essential to be presented in explanatory paper. However, most of the explanatory essay varies from one to two pages in length. Prior to writing an explanatory essay, you should prepare an outline by following the underlying steps:
- You should start writing by an introduction that should be concise and information for the readers.
- After a concise introduction, you should start by writing a main body that usually comprises of five paragraphs. Each of the three to five paragraphs should be backed by concrete evidences, findings, and analysis on the subject matter.
- Based on the body, you will have to wrap up by concluding the existing facts and analysis as presented in previous section.
This is only a sample, to get your own paper you need to:
Explanatory Essay Example
Explanatory Essay Examples
Explanatory Essay Format
Explanatory Essay Graphic Organizer
Explanatory Essay Samples
Writing Introduction for an Explanatory Essay
The introduction paragraph for an explanatory writing is your first attention seeking beacon and can be considered as the most important part of it. You need to make it vivid and eye-catchy so that your reader would like to keep interested in your explanatory essay. Hence, it is of vital importance that you pay substantial attention on an opening statement. You can provide the readers with three core prompts:
- Asking about a highly disputable question, providing the readers with a ethical dilemma, relevant quote, even something that could captivate the attention of readers at the first instance.
- Provide the key details pertaining to available information that does not appear to be common knowledge for the readers. By doing that, you can easily draw a clear picture for the readers about your explanatory essay thesis statement.
- Writing an effective and impressive thesis statement for the explanatory essay. A thesis statement for the explanatory writing should present logical facts to the readers while helping them to clearly articulate your main idea.
Body Paragraphs of an Explanatory Essay
Based on the depth of topic, the body can vary from three to five paragraphs by following steps:
- Use key ideas for every paragraph having their own approach. However, each paragraph could have identical general style. The topic sentence should be presented that would concisely explain the information that would be introduced. At the very same instance your sentences need to be flow smoothly from the first to the next point for every paragraph.
- Facilitate each of the paragraphs with substantial supporting logical evidences. Hence, presenting a claim or thesis is essential for supporting the thesis statement. It is vital to establish a good connection between topic sentence and provided facts so that your readers can easily connect the dots.
- Elaborate the reason why the provided logical facts and evidences play an important role. By doing it, you can readily validate your logical claim and successfully strengthen your position as provided in explanatory paper. At the end of each body paragraph, it is essential to provide readers with a concluding statement that can iterate the significance of the logical facts and topic sentence. By doing that, you can link the paragraphs to the thesis statement. Following this systematic approach for three to five paragraphs can result in completion of body of explanatory essay.
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Conclusion: How to End an Explanatory Essay
You are now at the end of your explanatory essay. But there are still three key components that are essential for properly concluding an explanatory essay. It includes:
- In the first step, you will need to reiterate your thesis statement. By doing that you are going to bring back the attention of readers back to the core of your explanatory essay. You can also strengthen your elaborated viewpoint.
- For the next step, summarization of the key supporting statements as presented in each body paragraphs is an essential important part. You can restate the key points highlighted in each of the paragraph concisely. By doing that, you will tell the readers that you have successful and logically strengthened your thesis statement thereby increasing the overall credibility of your writing.
- In the last part, you will need to make concluding remarks for an explanatory essay. It can also include elaboration of your viewpoint from the global point of view. You can also ask your readers with a call for potential action so that you can captivate your readers for further research.
What is an Explanatory Essay Example?
College and university students are overwhelmed by a number of complex tasks that can negatively impact their grades and performance. If you are having problems to maintain a healthy work-life balance, you can find the readymade explanatory essay. This will not only make you manage your time effectively; but, it will also help you to find help writing the explanatory essays. For more information on the explanatory paper, you can find in the following article:
- Teenagers Commit Suicide
- William McKinley
An explanatory essay is the form of writing that can allow you to showcase your writing talent and skills effectively if it is written properly. Choosing an interesting or even a non-interesting topic can be the first step for you. By doing that, you can even make the non-interesting topic quite interesting by spending ample time researching about the facts and figures. Your readers will have to see the details through your lens and that will make you the most important character in your explanatory essay. Besides that, adhering to details by developing logical arguments that are supported by thorough analysis can make your explanatory paper to be captivating for the readers. The explanatory writing is not that technical as it looks like. All you have to do is to captivate the readers through concise arguments that are backed by thorough logical analysis, facts, and figures. That would make your explanatory essay a perfect one.
Writing an explanatory essay has never been that easy. So what are you waiting for? Come and have a look to make your essays stand out from the rest.
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