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Expository writing
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Expository writing: Master 6 types of informative essays with formats

Expository writing may seem to be a bit more challenging compared to Narrative, Descriptive, Persuasive and Argumentative. This is because there are 6 types and you must know which one you are dealing with when you read the question. You will find Expository writing in reports, documentaries, recipes and manuals.

You are required to present information objectively. Details about persons, places, events or objects must be supported by evidence. You are not required to use figurative language, appeal to the senses, or create suspense and drama.

This type of essay can be mastered if you follow a lot of current events. Keep up with the news and you will be able to use back the information in your Expository essay.

This simply means that you can read a daily newspaper, watch the news at night, listen to the radio or follow the news channels on social media for updates. You will learn about the actions, changes, causes and effects of people, organisations, governments and nature.

At school, you must recognise which one of the 6 types of Expository essays you are given before you start. This would determine which 5-paragraph format you use. These suggested formats ensure that you answer any question given effectively.

6 Types of Expository Writing

1. Process

2. Cause and effect

3. Compare and contrast

4. Definition

5. Problem/solution

6. Classification

Expository – 5 paragraphs

A general 5-paragraph structure can be used for all 6 types of Expository essays. Each paragraph has 3 parts that can be written in 1 to 3 sentences depending on the word count you are given. Here is a guide to keep your informative piece well written.

Paragraph 1: Introduction

  • Opening statement
  • State or rephrase the given question
  • Thesis statement

Paragraph 2: Body

  • Topic sentence
  • Details with evidence
  • Closing statement

Paragraph 3: Body

  • Topic sentence
  • Details with evidence
  • Closing statement

Paragraph 4: Body

  • Topic sentence
  • Details with evidence
  • Closing statement

Paragraph 5: Conclusion

  • Paraphrase of thesis statement
  • Summary of paragraphs 2, 3 and 4
  • Closing statement

Paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 Expository writing

While you use the general 5-paragraph structure for Expository writing, there are different structures for paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 in each type of essay. Here are 6 guides with examples to help you format each type of Expository writing effectively.

Process Expository


  • Paragraph 2 – before incident e.g. wet roads, car speeding, collision occurred
  • Paragraph 3 – during incident e.g. persons received injuries, vehicles were damaged
  • Paragraph 4 – after incident e.g. ambulance took away persons, wreckers took away the vehicles

Cause and Effect Expository


  • Paragraph 2 – first cause and its effect e.g. deforestation
  • Paragraph 3 – second cause and its effect e.g. pollution
  • Paragraph 4 – third cause and its effect e.g. construction

Compare and Contrast Expository


  • Paragraph 2 – environment e.g. laid back and peaceful versus busy and noisy
  • Paragraph 3 – people e.g. relaxed versus anxious
  • Paragraph 4 – crime rate e.g. low versus high

Definition Expository – past, today, and future


  • Paragraph 2 – past e.g. used in science and business
  • Paragraph 3 – today e.g. used in homes, schools and vehicles
  • Paragraph 4 – future e.g. used as people to do everything

Problem/solution Expository – cause, problem and solution


  • Paragraph 2 – cause e.g. garbage in the streets block drains
  • Paragraph 3 – problem e.g. rain falls, the water cannot pass and it spills over into the streets
  • Paragraph 4 – solution e.g. more bins, no littering campaigns and fines for litterbugs

Classification Expository


  • Paragraph 2 – characters e.g. good acting
  • Paragraph 3 – conflict e.g. problem must be surprising
  • Paragraph 4 – plot e.g. well developed exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution



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See also:

Narrative Writing: Elements that tell a story

Descriptive Writing: Elements that create imagery

Literary Devices usage in creative writing

Argumentative Essay: Debate in 5 paragraphs with example

16 Debate topics and points to master argumentative essays

Types of essays: Learn 5-paragraph structure and purpose

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