11 junio, 2024

Expository essay: characteristics, structure, types, example

He expository essay It is a type of text whose purpose is to explain, simply and briefly, a specific topic. Thanks to these qualities, they are widely used to present topics that are difficult to understand by a general public.

Fundamentally, expository essays are based on exposing data to explain a specific topic. For this reason, they must present verifiable information from sources such as encyclopedias, scientific articles and books. The use of this type of sources should give the essay greater credibility.

Since they are aimed at a wide audience, they must be completely clear and written in colloquial language. In addition, they must be structured in such a way that the reader becomes interested in the topic as they progress through the text.

This is achieved by separating the paragraphs so that their intensity increases, reaching a conclusion that leaves the reader wanting to know more about the subject matter.


Characteristics of the expository essay

The main characteristics of an expository essay are:


The language used in descriptive essays should be colloquial.


Thanks to the great variety of essays that exist, any topic can be dealt with in the text.


These types of texts are usually short, despite the fact that there is no regulation on their length. Normally, the length of the text depends on the preferences of its author.

Text layout and structure

An essay must be distributed, regardless of its length, in three parts: an introduction, a body or development, and a conclusion.

They do not give opinion

Expository essays are used to present verifiable information, generally obtained from studies. They should not be confused with argumentative essays, whose purpose is to express the author’s position on a topic.

For a wide audience

They are intended to be read by a wide audience and not necessarily an expert on the subject matter. For this reason, they are usually used to disseminate complicated topics, such as technological or scientific research, among others.

voice and tone

They should maintain an objective and impersonal tone. It is recommended to avoid the use of the first person in the writing.

Structure of the expository essay

Although expository essays are not internally divided with subtitles, they must have three well-defined parts, which are:


As in all introductions, the main function of this part of the expository essay is to state the topic that is going to be discussed in the body of the text. In addition, it has the specific task of presenting the essay to the reader.

Generally, it does not occupy more than one paragraph, which is why you should use a striking phrase at the beginning, in order to capture the reader’s attention and motivate them to continue reading the full text.

body or development

It is the longest section of the text. Here, the subject matter is exposed in depth. Its extension must have at least three paragraphs, although the number of these depends on the complexity of the topic to be developed.

Each paragraph should ideally contain a concept. That is why the use of connectors is essential to maintain a fluid reading. Likewise, the paragraphs must be organized in such a way that they increase the intensity and arouse a greater interest in the reader, to achieve a transition to the conclusion of the essay.


It is the last section of the expository essay. Here the reader should be given a general perspective of the subject, enabling a subsequent analysis of it, and introducing appreciations, affirmations and concerns that encourage future questions on the subject. In general, it does not occupy more than one paragraph.

Types of expository essay

Within expository essays you can find different types, such as:

Contrast and comparison test

This type of essay consists of describing similarities or differences between what is to be compared or contrasted. They are generally based on places, people or objects.

definition essay

Definition essays are used to explain or describe the meaning of some concept, word or term. In this way, they can define abstract themes, such as beauty or anger; or specific topics, such as the characteristics of a mammal or a plant.

problem and solution essay

This type of text is responsible for posing a problem, to later explore what could be the solutions for it. These solutions must be backed by data and verifiable facts.

process test

As its name indicates, process tests fulfill the function of guiding the reader through the explanation of a procedure or a step by step, for the production of a product or the execution of a task.

classification test

This type of expository essay seeks to divide an extensive idea or theme into groups or categories, in such a way that the reading of the theme is facilitated from the understanding of each category independently and interrelated with the others.

cause and effect essay

Commonly, a cause and effect essay is used to show how two events affect each other, that is, how one depends on the other, and vice versa. To achieve this, the relationship between the two events must be identified, describing why they happen and what the result is.

expository essay example

Next, a short expository essay on technology is written. To explain the structure more precisely, the introduction, development and conclusion will be specified.

Effects of technology on man.

The changes introduced by technology in the way of life of people around the planet have both positive and negative impacts, which are shaping people’s lives. (Introduction).

The fact of buying items virtually, communicating in real time with people who are on another continent, or advances in the field of medicine, have undoubtedly provided a better quality of life for people.

However, there are a large number of studies carried out that reflect that the excessive use of technology generates diseases such as sedentary lifestyle, stress or anxiety, among others.

Added to this, the theft of personal data or the falsification of identity, are some of the causes that put people’s safety at risk. (Development).

In conclusion, technology is an important part of human life today and exists in almost all areas that it occupies. For this reason, the use made of it will determine what kind of effects it may have on the individual. (Conclusion).


Anguiano López Paliza, ML, Huerta Rodríguez, JC, Ibarra Sepúlveda, JA, & Almazán Olachea, K. (2014). Basic manual for essay writing. Retrieved from ideamex.com.mx
Cache County School District Office. (2020). What is an Essay? Retrieved from ccsdut.org
San Antonio College. (2020). Structure of a General Expository Essay. Retrieved from mtsac.edu
Nova Southeastern University. (2020). EXHIBITOR ESSAY. Retrieved from nova.edu
Purdue University. (2020). Expository Essays. Retrieved from owl.purdue.ed

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