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Home / Blog / Expository Essay Outline: Everything You Need To Know

Expository Essay Outline: Everything You Need To Know

expository essay outline

An essay seems to be an excellent opportunity to showcase your writing and research skills but even though writing an essay seems relatively simple, in reality delivering a high-quality essay may be much harder than it looks. When grading your essay, professor pays attention to dozens of different aspects, from the writing to the structure and the idea of the essay. With all of that to keep in mind, writing an essay becomes a more challenging task, especially when you’re dealing with an advanced type of essay like an expository essay. Today you will learn everything you need to know about writing an outline for an expository essay.

Expository Essay Outline: What Is It?

In order to do a decent job with your expository essay, first, you need to know exactly what it is – in such a way you’ll understand the purpose of your writing more clearly. An objective of an expository essay is to expose the readers to a particular notion or fact. You need to use scientific evidence to back up your claims and pay special attention to the structure of your work. Even if you weren’t specifically told to write an expository essay, you can get a better idea about the type of work you’ve been assigned by taking a detailed look at the assignment: if it contains words like “define” or “explain”, your job is to write an expository essay.

Your writing needs to be logical and straightforward, and that is exactly why a clear structure matters so much for the success of an expository essay. This kind of essay needs to present all relevant facts concerning the topic, even if you don’t personally agree with them. Your job here is not only to present the facts but also to provide answers to potential questions your readers may have on the topic.

Expository Essay Outline: The Full Guide

A correct structure of an expository essay is one of the most important aspects of essay writing that directly influences your grade. The best way to make sure your writing follows a clear structure is to base your essay on an outline. A typical expository essay isn’t complicated and consists of three main parts: introduction, three body paragraphs, and conclusion. Let’s look at each of those parts in detail.


Many people consider body paragraphs to be the most important part of any essay but we are convinced that introduction is as important as the main paragraphs for one simple reason: it allows the writer to grab the reader’s attention from the first few words and convince the audience to continue reading until the end. Imagine a reader, who opens up an expository essay and is completely unimpressed by the introduction. This reader is very unlikely to read the rest of the essay – most likely he will simply move on to the next work.

The first sentence of the introduction, also known as the opening sentence or the hook, is your first chance to impress the reader. However, you should resist the temptation of making the hook catchy but completely irrelevant to the topic. No matter what you choose as your introductory hook – a fact, a quote, or statistics – it needs to be directly related to the subject of the essay.

After the hook, you need to give more information on the essay. Prepare the readers for what they are about to read. The worst thing to do here is to assume that the reader knows everything about the subject and does not need any introductory information. You need to write the introduction pretending that your readers know absolutely nothing on the topic.

The last sentence of your introduction is the thesis. The thesis needs to be brief but engaging, stimulating the audience to see you expand on that thesis in the later parts of the essay. Plus, a thesis will help you stay focused on the topic and to keep your writing uniform and concise.

Body paragraphs

The introduction serves as a strong opening to your expository essay, and the body paragraphs need to continue that narration. Sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, you need to investigate the subject of your essay deeper and deeper, offering the audience the most convincing arguments and producing enough evidence to support your thesis.

The typical expository essay outline contains three body paragraphs but this number is subject to change depending on your writing. The number of body paragraphs can be as little as one, and there is no upper limit for this number – you should include as many body paragraphs as it takes to get your point covered. Each body paragraph should contain a separate idea that supports your thesis. Together, body paragraphs should contain all the evidence you have to convince the readers that your thesis is true. Your body paragraphs need to contain the following information:

  • Topic sentence, where you need to introduce the main idea of the paragraph.
  • Evidence, which is used to support your idea. No one takes seriously a statement that is not supported by factual evidence, and that’s exactly what you need to keep in mind. It can be even better for the quality of your expository essay if you can provide more than one piece of factual evidence for each separate paragraph, but even one fact is enough if it’s convincing.
  • Analysis of the evidence, which is used to explain how the evidence supports the idea behind the paragraph. Here you need to be impartial and unbiased but at the same time passionate about your subject and ready to explain how exactly your argument works in favor of the thesis. Don’t assume the readers can make their own connections and draw links between the thesis and the evidence – it’s your job as a writer to do it for the audience.
  • Transition phrases, which make your story more logical and give a more structured flow to your writing. This part is not mandatory but it is a relatively effortless way to prove you’re an excellent researcher and writer.

It may be tempting to make your expository essay wordy, but the key to success in writing an essay is to make sure every word is a valuable contribution to the paper. Quality over quantity is a principle that is very much applicable in expository essay writing.


Now that you’ve put so much work into an impressive introduction and convincing body paragraphs, it would be unreasonable to end your paper with a whimper by paying little attention to the conclusion. This part of your expository essay outline doesn’t need to be long, but it certainly needs to be powerful. Here are the points you need to include in your essay conclusion if you want it to be a success:

  • A very short summary of the thesis and supporting ideas.
  • The significance of the subject both for the individual readers and the academic world.
  • A mention of the points directly linked to the subject of the essay but not discussed here in detail.
  • A call to action for the readers to learn more about the subject or even take some steps to improve the matters discussed in the work.

Your conclusion does not need to contain any new information, because it may be confusing for the course of your narrative and promote a completely new discussion, which may not be exactly your plan. Keep your conclusion brief but convincing without simply retelling the text of your work.

What’s next

The job of writing an expository essay doesn’t end with writing the finishing sentence of the conclusion. Before submitting your work, you need to thoroughly check it for language and grammatical mistakes. When reading your essay once again, you may want to change something – for example, the order of paragraphs. These modifications will ultimately improve your work!

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