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How to Write an Expository Essay | Structure, Tips & Examples

Published on July 14, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

“Expository” means “intended to explain or describe something.” An expository essay provides a clear, focused explanation of a particular topic, process, or set of ideas. It doesn’t set out to prove a point, just to give a balanced view of its subject matter.

Expository essays are usually short assignments intended to test your composition skills or your understanding of a subject. They tend to involve less research and original arguments than argumentative essays .

Table of contents

When should you write an expository essay, how to approach an expository essay, introducing your essay, writing the body paragraphs, concluding your essay, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about expository essays.

In school and university, you might have to write expository essays as in-class exercises, exam questions, or coursework assignments.

Sometimes it won’t be directly stated that the assignment is an expository essay, but there are certain keywords that imply expository writing is required. Consider the prompts below.

The word “explain” here is the clue: An essay responding to this prompt should provide an explanation of this historical process—not necessarily an original argument about it.

Sometimes you’ll be asked to define a particular term or concept. This means more than just copying down the dictionary definition; you’ll be expected to explore different ideas surrounding the term, as this prompt emphasizes.

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An expository essay should take an objective approach: It isn’t about your personal opinions or experiences. Instead, your goal is to provide an informative and balanced explanation of your topic. Avoid using the first or second person (“I” or “you”).

The structure of your expository essay will vary according to the scope of your assignment and the demands of your topic. It’s worthwhile to plan out your structure before you start, using an essay outline .

A common structure for a short expository essay consists of five paragraphs: An introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Like all essays, an expository essay begins with an introduction . This serves to hook the reader’s interest, briefly introduce your topic, and provide a thesis statement summarizing what you’re going to say about it.

Hover over different parts of the example below to see how a typical introduction works.

In many ways, the invention of the printing press marked the end of the Middle Ages. The medieval period in Europe is often remembered as a time of intellectual and political stagnation. Prior to the Renaissance, the average person had very limited access to books and was unlikely to be literate. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century allowed for much less restricted circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.

The body of your essay is where you cover your topic in depth. It often consists of three paragraphs, but may be more for a longer essay. This is where you present the details of the process, idea or topic you’re explaining.

It’s important to make sure each paragraph covers its own clearly defined topic, introduced with a topic sentence . Different topics (all related to the overall subject matter of the essay) should be presented in a logical order, with clear transitions between paragraphs.

Hover over different parts of the example paragraph below to see how a body paragraph is constructed.

The invention of the printing press in 1440 changed this situation dramatically. Johannes Gutenberg, who had worked as a goldsmith, used his knowledge of metals in the design of the press. He made his type from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony, whose durability allowed for the reliable production of high-quality books. This new technology allowed texts to be reproduced and disseminated on a much larger scale than was previously possible. The Gutenberg Bible appeared in the 1450s, and a large number of printing presses sprang up across the continent in the following decades. Gutenberg’s invention rapidly transformed cultural production in Europe; among other things, it would lead to the Protestant Reformation.

The conclusion of an expository essay serves to summarize the topic under discussion. It should not present any new information or evidence, but should instead focus on reinforcing the points made so far. Essentially, your conclusion is there to round off the essay in an engaging way.

Hover over different parts of the example below to see how a conclusion works.

The invention of the printing press was important not only in terms of its immediate cultural and economic effects, but also in terms of its major impact on politics and religion across Europe. In the century following the invention of the printing press, the relatively stationary intellectual atmosphere of the Middle Ages gave way to the social upheavals of the Reformation and the Renaissance. A single technological innovation had contributed to the total reshaping of the continent.

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An expository essay is a broad form that varies in length according to the scope of the assignment.

Expository essays are often assigned as a writing exercise or as part of an exam, in which case a five-paragraph essay of around 800 words may be appropriate.

You’ll usually be given guidelines regarding length; if you’re not sure, ask.

An expository essay is a common assignment in high-school and university composition classes. It might be assigned as coursework, in class, or as part of an exam.

Sometimes you might not be told explicitly to write an expository essay. Look out for prompts containing keywords like “explain” and “define.” An expository essay is usually the right response to these prompts.

An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.

An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.

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Pride and Prejudice Themes

Beyond identity essay sample, example.


Despite neuroplasticity, or the constant shift in the links between our brain cells, we remain essentially the same personality. This consistency is most stark in the case of mentally ill patients or people who have experienced memory loss. According to Scientific American: In his book The Perpetual Now: A Story of Amnesia, Memory and Love, science journalist Michael Lemonick tells the story of Lonni Sue, a commercial artist who suffered brain damage as a result of a viral infection. She was left unable to recall her past or to form new memories. Hence the book’s title. Lemonick assumed that Lonni Sue, when she lost her memories, lost her self. Because what are we but our memories? But once he got to know Lonni Sue, as well as people who knew her before and after her injury, Lemonick discovered that her self had not been destroyed. She was still cheerful in a way that made people around her feel better, and she was still creative and playful, drawing pictures crammed with visual and verbal puns. (Horgan, John) So, despite memory loss, we still retain the essence of our personality. Basically, no matter what happens to our brain, our unique personality seems to shine through. Besides one’s personality being present despite memory loss, the soul of a person can be identified through one’s consciousness. Though we commonly identify with our body and what we see in the mirror, we also have a sense that we are not a certain age—as our sense of self usually leans less on age and rather on our subjective feeling of who we are in essence. As author Cate Montana explains: Yes, my body is definitely older. But “I” am not. The essence that I call my “self” has not aged a day. Of course, anybody over forty knows this phenomenon. At some point every human being on the planet looks in the mirror and says, “I can’t believe I’m 42 (or 62 or 74 or 87 or…). I’m the exact same person on the inside. What the hell happened?” (“Proof of the Soul.”) So, we have an identity that is more of a physical manifestation, and another identity that encapsulates our character. Often, behaviorally, people see their character as eternal rather than bound by age. Lastly, each person is inevitably subjective about his or her experience. Despite humans being very, very similar to each other in DNA and overall composition, our perception of reality is vastly different from individual to individual. According to Psychology Today, “While neuroscience has made tremendous progress illuminating the functioning of the brain, why we have a subjective experience remains mysterious. The problem of the soul lies exactly here, in understanding the nature of the self, the “I” in existence that feels and lives life. Although the current scientific paradigm is based on the belief that the world has an objective observer-independent existence, real experiments suggest just the opposite” (“Does The Soul Exist? Evidence Says ‘Yes’”). As the two-slit experiment has shown, when existence is observed, it changes its composition. This is only one piece of the puzzle that shows how “objective” reality is not easy to come by. The soul of a person is incredibly challenging to prove scientifically. However, with each person’s personality being unique, the behavioral quality of thinking of the self beyond age, and our inevitable subjective experience, we can say that the soul has some basis in science. These realities of our behavior, character, and perception might not be tested stringently, but they are very difficult to deny.

Works Cited

Horgan, John. “We Have Souls, and So Do Crows.” Scientific American Blog Network, 21 Dec. 2017, blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/we-have-souls-and-so-do-crows/. Montana, Cate. “Proof of the Soul.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 7 Dec. 2017, www.huffingtonpost.com/cate-montana/proof-of-the-soul_b_10112150.html. “Does The Soul Exist? Evidence Says ‘Yes’.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/biocentrism/201112/does-the-soul-exist-evidence-says-yes.

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Expository Essay

Expository Essay Examples

Caleb S.

Free Expository Essay Examples For Students

Published on: Aug 14, 2018

Last updated on: Nov 15, 2023

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Are you a student struggling to understand the intricacies of expository essay writing? 

Do you find yourself in need of clear guidance and practical examples to master this essential skill? Look no further! 

In this guide, we'll look into 10+ expository essay examples, providing you with the knowledge you need to start writing. From understanding the fundamentals to dissecting real examples, we've got you covered. 

Let's get started on this journey!

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What is Expository Essay Writing?

An expository essay is a form of academic writing that aims to inform, explain, or describe a particular topic to the reader. 

The primary purpose of an expository essay is to provide a clear presentation of facts, ideas, or concepts, often without the writer's personal bias or opinion. The expository essay is a genre of essay that is similar to a descriptive essay .

There are several types of expository writing , including:

  • Definition essay
  • Classification essay
  • Process analysis essay
  • Cause and effect essay
  • Problem solution essay  
  • Compare and contrast essay  

Newspaper articles, journals, and essays that define and explain a particular topic demonstrate expository essay writing.

Read the examples and learn to write a good expository essay for your school or college assignment.

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Expository Essay Examples 

While writing an expository essay, you might face difficulties in formatting and logically connecting your information. Below we have presented some amazing examples to help you understand how to write and organize an expository essay.

Expository Essay Outline Examples

Whenever you write an expository essay, the first thing you should do is craft an outline. The expository essay outline gives shape to your essay and keeps you organized. 

Here are some good expository essay outline examples that you can follow to outline your essay.

Expository Essay Outline Example

Expository Essay Outline Template Sample

Expository Essay Format Example

While writing an essay, you need to follow a proper format to present your information in a logical sequence. 

The typical 5 paragraph essay consists of 1 introduction, 3 body, and 1 conclusion paragraph. 

Below we have given expository essay format examples in both APA and MLA format to help you understand the formatting. Check out: 

Expository Essay Examples APA Format

Expository Essay Examples MLA Format

Short Expository Essay Examples

As we have discussed above, expository essay writing requires you to describe and explain a particular subject in detail. Achieving this level of detail can be quite challenging when working with a limited word count. 

To illustrate how to effectively convey information within limited words, we have provided a short expository essay example.

Short Expository Essay Example

Expository Essay Examples for Middle School

Here are some informative expository essay examples for middle school students to help you grasp the basics of expository essay writing.

Expository Essay Example For Middle School

Expository Essay Example Grade 7

Expository Essay Examples 5th Grade

Expository Essay Examples 4th Grade

Expository Essay Examples for High School

Here are some helpful expository essay examples PDFs for high school students. Check out:

Expository Essay Examples For High School

Expository Essay Examples for College

Looking for a college-level expository essay example? Check out the pdf below:

Expository Essay Examples For College

Expository Essay Examples University 

Here are some good sample expository essay pdf examples for university students. 

Expository Essay Example About Life

Expository Essay Examples About Covid 19

Informative Expository Essay Example

How to Write an Expository Essay - Example

While writing an expository essay, you need to follow a proper structure. So that you can easily present your information and evidence in a logical sequence.

Here is a step-by-step process of how to write an expository essay:

Step 1. Choose an Appropriate Topic

  • Brainstorm different ideas to select a compelling expository essay topic. Check out our expository essay topics blog for inspiring ideas.
  • Ensure it has the potential to turn into an informative essay by being able to explain and inform effectively.

Step 2. Craft an Engaging Introduction

  • Begin with a captivating hook statement to grab the reader's attention.
  • Provide a brief background on the chosen topic to clarify its relevance.
  • Formulate an informative thesis statement that encapsulates the core idea of your essay.

Step 3. Develop the Body Paragraphs

  • Start each body paragraph with a clear topic sentence , representing the main idea of that particular paragraph.
  • Support the topic sentence with credible evidence, facts, or examples that bolster your thesis statement.
  • Ensure a smooth transition between paragraphs for a logical flow of ideas.

Step 4. Conclude Effectively

  • Start the essay conclusion paragraph by reasserting your thesis statement.
  • Summarize the key points and main arguments presented in the essay.
  • Encourage the reader with a call to action, prompting them to contemplate or engage further with the topic.

Step 5. Proofread and Edit 

  • Proofread your essay for grammatical and spelling mistakes and check if the information is presented in a proper sequence. 
  • Write multiple drafts and edit as needed to ensure your essay is free of errors.

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In conclusion, these expository essay examples offer a valuable resource for students. They serve as effective learning tools, providing insight into the art of expository writing. By studying these examples, students can improve their writing skills, and gain a deeper understanding of essay structure.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are 3 examples of expository.

The three main examples of expository are; 

  • Scientific reports 
  • Magazine articles 
  • Academic essays 

What are the 4 characteristics of expository text?

The main characteristics of expository text are; 

  • Informative 
  • Clarity 
  • Unbiased 
  • Impersonal 
  • Organization of the text 

What is the first important step in writing an expository essay?

To write an expository essay, you must first decide how to structure your work. An expository essay generally contains an introduction, followed by three body paragraphs and a conclusion. 

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Expository Essays

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The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.

What is an expository essay?

The expository essay is a genre of essay that requires the student to investigate an idea, evaluate evidence, expound on the idea, and set forth an argument concerning that idea in a clear and concise manner. This can be accomplished through comparison and contrast, definition, example, the analysis of cause and effect, etc.

Please note : This genre is commonly assigned as a tool for classroom evaluation and is often found in various exam formats.

The structure of the expository essay is held together by the following.

  • A clear, concise, and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay.

It is essential that this thesis statement be appropriately narrowed to follow the guidelines set forth in the assignment. If the student does not master this portion of the essay, it will be quite difficult to compose an effective or persuasive essay.

  • Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion.

Transitions are the mortar that holds the foundation of the essay together. Without logical progression of thought, the reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument, and the structure will collapse.

  • Body paragraphs that include evidential support.

Each paragraph should be limited to the exposition of one general idea. This will allow for clarity and direction throughout the essay. What is more, such conciseness creates an ease of readability for one’s audience. It is important to note that each paragraph in the body of the essay must have some logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph.

  • Evidential support (whether factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal).

Often times, students are required to write expository essays with little or no preparation; therefore, such essays do not typically allow for a great deal of statistical or factual evidence.

  • A bit of creativity!

Though creativity and artfulness are not always associated with essay writing, it is an art form nonetheless. Try not to get stuck on the formulaic nature of expository writing at the expense of writing something interesting. Remember, though you may not be crafting the next great novel, you are attempting to leave a lasting impression on the people evaluating your essay.

  • A conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided.

It is at this point of the essay that students will inevitably begin to struggle. This is the portion of the essay that will leave the most immediate impression on the mind of the reader. Therefore, it must be effective and logical. Do not introduce any new information into the conclusion; rather, synthesize and come to a conclusion concerning the information presented in the body of the essay.

A complete argument

Perhaps it is helpful to think of an essay in terms of a conversation or debate with a classmate. If I were to discuss the cause of the Great Depression and its current effect on those who lived through the tumultuous time, there would be a beginning, middle, and end to the conversation. In fact, if I were to end the exposition in the middle of my second point, questions would arise concerning the current effects on those who lived through the Depression. Therefore, the expository essay must be complete, and logically so, leaving no doubt as to its intent or argument.

The five-paragraph Essay

A common method for writing an expository essay is the five-paragraph approach. This is, however, by no means the only formula for writing such essays. If it sounds straightforward, that is because it is; in fact, the method consists of:

  • an introductory paragraph
  • three evidentiary body paragraphs
  • a conclusion
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Expository Essay: What Is Your Cultural Identity Made Up From?

People seem to have a tendency to lump cultural identity in with race or the country a person comes from, but there is more to it than that. In my essay, I show five elements of cultural identity that most agree run in line with what we believe cultural identity to be. It is not a comprehensive list of the elements that make up cultural identity.

Where a person comes from has an effect on his or her cultural identity. Even if a person is of another race and language, the country in which they are born, or the country in which they are now a resident will have an effect on that person’s cultural identity.

People have different genes based on those of their parents, and those genes have markers in them that set people into races. People have evolved certain traits that are still present today. Such traits will eventually become obsolete in a few hundred years when all races have merged, but until that point, a person’s race (aka genetic traits and markers) will make up part of their cultural identity.

What religion a person follows or doesn’t follow may make up his or her cultural identity. This also includes secular (atheist) people, who are just as arrogant in their beliefs as those that believe in a creator and/or organized religion, and it includes thoughtful agnostic people that are smart enough to realize they will never be smart enough to comprehend the mysteries of the universe.

The first language a person speaks will also make up his or her cultural identity. This also includes people who learn another language, even if they speak it poorly. Cultural identity also has something to do with the accent a person has, especially when such accents are tied into cultural stereotypes, such as the hick southerner, or the posh English person.

Putting aside genetic traits, there are some physical traits that make up part of a person’s cultural identity. For example, people that are born with dwarfism will tend to adopt a cultural identity of their own and will often join with other people that have the same conditions. There are also people that are born with certain traits that seem to affect their cultural identity through cultural stereotypes. For example, the bright blonde haired woman that is both beautiful and has big breasts is less likely to become a chemical engineer because of the cultural identity thrust upon her.

All five elements listed in my essay are what make up people’s cultural identity by its broadest and most understood definition. However, the list is not comprehensive because numerous other things can separate people in these groups even further. For example, in religion alone a person may be Christian, but also a hard-core Roman Catholic that lives by different rules to people such as 7th Day Adventists, Protestants and such. The elements I have listed are broad umbrella elements that include more people than they exclude.

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Essays About Identity: 18 Writing Prompts for Students

Get inspiration for your essays about identity with these 18 inspiring writing prompts.

There are many times when a student needs to write an essay. Many colleges will ask for a personal essay when entering college, and the topic may be open-ended for these projects. You may also be asked to write a “who am I” essay for this.

Who am I essays are a great opportunity for self-reflection. You can delve into what makes you tick and what actions have defined your character over the years. Writing these essays also allows you to showcase your writing skills. However, this is one place where you have to do the writing yourself, not ask for help from a writing service with professional writers because you need to write about your own life and your experiences. Someone else cannot do this for you.

Essays about who am I can be challenging to write because they are so open-ended. Unless you have a clear direction from the assignment, you may need to get a little creative with the direction you take this essay. Here are some sample essay topics that deeply explore “who am I.” Consider using one to start your ideas flowing as you create an excellent personal essay.

For help with your essays, check out our round-up of the best essay checkers .

1. I Am a Good Leader

2.  exploring my future, 3. who i want to be, 4. who i am and how i change, 5. my likes and dislikes, 6. my worldview, 7. how i am similar to my father/mother, 8. who i am in three words, 9. i am a survivor, 10. my ethnicity, 11. i am more than just good grades, 12. my bravest moment, 13. how my childhood experiences made me, 14. i am a good friend, 15. why i will succeed, 16. i am a product of my choices, 17. i am a failure (and what i learned from it), 18. i am my role in the family.

Essays About Identity

Depending on the purpose of your who am I essay, describing your leadership skills could be a great option. You could explain how your life experiences have transformed you into someone with strong leadership potential. You could explore the character traits that lend themselves well to leadership.

This essay topic has a lot of room for interpretation. For example, even if you don’t see yourself as a leader, you might have much leadership potential when you dig into your character. So, pull out that leadership and build it into a personal essay.

This personal essay topic allows you to explore what you anticipate for your future. If you are writing an essay in high school as part of the college application process, you can incorporate why you are a good fit for the school into this essay to help your essay stand out.

When exploring your future in an essay, be sure to explore who you are as a person and why your future goals make sense based on your character traits and passions. This self-reflection will make for a powerful essay.

Not all who I am essays need to be about who you currently are. Instead, you can write a powerful essay about the person you hope to become. Every human being has tremendous potential, and you can showcase that potential in an essay sample.

Think about your character traits and life goals. What could you do with those traits to reach those goals? Exploring these ideas could create a strong essay example.

The human experience is all about change. We change as we grow and develop into more mature individuals. You could explore how you change in an essay that would talk about how your growth and development make you into a better person.

Exploring things that are the catalyst for change in your life can be a good starting point for a personal essay. Since you are unique, your changes will come from a different place than other people. There is quite a bit to talk about with this topic.

Essays About Identity: My Likes and Dislikes

Your likes and dislikes are what make you who you are. If you are focused on personal essay writing, this can be a good place to start. Because you have many things that you like or do not like, this can be a lengthy essay topic idea.

Go beyond the surface here. While you could talk about foods you like and dislike, is there something deeper you could explore? Are there particular topics that inspire you and others that turn you away? The answers to these questions will help you explore this essay topic.

A worldview is a platform through which you view the world, politics, and social concerns. It could be religious, sociological, or even ethical. Spending time figuring out your worldview helps you understand your way of relating to the world.

Once you know what your worldview is, you will be able to expound on it in your essay. Explain what you believe, but also explain why. Being able to support your reasons with self-reflection and logic will make your final essay exceptional.

Do you take after one of your parents? Compare your character traits to theirs to see how you connect. Seeing yourself in another person is a great way to reflect on what makes you, you.

Again, this is a place to dig deep. Look beyond the surface like physical characteristics and look at your character traits and how they are similar to your parent. You might find that you have quite a bit in common as you start analyzing the answer to this question.

Can you describe yourself in just three words? This essay topic is an exercise in brevity, giving you the chance to hone in on who you are. But, of course, an essay is not just three words.

Once you decide what your three words are, you can expound on them. For example, if one of your words is “student,” you can explore what that means. Likewise, if you choose to state your race, you can discuss why that is a defining feature.

Essays About Identity: I Am a Survivor

Have you survived something traumatic in your life? If so, you could write an engaging essay about how you are a survivor. Many people who go through traumatic circumstances suffer a victim mentality, but you could focus on how you are choosing to be a survivor, not a victim.

Focus on the trail a little, but discuss how the trial has grown you as a person. You can show in your essay how you can move past difficulties and embrace the change that they bring. This essay can clearly show your resistance as a human being.

A person’s ethnicity is an important part of who they are. This can be an engaging essay topic, as it gives you the chance to celebrate your ethnicity, beliefs, and family history.

This topic is quite fascinating to delve into, but be careful. You do not want to come across as being fully defined by your race alone. Be sure to weave other character traits into this particular essay topic so that you come across as a well-rounded, balanced person. Remember, your ethnicity is just a portion of who you are as a whole person.

The academic world often gets too focused on grades and reports. While grades are important, you should be more than just a grade card. Hard work should matter just as much as the actual score, especially if you have some challenges that make learning and test-taking more difficult.

If you are more than just good grades, what does define you? When writing this essay, make sure you define your character traits in a positive light. Keep the essay upbeat and show how your hard work will define you even when grades do not.

Is there a time when you expressed a significant amount of bravery? It does not have to be a mountaintop rescue or a near-death experience. It could be as simple as standing up in front of a class for the first time to deliver a speech.

Find an example of bravery from your life and expound on it in your essay. Explain what made you feel afraid and how you overcame the fear to do something truly brave. Use this exploration to showcase some characteristics that help you act bravely in frightening situations.

Most people have quite a bit of development from their personal childhood experiences. Can you find some of these and point to specific ways they influenced your character as an adult? This idea could be a great way to explore who you are today.

Are you a social person because you spent a lot of time with people when you were young? Are you more introverted because you did not? You might find that your childhood significantly impacts your character, giving you an engaging essay topic to explore.

If you are a good friend to others, it says quite a bit about your character. Can you showcase how you are a good friend to others in your essay? What makes you someone people want to spend time with?

Character traits that make you a good friend can also make you a good student. Are you trustworthy or particularly friendly? These traits will help you in the classroom and your social life, so highlight them in your essay.

Do you picture yourself as a success in the future? If so, explain why in your essay. For example, you may think that you will succeed in starting your own business . Or maybe you have specific skills that make you confident of your abilities in the classroom.

Showing your confidence in your essay is helpful as you try to promote yourself to your potential college or your high school teacher. First, spend some time evaluating what it is about you that means you are likely to succeed, then compile that into an essay that shows your skills in the best possible light.

Our choices define us. Can you turn that into an essay topic? Can you showcase how your choices have created the person you are today, or can you write about one particular choice that was defining in your life?

This essay topic gives you quite a bit of time for self-reflection. You can easily highlight a particularly good choice you made or focus on a mistake and how you overcame the consequences of that mistake. Either way, you can use the choices in your life to outline who you are and why.

We all have failures in our life. This essay topic shocks the reader and gets their attention, which can make it powerful, but it also gives room to discuss failure positively. Talk about one of the biggest failures you have had in life and what you learned from it.

You can use this essay topic to transform something negative into something positive. First, think about how that monumental failure defined you and how the lessons you learned from the failure have made you a better person today.

Are you a parent, sibling, or child? Are you the only child or one of many? These family dynamics can significantly impact who you are as a person, so consider exploring them as part of your essay.

Discuss how your role within your family has defined you and what it means for your future. Focus on the strengths that your role gave you rather than any drawbacks. Remember, your essay promotes you as a person and a writer, so keep it positive.

If you are interested in learning more, check out our essay writing tips !

expository essay on identity

Bryan Collins is the owner of Become a Writer Today. He's an author from Ireland who helps writers build authority and earn a living from their creative work. He's also a former Forbes columnist and his work has appeared in publications like Lifehacker and Fast Company.

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Identity Essay

971 words 4 page(s)

Individuals establish their own identities throughout the life span through growth, maturity, and development in different areas. Marcia’s concepts of identity achievement, identity foreclosure, identity moratorium, and identity diffusion were created to better understand the evolution of ego identity and how individuals distinguish their shifting commitment to ideas during late adolescence (Marcia, 1966). The concepts that are associated with these parameters are important because they convey the realities of developing an identity that an adolescent will carry and build upon throughout his or her life (Marcia, 1966). For this discussion, I have selected the career and educational aspects of identity formation to understand my own trajectory and identity development which impacts my own decision-making and path through life.

Identity Achievement I was born in Poland in 1970, began Kindergarten in 1976, attended elementary school from 1977-1985, and high school from 1985-1989. During elementary school and into high school, I slowly began to realize the career path that I wanted to pursue in nursing after recognizing that other careers might not be suited for me. This was my identity achievement period and enabled me to reaffirm my decision to enter nursing school in 1989. At the time, I believed that this was the best option for me because I wanted to help other people and provide care in their time of need. In some ways, I was in a position to make a decision on my own terms and did not have any pushback or resistance from family members at this stage. Therefore, my identity achievement was real and was solidified and I was proving myself as a good student with no learning difficulties that could hold me back at this stage.

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Identity Foreclosure Between 1991 after graduation and up until 2005, I worked as a Registered Nurse in Poland and was promoted to a nursing manager for the operating room for two years. During this period, I enjoyed my role and was committed to the process; however, I also believed that there might be something more for me elsewhere (Marcia, 1966). During this period, I was content in my career but wondered if there were possibilities beyond where I was currently working and perhaps in another country that would be more satisfactory and would provide me greater contentment. This led me to a crossroads in my life that required further evaluation.

Identity Diffusion At this stage of my life, I believed that by moving to the United States, I was in a better position to succeed in the land of opportunity. In this new country, I could find myself in a role that would be more satisfactory and which could impact my life more effectively. However, I could not immediately enter the country as an RN because I lacked the credentials and licensure to perform in this role. Therefore, I sought to learn English to communicate with my children’s teachers and to prepare myself to work in the nursing profession in the United States. This was a transition period of sorts and provided me with the tools that were required to gain comfort in my new surroundings before I reentered the nursing workplace.

Identity Moratorium I experienced a moratorium of sorts when I made the decision to reenter the nursing workforce in the United States. This required much preparation on my part, including a nursing refresher course to prepare myself for the NCLEX examination. Once I passed this exam and became an RN, I was in another difficult position because I had not earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, which was desirable for many employers and would be more attractive on my resume. It was during this period that I enrolled in a BSN program, which was difficult because I was married with two children. During this period, I reentered the identity achievement stage because this was a new phase of my life that would allow me to experience new opportunities for growth and professional development.

Summary My education has been critical to my success to date and has enabled me to secure a position in a hospital as an RN. I believe that education is critical to my own identity and has enabled me to move forward in my career and has set an example for others to follow. This has been largely influential in my efforts to be a successful mother, wife, and nurse. My evolution continues as an adult and has been instrumental in my ability to be successful both in my educational and nursing career path (Fadjukoff & Kroger, 2016). At the same time, my family has been largely supportive in allowing me to develop my educational and career identity over the years and has been instrumental in my success to date (Syed & Seifge-Krenke, 2013). These issues have been important to me as I move forward with my life and have been largely influential in shaping my decision to relocate to the United States for better opportunities and greater professional growth.

Conclusion Marcia’s concepts of identity development are essential to self-discovery and growth in a variety of areas. My career and educational paths have taken many roads, including achievement, foreclosure, diffusion, and moratorium, and I have been successful in reaching many of my goals and objectives while I grow and thrive as a human being. These phases of my identity development have shaped who I am today and have provided me with the tools to achieve success and to make a difference in the lives of my patients and my family in many different ways throughout my experiences.

  • Marcia, J. (1966). Development and validation of ego-identity status. Journal of Personality And Social Psychology, 3(5), 551-558.

adulthood: linking trajectories of ego development to the family context and identity

formation. Journal of personality and social psychology, 104(2), 371.

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Expository Writing: Definition and Examples

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Hannah Yang

expository writing

Table of Contents

What is expository writing, what is an expository paragraph, expository writing examples, how prowritingaid can help you with expository composition.

One of the most common types of writing is expository writing. Whether you’re a student taking an English class or a professional trying to communicate to others in your field, you’ll need to use expository writing in your day-to-day work.

So, what exactly does this term mean?

The short answer is that expository writing refers to any writing designed primarily to explain or instruct.

Read on to learn the definition of expository writing as well as some examples of what this type of writing can look like.

Before we look at examples of expository writing, let’s start with a quick definition of what this term actually means.

Expository Writing Definition

The term expository writing refers to any writing that’s designed to explain something. We use the word expository to describe any passage of writing that’s supposed to present information and help you understand it in an objective way.

Some common examples of expository writing include academic essays, textbooks, instructional guides, and news reports. Good expository writing should be factual, objective, and clear.

expository writing definition

To better understand what this term means, think about the difference between a scientific article, a short story, and an advertisement.

The scientific article is considered expository writing because its primary purpose is to explain a particular topic in more detail. It presents data, analyzes what that data means, and focuses on the facts.  

On the other hand, the short story isn’t considered expository writing, because its core purpose isn’t to explain or inform—instead, it’s probably trying to entertain you or to take you on a journey. Short stories are narrative writing.

Similarly, an advertisement isn’t expository writing because its core purpose isn’t to explain or inform—instead, it’s trying to persuade you to buy what it’s selling. Advertisements are persuasive writing.   

Here’s a quick rundown of what expository essays should and shouldn’t do.

An expository essay should:

Teach the reader about a particular topic

Focus on the facts

Follow a clearly organized structure

Present information and details from credible sources

An expository essay should not:

Try to change the reader’s mind about something

Present the author’s personal opinions

Include made-up narratives or stories

Follow experimental or nonlinear structures

3 types of writing

An expository paragraph is exactly what it sounds like—a paragraph of expository writing.

A well-written expository paragraph should follow a specific format to make it as clear and easy to read as possible. Most expository paragraphs do the following things:

Start with a topic sentence, which explains what the paragraph will be about

Then, include 3 – 5 body sentences that provide supporting details for the topic sentence

Finally, wrap things up with a closing sentence that summarizes what the paragraph has said

Writing an expository paragraph is a great way to practice expository writing. That’s because the paragraph follows the same structure as a more complex expository essay, just on a smaller scale.

Most expository essays should follow this format:  

Start with an introductory paragraph that includes the thesis statement, which tells the reader the core statement of the essay

Then, include 3 – 5 body paragraphs that provide factual evidence to support the thesis statement

Finally, wrap things up with a concluding paragraph that summarizes what the body paragraphs and thesis statement said

You can see the similarities between the two formats. If you can write a fantastic expository paragraph, you’ll be well-prepared to move on to writing a full expository essay.

Example of Expository Paragraph

Here’s an example of an expository paragraph that follows the structure described above.

The leading cause of death in the United States is heart disease, which can be fatal if it leads to heart attack or cardiac arrest. Heart attacks occur when a blockage in the coronary artery prevents oxygenated blood from reaching the heart. Cardiac arrests occur when the heart stops pumping entirely, which prevents the patient from breathing normally. Both of these problems can be deadly, even in seemingly healthy people who don’t have noticeable risk factors. As a result, heart disease is an important problem that many doctors and scientists are researching.

expository essay on identity

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There are many ways you can present information in an expository essay. Here are four of the most popular ways, along with examples of each one.  

Problem and Solution Essay

A problem and solution essay presents the reader with a problem and then considers possible solutions to that problem. 

Here’s an example passage you might find in a problem and solution essay:

Among the many proposed solutions to rising carbon emissions, one promising possibility is carbon trapping. Scientists are figuring out how to pull carbon emissions out of the atmosphere and trap it in less harmful forms, such as by injecting carbon dioxide underground so it will turn to stone.

Compare and Contrast Essay

This type of essay takes two subjects and compares and contrasts them. It focuses on highlighting the differences and similarities between those two things.

Here’s an example passage of this type of expository writing:

Though country music and R&B music have very different sounds, they also share many similarities. For one thing, both types of music embody a specific cultural identity. For another, both genres trace their roots back to the 1920s, when the Victor Talking Machine Company signed singers from the American South.

Classification Essay

In a classification essay, you describe the categories within a certain group of things.  

Here’s an example passage you might find in a classification essay:

There are three ways in which artificial intelligence might become stronger than humans in the future: high speed, high collective intelligence, and high quality. A speed AI would be able to perform calculations and experience the world much faster than humans. A collective intelligence, like a hive mind, would be able to break down a complex task into several parts and pursue them simultaneously. Finally, a quality AI would simply be able to solve more complex problems than humans could.

Process Essay

In a process essay, you give the reader the steps for completing a specific process. This is similar to a how-to guide or an instruction manual.   

Here’s an example passage you might find in this type of expository writing:

Caramelize the chopped onions in a frying pan. When the onions have caramelized, mix in the bell peppers, mushrooms, and tomatoes and stir for 4 – 6 minutes or until all the ingredients have softened. If you want to add meat, you can add ground beef and cook for another 4 – 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  

Good expository writing should be easy to read. After all, the purpose of exposition is to explain things to your readers, and you won’t be able to accomplish that if they have trouble understanding your writing.

That’s why ProWritingAid can help you write an expository essay. The grammar checker can help you ensure your sentences flow well, you’re not missing any necessary punctuation, and all your words are precise and clear.

Good luck, and happy writing!

Hannah is a speculative fiction writer who loves all things strange and surreal. She holds a BA from Yale University and lives in Colorado. When she’s not busy writing, you can find her painting watercolors, playing her ukulele, or hiking in the Rockies. Follow her work on hannahyang.com or on Twitter at @hannahxyang.

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expository essay on identity

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Identity Essay Sample


The main aim of the identity essay is to answer questions about the author, your friends and others; what is more, culture and community are also part of identity. It is important for the author to explore the impact of personal life in order to understand the impact of different people that are forming your identity.

Sources of Identity A person is recognized by their identity which makes an individual different from millions of other people. A person’s identity is the set of characteristics which distinguish that person from other human beings. As a child, I was quite energetic, vigorous and popular which made me feel unique about myself. I grew up in an average sized family, whose accomplishments were rather more significant than its size. My father was my idol, which made me very keen to follow in his footsteps and become successful on different levels. Genetics play a big role when it comes to defining who we are. Both biological and environmental elements affect the behavior of every individual regardless of various variables such as gender. The most basic biological influence is the sex chromosomes that mark females and males. These chromosomes influence the development of male or female sex organs in the fetus and consequently dictate the development of a boy or a girl. I believe that my biologically inherited traits played a more significant role in shaping my identity than environment or personal choice.

Family and kinship are a powerful source of identity for many individuals. While I was growing up as an early teenager, I thought I would never grasp why some people smoked. I used to utterly dislike cigarettes and could never find good reason why some people would choose to smoke. Despite all the hatred and the half truths that were cultivated about the hazards of smoking, I decided to try out smoking for just one instance. I was in the company of my friends, some of whom happened to be smokers and it felt awkward to sit among them without ever having smoked. One of my friends offered me a cigarette and I decided to try it out for once. Half way through my first cigarette, I realized why people smoked. It was not sapid or visually appealing, it made me think clearer, and made the surroundings seems very interesting and I felt elevated. Nevertheless, I quit the same day because I felt it affected my aspirations. Had I followed my environment or choice, I would’ve been a smoker today. For the most part of my life, my parents have believed that I am polite, disciplined, entrepreneurial and generous which is about the same that my friends say about me.

The media also plays a major role in the shaping of a person’s identity especially in children. A room may become a place of fear, distress, and alienation, during childhood when the child is not yet secure about their bodies and they tend to compare them with other children. Boys are generally more inclined towards sports and similar activities that make them feel “masculine.” I feel that such differences are shaped by the surroundings in which we live where the media plays a very significant role in shaping society by influencing children as in my case. Media has played a major role in building the gender identity in my life. For instance, during my preschool years, I used to think that gender was a means of discrimination against people. Researches have proved that television has a significant influence in the life of the child since he or she does not have understanding of television in those early years of life. During these years the child is heavily engaged in social interaction between friends and family, and it is irrefutable that the media through TV and radio has great importance in building the world’s image for each person…

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Expository essay - cultural identity.

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            Cultural identity has a significant function in every individual's lives. It is an effective factor in shaping one's identity and molds us. It is accumulated by knowledge, values, attitudes, social roles, perceptions, way of life, and way of earning. Culture identity is defined as one's own personal sense of culture. It also refers to the traditions, customs, and practices that affect us. Each individual possesses his or her own unique identity and culture. The purpose of this essay is to focus on the extent that cultural identity does indeed affect human interactions in a positive and negative manner. In addition, I will focus on the "melting pot theory" and how immigrants will assimilate to the country that they newly reside in. They will quickly accommodate to the American Value System.              According to "melting pot" theory, once immigrants migrate to this new country, they will absorb the new culture quickly and eventually complement their "mother land" traditions. They will adapt and assimilate. They will be accustomed to the lifestyle that was brought to them. They will seek direction, hope and familiarity. In the end, they will seek solace in the routines and habits of their cohorts. This paper will focus on three readings in defining human interactions and the need for improvement and progress. I will also include my own experiences of cultural identity. .              While growing up in Vietnam, I was taught practices of different traditions. My family is Buddhist and at an early age I was told what was acceptable and unacceptable for me to do. My family's cultural identity plays a huge role in shaping who I am today. In "American Dreamer," I identified with the author. Mukherjee describes her story of coming to the U.S. and becoming a citizen. The author felt that it is a big transformation between a foreign student and U.S. citizen. There indeed is a significant difference between people who immigrate and people who were born here.

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Essays Related to Expository Essay - Cultural Identity

1. sample course syllabus - english.

expository essay on identity

The course offers instruction in writing processes, collaborative writing strategies, methods of organization, research skills, discourse conventions of Standard Written English, rhetorical strategies, computer-based writing, and the production of expository academic essays. Readings consider issues of contemporary and cultural concern. ... Program Outcomes General Education Outcome Students will write effective expository and argumentative essays that consider purpose and audience. ... Related Objectives • read a variety of texts and analyze their rhetorical situations (i.e. cont...

  • Word Count: 6229
  • Approx Pages: 25
  • Grade Level: High School

2. Integrated Learning

expository essay on identity

Integrated Learning Essay Question 1: Argue the case for higher education moving beyond the aim of acquisition of information towards a deep approach to learning. Give examples of how this may be achieved in your own studies. Today's education system is ineffectual and needs a wider,...

  • Word Count: 2532
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3. Hip-Hop as a Social Movement

expository essay on identity

It has a political location in society distinctly ascribed to black people, music and cultural forms 3. ... Hip-hop is an organic expression of urban hip-hop culture; rap quietly became the distinctive sound of African-American anger, rebellion, cultural style and contemporary experience (Best and Kellner). ... When listening to rap one immediately notices that it is a form articulating identity and self-assertion (Kobin and Tyson, 2006). ...

  • Word Count: 1971
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    There is quite a bit to talk about with this topic. 5. My Likes and Dislikes. Because you have many things that you like or do not like, this can be a lengthy essay topic idea. Your likes and dislikes are what make you who you are. If you are focused on personal essay writing, this can be a good place to start.

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    The short answer is that expository writing refers to any writing designed primarily to explain or instruct. Read on to learn the definition of expository writing as well as some examples of what this type of writing can look like. What Is Expository Writing?

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    January 25, 2012. The main aim of the identity essay is to answer questions about the author, your friends and others; what is more, culture and community are also part of identity. It is important for the author to explore the impact of personal life in order to understand the impact of different people that are forming your identity.

  19. FREE Expository Essay

    You Have Not Saved Any Essays. Cultural identity has a significant function in every individual's lives. It is an effective factor in shaping one's identity and molds us. It is accumulated by knowledge, values, attitudes, social roles, perceptions, way of life, and way of earning. Culture identity is defined as one's own personal sense of culture.

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