Expository Essay Outline
Most college students have been writing Expository Essays as long as they have been in school. In high school or even before that, when they wrote a how-to essay, a book report, or shared what they did over the summer, they were essentially writing an Expository Essay.
Such a seemingly simple writing assignment still has applications in higher education, as well. First of all, no one ever got worse at writing by doing it; people get better at writing by doing it. This is important for today’s college student because most decent-paying jobs require a person to have average to above-average writing skills.
Secondly, and lastly, the Expository Essay teaches a student-writer to simply and effectively describe or explain a specific topic to their reader through the use of conveying factual information. It does not call for an argument to be made, nor does the writer have to prove anything. They are simply sharing an idea, perhaps even just an experience with their reader; or they may be describing something to them.
This particular essay is generally written in first person; but that is not necessarily always the case. Some professors may give their students a specific topic to write about, which may require them to write in third person – like if they are writing a simple essay on a book or an event, for example. In this case, the student-writer has to mostly understand their topic and present what they know and discover (often through conducting research) to their reader in a clear, logical and convincing manner.
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Below are just a few examples of topics pertinent to an Expository Essay writing assignment:
- The first day of their very first job
- When they first got insight into their life vocation
- A trip to somewhere exotic or foreign to them
- An ideal day
- The ideal life-partner or spouse
- The perfect job or career
- A particular experience, perhaps a harrowing one, that revealed something about themselves
Outline for an Expository Essay
I. Introduction Paragraph
A. Topic Sentence – introduces and organizes the essay’s first paragraph and establishes a sort of rapport with the reader about what experience they are about to convey. Generally a topic sentence eases the reader in the essay or narrative.
B. Thesis Statement – the paper’s premise that is to be maintained in the essay. In this case, the experience the student is explaining or sharing. They are not to stray off topic, but to focus on one thing in particular.
C. Points to expound on – the essay may or may not hint at or list certain points the student-writer wishes to address in their essay.
The Expository Essay’s Three Body Paragraphs directly follow the Introduction Paragraph and, in this case, follow the Thesis. For this particular essay, each body paragraph should begin with a Transitional Phrase (Firstly, Secondly, Thirdly, Lastly, Next, Subsequently, Furthermore, In conclusion, etc.) indicating to the reader that a new point is being examined or put forth. Examples are appropriately demonstrated below.
Also, before each body paragraph expounds on the experience the student-writer is sharing with their reader, they must remember to keep their reader’s attention as they share their experience in full.
II. Body Paragraph No. 1
A. Transitional Phrase – First of all, Firstly, To start off with, To begin with
B. Restate Thesis
C. The first part of whatever the student-writer is describing or sharing
III. Body Paragraph No. 2
A. Transitional Phrase – Secondly, Next, Then, Furthermore, Also, Moreover
B. Restate Thesis
C. Second part of whatever the student-writer is describing or sharing
IV. Body Paragraph No. 3
A. Transitional Phrase – Next, Then, Furthermore, Also, Moreover, Thirdly, Lastly
B. Restate Thesis
C. Third and last part of whatever the student-writer is describing or sharing
V. Conclusion Paragraph
It ties the essay together to make sure the reader has understood and followed it.
A. Transitional Phrase – Lastly, In conclusion, To sum it up, Ultimately
B. A very brief summary of the essay, from beginning to the end. Or at least restating the main purpose the student-writer had in writing and then sharing their essay.
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