how to start off an explanatory essay

How to Write an Explanatory Essay: Comprehensive Guide with Examples

how to start off an explanatory essay

What Is an Explanatory Essay: Definition

Have you ever been tasked with explaining a complex topic to someone without prior knowledge? It can be challenging to break down complex ideas into simple terms that are easy to understand. That's where explanatory writing comes in! An explanatory essay, also known as an expository essay, is a type of academic writing that aims to explain a particular topic or concept clearly and concisely. These essays are often used in academic settings but can also be found in newspapers, magazines, and online publications.

For example, if you were asked to explain how a car engine works, you would need to provide a step-by-step explanation of the different parts of the engine and how they work together to make the car move. Or, if you were asked to explain the process of photosynthesis, you would need to explain how plants use sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to create energy.

When wondering - 'what is an explanatory essay?', remember that the goal of an explanatory paper is to provide the reader with a better understanding of the topic at hand. Unlike an opinion essay , this type of paper does not argue for or against a particular viewpoint but rather presents information neutrally and objectively. By the end of the essay, the reader should clearly understand the topic and be able to explain it to others in their own words.

Also, there is no set number of paragraphs in an explanatory essay, as it can vary depending on the length and complexity of the topic. However, when wondering - 'how many paragraphs in an explanatory essay?', know that a typical example of explanatory writing will have an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

However, some essays may have more or fewer body paragraphs, depending on the topic and the writer's preference. Ultimately, an explanatory essay format aims to provide a clear and thorough explanation of the topic, using as many paragraphs as necessary.

Explanatory Essay Topics

20 Interesting Explanatory Essay Topics 

Now that we have defined what is explanatory essay, the next step is choosing a good explanatory topic. A well-chosen topic is interesting and relevant to your audience while also being something you are knowledgeable about and can provide valuable insights on. By selecting a topic that is too broad or too narrow, you run the risk of either overwhelming your audience with too much information or failing to provide enough substance to fully explain the topic. Additionally, choosing a topic that is too controversial or biased can lead to difficulty in presenting information objectively and neutrally. By choosing a good explanatory topic, you can ensure that your essay is well-informed, engaging, and effective in communicating your ideas to your audience.

Here are 20 creative explanatory essay topics by our admission essay service to consider:

  • How does the human brain process emotions?
  • The benefits and drawbacks of remote work.
  • The science behind climate change and its effects.
  • The history and evolution of hip-hop music.
  • The impact of social media on mental health.
  • The benefits of learning a second language.
  • The process of how a computer operates.
  • The causes and effects of bullying in schools.
  • The impact of technology on modern education.
  • The reasons for the decline of bee populations and their importance to the ecosystem.
  • The effects of caffeine on the human body.
  • The process of how vaccines work to prevent disease.
  • The impact of video games on youth behavior and development.
  • The reasons for the gender pay gap and how to close it.
  • The benefits and drawbacks of renewable energy sources.
  • The history and cultural significance of tattoos.
  • The causes and effects of income inequality in society.
  • The process of how a book is published.
  • The impact of social media on political discourse.
  • The benefits and drawbacks of the gig economy.

How to Start an Explanatory Essay: Important Steps

Starting an explanatory essay can be challenging, especially if you are unsure where to begin. However, by following a few simple steps, you can effectively kick-start your writing process and produce a clear and concise essay. Here are some tips and examples from our term paper writing services on how to start an explanatory essay:

How to Start an Explanatory Essay

  • Choose an engaging topic : Your topic should be interesting, relevant, and meaningful to your audience. For example, if you're writing about climate change, you might focus on a specific aspect of the issue, such as the effects of rising sea levels on coastal communities.
  • Conduct research : Gather as much information as possible on your topic. This may involve reading scholarly articles, conducting interviews, or analyzing data. For example, if you're writing about the benefits of mindfulness meditation, you might research the psychological and physical benefits of the practice.
  • Develop an outline : Creating an outline will help you logically organize your explanatory essay structure. For example, you might organize your essay on the benefits of mindfulness meditation by discussing its effects on mental health, physical health, and productivity.
  • Provide clear explanations: When writing an explanatory article, it's important to explain complex concepts clearly and concisely. Use simple language and avoid technical jargon. For example, if you're explaining the process of photosynthesis, you might use diagrams and visual aids to help illustrate your points.
  • Use evidence to support your claims : Use evidence from reputable sources to support your claims and arguments. This will help to build credibility and persuade your readers. For example, if you're writing about the benefits of exercise, you might cite studies that demonstrate its positive effects on mental health and cognitive function.

By following these tips and examples, you can effectively start your expository essays and produce a well-structured, informative, and engaging piece of writing.

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Explanatory Essay Outline

As mentioned above, it's important to create an explanatory essay outline to effectively organize your ideas and ensure that your essay is well-structured and easy to follow. An outline helps you organize your thoughts and ideas logically and systematically, ensuring that you cover all the key points related to your topic. It also helps you identify gaps in your research or argument and allows you to easily revise and edit your essay. In this way, an outline can greatly improve the overall quality and effectiveness of your explanatory essay.

Explanatory Essay Introduction

Here are some tips from our ' do my homework ' service to create a good explanatory essay introduction that effectively engages your readers and sets the stage for the entire essay:

  • Start with a hook: Begin your introduction with an attention-grabbing statement or question that draws your readers in. For example, you might start your essay on the benefits of exercise with a statistic on how many Americans suffer from obesity.
  • Provide context: Give your readers some background information on the topic you'll be discussing. This helps to set the stage and ensures that your readers understand the importance of the topic. For example, you might explain the rise of obesity rates in the United States over the past few decades.
  • State your thesis: A good explanatory thesis example should be clear, concise, and focused. It should state the main argument or point of your essay. For example, you might state, ' Regular exercise is crucial to maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of chronic diseases.'
  • Preview your main points: Give your readers an idea of what to expect in the body of your essay by previewing your main points. For example, you might explain that you'll be discussing the benefits of exercise for mental health, physical health, and longevity.
  • Keep it concise: Your introduction should be brief and to the point. Avoid getting bogged down in too much detail or providing too much background information. A good rule of thumb is to keep your introduction to one or two paragraphs.

The Body Paragraphs

By following the following tips, you can create well-organized, evidence-based explanation essay body paragraphs that effectively support your thesis statement.

  • Use credible sources: When providing evidence to support your arguments, use credible sources such as peer-reviewed academic journals or reputable news outlets. For example, if you're writing about the benefits of a plant-based diet, you might cite a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
  • Organize your paragraphs logically: Each body paragraph should focus on a specific aspect or argument related to your topic. Organize your paragraphs logically so that each one builds on the previous one. For example, if you're writing about the causes of climate change, you might organize your paragraphs to focus on human activity, natural causes, and the effects of climate change.
  • Use transitional phrases: Use transitional phrases to help your readers follow the flow of your ideas. For example, you might use phrases such as 'in addition,' 'furthermore,' or 'on the other hand' to indicate a shift in your argument.
  • Provide analysis: Don't just present evidence; provide analysis and interpretation of the evidence. For example, if you're writing about the benefits of early childhood education, you might analyze the long-term effects on academic achievement and future earnings.
  • Summarize your main points: End each body paragraph with a sentence that summarizes the main point or argument you've made. This helps to reinforce your thesis statement and keep your essay organized. For example, you might end a paragraph on the benefits of exercise by stating, 'Regular exercise has been shown to improve mental and physical health, making it a crucial aspect of a healthy lifestyle.'

Explanatory Essay Conclusion

Here are some unique tips on how to write an explanatory essay conclusion that leaves a lasting impression on your readers.

How to Start an Explanatory Essay steps

  • Offer a solution or recommendation: Instead of summarizing your main points, offer suggestions based on the information you've presented. This can help to make your essay more impactful and leave a lasting impression on your readers. For example, if you're writing about the effects of pollution on the environment, you might recommend using more eco-friendly products or investing in renewable energy sources.
  • Emphasize the importance of your topic: Use your concluding statement to emphasize the importance of your topic and why it's relevant to your readers. This can help to inspire action or change. For example, suppose you're writing about the benefits of volunteering. In that case, you might emphasize how volunteering helps others and has personal benefits such as improved mental health and a sense of purpose.
  • End with a powerful quote or statement: End your explanatory essay conclusion with a powerful quote or statement that reinforces your main point or leaves a lasting impression on your readers. For example, if you're writing about the importance of education, you might end your essay with a quote from Nelson Mandela, such as, 'Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.'

Explanatory Essay Example

Here is an example of an explanatory essay:

Explanatory Essay Example:

Importance of Basketball

Final Thoughts

Now you understand whats an explanatory essay. However, if you're still feeling overwhelmed or unsure about writing an explanatory essay, don't worry. Our team of experienced writers is here to provide you with top-notch academic assistance tailored to your specific needs. Whether you need to explain what is an appendix in your definition essay or rewrite essay in five paragraphs, we've got you covered! With our professional help, you can ensure that your essay is well-researched, well-written, and meets all the academic requirements.

And if you'd rather have a professional craft flawless explanatory essay examples, know that our friendly team is dedicated to helping you succeed in your academic pursuits. So why not take the stress out of writing and let us help you achieve the academic success you deserve? Contact us today with your ' write paper for me ' request, and we will support you every step of the way.

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What is an Explanatory Essay and How to Get Started

Stefani Holloway

Table of contents

So you’re watching a movie with your younger sibling, and after it gets over, your confused sibling asks, “I didn’t understand. What was the movie about?”

The next thing you do is break down the movie and explain it in a way that your sibling can understand.

Now imagine having to write an essay on it - that’s essentially what an explanatory essay is.

Suddenly, when it’s an assignment, it doesn’t seem fun anymore, does it?

Don’t worry - in this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about writing explanatory essays and how you can submit a well-written one that will help you get the highest grades.

What is an Explanatory Essay

An explanatory (also known as expository) essay requires you to describe and explain a particular point of view, incident, event, or situation.

Unlike the other kinds of essays, such as argumentative and persuasive, explanatory essays are more about presenting information, facts, statistics, and examples to explain the situation rather than taking a side and persuading the readers to agree with your opinion.

Students must evaluate the situation and present a clear, logical explanation of what transpired while keeping a neutral standpoint.

The purpose of such essays is to encourage students to pay attention to the details, consider factual observations, analyze and write with utmost clarity.

6 Types of Explanatory Essays

These are the six types of explanatory essays you will come across in school and college.

In this type of essay, you are required to explain, expand and define a complicated concept to your readers in a more straightforward, and easier-to-understand way.

Furthermore, through the introduction, you should explain the concept and give your personal take on what you understood of the topic.

Following the introduction is the body paragraph in which you write a detailed and well-researched analysis of the assigned topic. These points are then finally summarized in the conclusion.

Some examples of definition essay questions include:

  • What is contemporary music?
  • Explain the concept of sleep paralysis.
  • What is your definition of a superhero?

Cause and effect

This type of essay revolves around a situation that was caused which eventually had some kind of an effect. You have to cover basic questions like “what was the reason for this cause” and “what are the outcomes or repercussions of this.”

There are two ways you can approach this type of essay:

  • Chain Pattern: which indicates explaining each cause with its effect one after the other;
  • Block Pattern: in which the first paragraph is devoted to all the causes, and the second paragraph talks about all the effects that came after.

Some examples of cause-and-effect essay questions include:

  • Cause and Effect of Smoking in Individuals.
  • Cause and Effect of Homelessness in the World.
  • Cause and Effect of Social Media Addiction.

Compare and contrast

In this type of essay, your purpose is to identify and lay out the similarities and/or differences between two ideas, phenomenons, situations, things, people, or even a period of time.

Majority of the time, the two subjects that are being compared or contrasted fall under a broad category. For example, if you are writing an essay about high school and college, you can find similarities and differences in the way of teaching, the grading system, the campus, the curriculum, the activities, etc.

Like the cause and effect essay, this type is also approached in the chain and block pattern.

Some examples of compare and contrast essays include:

  • Facebook vs. Instagram: Better for Business?
  • American English vs. British English: Know the Difference.
  • Labrador Retriever vs. Golden Retriever: Which Breed is Best?

This type of explanatory essay is a prevalent one. In this, you are required to explain the entire procedure and the correct steps of making or doing something. This is why most of the topics for this type of essay start with a “how-to”.

The purpose of writing “how-to” essays is to provide the readers with necessary steps in such a way that it makes it easier for the readers to follow them correctly and systematically, without causing any mistakes.

Some examples of how-to essay questions include:

  • How to Rent an Apartment in New York.
  • How to Apply for a Permanent Residency Visa.
  • How to Start an Entrepreneurial Business and Succeed.


In this type of essay, you will be given a broad topic from which you must sort out points into different groups or sections accurately.

In other words, arrange objects, scenarios, and people with the same characteristics into different categories and further explain your reasoning of why you segregated it this way.

Using examples and references for each category will help bring quality to your essay and authority to your writing.

Some examples of classification essay questions include:

  • What is the most dangerous type of driver you find on the road: Drunk, Distracted, or Speeding?
  • What is the best type of portable electronic device: Smartphones, Laptops, or Tablets?
  • What is the best type of American music: Blues, Jazz, or Hip-Hop?

Problem and solution

In this type of essay, there is a problem or an issue that is being raised through the topic given by your professor, and your job is to figure out the best way to solve the problem.

This can be done by looking at the problem from different angles and scenarios and brainstorming to find the correct solution that suits all the attributes.

Some examples of problem and solution essay questions:

  • The Growing Concern of Animal Abuse.
  • Lack of Clean Water in India.
  • Bribery Being Considered a Normal Practice.

How to Structure an Explanatory Essay

Creating an outline is the first step to writing an excellent explanatory essay. Here’s what the structure comprises.


The introduction of explanatory essays is the first and most crucial paragraph that your professors will read, and based on how good of an introduction it is, they will be instigated to continue reading the rest of the essay.

Your introduction needs to be strong and exciting enough to grab the attention of your professors.

The introduction covers the first two paragraphs of the essay, which also includes the thesis statement. In this, you need to give a brief description of the topic and essential points that your professor will come across while reading the explanatory essay.

The middle and central portion of your paper consisting of 3 paragraphs, is the body of your explanatory essay.

Through the body paragraphs, you can describe and expand the given topic in detail and use references, data, and other supporting evidence to back up the claims you made and the facts you added to the essay.

In this body paragraph, you can use relevant images, infographics, examples, theories, quotes, etc., to detail the contents of the essay further and make it a more exciting read.

Lastly, we have the conclusion paragraph, which summarizes all the crucial points made in the essay, as well as your (the writer’s) views on this specific topic.

This paragraph is equally as crucial as the introduction.

This is because, when your professors read your conclusion paragraph, they will have a summarized understanding of the entire essay and will be left with a positive lasting impression of your writing and the content you chose to include to draft the essay.

8 Steps to Start a High-Scoring Explanatory Essay

Writing explanatory essays are like educating people about a particular concept. The best ones are those that engage the reader and leave them with everything they need to know about the topic.

Whether they choose to agree or disagree is secondary - what matters is having the complete information.

Now that you know what is an explanatory essay, its purpose, and the various types, let’s take a look at the steps involved in writing a winning essay and scoring the best grades.

Pick a Neutral Topic

One of the most critical aspects of writing an explanatory essay is having a neutral point of view.

Many students don’t realize the difference between explaining and persuading. An explanatory essay needs you to describe/explain instead of taking sides and persuading the reader.

Hence, it’s imperative to pick a topic that’s non-controversial and which allows you to be neutral. So, brainstorm and make a list of topics that interest you. Then, narrow them down and look at them with an ‘expository’ lens and evaluate the scope to explain it in detail.

Conduct Research and Gather Evidence

What is an explanatory essay without proper and in-depth research?

Give yourself ample time to look into credible and reputable sources to do research and gather evidence that can be used to validate your arguments while writing the essay.

From facts and quotes to statistical data, survey results, and examples - lookout for any kind of factual, anecdotal, or logical evidence that can be used in the paper.

Here's an explainer video by Raynor Memorial Libraries, offering practical advice on how you can conduct research for your explanatory essay

Outline your Ideas

After all the extensive research, you will be left with a whole lot of information and data. Don’t make the mistake of diving right into the writing stage.

Take a moment to organize your thoughts and outline your ideas to avoid getting overwhelmed and, worse, leaving out important points.

Writing a five-paragraph explanatory essay generally means devoting one paragraph to the introduction and conclusion and three paragraphs to the body.

Creating an outline is just jotting down the points you plan to include in the introduction, body, and conclusion paragraphs. This rough outline serves as a skeleton and ensures your paper follows a logical flow.

Regardless of how stressed and pressed you are for time, don’t miss out on this step.

Craft a Strong Thesis Statement

The importance of a strong thesis statement cannot be emphasized enough - it forms the backbone of every essay.

The thesis statement is essentially two to three sentences that appear at the end of the introductory paragraph. They need to clearly communicate what the rest of your essay is about and make the reader want to know more.

Remember - an effective thesis statement is concise, debatable, and supportable. Make sure you’re able to justify it in the succeeding paragraphs.

If you find yourself spending too much time wondering “how to write the thesis statement” and developing it, work on a rough version and come back to refine it after you’re done writing the entire paper.

Start with an Enticing Hook

“How do I start an explanatory essay” you may wonder.

The key is to grab the reader’s attention by starting with an enticing hook. A hook may be a rhetorical question, a quote, a startling statistic, a funny anecdote, an interesting fact, a metaphor, or anything else that would reel the readers in and pique their interest.

The hook is the first one or two sentences of the essay, after which you need to go on to give background information that will offer context on the topic.

Lastly, end the introductory paragraph with a strong thesis statement you crafted earlier.

Validate your Arguments with Facts and Examples

Now comes the meat of your explanatory essay and the most time-consuming section - the body paragraphs.

It’s advisable to devote one paragraph to each idea wherein you state the main opinion, offer evidence, and smoothly transition to the following picture.

Speaking of evidence, here’s where your research efforts need to pay off. Make sure you offer enough evidence to justify your arguments and back your claims up. This will only strengthen the paper and your writing.

Feel free to use charts, graphs, and illustrations, if necessary.

Wondering how to use and apply evidence in your explanatory essay?

Here’s a video of Ariel Bissett offering some valuable tips

The reader needs to see a logical connection between the main ideas you’re stating and the thesis statement - so make sure you’re able to correlate each of them back to the statement made.

Stay within the word count because it’s easy to get carried away while writing this section.

Wrap up with a Strong Conclusion

“How do I end my explanatory essay” is a valid question to have because, like it or not - the concluding paragraph has the highest recall value, and your instructor is most likely to remember your writing basis this section.

So, if you think you can summarize the thesis statement, you’re mistaken.

An ideal conclusion needs to reinstate the thesis statement while touching upon the main ideas and evidence you highlighted in the essay.

Once you’ve wrapped up the critical points, leave the reader with a powerful call to action that makes them think and effectively puts across the point you set out to make.

Edit and Proofread

After days of hard work, you ought to set aside time to edit and proofread the essay. You don’t want to submit a paper filled with silly mistakes and let all your efforts go down the drain.

So, make sure you read the essay multiple times and watch out for grammatical and spelling errors, and see that your paper covers all the points and flows in a logical manner. It’s also essential to use the correct transition words to make for a smooth reading experience.

To avoid any unintentional plagiarism , you must accurately cite all the sources you have referred to in the paper in the required style (MLA, APA, Harvard, etc.).

An explanatory essay is a typical assignment, but that doesn’t make it easy to tackle. It’s important to stay true to the rules of writing an explanatory essay and remember the core purpose, explaining or describing a concept, situation, event, etc., and not sharing your opinion or stance.

If you’re still worried about how to go about it, we at Writers Per Hour can help you out. Our professional writers are experts at explanatory essay writing and can offer you the assistance you need to score well.

All you need to do is write to us saying, “I need help with my explanatory essay,” and we will get the best-suited writer on the job to deliver a high-quality explanatory essay written from scratch.

Last edit at Jul 27 2023

Stefani Holloway

Stefani Holloway

Stefani is a professional writer and blogger at Writers Per Hour . She primarily contributes articles about careers, leadership, business, and writing. Her educational background in family science and journalism has given her a broad base from which to approach many topics. She especially enjoys preparing resumes for individuals who are changing careers.

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7+ Explanatory Essay Examples That Get the Best Grades

Meredith Sell

Writing explanatory essays is hard, even for experienced scholars.

In this post, I want to try to tackle the major challenges students face when writing this type of essay, using examples of successful essays. These challenges include:

  • Struggling to come up with the right idea . (solution:  brainstorming techniques )
  • Difficulty in organizing the essay. (solution: working on the outline of the essay)
  • Not having enough evidence or sources to back up points. (solution: doing proper research )
  • Failing to come up with a conclusion. (solution: following our guide to conclusions )
  • Not having enough knowledge of the topic. (solution: summarizing key articles on the topic)
  • Having trouble finding the right words. (solution: writing with Wordtune )
  • Not having enough time to finish the essay. (solution: working on student time management )
  • Not being able to present arguments effectively. (solution: learning essay persuasion techniques )

As you can see, for every issue there is the relevant solution, but it takes time to implement it. Another way of tackling this essay is to see other people's essay examples and getting inspiration from them.

Write your explanatory essay faster with this FREE AI tool > Write your explanatory essay faster with this FREE AI tool >

Explanatory essay generator

What Is an Explanatory Essay?

What Is an Explanatory Essay?

If you google “explanatory essay”, you’ll find a bunch of sites saying that an explanatory essay is the same as an expository essay, or that it’s totally different, or not even mentioning that expository essays exist. Who’s right?

Answer: Whoever your professor agrees with.

No, seriously. Your professor decides the parameters of your assignment. So if your professor defines an explanatory essay as one that describes a perspective or analyzes the efficacy of, for example, a local housing policy—that’s the definition you should work from.

But if your professor distinguishes between explanatory essays (which simply explain what something is and how it works or was developed) and expository essays (which expose the reality of a person, place, thing, or idea through investigation and evaluation), you should distinguish between them as well.

For the purposes of this piece, we’re going to use explanatory and expository interchangeably. The dividing line that some draw between these essay types is unnecessarily technical. What’s important is that both:

  • Use an objective perspective
  • Let the facts speak for themselves

As long as your essay does the same (and includes analysis if required by your professor), you should be in good shape.

Example of explanatory essay

We wrote a whole article on generating essay topic ideas , but here is a good example that can help you get an idea for your own essay:

Why is having a dog as a pet such a wonderful experience?

Dogs are one of the most popular pets in the world. They are beloved companions that bring joy and happiness into the lives of their owners. Dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years and have evolved to become the perfect pet for humans. In this essay, I will explain why having a dog as a pet is a wonderful experience.

One of the primary benefits of having a dog as a pet is the companionship they offer. Dogs are social animals that thrive on human interaction. They are loyal and loving creatures that are always there for their owners. Dogs can help alleviate feelings of loneliness and depression, and provide comfort and support during difficult times.

Another benefit of having a dog as a pet is the health benefits they offer. Studies have shown that owning a dog can help lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and improve overall health. Dogs require daily exercise, which encourages their owners to be more active and can lead to a healthier lifestyle. Additionally, having a dog can boost the immune system and reduce the risk of allergies and asthma in children.

Dogs are also great for families with children. They can help teach children about responsibility, compassion, and empathy. Children can learn to care for and nurture their pets, which can be beneficial for their emotional development. Dogs are also great playmates for children and can provide hours of entertainment and fun.

Training and caring for a dog can also be a rewarding experience. Dogs can be trained to perform a variety of tasks, such as fetching, obedience, and even therapy work. The process of training a dog can help strengthen the bond between the owner and the dog and can be a fulfilling experience. Additionally, caring for a dog requires daily attention and can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment for the owner.

In conclusion, having a dog as a pet can be a wonderful experience. Dogs offer companionship, health benefits, and can be great for families with children. Caring for a dog can also be a rewarding experience and can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment for the owner. Owning a dog is a big responsibility, but the rewards far outweigh the effort required.

Example of an explanatory paragraph, generated with AI:

how to start off an explanatory essay

A few subtypes of explanatory essays:

Description or definition essay example

‍ Perhaps the most basic, this subtype does the deceptively simple work of, well, describing or defining a concept, place, person, etc.

Example: How Suspension Bridges Work

This essay explains: The way suspension bridges are constructed and how their design enables them to carry such immense weight.

Cause-and-effect essay example

This type of essay hones in on a particular phenomenon to show what caused it (i.e., where it came from) and how it influences other things.

Example: How Federally Funded Highways Transformed the United States

This essay explains: The history of federally funded highways in the U.S., when federal programs to fund highway construction started, why politicians and others thought highways were important, and what the effect has been on the landscapes, communities, economies, and ecosystems of the country.

Compare-and-contrast essay example

Take two or more things, gather the facts about them, and then write about their similarities and differences.

Example: Hybrid vs. Electric Cars

This essay explains: The various features of hybrid and electric cars, and shows how they are either different or similar in terms of: cost, energy consumption, size, drive time, ease of use, and so on.

‍ How-to essay example

Walk your reader step-by-step through a procedure so they can do it for themselves. (We’re doing this later!)

Example: How to Prepare for an Intercontinental Bike Trip

This essay explains: How to get ready for a bike trip between nations and continents. Readers learn how to research their route, find out what travel documents they need, choose the right gear, and determine how much training they should do before leaving.

Problem and solution essay example

Explain a problem (along with its causes and effects) and then describe one or more potential solutions to that problem. This subtype could also be combined with compare-and-contrast to determine the most effective solution.

Example: How Bike Infrastructure Could Solve American Obesity

This essay explains: How American reliance on motorized vehicles promotes a sedentary lifestyle that drives obesity, whereas building bike lanes and trails could encourage Americans to be more active and improve their health one pedal at a time.

‍ Chronology essay example

Explain the history or backstory of a person, place, thing, or idea in chronological order.

Example: The Evolution of the Bicycle

This essay explains: The initial invention of the bicycle and how its shape, frame, and size changed over the years.

What type of explanatory essay are you writing? Hopefully, this list helped you hone in. Now, let’s start the writing process.

5 Steps to Write Your Essay

Whether you’re writing an explanatory/expository essay or a persuasive essay, the process of researching and writing is pretty much the same. Both genres require research, organization, and thought . But with expository essays, the thought focuses on making sure you understand your topic inside-out and determining the best way to explain it, while with persuasive essays, you’re focused on crafting a convincing argument.

Follow these steps to turn that blank page into a final manuscript:

1. Choose topic and angle. 

Do you have free rein to write about the topic of your choice? Make the most of it.

In college, my public speaking professor let us choose all of our own speech topics. A classmate gave an explanatory presentation on how to survive the zombie apocalypse . She brought props and had the class totally enchanted. Our professor encouraged creativity, so I’m sure she earned a winning grade—and had fun in the process.

You can’t use props or sound in a written essay, but you can still work some creative magic. That magic starts with choosing your topic and angle.

To choose well, first make sure you understand the assignment: 

  • What exactly has your professor asked you to write? Which of the subtypes should your piece be?
  • Are there any parameters for what type of topic you can write about?
  • What kind of class is this? An English composition class will offer more freedom than, say, a history class focused on the French Revolution.

If you’re allowed to write about anything, brainstorm a list of topics you’re curious about. Then think of smaller topics within that area.

Example: Transportation

  • Electric cars
  • The highway system
  • Engineering

Any of these topics you could easily write volumes about, so next, narrow down to your specific angle. One way I like to come up with angles is to think of how two or three different topics intersect.

Example 1: electric cars + the highway system 

Angle: How Much Will It Cost to Update Federal Highways with Charging Stations for Electric Cars

Notice that this angle includes a third element: cost

Example 2: bicycles + bridges

Angle: The Safest Bridges for Bicycles Have One Thing in Common: No Cars

Third element: safety

Example 3: electric cars + buses

Angle: Electric Cars vs. Buses: Which Is Better for the Environment?

Third element: environment

Your turn: Make a list of topics you’re interested in. Then, identify some intersecting topics. Based on your assignment parameters, develop an angle that narrows your focus to an intersection that interests you.

Not sure what angle to go with? Do some broad research on your topics and then return to this step.

2. Research, research, research.

Explanatory essays require solid research. These essays exist to lay out the facts for the reader so they can clearly understand the topic. Your opinion—what you think about electric cars or suspension bridges or transportation infrastructure—doesn’t matter. And it doesn’t belong here.

Where you should start your research depends on how much knowledge you already have.

If you’re writing about suspension bridges and you already know the Brooklyn Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge are suspension bridges, you probably don’t need to start with the encyclopedic entry for “suspension bridges”. But if you don’t know the basic facts about your topic, encyclopedias are a great place to start.

Thanks to the advances of technology—and this marvelous thing called the internet—you don’t have to go to a research library to gain that ground-level knowledge of your topic. But you do still need to make sure you’re drawing from credible sources.

For encyclopedias, try these to start:


Dictionaries can be helpful too:

  • Merriam-Webster

Once you know your topics’ basic facts, focus on researching those topics in the context of your angle . It may help to make a list of questions you’re trying to answer so you can keep your research focused.

Example: Electric Cars vs. Buses: Which Is Better for the Environment?

  • Are most buses gas-powered or electric?
  • What’s the average emissions of greenhouse gas from gas-powered buses?
  • How much energy do electric cars use? What’s the lifespan of their batteries? Are they just using electricity that was produced in a polluting way somewhere else? What about electric buses?
  • How many people can ride a bus? How many people typically are transported by one car? 
  • What would be the average energy consumption per person in an electric car versus a bus?

Once you know the questions you need to answer, look for sources that address those questions. For an academic essay, you’ll probably want to stick with academic sources : peer-reviewed studies and research papers published by academic journals. But official government databases can also be useful. And news stories from reputable publications can provide some direction as well (check with your professor to see whether or not you can use news publications as sources for your essay). Your educational institution likely provides access to all of these kinds of sources through the university library.

Your turn: Think through your angle and make a list of questions your piece needs to answer. Next, start searching academic databases for the information you need. Take notes as you research, and be sure to save any links, titles, author names, page numbers, and publication information you’ll need to properly cite your sources.

3. Outline your essay.

Call me crazy, but I actually think this is the fun part. I hated writing outlines when I was in school, but since making my living as a professional writer, they’ve become the #1 way I beat writer’s block.

First: Throw out the idea that your outline should be a series of bullet points neatly organized into sections and subsections. Your outline only needs to make sense to you , so play around to find an approach that works with your brain. The idea here is simply to make a map you’ll follow when you sit down to write.

Here’s what I do:

  • Identify the specific hook I’m going to use to start things off.
  • List the different examples and details I need to include.
  • Use the main focus or idea of my piece to order everything in a natural, logical way.

A lot of times, my outline becomes a combination of bullet points and sentences or paragraphs I write as I’m sketching out the piece. I’m basically just thinking the piece through, from beginning to end. Instead of getting stuck while I’m writing, I work through the tough spots in the outlining stage.

This is what my outline looked like for this piece:

how to start off an explanatory essay

Okay, that’s kind of long, so I cut it off early—but you get the point. 

A lot of times, my outline starts as bare-bones bullets. As I work on it, ideas pop up that I stick in where they make sense. But when I write, those elements might move around ( notice how the examples of transportation essays got bumped up to the section on subtypes of essays ).

Your outline is just a guide. It’s not an architect’s blueprint that needs to be followed to the exact millimeter. There’s room for things to change. 

But an outline keeps you on-track when you’re writing . If you find yourself stuck (or lost) in the writing step, reference your map. You might need to backtrack, move what you’ve written around, or adjust your route. 

Your turn: Take a few minutes and sketch out your essay. Where does it start? What points does it hit? Are there any ways you see the different points connecting that should inform how you order them? As you think it through, scribble out any lines or paragraphs that come to you and stick them in the outline where they make the most sense. Even if you don’t use these exact words later, they’ll help prevent that deer-in-the-headlights stare that hits when you see a blank page.

Time to put everything together! 

With your outline and research ready, start your intro and set up your piece. Your opening should briefly introduce your readers to the topic(s) you’re writing about and the questions you’re going to answer—but don’t give everything away. You want to stir up readers’ curiosity and give them a reason to keep reading.

Depending on the length of your essay, your intro may be one to three paragraphs long (longer pieces get longer intros). But it should be concise and to the point, and smoothly transition into the body of your essay.

The body is the meat and potatoes of your piece. Answer those questions, flesh out your explanation, and give readers a thorough understanding of your topic. Show off your research! Include those bizarre and fascinating facts you learned along the way. Use a tasteful metaphor or compelling anecdote to explain some of the more difficult aspects of your topic. 

As you write, be sure to follow a consistent logic throughout your piece: 

  • If you’re detailing a history or an event, use chronological order: start at the beginning and write about the events in the order that they happened.
  • Are you explaining how a machine or other invention works? Start with where the movement starts—the pedals of a bicycle, the wind turning the turbines—or with the feature doing the most significant work (e.g., the wires of the suspension bridge). 
  • Other logics include: size (small to large, large to small), significance (greatest to least), or space (left to right, right to left, outside to center, center to outside).

You don’t need to label everything you write about as the “next biggest” or “least significant”, but sticking to a logic helps your readers orient themselves—and helps you determine which paragraph or subtopic should go where. This way, your thoughts clearly flow from one paragraph to the next. 

‍ Quick note: If you can’t name the logic that’s guiding your piece, don’t worry. As long as your paragraphs naturally follow each other and all questions raised in the intro are answered by the end, your essay probably follows a logic just fine. But if you feel like your piece bounces around willy-nilly, play with a couple different logics and see if one smoothly orders your sentences and paragraphs.

Your turn: Get writing! If you’re stuck on the intro, try writing a working title for your piece to focus your attention. Then, follow your outline to work all the way from the beginning to a conclusion that sums everything up.

If you can, let your piece sit for at least a day. Then, for the editing process , open up that document and read through with these questions in mind:

  • Does the essay fulfill the assignment? Review the assignment description from your professor. Does your essay tick all the boxes? If not, what’s missing? Can you weave that element into what you’ve already written? Revise as necessary.
  • Are the sentences and paragraphs ordered in a way that makes logical sense? If your essay feels clunky in places, you might have switched logics (as explained above) or you might need to insert some more explanation that clearly ties the sentences or paragraphs together. Make sure your essay doesn’t just list facts, but also shows how they relate to each other.
  • Does the hook catch your eye? The beginning of your piece should grab your reader’s attention. Check out our advice for prize-winning hooks here .
  • Does the conclusion effectively sum things up? Instead of repeating everything your essay says, your conclusion should briefly distill the main takeaway or core idea for your reader. It should show that you’ve fulfilled the promise made in your intro, without being unnecessarily repetitive or redundant.
  • Have you cited all your sources? Make sure to cross this off before hitting “submit.” Follow the citation style specified by your professor.
  • Is spelling and grammar clean and correct? You are writing, after all, and these things matter. A bonus tip to help you catch those sneaky typos: Read your piece backwards. You might be surprised what you spot.

Did We Explain That Well Enough?

This blog was basically a long, non-academic explanatory essay, so hopefully, you’ve learned something new and are feeling less overwhelmed about your essay on medieval literature, transportation infrastructure, Persian history—or whatever you’re writing about.

P.S. This article was co-written with Wordtune . Wordtune didn’t write the whole piece. Instead, it contributed ideas, suggested rephrasing alternatives, maintained consistency in tone, and of course - made the process much more fun for the writer.

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How to Write an Explanatory Essay: A Step-by-Step Guide

Author Image

by  Antony W

September 12, 2022

how to write an explanatory essay explained

If you’re looking for a complete guide on how to write an explanatory essay, you’ve come to the right place.

In this guide, you’ll learn what an explanatory essay is, how to write the essay, and some tips to help you ace the assignment.

Key Takeaways 

  • An explanatory essay is a type of an essay that requires you to give your opinion about a process, a story, a person, or an event.
  • You don’t make an argument in an explanatory essay. Rather than taking sides, you simply explain an issue to make it easy for a reader to understand.
  • To write an explanatory essay, you choose a topic, conduct research, create an outline, write the essay, and then edit your final draft prior to submission. 

What is an Explanatory Essay?

Also known as an expository essay, an explanatory assignment in which you give your opinion about an event, a story,   a  person, a subject, or a process.

You don’t necessarily have to agree with the view that you give. But your point of view must be thoroughly researched and logical.

An explanatory essay is different from an argumentative writing in that instead of taking a position and debating its validity, you simply explain the issue to make it easier for your audience (readers) to understand.

In other words, you have to take a neutral position on a topic and provide a clear analysis of the subject in question.

The primary objective of an explanatory essay is to help your reader to understand why something happened the way they did.

By the time they finish reading the essay, they should get a clear picture of your explanation, even if they don’t agree with it.

How to Write an Explanatory Essay Step-by-Step

Writing an expository essay shouldn’t be difficult if you have the right lead.

Continue reading this step-by-step guide to learn how to write the best explanatory essay fast.

1. Pick a Topic

Check the essay prompt to determine if your instructor has given you a topic to focus on. 

If they have, write the essay according to the instructions that they provide.

If they haven’t, consider choosing an interesting topic that you can easily explore.

2. Research and Gather Evidence to Support Your Essay

Research your topic well and gather as much information about it as you possibly can.  

Don’t worry if part of your explanatory essay will include merely opinions.

As long as the opinion is reasonably strong, your essay should stand out.

While there’s a wealth information that covers the topic under examination, it’s best to use reliable sources to write the essay. 

Keep  a record of your source somewhere in a separate notepad, because you need to cite and reference  them at the bottom of the essay.

3. Create a Relevant Outline

All essays have one thing in common:

They follow a particular format to make ideas clear.

It follows then that your explanatory (expository) essay should also have a clear format.

Divide the essay into three parts: the introduction, body section, and the conclusion paragraph.

Don’t worry about writing the whole essay at this point. Just focus on organizing your main ideas in point form while keeling the three sections in mind.

Your instructor may ask to see the outline before you proceed with writing the essay.

But even if they don’t, you should make the outline as comprehensive as possible so that you have an easy time writing the expository.

4. Write the Body Paragraph

With a clear outline, writing the whole essay shouldn’t be difficult at all.

While it’s fine to start from the introduction, move to the body section, and then write the conclusion, writing the body of your paper makes your work a whole lot easier.

The consensus is that an expository essay should be at least  five paragraphs . 

That’s a good starting point. 

So if your instructor hasn’t specifically stated that your assignment should be this short, you shouldn’t hesitate to make the essay longer .

The rule to getting the body paragraph right is to focus on one point or idea per paragraph.

Start that with a topic sentence, write your explanation, and then end with a conclusion that easily transitions to a new idea in a completely new paragraph.

6. Write Your Introduction

Your introduction can make or break the explanatory essay. So you shouldn’t take chances here.

Read the body of the article to get a clear idea for a hook. And then start the introduction with a statement that will attract eyeballs instantly.

Include a short background. Then, end the instruction of your expository essay with a strong thesis statement .

6. Write a Conclusion

Really, there’s no magic bullet to ending an essay and this part of the assignment should be a no brainer to complete.

The approach is to end the assignment on a very strong note.

Tie your idea together into a powerful statement that gives your readers something to think about.

Tips to Write a Good Expository Essay

Below are some tips you can use to write a good explanatory essay within the shortest time possible.

1. Use an Appropriate Writing Style

An explanatory essay uses the same three-part format used in all essays.

Beyond that, however, it doesn’t require you to take a side or persuade someone to do, say, or believe something.

As such, it’s important to use an appropriate writing style when writing this assignment.

Your explanation should be more of a discussion. And while you do have to present evidence to back your topic, you shouldn’t do so to put your reader in a position where they have to make a solid case.

2. Get Help from Professional Essay Writers

Still don’t have time to write an explanatory essay yourself even after reading this guide?

You can  pay someone to write an essay for you   and get the task completed in the shortest time possible.

You can use the essay you receive from us as reference to help you write your final draft, deliver the final copy to your teacher for review, and score good grades.

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

The Subtle Art of Writing an Explanatory Essay

21 July, 2020

10 minutes read

Author:  Richard Pircher

When writing an explanatory essay, you may have many questions connected with this paper type. You might wonder how to craft it, structure it, represent your thoughts, and many more. But the main question will refer to the paper type you’re working on. And the first thing you have to remember is that it’s not a persuasive essay. In this paper, you only have to describe some event or subject and explain its major aspects and importance to a reader.

Explanatory Essay

Our article contains exhaustive information on writing explanatory essays. Also, we’ve written the tips that will help you craft an excellent paper. So, keep on reading for more details.

how to write an explanatory essay

What Is an Explanatory Essay?

Before you start writing your task, it’s necessary to find out what is an explanatory essay. Without a clear understanding of this paper type, it’s impossible to craft a brilliant paper and get excellent grades. An explanatory essay is a work in which you present a point of view on some subject and describe its main features, importance, or simply answer questions, “ Why? ” and “ How? ”

This paper type requires you to research, analyze facts, and explain the opinion of other people. Of course, you’ll have your thoughts concerning the subject, but you’ll have to avoid sharing them in your essay. The writer’s opinion remains neutral, and it doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree with the topic. Your goal is to help a reader understand the problem or subject by explaining details.

When crafting an essay, you can also add statistics and examples to become the guide leading the audience through the topic. The analysis of the subject and facts you’ve found during the research will help readers understand why and how things have happened. People don’t have to agree with the information from your article – they will only have to find answers to questions concerning the topic.

6 Types of an explanatory essay

Now that you know the definition of an explanatory essay, it’s necessary to learn its major types. We’ve prepared the list that will help you cope with a task correctly. Here are 6 explanatory essay types you need to know:

  • Compare and contrast. This essay type requires you to describe differences and similarities between subjects, events, people, etc.
  • Definition. This essay type is written to explain the idea, term, or subject.
  • Classification. When crafting this essay type, you have to divide the characteristics of a subject or idea by groups and explain their features in detail.
  • Cause and effect. It’s necessary to describe the situation that has happened and the event it’s caused.
  • How-to. The explanation of this paper type  is in its name – you have to explain how to do something or how things  work.
  • Problem and solution. This type of essay  requires a writer to research, analyze, and evaluate a problem. It’s also necessary to provide suggestions on its solution.

How to Start an Explanatory Essay?

How to write an explanatory essay? If you haven’t ever crafted this paper, this question will disturb you most of all. Before you start writing an explanatory essay, it’s necessary to take a few preparatory steps. Comprehensive research, fact-checking, and analysis are the most important stages of task completion. When exploring the topic, write down all the relevant details because you’ll use them in your article.

topics for explanatory essays

Keep in mind that this essay should only contain facts and a few of your thoughts – it’s a perfect combination that will allow you to describe things without persuasion. You’ll have to find several credible resources to come up with truthful information. And our recommendations will help you craft an excellent paper:

  • If a professor allows you to pick a topic, pick the neutral yet interesting one. For example, you can explain why people should learn more than two languages or how students can improve their writing skills.
  • Look for credible sources. You can use Wikipedia, JSTOR, or Google Scholar to find the necessary information. Besides, the door of the college library is always open for students.
  • Note essential details and quotes because you’ll use some of them in your paper.
  • Create an outline.
  • After researching the topic, collecting information, and writing an outline, it’s necessary to create a thesis statement. The latter explains what this topic is about. A thesis statement consists of one sentence and thoroughly describes a major idea of your essay.
  • Check the data you’re planning to use and start writing an essay.

Explanatory Essay Outline

The best way to organize your thoughts and the collected details you’re planning to describe in your essay is to design an outline. It’s basically a summary of a paper and it will only contain major ideas and arguments. Typically, an explanatory essay outline has the following structure:

1) Introduction. This section is a combination of three important ingredients – it should contain a hook, a short explanation of the topic, and a thesis statement. At this stage, a writer engages the reader by adding a relevant quote, joke, fact, or question concerning the subject. A few sentences are enough for the introduction section.

2) Body text. The optimal size of this section is 3 paragraphs. However, it will depend on the complexity of your explanatory essay and the professor’s requirements. Start a new paragraph if you want to describe another thought. Write a topic sentence to explain the main idea of every section. Support your thoughts by adding the facts you’ve found. They will develop the reader’s confidence in the trustworthiness of your statements.

3) Conclusion. In this section, you have to mention your thesis statement again, summarize the information from your essay, and highlight the topic’s value. Finish a paper with a call to action to motivate readers to research the subject in the future.

Explanatory Essay Examples

Here are some online explanatory essay examples:


Useful Tips for Successful Explanatory Essay

Since writing an explanatory essay may be challenging, it’s necessary to start with preparation and research. We’ve created some tips on crafting an expository paper to help you impress your professor. Follow our guide to come up with an excellent essay:

1. Pick an understandable topic

If a professor allows you to choose explanatory essay topics, it’s better to focus on subjects that are easy to write about. There’s a thing called the “ writer’s block ” which doesn’t let you craft any sentence. You can’t find the necessary words, and writing turns into the impossible mission. Sometimes a complicated topic is a problem that causes the writer’s block. That’s why you have to pick it carefully. It should be neutral yet interesting to you. Here  are a few examples of topics you can select:

  • Why does everyone need friends?
  • How to choose a career that is right for you?
  • How do technologies shape your life?
  • Why do Chinese people respect the symbol of the Dragon so much?
  • What are the main stressors in students’ lives?

2. Conduct comprehensive research

It’s necessary to dedicate some time to research, fact-checking, and data analysis to come up with an excellent explanatory essay. Pick reputable resources to avoid providing misinformation. Write down all the relevant details and return to them later to choose the most important ones.

3. Craft an outline

An outline is a brief model of your future paper that will help you organize your ideas. As we’ve mentioned, it will consist of three sections, including an introduction, body text, and a conclusion. Divide your outline by sections, and you’ll see how many paragraphs your piece will have. A traditional explanatory essay format is a paper with 5 paragraphs. They include an introduction and conclusion. The body section usually has 3 paragraphs. However, a number of sections will depend on the complexity of a topic and the professor’s requirements.

4. Check your essay

After you’ve written an explanatory essay, it’s necessary to check it for grammar mistakes, punctuation errors, and miswording. We recommend you to read the text aloud to make sure it sounds natural. And you can use online tools like Grammarly and Thesaurus to improve your writing.

Write an Excellent Explanatory Essay with HandmadeWriting

Sometimes it’s better to ask for professional help rather than taking a risk and getting bad grades. HandmadeWriting is a reputable writing service offering the execution of high-quality papers. You can hire a professional essay writer specializing in your discipline, and they will help you complete the task excellently and improve your academic picture.

HandmadeWriting consists of more than 700 writers, which means that you’ll definitely find the one who’ll assist you even with a specific task. It’s fine if you have an urgent order because an experienced specialist will quickly craft an essay and deliver it even before the deadline. You’ll receive a professionally proofread paper meeting all your requirements,

When crafting an explanatory essay, follow such fundamental rules as picking an understandable topic, researching, using credible sources, writing an outline, and revising your paper. Hiring a professional writer from HandmadeWriting is another way to get an excellent writing piece done. So, choose the solution that works best for you and hurry up to improve your scores.

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explanatory essay topics

Explanatory Essay Writing Guide

how to start off an explanatory essay

Before writing any type of assignment, you must understand its definition. For example, students who need to write an argumentative essay should understand its purpose, format, and how it differs from other kinds of papers. The following approach can be applied to any other type of academic writing, including an explanatory essay.

In this article, our write my essay for me service professionals will try to explain what an explanatory essay is, its primary goal, and key features. Even though many people think that there is nothing more simple than writing an explanatory essay, for most students, it can still be a challenge to distinguish explanatory paper from other types of essays.

If you study for example in one of the best colleges for astrophysics need to write an explanatory essay, we highly recommend you read this article till the end. Guidelines outlined in our manual will help you gain new knowledge and enhance your writing skills. Designing explanatory essay will become an easy task for you once you put recommendations from our professional paper writing service into practice.

What is an Explanatory Essay?

An explanatory essay is a type of academic paper in which the author presents some point of view or opinion on a particular topic, subject, event or situation. It’s worth noting that explanatory essay is also known as expository essay. 

When completing this kind of assignment you shouldn’t necessarily agree with the point of view you are writing about. Your goal is to report a certain event or situation and offer an analysis of a given subject. Try to present information or arguments of other people impartially. It’s also essential that you do not include any form of criticism in your explanatory essay. You shouldn’t argue or persuade while giving explanations. Let readers make their conclusions rather than persuading them to agree or disagree with the given point of view.

Explanatory essay is all about presenting a neutral view on the set topic by providing analysis from research. Its primary goal is to present a lucid explanation as to why things happened the way they did. After reading your essay, the audience should have a clear understanding of your point of view, even if they don’t pick your side.

Usually, the author of the explanatory essay decides upon a set topic and then approaches the issue from a specific angle. In most cases, this angle is complicated and gives room for discussion. The author presents a point of view of his or her choice that fairly explains why a certain outcome was reached.

Explanatory Essay Topics

In most cases, explanatory essay topics are pre-assigned to students by their teachers or college professors. For instance, you can be asked to explain how your brain works or outline the events that led to the 2008 financial crisis.

explanatory essay

If you are asked to select the essay topic by yourself, remember that explanatory papers are based on facts. That’s why our custom essay writing professionals recommend that you choose a neutral topic that can be easily explained. The idea here is that the more controversial the topic, the more points of view you will need to explore in your essay, making it more complicated and time-consuming. Fortunately, we can explain almost everything as long as it falls within the parameters of the given assignment. Here are a couple of explanatory essay topics created by our paper topic generator you can choose from:

Beginner Explanatory Essay Topics

  • Describe the day you came to school for the first time. How did it make you feel?
  • What qualities do you believe make someone a good friend?
  • Explain what makes dogs the best pet for a person.
  • Who is your favorite superhero or movie/book character? Why?
  • Describe your dream home.
  • Who is that person you admire and look up to the most?
  • Define what happiness means to you.
  • Who is your favorite teacher?
  • Tell what kind of food you love most and explain why you love it.
  • What kind of job do you think will suit you the most?

Intermediate Explanatory Essay Topics

  • What is the best lesson that parents can teach their kids?
  • Describe your favorite kind of sport.
  • What unique traditions does your family have?
  • Tell about something you are really good at and could teach it to others.
  • Does the word “responsibility” mean the same thing for adults and children?
  • Describe what you believe makes a person truly rich.
  • What is your favorite place on the planet?
  • Explain how someone you know (a friend, teacher, parent) helped you become a better person.
  • What is the school subject you enjoy the most?
  • Describe how having a sibling can affect one’s personality.

Advanced Explanatory Essay Topics

  • Explain one of the forms of cyberbullying and suggest ways to address it.
  • Do you believe animals can really feel your fear?
  • Describe a moral dilemma you have faced. How did you handle it?
  • Do you believe in UFOs and aliens? Explain your point of view.
  • Explain how your personality has changed as you were growing up.
  • How can we measure happiness?
  • Define your generation. What makes it different from other generations?
  • Explain how you understand the universe.
  • How do you imagine your perfect future?
  • Describe your first work experience ever. What did it teach you, and how did you handle it?

College Level Explanatory Essay Topics

  • Define the positive and harmful effects the Internet has on a human personality and life.
  • What real-life lessons do you wish you’d learn 5 years ago?
  • Tell about someone who has authority in your eyes and explain why.
  • Do you think expressing the whole spectrum of emotions is better than suppressing them?
  • Explain what experience was the most life-changing for you.
  • How to cope with financial difficulties?
  • Explain the benefits of social networks for modern students.
  • What makes a person generous?
  • Describe the technological advancement that took place over the last decade.
  • Define what difference you see between “living” and “existing”.

how to start off an explanatory essay

Explanatory Essay Format

The typical format for an explanatory paper is the traditional 5-paragraph essay. Usually, this includes an introduction, three body paragraphs (limited to one subtopic each), and a conclusion. This is a basic essay format. 

Keep in mind that the explanatory writing doesn’t need to be limited to five paragraphs — you can make it longer. No matter how many paragraphs you decide to include in your essay, be sure that your introduction includes a powerful thesis statement. Also, double-check if the paper is based on facts rather than personal opinion. Last but not least: make sure to connect paragraphs with transitions. 

Explanatory Essay Outline

In simple terms, an explanatory essay outline is a plan for your explanatory paper. Usually, it varies based on the length of the topic and the information the author is trying to present. The goal of the outline is to organize the main points into paragraphs — it offers a so-called framework of how to write an explanatory essay. As it was mentioned in the paragraph above, most explanatory essays follow the basic essay structure. They consist of:

  • Introduction;
  • Body paragraphs;
  • Conclusion.

Most explanatory essays tend to be a page or two in length. That's why the overall essay is usually around 5 paragraphs long. Remember that your introduction should present the topic to the audience. Also, it’s vital that you incorporate the thesis statement in the last paragraph. After you are done with it, try to develop the body paragraphs with the information detailed in the thesis statement. Finally, include a conclusion that summarizes your essay's key points after the restatement of the thesis. As you can see, creating an explanatory essay outline is not that difficult as it may seem at first glance. And now let’s dig deeper into the definition of the explanatory essay thesis.

Thesis Statement

When talking about a thesis statement, most people usually mean one or two sentences that summarize the main idea of their academic paper and clearly express what it is they are going to say about the given topic. Overall, your thesis statement identifies what topic will be discussed and the purpose of your essay. As the explanatory essay is tailored to explain or acquaint your readers with something, the goal of the explanatory thesis is to tell readers what it is you are going to explain and what aspects of the topic will be considered.


Before you start writing your explanatory essay, there are some crucial tips to follow. The first recommendation is to carry out proper research and data collection. Explanatory essay authors should ensure that the information in their writing is a blend of personal views and ideas acquired from external sources. Explanatory essay relies heavily on solid research, focus on finding external sources that will supplement your personal opinion. Note down all the important information from those sources and use them as evidence in your essay. So, the first thing you should do is find multiple trusted sources that defend your thoughts. We suggest you look to online journals, historical dictionaries, or find relevant books in your college library to use them as trusted sources.

After collecting all the needed information, the next step is to develop a clear explanatory thesis. A concise thesis will make it easier for readers to understand the essence of the topic from a summarized point of view. In other words, explain what you will be showing to your audience. Be neutral — you are not arguing or criticizing, just stating facts. Remember, you are not supposed to take any side as that causes a loss in the outlook of an explanatory essay.

Another recommendation is to choose a neutral topic you'd like to explain. If your teacher or professor didn’t give you a specific topic, select the one that will be understandable for you. Just choose such a topic that is in line with your assignment.

Once you’ve chosen a suitable topic, it’s time to draft an outline of your explanatory essay. The best option here is to stick to five paragraphs that were mentioned above: draft an introduction, three main body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The outline helps students ensure that they follow a logical pattern to detail all their trains of thought. After completing all of the above steps - review your material and start writing your explanatory paper.

Each explanatory paper should start with an introduction. Try to capture your audience’s attention. No matter how you decide to do that - it may be a quote, rhetorical question, catchy motto, or anecdote. Feel free to improvise and use your imagination. Picking a hook thesis statement is also important. After presenting a thesis statement, include any necessary information that gives a background of the topic. The last sentence of your introduction should integrate a thesis statement to give a preview of the content in the body paragraphs.

Body Paragraphs

No matter how many paragraphs you decide to include in your explanatory essay, they all should follow a similar style. They all should be in-line with each other and maintain a certain flow in the paragraphs. Within each paragraph, you are to include a claim that is linked to the thesis statement. This way, it will be easier to connect all the points.

Try to support your claims with evidence from external sources. Make your readers feel confident about the information you present to them. Don’t forget to integrate a concluding statement that offers a summary of the claim's significance. Concluding statement should go along with the thesis statement. In simple terms, all body paragraphs in your explanatory paper should follow this format.

Conclusion Of Explanatory Essay

The explanatory essay must have a proper conclusion. When finishing your explanatory paper, follow these recommendations:

  • Restate your thesis. This way you will bring your readers’ attention back to the main point as well as add strength to your presented point of view.
  • Summarize your supporting points presented in each of the body paragraphs accordingly. Restate the importance of each one. This way you will logically defend your explanatory thesis.
  • Provide an overall concluding statement. In other words, explain the value of the particular point of view chosen from a global perspective. Your goal here is to captivate your readers to study the subject further on. 

How to Write an Explanatory Essay - Writing Tips

Some useful tips will help you write an excellent explanatory essay. Here are some of the most powerful ones:

explanatory tips

Take advantage of transitions and linking words

While connecting all your body paragraphs, use transition words and sentences. They will make your explanatory paper flow more smoothly. Some of the words you can use to connect your sentences are: 

  • For instance;
  • In comparison;
  • Firstly, secondly, thirdly;
  • On the other hand;
  • In conclusion, to summarise.

Cite your sources

This one is an absolute requirement when writing an explanatory essay. You better try hard in this area. A successful explanatory essay will be factual and contain verifiable information. Cite your sources and make it easy for the audience to check where you drew your facts. 

Revise your essay

After completing your explanatory paper, it’s always a good tip to revise it a couple of times. To make your revision phase more effective we advise you to answer the following questions:

  • Does the essay give an objective analysis that unfolds logically? Did I use relevant facts and examples in your essay?
  • Has the information in my paper been communicated to the audience? Is the word choice precise?
  • Did I use transitions and linking words in the essay to help the reader’s understanding?
  • Does the concluding paragraph communicate the value and meaning of the thesis statement and supporting ideas?

Edit your essay

Double-check your paper for different of mistakes and typos. When proofreading your paper, make sure that nobody distracts you. It would be perfect if you revise and proofread your essay in silence. If you notice any kinds of errors - edit your paper to improve both style and clarity. Even though your essay should be clear and concise, also think on how to make it engaging and lively as well.

Share your essay with a close person

Showing your essay to your parent, friend or other readers can be both useful and exciting. They can give you their opinion on what should be changed. They can also notice some grammar or punctual mistakes you missed while writing the essay. Overall, it always good to use the feedback to make your essay even better.

Explanatory Essay Example

Read the following essay sample to understand this type of essay better. If you need more examples, don’t hesitate to buy essay samples from our website.

What are the benefits of social networks for modern students?

According to the World Health Organization, people spend around 6 years and 8 months on various social media in their lifetime. These numbers are both impressive and terrifying. Given that the average lifespan across the world is 72 years, in 2020, the time spent on social networks makes up almost 10% of our entire life. And these figures keep changing and hitting higher points every year. Unsurprisingly, students are the largest group of active social network users. There always have been plenty of controversies concerning this matter. But, there is a belief that social media can actually have quite a few benefits for them.

One of the most obvious benefits of social media is that it keeps people connected. Clearly, many modern students are using these channels to make connections and communicate with their peers. Also, though it may not sound like too big of a deal, it can have a very positive effect on their lives in college. A recent study has shown that social media can play an integral role in the process of adjustment to college. The research found that student-centered networks can provide first-year students with so-needed support and help them adapt to the new environment faster, easier, and more effectively.

Another benefit of social networks for students is that such channels can boost students’ overall literacy and reading skills. Various literacy studies confirm that the general level of literacy and reading skills among younger generations is dropping. The biggest issue behind that is the fact that young people almost never pick up a book when they are outside of the class. They are just no longer interested in books as they make them bored. However, this does not mean that students don’t read at all. In fact, they do. It’s just that they are more inclined to read the information provided in smaller chunks and, preferably, containing some eye-catching animations, videos, or images. In other words, they are much more interested in reading publications on blogs, websites, and, of course, social networks. Keeping all that in mind, it shouldn’t surprise you that, according to the National Literacy Trust, social networks really can (and already do) help modern students enhance their reading skills and overall literacy.

Finally, the last significant benefit of social media is the accessibility of education. Such channels have provided us with plenty of opportunities for distance learning. The global quarantine has shown us that the effectiveness of distance learning can equal the effectiveness of traditional learning. But only if we integrate the right tools in the process. Among such tools are various social network channels. Numerous researches have found that social media can bring extra value in terms of education. It enables students to search for information, collaborate, and stay engaged and motivated through the learning process. Also, such channels make education more accessible. They can have a practical use in creating the right conditions for efficient distance learning. At the same time, they also streamline both learning and teaching processes and help deliver better results.

Based on what has been discussed earlier, we can conclude that social networks do have a number of weighty benefits for modern students. Such channels encourage continuous learning, create new opportunities for distance learning, boost students’ levels of literacy and skills, and also serve as great tools for communication and support. We can’t deny the fact that social media is invading our lives at a rapid pace, so the only thing we can do is to adapt to this and start making the most of it.

We hope we managed to explain how to write a great explanatory essay. Now you know how this type of academic paper differs from other essays and what writing style and topic to choose when preparing such kind of assignment.

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Explanatory Essay: Definition, Outline, Writing Steps & Samples

Daniel Howard

Table of contents

An explanatory essay  is a type of essay that aims to explain or describe a particular topic or subject. The purpose of an explanatory essay is to provide readers with information and to educate them about a topic in a concise manner.

In this article, we will discuss an explanatory writing definition, provide an outline of key components, and guide you through how to write an explanatory essay. Additionally, we will provide a well-written explanatory essay example to further illustrate required structure and format of writing the paper. Whether you are a college student or a professional, this article will offer all the tools you need to write a clear and effective explanatory essay. Our professional essay writers did their best to share all essential details on an explanatory essay – beginning with an introduction and ending with a conclusion. Let’s get started!

What Is an Explanatory Essay: Definition

An explanatory essay is a type of academic writing in which the writer presents an explanation or analysis of a specific topic or idea. Its main goal is to provide the reader with a clear, unbiased and well-supported understanding of the subject matter, through use of evidence and logical reasoning.  Instead of persuading or arguing with the reader, explanatory essays provide relevant information to them. Therefore, a writer must present information objectively, without injecting their own personal opinions or biases.  Additionally, explanatory writing can be used in professional settings as well, for example, in a scientific report, or in a business proposal to explain the process of a product or service creation, or to provide data analysis. According to definition of explanatory writing, it explains why things happen the way they are.

Explanatory essay basics

What is the Purpose of an Explanatory Essay?

Explanatory essay purpose is to provide an explanation or clarification of a particular topic or subject. This type of assignment is used to inform or educate readers about a specific concept or idea. Similarly to writing an informative essay , the focus is on offering a clear and comprehensive understanding of topic, rather than arguing about a particular point of view.  A writer should present information, define terms, and use evidence to support their explanations. Explanatory essay also aims to explain complex ideas in a clear and concise manner, making information accessible and understandable to reader.

Explanatory Essay Outline

Explanatory essay outline varies depending on information that author is trying to present. Aim of explanatory outline is to organize points into paragraphs and provide a framework on how to write an explanation paper. You can find an example of an essay outline online that can help guide you on what to do.  Below is an example of an explanatory essay outline template.

  • Background information on the topic.
  • Thesis statement.
  • First point supporting thesis statement.
  • Evidence or examples to support this point.
  • Explanation of evidence provided.
  • Concluding statement.
  • Second point supporting thesis statement.
  • Evidence or examples to support point.
  • Third point supporting thesis statement.
  • Summarize main points
  • Restate thesis statement
  • Call to action or future implications.

Explanatory Essay Structure

Structure of an explanatory essay typically includes an introduction , body , and conclusion .  Writing an explanatory essay begins with drafting an introduction . Introduction provides background information on topic and  thesis statement in closing sentence. Thesis statement offers the main idea of paper. Subsequent parts of an explanatory essay support the developed thesis statement using valid evidence.  Body of the paper is where writers present evidence, examples, and explanations to support their thesis statement. Body typically contains several paragraphs, each focusing on a specific aspect of topic and providing evidence to support it.  Finally, conclusion summarizes main points and arguments of the writing, and restates thesis in different ways. It also provides a final perspective on topic, and may offer some recommendations or suggestions for further reading or research.

Explanatory Essay Introduction

Have you been wondering how to write an explanatory essay introduction? A good introduction for an explanatory essay should have three main elements:

  • Background information
  • Thesis statement

The hook is an attention-grabbing and interesting sentence that entices reader to continue reading. It can be a surprising fact, a quote, or a thought-provoking question. Background information provides context for the topic being discussed and helps readers to understand significance of the issue. This section should be brief and to the point. Last part of introduction paragraph for an explanatory essay is a thesis statement . This is a statement that author will support by using facts, quotes and examples throughout the body of paper before concluding with personal opinion based on provided evidence.

Explanatory Essay Thesis Statement

It is important to know what is an explanatory thesis statement before exploring its purpose. Thesis is a statement that presents main idea or topic in a clear and concise manner. Thesis statement for an explanatory essay is an essential element as it serves as a roadmap for the entire work. It should be specific and arguable.  Thesis statement should be presented early in paper, typically in introduction, to guide reader's understanding of essay's main points. It should be specific enough to clearly convey a topic, but not so specific that it limits the paper’s scope. Additionally, it should be arguable, meaning that it should be open to interpretation and debate.  With this information, you can practice how to write a thesis statement for an explanatory essay.

Explanatory Essay Body

Next step after introduction is to write a body paragraph for an explanatory essay . Explanatory essay body paragraph provides evidence that supports thesis statement. It should include facts, statistics, expert opinions, examples and other evidence that help to prove thesis statement is accurate.  Body paragraphs should be written in a clear and logical manner, making a strong case for thesis statement. It should also be written in a way that is easy for readers to understand and follow, ensuring that evidence is presented in a clear and convincing manner.  To effectively convey information in the body of an explanation essay, it is important to use a variety of different techniques and strategies. This may include use of images, infographics, examples, theories, quotes, and other relevant information. By incorporating these different elements, writers can more effectively engage readers and provide a more comprehensive understanding of topic at hand. Additionally, use of these different techniques can help to break up text and make it more visually appealing and easier to read.

Explanatory Essay Conclusion

An explanatory essay conclusion is the final section of the paper that summarizes main points and restates the thesis statement. Conclusion for explanatory essays should be written in a way that ties all of information presented in paper together, providing a clear and concise summary of main ideas.  Steps on how to write a conclusion for an explanatory essay are as follows:

  • Restate the thesis statement.
  • Summarize main points: conclusion should sum up key points and evidence presented in paper, highlighting most important information.
  • Provide a sense of closure: indicate that paper has come to an end and that main points have been fully discussed. Your conclusion must show that the ideas have been explored fully.
  • Emphasize significance of the topic.
  • Provide final thoughts or recommendations: give reader something to consider after reading your work.

How to Write an Explanatory Essay Step-by-Step?

Best way to understand how to write an explanatory essay is by practicing certain steps involved in the process. By following these steps, writer will have a clear understanding of process and be able to effectively present information in a logical and easy-to-understand manner. Subsequent section will discuss how to do an explanatory essay by covering some important tips and considerations for each step, to help you produce a high-quality writing. Details on each step are discussed below.

How to Write an Explanatory Essay

1. Produce an Idea

First step in producing an idea in an explanatory essay is by thinking about what you are passionate about or interested in. This will make writing process more enjoyable and will also make it easier for you to have a strong understanding of the topic. When brainstorming a topic in explanatory essay writing, you should consider your audience and what they may be interested in reading about. More ways to brainstorm new ideas include looking at current events or trending topics in your field of study or area of interest.  Narrow down your list of ideas by evaluating which explanatory essay topics would make most interesting and informative writing. Once you have a topic in mind, do some preliminary research to ensure that there is enough information available to write a comprehensive paper.

2. Make a Detailed Research

Before writing an explanatory essay, you should do detailed research to collect relevant information. Here are some steps to follow when gathering information:

  • Identify topic and focus of your research paper. This will help you determine what types of sources to look for and where to find them.
  • Search for sources using a variety of methods, such as online databases, library catalogs, and search engines.
  • Evaluate credibility of each source. Check for things like author's credentials, publisher, and date of publication.
  • Take detailed notes as you read through your sources. Be sure to note author, title, and publication date for each source, as well as any key information or quotes that you plan to use in your paper.
  • Finally, review all sources again, and make sure they are reliable and trustworthy before you use them in your explanatory paper.

3. Use Appropriate Examples

Examples in explanatory writing are an effective way to explain a concept or idea because they provide a concrete illustration of topic being discussed. They can make complex ideas easier to understand by providing a real-world context. Using an appropriate explanatory essay example can help to strengthen credibility of information being presented. Sources used in this paper should be applicable to the real world. Examples can be used to persuade readers to see a certain point of view. For instance, when discussing a controversial topic, providing examples can help to demonstrate validity of the writer's argument. Also, providing illustrations helps the reader to understand unfamiliar concepts.

4. Create an Explanatory Essay Outline

Best way to know how to write an explanatory essay outline is to consider the amount of information gathered through detailed research and obtaining logical arrangement to ensure flow of ideas. Created through identifying a specific idea from detailed research and ensuring readers can easily relate logical flow throughout the paper. Appropriate outline for explanatory essay entails introduction, body and conclusion each containing specific information arranged in a logical manner to provide flow of your paper.  Example of an outline provided above follows a general structure and provides the best organization of communicating directly to readers. Moreover, a sample above shows a flawless way of obtaining information and opinion of an author. Besides, it provides an outline in a manner that is easy to follow and comprehend.

5. Write an Outstanding Beginning

Capturing attention of the reader to go ahead and read entire paper is dependent on the introduction. Therefore, providing a hook seems like the best way on how to start an explanatory essay. First step to capture your audience’s attention is usually to write an introduction paragraph for an explanatory essay. Introduction becomes the first paragraph in any type of writing, and it is important in capturing interest among readers.  Writing an effective introduction involves providing a hook and general description of the topic, background information and thesis statement. These elements provide an overview of your paper and instigate readers to expect more detailed information about your topic throughout the writing.

Explanatory Essay Introduction Example

Introduction paragraph is the beginning of paper and helps to introduce general ideas about topic and to capture attention and interest of your readers to continue reading. Introduction must begin with a hook, followed by scope of the topic and closing sentence should include a debatable thesis statement. Revising explanatory essay introduction examples can help you understand the concept better. Below is an example of introduction paragraph.

Why do teenagers commit suicide? The rate of committing suicide among teenagers have been on rise. Some leave suicide notes while others left nothing to show the cause of their actions. Suicide has been linked with mental disorders. Nevertheless, there has been a need to investigate other underlying causes apart from mental disorder. Therefore, there are several underlying factors that lead to suicidal actions among youths that need to be investigated. Increase in suicide rates among teenagers can be attributed to a combination of societal pressures, mental health issues, and a lack of access to proper resources and support.

6. Come Up With an Explanatory Essay Thesis Statement

Understanding how to write a thesis statement for an explanatory essay is essential in ensuring that the reader comprehends whole idea author is trying to prove. Thesis statement for explanatory essays provides main idea in a precise manner. It is usually written in concluding statement of introduction paragraph of explanation writing.  Effective thesis statement should be specific but must consider scope of the work. In addition, an outstanding thesis statement doesn’t include your emotions or opinion. Save arguments and viewpoints for an argumentative essay .

Explanation Essay Thesis Statement Example

Thesis statement is written in the concluding sentence. It is supposed to be specific and concise in providing the main idea of your paper. Additionally, to make it effective, thesis statement should be outstanding and debatable with open interpretation. Thesis statement sums up central point of the writing, and should articulate it in a few words without providing too much information. However, reader has to note specific ideas that author is trying to relay.  Example of an explanatory essay thesis statement is stated as follows:

Increase in suicide rates among teenagers can be attributed to a combination of societal pressures, mental health issues, and a lack of access to proper resources and support.

7. Support Your Ideas With Evidence

The central idea that author intends to express can only be validated through relevant evidence from credible sources. Supporting thesis statement is based on how well one knows how to write an explanatory body paragraph. Body of an explanatory essay entails evidence to support your topic. Evidence supporting the idea is obtained from detailed research conducted after identifying a specific idea.  Main aim of the body paragraph is to prove thesis statement. Some ways used to communicate in body include examples, facts and opinions among other evidence that are deemed relevant and credible. Having an effective body in writing requires presenting evidence in a clear and convincing way that will enable reader to easily relate important ideas to thesis statement. Including different techniques of presenting evidence in body of report, provides vivid understanding and wider perception of the topic.

Example of an Explanatory Essay Body Paragraph

Body paragraph provides evidence that supports thesis statement. Below is a perfect explanatory body paragraph example about factors that cause suicide among teenagers.

Society plays a significant role in shaping mental health of teenagers. With constant pressure to fit in and meet societal expectations, many teens struggle with low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy. Social media amplifies this pressure by providing a platform for teens to compare themselves to others and constantly measure themselves against impossible standards. This can lead to depression, anxiety, and ultimately, suicide. Mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, are also major contributing factors to suicide among teenagers. These conditions are often left undiagnosed and untreated due to a lack of access to proper resources and support. Many teens may not have the means to seek out professional help or may not understand the severity of their condition. Additionally, the stigma surrounding mental health can prevent teens from seeking help, leaving them to struggle alone with their thoughts and feelings. This further increases the risk of suicide.

8. Summarize Your Explanatory Paper

Last section of the explanatory essay writing is to summarize your evidence to support the thesis statement. Explanatory summary restates thesis statement and highlights important information presented throughout the work. Main idea is to link all information in the paper together to provide a common relationship between main ideas and thesis statements. Opinion of author is provided in summary section, which is dependent on depth of evidence provided in body. Author can agree or disagree with thesis statement, if it is efficiently supported by credible and relevant sources. Besides, the summary provides necessity of the topic at hand and possible recommendations.

Example of Explanatory Essay Conclusion

Conclusion paragraph starts by restating thesis and summarizing main points. Sample of an explanatory essay conclusion as one provided below will help you understand concept better.

In conclusion, suicide among teenagers is a complex issue that is influenced by a combination of societal pressure, mental health issues, and a lack of access to proper resources and support. It is important that we take a holistic approach to addressing this issue by solving underlying causes and providing teens with support and resources they need to navigate challenges of adolescence. This includes providing mental health education, addressing societal pressures, and increasing access to professional help and support. By working together, we can help to reduce suicide rates among teenagers and give young people the chance to live happy and fulfilling lives.

9. Proofread an Explanatory Essay

Final step in writing an explanatory article involves proofreading your work properly. It entails revising paper a couple of times to check if it has proper flow of thoughts, communicate to audience with the clear ideas, and understand if conclusion provides a concise value of the thesis statement. It is usually done a day after completion to easily spot mistakes. Moreover, proofreading explanatory essays aims at detecting minor errors and grammatical mistakes that might affect clarity and quality of the paper. During proofreading, any error or mistake is noted and necessary editing done to improve the value of the paper.

Explanatory Essay Format

Format for an explanatory essay depends on the discipline provided in the paper. There are different formats to write an explanatory essay including APA style format , MLA format and Chicago style paper format which are provided in instructions. Format provided in paper also dictates the style of structure and citation of sources used in the paper. The format does not have any influence on content of the paper and is usually based on a system preferred by the author. Writer uses the recommended format that seems easier and familiar. Therefore, explanatory papers can take any format with similar structure and enable the author to communicate effectively to readers.

Explanation Essay Examples

Explanatory writing examples  provided below show the required structure of the essays. Under the structure there are possible sections with some clarifications to help the reader understand the main idea. Explanatory essay samples are necessary to readers because they help in understanding how to build up the topic under study. Moreover, each of the example of explanatory writing provided below is important in learning different formats of writing, conveying a general idea of the work.

Explanatory Essay Writing Tips

Writing tips are essential in ensuring an excellent explanation essay. Some of these writing tips are listed below:

  • Take advantage of transition and linking words and write a hook for an explanatory essay.
  • Cite sources from which facts were drawn. Sources should be credible and recent to ensure high value of paper. Following examples of explanatory essays is the best way of learning how to cite.
  • Proofread the paper. This involves revising work to ensure topic is analyzed in a logical manner that follows correct explanatory essay layout which is easily understood by audience.
  • Edit an essay. Follows after identifying and noting errors and mistakes during proofreading. It is done a day after completion of writing to ensure all mistakes are edited and paper’s value improved.
  • Share the paper with a close person as a way of further improving its value and ensuring explanatory essay meaning is maintained. In addition, by sharing, authors can get feedback on where to make necessary corrections and changes to ensure writing is more understandable and clearly communicates to the audience.

Explanatory Essay Checklist

Before final submission of the explanatory essay, there are several checks it should go through first to ensure a proper flow in the paper and that the intended information is easily understood by the reader. The checklist enables one to write a good explanatory essay. The checklist includes the following:

  • checkbox My explanatory writing is clear.
  • checkbox Provided information has required flow and is connected with transition words.
  • checkbox Supporting evidence proves my thesis statement.
  • checkbox I started an explanatory essay with a hook that grabs reader’s attention.
  • checkbox My writing is understandable to the reader or doesn’t leave them confused.
  • checkbox My summary ties key points to the thesis statement.
  • checkbox The citation and referencing style is appropriate to the paper format.

Bottom Line on How to Write an Explanatory Essay

The question of what is explanatory writing has various definitions but generally,  it is usually academic writing which provides analysis of a specific topic or idea to readers. Explanatory essay template provides the basic structure that can be followed in explanatory writing. Besides, explanatory essay examples provide vivid understanding on how to write a good explanatory paper. Through using templates and examples, one can master steps and structure of writing an explanatory essay.  Structure of explanatory paper has three parts that are logically arranged to enable readers to easily understand what the author intends to prove.  Besides, flow of ideas in a logical manner enables relating different evidence provided in body to thesis statement and accounting for correct conclusion. If you need more help on writing, feel free to seek more suggestions in our Blog. From guides on exemplification essay to tips on evaluation essay , you will find tutorial fitting any academic need.

If you are struggling with writing an expository essay, remember that you can always count on our expert academic writers. Let us know your assignment details and we will craft a custom paper in line with all requirements to your ‘ write my college essay for me ’ request.

FAQ About Explanatory Essays

1. how is an explanatory essay different from an argumentative essay.

Differences between explanatory and argumentative essay is that explanatory paper is about presenting information to explain something while an argumentative writing is about persuading the readers to agree with an opinion. In the explanatory paper, the author provides an open interpretation of the topic before finally providing links between main ideas  that proves the thesis statement. 

2. Is an explanatory essay the same as an informative essay?

No. An informative essay is based on detailed facts and data while an explanatory paper requires author’s opinion on some certain points. Explanatory essay meaning is drawn from author’s presentation of idea and how well it is supported. Despite having an open interpretation and debatable thesis statement, clear facts about topic in explanatory paper are not easily determined. Author makes rational decisions based on the weight of evidence provided.

3. What is included in explanatory essay?

Explanatory essay is a type of writing where author presents some points of view on a certain topic, event or situation. Opinion of author is generally the idea supported by most of the evidence provided in body. Remember to include introduction, body, and conclusion to adequately support your claims and understand the difference between those parts of your paper.

4. Is an explanatory essay objective or subjective?

Explanatory writing is about presenting a balanced, objective description of the topic. The paper is objective and provides an all around perception of topic both opposing and proposing evidence on thesis statement. General description provides the author's idea and reader can easily understand point of view based on provided sources and evidence.

5. How many paragraphs are in an explanatory essay?

Explanatory essay has five paragraphs though it can include more. Paragraphs vary with subheading the author decides to include in essay. General structure requires one paragraph for introduction, three for body and last one for conclusion. However, in case of extra evidence in body and long introduction, more paragraphs can be used.


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How to Write an Explanatory Essay: Topics, Outline, Example

Have you ever been tasked with writing an explanation essay and wondered where to start? You’re not alone! Many students struggle with the challenge of presenting complex ideas in a concise and engaging manner. Fear not; with the right approach, learning how to write an explanation essay can be a rewarding experience that enhances your understanding of a topic and sharpens your writing skills.

In this blog post, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of crafting an exemplary explanation essay. We will explore the definition and purpose of explanatory essays, offer tips on topic selection, outline development, and delve into the essentials of how to write an explanatory essay. By the end of this post, you will be equipped with the knowledge and confidence to tackle any explanatory essay assignment that comes your way.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Explanatory essays, akin to expository essays , provide an unbiased and objective analysis of a topic with the aim of informing and clarifying.
  • Choosing the right topic for your explanatory essay involves selecting a neutral, engaging, and relevant topic supported by ample researchable information.
  • Writing an explanatory essay requires conducting thorough research, utilizing transitions & linking words judiciously, citing sources accurately & revising/editing to ensure high quality work.

Explanatory Essays: Definition and Purpose

An expository essay, also known as an explanatory essay or an explanatory paper, is a type of explanatory writing wherein one is required to describe and elucidate a particular point of view, incident, event, or situation. Unlike argumentative or persuasive essays, the goal of explanation essays, including expository essays, is to offer an unbiased and objective analysis of a topic, aiming to inform and clarify without arguing or persuading. By presenting information in a clear and organized manner, explanatory essays help readers develop a better understanding of the subject matter.

Explanatory essays follow the traditional explanatory essay format, which includes an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The thesis statement, located in the introduction, is a specific and argumentable statement that concisely presents the primary concept of the essay. The body paragraphs provide evidence and explanations to support the thesis, while the conclusion ties everything together and leaves the reader with a clear understanding of the author’s presentation.

Choosing the Right Topic for Your Explanatory Essay

Selecting an appropriate topic is a crucial step in crafting a successful explanatory essay. A well-written explanation essay seeks to offer an unbiased and objective analysis of a topic, with the intention of informing and elucidating without trying to convince. Therefore, it is essential to choose a topic that is neutral, engaging, and aligns with your interests and the interests of your target audience.

To generate ideas for an explanation essay, consider topics that you have personal experience with or are genuinely curious about. It is also important to ensure that the topic can be effectively researched and that there is ample information available to compose a comprehensive paper. Once you have a list of potential topics, evaluate them based on their relevance to the assignment and your familiarity with the subject matter. This will help you select a topic that will not only be engaging to your readers but also enjoyable for you to research and write about.

Crafting a Strong Thesis Statement

The thesis statement is the backbone of your explanation essay, as it sets the stage for the rest of the paper. A strong explanation essay thesis statement should be concise, debatable, and supportable, summarizing the main idea and purpose of the essay. It is important to invest time and effort into crafting a compelling thesis statement, as it will guide your research and shape the overall structure of your essay.

To develop an effective thesis statement, start by identifying the primary concept or argument that you want to convey in your essay. Then refine your statement to ensure that it is succinct and specific, while still being arguable and justifiable.

If you find yourself struggling to create a strong thesis statement, consider drafting a rough version and returning to it after you have completed the rest of the paper. This will allow you to refine your statement based on the evidence and arguments presented in your essay.

Developing an Effective Explanatory Essay Outline

An effective explanatory essay outline is essential for organizing your thoughts and ideas in a logical manner, ensuring a smooth flow throughout your essay. The outline should include an introduction, body, and conclusion, each containing specific information arranged in a logical manner to ensure the continuity of the paper. By creating a detailed outline, you can easily identify any gaps in your research or argumentation and make revisions as needed.

In the following subsections, we will delve into strategies for writing an engaging explanatory essay introduction, structuring body paragraphs, and crafting a compelling conclusion. These techniques will help you create an effective explanatory essay outline that will serve as a roadmap for your writing process.

Introduction Strategies

The introduction is the first part of your essay that your readers will encounter, and it plays a crucial role in grabbing their attention and setting the stage for the thesis statement. To create an engaging introduction, you can employ various hooks, such as rhetorical questions, quotes, or statistics, to capture the reader’s interest and provide a foundation for your thesis statement.

An effective introduction should also provide a concise overview of the subject matter and the primary concepts that the reader will encounter while perusing the essay. This background information helps your readers understand the context of your essay and prepares them for the arguments and evidence presented in the body paragraphs. By crafting an engaging and informative introduction, you set the tone for the rest of your essay and encourage your readers to continue reading.

Structuring Body Paragraphs

Structuring body paragraphs involves presenting evidence to support your thesis statement while ensuring clarity and logical organization. Each body paragraph should focus on a particular aspect of the topic and provide evidence to back it up. This can include facts, quotes, statistics, survey results, and examples that help validate your arguments and substantiate your assertions.

To ensure clarity and logical organization in your body paragraphs, you can employ various techniques, such as utilizing transitions between paragraphs, supplying examples to elucidate points, and employing linking words to connect ideas. Transitions and linking words, such as “however,” “therefore,” “in addition,” and “furthermore,” can help guide your readers through your essay and make it easier for them to follow your ideas and arguments.

By carefully structuring your body paragraphs, you can create a coherent and persuasive explanatory essay that effectively supports your thesis statement.

Crafting a Compelling Conclusion

The conclusion of your explanation essay is your final opportunity to leave a lasting impression on your readers. A compelling conclusion should summarize the main points presented in your essay, restate your thesis statement, and offer recommendations or a call to action. This helps to reinforce the key ideas and arguments in your essay and leaves your readers with something to ponder.

When crafting your conclusion, it is important to avoid introducing new information or arguments, as this can confuse your readers and weaken the overall impact of your essay. Instead, focus on providing a concise and convincing summary of the evidence presented in your essay and how it supports your thesis statement. By doing so, you can leave your readers with a clear understanding of your essay’s purpose and a sense of closure.

Writing Your Explanatory Essay: Step-by-Step Process

Now that you have a solid understanding of the key components of an explanation essay, it is time to embark on the writing process. In this section, we will outline a step-by-step process for writing an explanatory essay, which includes conducting thorough research, utilizing transitions and linking words, and citing sources to avoid plagiarism.

By following this step-by-step process, you can ensure that your explanation essay is well-structured and informative, providing your readers with a clear understanding of the subject matter. With practice and persistence, you can master the art of explanatory essay writing and create engaging, persuasive essays that effectively convey complex ideas.

Conducting Thorough Research

Conducting thorough research is essential for an explanation essay, as it helps gather credible evidence (facts, quotes, statistics, survey results, and examples) to support your thesis statement. Begin by selecting a topic that is of personal interest and has some familiarity. Once you have chosen a topic, conduct preliminary research to ensure that there is sufficient information available to compose a comprehensive paper.

When gathering information for your essay, it is crucial to utilize dependable sources, such as scholarly articles, books, and websites. Be sure to take notes and keep track of the sources you have used, as this will make it easier to reference them in your essay and avoid plagiarism. By conducting thorough research, you can ensure that your essay is well-supported and provides a comprehensive analysis of the topic.

Utilizing Transitions and Linking Words

Utilizing transitions and linking words is crucial for ensuring a smooth flow throughout your explanation essay and making it easier for readers to follow your ideas and arguments. Examples of transitions and linking words include phrases such as “however”, “therefore”, “in addition” and “furthermore”.

Incorporating these transitions and linking words in your essay helps guide your readers through the progression of your arguments and enhances the overall readability of your paper. Be sure to use them judiciously and avoid overusing a specific transition or linking word, as this may become repetitive and detract from the flow of your essay.

By employing a variety of transitions and linking words, you can create a cohesive and engaging explanatory essay that effectively conveys your ideas.

Citing Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism

Citing sources accurately and consistently is crucial for avoiding plagiarism and ensuring the credibility of your explanation essay. When composing an explanation essay, sources are typically cited following either MLA, APA, or Harvard formatting. In-text citations generally include the author’s name and the year the source was published, and for direct quotations, the page number must also be specified.

By accurately citing your sources, you not only give credit to the original authors, but also demonstrate your commitment to academic integrity and the credibility of your essay. Be sure to double-check your citations and proofread your essay for any errors or inconsistencies in your referencing style. By doing so, you can avoid plagiarism and ensure that your essay is a credible and accurate representation of your research and ideas.

Analyzing Explanatory Essay Examples

Analyzing explanatory essay examples can provide valuable insights into the structure, style, and content of successful essays, helping you improve your own writing. By examining well-written examples, you can gain a better understanding of the key elements of an explanation essay, such as the thesis statement, the organization of body paragraphs, and the overall flow of the essay.

When analyzing explanatory essay examples, pay close attention to the clarity of the explanations, the use of evidence to support the argument, and the general structure and format of the essay. Also, consider the effectiveness of the thesis statement and the essay in conveying information.

By studying and learning from exemplary essays, you can refine your own writing and create an engaging, informative, and well-structured explanation essay. In fact, knowing how to write an explanation essay is essential for developing your skills in this area.

Tips for Revising and Editing Your Explanatory Essay

Once you have completed your explanation essay, it is essential to revise and edit your work to ensure that it is of high quality and free of mistakes. Start by reviewing your essay for clarity, organization, and logical flow. Check that your thesis statement is clear and concise, and that your body paragraphs effectively support your argument.

During the revision process, ask yourself the following questions: Is the essay organized effectively? Are the transitions between paragraphs seamless? Are there any grammatical or orthographic errors? Are sources referenced accurately? If necessary, make any revisions to improve the overall quality and coherence of your essay.

Finally, proofread your essay for any remaining errors and inconsistencies. Consider presenting your essay to a trusted friend or classmate for feedback, as they may be able to spot mistakes that you may have missed. By revising and editing your essay, you can ensure that it is polished, engaging, and free of errors.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the format of an explanatory essay.

An explanation essay format typically consists of an introduction, three body paragraphs with one subtopic per paragraph, and a conclusion. It is a basic essay structure which can be further expanded as needed.

Formal language should be used and the goal is to make a connection with the reader through the text.

What is the best way to start an explanatory essay?

To begin an explanation essay, start with an attention-grabbing statement or question that draws your readers in. This should be written in a formal tone, and include a clear conclusion in the first sentence without an introduction or summary.

What are the main parts of an explanatory essay?

An explanation essay typically consists of an introduction with a hook, some background information, and a thesis statement.

It then progresses to further explain the topic and draw a conclusion.

How do you write a 5 paragraph explanatory essay?

To write a five-paragraph explanatory essay, you must create an introduction that introduces the main topic and states the thesis, three body paragraphs to support the thesis, and a concluding paragraph to wrap up the points made in the essay.

The tone should be formal throughout, with clear connections to the reader.

What is the main difference between an explanatory essay and an argumentative essay?

Explanatory essays seek to explain a topic without presenting an argument, while argumentative essays make an assertion and support it with evidence.

These two types of essays have different goals and require different approaches. Explanatory essays focus on providing information and context, while argumentative essays focus on making a persuasive argument.

When writing an essay, it is important to write an explanation.

In conclusion, writing an exemplary explanation essay requires a clear understanding of the topic, careful planning, thorough research, and effective organization. By following the step-by-step process outlined in this blog post, you can create engaging, informative, and persuasive explanatory essays that effectively convey complex ideas. With practice and persistence, you can master the art of explanatory essay writing and tackle any assignment that comes your way.

How to Write an Explanatory Essay With Examples

6 July 2023

last updated

Higher educational institutions require students to write papers that explain some concepts. In this case, an explanatory essay refers to academic tasks, which allow learners to provide clear explanations for some unique concepts. Basically, this guide provides detailed information on how to write an explanatory essay. For example, students must choose topics that are supposed to provide clear explanations. Besides, explanatory essay topics contain some guiding words, like “explain,” “viewpoint,” “discuss,” “describe,” and “detail.” Then, outstanding explanatory essays are products of keen considerations, collection of the necessary and adequate evidence, and drafting. Besides, such essays should include a clear introduction, a hook, and a clear thesis. In turn, other essential elements include objective and irrefutable evidence, topic sentences, supporting examples, and relevant explanations.

General Guidelines of Writing an Explanatory Essay

1. definition of an explanatory essay.

An explanatory essay refers to a type of composition that allows authors to present some perspective on a specific topic. In practice, readers may fail to agree with the writer’s point of view. However, the explanatory compositions’ primary goal is to prove the validity of some concepts. Therefore, one must rely on accurate research and logic to make an essay feasible.

Explanatory essay

2. Purpose of Writing an Explanatory Essay

Scholars write explanatory essays when showing other people’s views or report a specific situation or occurrence. In higher learning institutions, these essays are common in some subjects, like history and other humanities. Also, scholars rely on these essays to explain facts and real situations in these areas of study. Besides, they must give unbiased explanations to support facts and evidence. In turn, the approach used must allow one to discuss a specific subject effectively. Hence, students must provide sufficient evidence to reach a specific outcome.

3. Clearness

Writers prepare explanatory compositions when providing an unbiased point of view. For example, a scholar must evaluate existing evidence and create a logical and unique argument. In this case, the primary aim of presenting such facts is to ensure that readers appreciate ideas without experiencing any form of confusion. Moreover, lucid explanations must show why things happen in a specific way. In turn, outstanding papers allow readers to have a rational understanding of presented ideas, even when they disagree.

Possible Explanatory Essay Topics

Learners may come across different types of explanatory essay topics in the course of their studies. Basically, such topics differ from other types of compositions, which makes it easy for leaners to identify them. Hence, possible topics for writing an explanatory essay that one may consider are:

  • Explain how two individuals of different interests and backgrounds could become unlikely allies.
  • Tell about a world-class athlete. Explain why you include this person in that category.
  • Describe the purposes of the Internet. Include various viewpoints, including that of users and providers.
  • Discuss a public health issue that you think is serious enough to warrant immediate attention.
  • Describe a significant environmental problem and what you believe should be done about it.
  • Discuss some events in the life of your favorite actor, author, sports figure, famous leader, or performer. Also, explain how these events relate to the person’s achievements.
  • You want to buy a new state of the art computer. Detail the steps you would have to take to ensure that you will make an appropriate decision regarding this significant investment.
  • Brothers and sisters do not always get along. Describe the kinds of problems this discord creates in families and how to handle a situation like this.
  • Your goal is to write a paper about an individual newly arrived from another country. Discuss some kinds of information you would include.
  • Your best friend’s birthday is coming up. Describe the plan you created to make this birthday celebration the kind your friend will always remember.

Students may identify a unique pattern from explanatory essay topics. From 10 examples provides above, a writer can locate common phrases available. Moreover, such terms act as guidance to show that an essayist must provide detailed explanations of various concepts. In turn, some of these sign positing words include “explain,” “viewpoints,” “discuss,” “describe,” and “detail.” Also, one must rely on such terms to make an accurate decision on the most appropriate format for writing explanatory essays.

Writing an Explanatory Essay: A Step-By-Step Guide

Step 1: preparation.

Writing an explanatory essay requires one to make necessary preparations. Basically, failing to prepare adequately can undermine the overall quality of the work presented. In most cases, writers who fail to take the required preparation score low grades. Hence, important steps that one must follow when writing explanatory essays are:

A. Defining a Topic

Students must define explanatory essay’s themes or questions clearly. For instance, writers must understand essay topics or prompts. Basically, the most effective way of defining a subject is identifying all the complex terms and finding their accurate meaning. Finally, scholars must figure out all the concepts required in the response before embarking on the writing process.

B. Addressing All the Issues

Prudent writers take their time to address all the issues that relate to a specific explanatory essay’s theme. For the topic “Discuss some events in the life of your favorite actor, author, sports figure, famous leader, or performer. Also, explain how these events relate to the person’s achievements,” one must define significant concepts that this famous person faced during his or her life. Then, students may opt to describe a “sports figure.” In this case, learners should provide a clear explanation of the preferred athlete’s performance and how it relates to personal achievements. Therefore, one must consider all the terms that can lead to an adequate description of a topic.  

C. Preparing Ideas

Outstanding writers must prepare ideas that remain relevant to assigned topics in question. For instance, one should gather all the ideas that support an explanatory issue directly. In this case, a good writer organizes the main ideas together, intending to enhance the overall flow of a topic. Also, essayists must organize thoughts before responding to explanatory prompts. In turn, some essential tools, like flow charts and flashcards, help authors to recognize vital concepts that must appear in their compositions. Therefore, one should consider preparing ideas to avoid unnecessary omissions.  

D. Considering the Audience

Explanatory essays intend to convince readers that a position taken remains valid. Basically, one should identify the intended audience together with their specific needs. In this case, good writers should prepare their work to appeal to a particular audience. For instance, one should consider the knowledge and language competency of intended readers. Then, writers should use exciting and straightforward language for young readers that may not limit their reading abilities. In practice, one should identify a unique means of persuading readers by using figurative language to support the validity of the evidence presented. In turn, the approach enhances the overall ability to pass the intended message to a specific audience.

E. Considering a Structure

The process of considering the audience requires one to identify the general structure of the writing and its role in supporting the main message. For example, learning institutions require students to utilize a unique design when communicating the main message. In this case, authors must focus on a traditional essay structure to enhance the primary ideas’ flow. Besides, this process helps identify significant flaws that may undermine the essay’s overall quality.

Step 2: Setting Up the Stage

Scholars should set up the stage for writing an explanatory essay. As a rule, one should not begin writing a composition without organizing the necessary ideas. Instead, students must take basic steps needed to understand a topic and gather the essential information to support the main arguments. In this case, writers include all the necessary details in an explanatory essay. Hence, these steps that one must follow when setting up the stage are: 

A. Finding Sources

Academic essays contain evidence obtained from credible sources . Basically, an outstanding writer must search for reliable sources to authenticate examples and facts to present them in their explanatory essays. Moreover, scholarly sources should contain credible evidence that supports the writer’s point of view directly. Then, students should gather evidence from a wide range of sources. In this case, all learning institutes require learners to use peer-reviewed articles, volumes, reports, and credible websites as evidence sources. Besides, such rules ensure that writers obtain current indisputable evidence to prepare explanatory essays. In turn, a prudent student should avoid doubtful websites that may contain information that is irrelevant to the essay’s topic.

B. Making Notes

Note-taking is an important activity in any writing process. For instance, essayists should make notes from researched sources. Basically, students should engage in a critical reading process for all the scholarly sources to identify the subject’s evidence. Then, one should take relevant notes as part of the actual preparation. In turn, quality notes play a significant role in allowing writers to remember and organize the relevant evidence to support all the arguments. Hence, a prudent author must engage in a practical note-taking process when preparing an explanatory essay.

C. Creating an Outline

The length of an essay outline varies depending on the topic and evidence presented. Basically, a prudent student writes an explanatory essay’s outline that reveals the main points of five paragraphs. However, students must focus on developing an exhaustive outline. As a rule, an exceptional outline must include a brief introduction, a working thesis statement , and main points that support central arguments. In turn, writers should provide a suitable general description for explanatory essays, which contains relevant evidence that supports established arguments and claims.

D. Writing an Annotated Bibliography for an Explanatory Essay

By definition, an annotated bibliography means a list of bibliographic entries for sources identified for writing a paper. In this case, one should follow the necessary formatting guidelines in preparing bibliographic entries. However, each entry must contain a suitable annotation that highlights essential details. As a rule, a credible annotation should have three paragraphs, namely a summary, an evaluation of a text, and a reflection on its applicability to a study. In turn, these three sections play a crucial role in ensuring that an author examines the source’s relevance in supporting main arguments. Besides, the process helps one to understand specific parts of sources that must be used to support ideas in an explanatory essay.   

Step 3: Start Writing an Explanatory Essay

The writing process plays a crucial role in preparing explanatory essays because it allows writers to bring all the ideas together. Basically, students have a primary duty of ensuring that they present essential ideas in supporting their arguments. In turn, the most important aspect is to ensure that one must follow the necessary steps in creating the most outstanding explanatory compositions.

A. Creating a Draft

One should utilize notes prepared with a working thesis previously to develop a draft of an explanatory essay. Basically, acceptable drafts should follow the essay’s format and must contain all the relevant parts and sections. In this case, writers should organize explanatory drafts with the introduction, body, and conclusion as three significant parts. In this case, the process of uniting the information together helps to create a unique picture of an explanatory essay. Besides, it helps authors to identify necessary factors that relate to their compositions. Hence, drafting an explanatory essay marks the first step in organizing information in a way that reveals a good flow.   

B. Putting Everything Together

Essayists should put the information together into a complete paper that communicates the intended message. For instance, a writer should include all the evidence gathered in the previous section of a composition. Besides, one must ensure that all the paragraphs or subsection follows a logical order. In this case, the primary goal of putting everything together is to ensure that one can read and grasp the intended message. Also, this step lays the foundation for revising a paper and ensures that all the evidence presented supports the essay’s central argument.   

C. Finding New Sources or Deleting Old Ones

A prudent writer should not stick to sources identified initially. Basically, one must become flexible when identifying credible sources that support an explanatory essay effectively. In this stage, essayists should review the sources’ applicability in enhancing the clarity of the communicated message. Moreover, if some sources fail to align with presented ideas, students must find new ones. In this case, writers should look for those scholarly articles that contain weightier evidence to support thesis statements and other opinions presented in explanatory essays. Also, scholars may add more sources to avoid distracting the flow of ideas throughout an essay. In turn, authors should delete previous sources if they fail to present weightier evidence to the central argument.  

D. Altering an Outline

Prudent essayist remains flexible enough to alter the initial procedure. As a rule, this process must take place after adjusting some sources used in the first draft. Basically, one should consider making the most essential and mandatory changes in addressing some issues that relate to a specific subject. In this case, essayists must alter some of the claims presented to ensure that they add some significance to a topic. Moreover, a reviewed essay outline plays an essential role in creating a suitable structure for a final explanatory essay. Therefore, one should revise the essay’s general description to capture the new evidence from the revised draft.  

E. Developing a Working Thesis

Each paper should have a remarkable thesis statement that covers the main ideas or central messages. Basically, arguments made in an explanatory essay should reflect a thesis statement. As a rule, a thesis sentence refers to the information that captures the writer’s position. Also, this statement should appear in the introduction paragraph. Then, students should rely on the draft and revised outline to create a working thesis statement. In turn, this approach can ensure that one understands the intended message in one sentence. Hence, the central claim must reflect on what essayists plan to communicate to the explanatory essay’s targeted audience.  

Step 4: Wrap It Up

The final stage in writing an explanatory essay involves polishing all the elements. Basically, the primary goal is to ensure that the one submits a flawless paper that effectively communicates the main message. In this case, learners bear the responsibility of polishing their work and ensuring that it captures all the intended ideas. Hence, specific steps that one must consider when preparing to polish an explanatory essay are:

A. Revisions

Outstanding papers are products of several revisions. In particular, one must engage in a rigorous revision process to ensure that an explanatory essay meets the necessary quality. Basically, writers should consider specific elements during the revision process. For example, some aspects include spelling, grammar, and paragraphs. Then, one should ensure that all words follow the accepted spelling depending on the language used. Also, the grammar in a paper should enhance the paper’s readability. In turn, wise authors rely on their friends to identify such flaws. As a result, the strategy makes it easier to identify common mistakes that can undermine the overall essay’s quality.  

Prudent writers consider the significance of the editing process in enhancing the essay’s quality. For example, an essayist should consider making essential changes in an explanatory essay during the editing process. In this case, the method may involve removing vague statements and adding more evidence to enhance the essay’s quality. Then, one should consider critics to make necessary changes in an explanatory essay and ensure that it meets desired outcomes. Hence, editing is a rigorous process that must focus on improving the paper’s ability to communicate main ideas.

C. Topic Sentences

Outstanding explanatory essays should have topic sentences that relate to the central claim. For instance, one must ensure that each paragraph begins with a topic sentence. Basically, this opening statement must dwell on a single idea and reveal a unique connection to the thesis statement presented in the introduction. In this case, writers must ensure that all the paragraphs begin with precise topic phrases. Otherwise, a paper may appear unclear and fail to provide the intended explanation about the topic. As a rule, one must avoid discussing many points in a passage to enhance the overall quality. As a result, focused explanatory essays gain more marks.

D. Concluding Sentences

Outstanding essays contain closing. Basically, the last sentence in each body paragraph must summarize the main idea covered in this part. In turn, one must ensure that this line gives a summative closure to the passage without introducing new evidence or arguments to a paper. However, failure to include effective closing can disrupt the readers’ attention to the primary message. Moreover, the last sentence in a section must connect to the ideas presented in the topic sentence of the following passage.

E. Transitions

Each passage must link to the next section through a linking phrase. For example, one must use transitioning words throughout an explanatory essay to ensure that it has an adequate flow of the main ideas. Besides, relevant transitions must appear inside the essay’s text. Unfortunately, some learners make a mistake of using many transitioning phrases in writing. Also, such flaws distract the paper’s readability and may result in the distortion of the main message. Hence, one must rely on significant transitioning elements to communicate the intended message to the audience.  

F. Formatting

Many learning institutions require students to follow specific formatting styles and guidelines. Basically, a successful writer must follow such guidelines when preparing their explanatory essays to ensure that they meet the necessary academic standards. In this case, students must make the relevant professor’s essential consultations to avoid losing grades due to poor formatting. Besides, an explanatory essay’s rubric from the appropriate faculty acts as useful formatting guidelines. In turn, a prudent writer must rely on such tools to ensure that the work submitted meets the necessary quality. Therefore, each student must consider the essential formatting guidelines for explanatory essays. 

G. Peer Reviewing

Peer reviewing is an essential step in the writing process that college students tend to ignore. For instance, writers must share their work with peers for the reading and reviewing process. In this case, one should identify other scholars with adequate knowledge in the subject matter to read an explanatory essay and provide a positive critique. Basically, such choices play an instrumental role in determining the possible flaws in written documents. Then, students should consider the feedback and its role in promoting the essay’s quality before making any changes. As a rule, essayists must consider several critics and their role in enhancing the work’s readability and significance.

Explanatory Essay Outline Template

An explanatory essay has a unique outline that enhances the ability to communicate the intended message. In this case, a writer should rely on a scheme to avoid unnecessary omissions. Hence, the main elements that one must include in an explanatory essay are:

I. Introduction

A. An attention-getter.

B. Contextual information that presents all sides that supports the argument.

C. A clear thesis statement that covers three arguments presented in the body of an explanatory essay in one sentence.

A. The first body paragraph.

  • A topic sentence that identifies the first argument.
  • Accurate evidence that supports this argument, which should contain an accurate citation.
  • An explanation of the evidence presented, which helps readers to understand the intended message.
  • A concluding statement that solidifies this argument and reveals its standing. Also, the concluding statement must be connected to the next paragraph.

B. The second body paragraph.

  • A topic sentence that identifies the second argument.
  • Accurate evidence that supports this argument, which should contain an accurate citation
  • A concluding statement that solidifies this argument and reveals its standing. Also, the concluding statement must connect to the next paragraph.

C. The third body paragraph.

  • A topic sentence that identifies the third argument.

III. Conclusion

A. A restated thesis statement.

B. A summary of three arguments presented in the essay’s body paragraphs.

C. A final statement that leaves readers with a unique impression.

Important Features of Explanatory Essays

An outline for expository essays is unique since all the sections focus on providing an adequate explanation of significant concepts. In this case, the number of body paragraphs should vary depending on the essay’s length. Moreover, one must ensure that topic sentences provide a detailed explanation of the central claim. In turn, writers should ensure that the essay’s body paragraphs offer concise and precise answers to the main arguments. Then, one may know that a paper pertains to an explanatory essay if all the statements included in an outline provide direct support to a written piece. However, other compositions, like argumentative papers, contain paragraphs that provide counterarguments and rebuttals. Hence, an expository essay’s outline appears unique since all the main points presented must support a thesis statement directly.

Breaking Down an Eplxanatory Essay’s Outline

The introduction of an explanatory essay must begin with a hook. Basically, the approach enables writers to capture the readers’ attention. In this case, essayists should give a brief overview of the topic to show the scope that the work must take. Besides, the closing sentence should include a thesis statement. In turn, outstanding papers should have debatable thesis statements.

II. Body Paragraphs

The body of an explanatory essay should contain the main arguments that support the thesis statement. Basically, students must ensure that all the topic sentences relate to the thesis statement. In this case, essayists must support the central claim with adequate evidence. Also, explanatory essays must contain accurate in-text citations in all the sentences that contain borrowed evidence.  

An explanatory essay should contain a summative conclusion. Basically, the last paragraph should restate the thesis statement and summarize all the topic sentences presented in the text. As a rule, the closing section should not contain new evidence. Instead, one should bring the work to a satisfactory closure that joins all the main ideas together.

Example of Writing an Explanatory Essay

Topic: Explain the Impact of the Rising Child Gangs

I. Sample of an Explanatory Introduction

Every human being strives to develop a sense of belonging. However, most teenagers fail in the process of creating relevant social circles. In this case, the majority of juveniles join various gangs, intending to achieve a sense of belonging. Moreover, the rise of teenage gangs is a major social problem in the twenty-first century. Although most individuals may disregard adolescent gangs’ impacts, they promote crime, drug and substance abuse, and lower education turnout among the juveniles.

II. Example of Body Paragraphs in an Explanatory Essay

A. argument 1.

Teenage gangs promote juvenile crime. For example, most teenagers who join gangs tend to engage in delinquent activities. In this case, many youths develop a sense of belonging when they engage in crime. Basically, they focus on establishing superiority among their social circles. Moreover, stealing and fighting are some of the activities that enable youths to develop a sense of belonging. In turn, gangs motivate juveniles to engage in such unbecoming activities. Besides, established bands give teenagers the courage to violate the law. Hence, the rising teenage gangs promote juvenile delinquency and encourage drug and substance abuse. 

B. Argument 2

Teenage gangs are responsible for rising rates of drug abuse among teenagers. For example, many teenagers learn how to use drugs through peer influence. In this case, they interact with friends who have access to cheap illegal drugs. Also, the process exposes most of the young teenagers to hard drugs. Then, the majority of the drug addicts began such behaviors during their teenage life. Besides, the membership to groups that engage in drug abuse contributes towards the addiction process. In other instances, gangs provide the necessary protection to the youths interested in drug abuse. Therefore, teenage gang membership has a close association with drug abuse and lower education turnouts among the juveniles.

C. Argument 3

Gang membership plays a significant role in undermining adequate education access. For example, being a member of a teenage gang distracts most students from focusing on their education. In this case, many juveniles concentrate on fulfilling the needs of their respective bands. Moreover, the process interrupts their ability to meet educational expectations. Then, the majority of teenagers who engage in delinquent activities and drug abuse records the lowest performance in their studies. In turn, the peer pressure forces them to remain in their respective gangs that promote such unfitting behaviors. Eventually, they lose the ability to focus on their academic goals and may drop out of their studies. 

III. Conclusion Sample for an Explanatory Essay

In conclusion, teenage gangs have detrimental impacts on juvenile lives. Firstly, the preceding evidence proves that teenage gangs motivate crime. In this case, the majority of youths who engage in such activities tend to embrace stealing and fighting. Besides, such children tend to engage in drug and substance abuse. Then, peer pressure and the need to remain relevant in their respective social circles motivate the juveniles to embrace drugs. Finally, gang membership lowers education turnout among youngsters. In turn, a large number of youths who belong to specific gangs tend to record poor academic performance. Thus, they may lose an opportunity to end their schools. 

Summing Up on How to Write an Explanatory Essay

Explanatory essays refer to common types of academic assignments that students must complete in their studies. Basically, explanatory essay topics give clear explanations of various ideas. Also, a scholar may choose a suitable topic from a wide range of issues in multiple areas of study. In practice, one may identify the topic to an expository essay through some phrases, like “explain,” “viewpoints,” “discuss,” “describe,” and “detail.” Besides, the explanatory writing process requires one to consider the question, gather the necessary evidence, collect adequate evidence, and create a draft. Hence, key points that one must remember when writing explanatory essays are: 

  • An explanatory essay’s introduction must contain a hook. 
  • All papers should contain a clear thesis statement.
  • Essays should contain relevant ideas that explain a specific subject.
  • A written work must end with a summative conclusion that brings the entire paper to closure.
  • An explanatory essay’s outline must consist of a brief introduction, a working thesis statement, a body, and a final summary.
  • The body section of an explanatory essay outline must contain topic sentences with brief points.    

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The Comprehensive Guide On Writing An Explanatory Essay

Explanatory Essay Featured Image

  • What is an explanatory essay?

The internet is filled with contradictory information on the definition of an explanatory essay. We are here to help you simplify explanatory writing with easy tips and tricks. Before we delve deeper into this subject, you should know that explanatory writing is exclusively fact-based. It’s not about the writer’s stand or opinion.

Like all other essays, explanatory essays have common elements such as an introduction, the main body, and a conclusion. Furthermore, it is widely used in academics and forms part of the school, college, and university curriculum. Such essays are used to assess and improve the students writing and comprehension skills. 

As a factual piece of writing, explanatory essays provide lucid and unbiased explanations of an event. Instead of debating or arguing about a point of view, you just state facts in expository essays. Because many students struggle to create authentic expository essays, we have compiled this guide to help ease the writing process.

We will start with the basics. Then we will move on to the nuances of explanatory writing along with essential tips and key points to keep in mind when covering such essays. By the end of this article, you will be equipped with the knowledge to craft your very own exposition content. So, let’s begin.

What Is An Explanatory Essay?

Explanatory essays intend to inform, educate, or explain a particular phenomenon. It is a descriptive academic essay that is used to shed light on a specific topic. In such writing, the author researches and investigates the topic. The writer presents facts using statistics, examples, graphs, and charts to inform the reader.

The primary purpose of an explanatory essay is to convey vital information to the reader without any criticism. The writer doesn’t need to agree or disagree with the research topic. But, instead, it is the writer’s job to evaluate the evidence and present the findings. The writer must be objective and neutral when composing their arguments.

Explanatory writing examples include how-to guides, college course outlines, informative essays, etc. Such essays are common academic writing assignments, especially in the fields of journalism and history. Generally, students are assigned essay topics by teachers. However, sometimes students have the opportunity to select their own topic. 

Like other essay types, explanatory writing revolves around a central idea. Students are expected to explore and critically analyze the main idea. Their primary goal is to provide the audience with a clear understanding of the essay topic. They must present their findings in a well-structured and objective manner.

The break down of the essential components of an explanatory essay can be divided into the following:

  • A well-defined thesis statement forms the foundation of the essay.
  • An opening paragraph that reveals the main argument to the reader.
  • Well-structured body paragraphs that back the central idea or research question.
  • A fluid transition that effortlessly connects successive sections of the essay.
  • A conclusion that connects the dots and summarizes the entire essay without sounding repetitive.

Typically, the type of explanation you write is determined by the assignment your teachers have assigned you. However, if you choose it on your own, think about an article topic and its central direction based on the notes below:

  • Describe how to accomplish a task: Essays in the form of narration, description, exposition, dialogue, teaching, argumentation, and so on can be categorized based on the text structure they use.
  • Depending on the topic: Sort the texts into categories based on their subject matter- scientific, judicial, artistic, educational, academic, journalistic, advertising, and so on.
  • Depending on the purpose: Categorize textual forms according to the purpose they serve. They can be texts intended to persuade, inform, entertain, educate, and so on.

Ultimately, an excellent explanatory essay must achieve at least one of the objectives mentioned below flawlessly:

  • Define the essential concepts, terms, and theories. 
  • Deliver evidence-based examples.
  • Identify a common thread that’s true for all the samples. 
  • Compare and contrast the examples and their connections to the thesis statement. 
  • Examine the examples’ cause-and-effect linkages. 
  • Show them how the examples relate to each other.

What Are The Types Of Explanatory Essays?

Explanatory writing (also known as an expository essay) is one of the four classic discourse styles in composition studies. Narration, description, and reasoning are all the primary elements of such a writing style. 

Expository writing, unlike creative or persuasive writing, does not appeal to emotions and employs anecdotes. It is mainly used to explain an issue, subject, approach, or event. Independent of the type of essay you are writing, you may need to do any of the following:

  • Expound theories and concepts.
  • Demonstrate similarities and differences between certain events.
  • Present cause and effect reasoning of a phenomenon.
  • Discuss an issue at length.
  • Generate solutions to solve problems.
  • Categorize features into smaller, distinct groups.

The different types of explanatory essays are:

  • Definition Essay:

A definition essay provides a simple explanation for a difficult concept. The introduction must include a definition of the topic chosen/given, followed by a personal perspective on understanding the issue. 

The body of the definition essay is divided into sections that offer a complete and comprehensive analysis of the issue. Finally, all key topics should be summarized in the conclusion. Some examples of definition essays are-

  • What is contemporary ballet?
  • What is Gothic Romanticism?
  • Explain climate change.

A definition essay is an academic piece of writing that defines a term, concept, or idea. While you may begin with a simple dictionary definition, your essay will eventually include a more comprehensive definition. In a definition essay, you can utilize a variety of strategies to expand on a term such as:

  • Denotation- Denotation is the use of the literal definition of a term or word.
  • Connotation- Connotation is the process of illustrating the implied meaning of a term or word.
  • Enumeration- Enumeration is the use of a list to define a term.
  • Analogy- Analogy is a comparison of two similar things.
  • Negation- Negation is defining a term by stating what it is not.
  • Cause and Effect Essay:

This essay style focuses on the factors that contribute to something happening and, in turn, had an effect. The most important questions to answer when writing a cause-and-effect essay are “what were the grounds for its cause?” and “what repercussions were or will be confronted as a result of this?”

The two main approaches to writing a cause-and-effect essay are as follows:

  • Chain pattern- Explain the cause and then detail the effects one by one.
  • Block pattern- Start with the effects and then explain the causes.

Regardless of the structure you choose, make sure to clearly and Valuableexplain each section of the essay. Scientific studies, expert testimony, data, and stories are all useful tools for explaining complex relationships. 

Most cause-and-effect essays frequently use words and phrases that suggest linkage. These words help readers understand how the events are linked and keep the focus on the story’s progression. Here are a few examples of transitional phrases that you can use in your cause-and-effect essay:

  • As a result
  • Consequently 
  • Due to 
  • Since 
  • Compare And Contrast Essay:

A compare and contrast essay analyzes two or more separate subjects by comparing, contrasting, or both. Such essays accomplish two specific objectives. It addresses the similarities and differences between at least two different objects or ideas. 

The goal of the comparison or contrast is to highlight minor differences or unexpected commonalities rather than to express the obvious. For example, you wouldn’t choose apples and oranges for a comparison. Instead, you would compare and contrast two different breeds of oranges or two types of apples to highlight minute variations.

Generally, a compare-and-contrast writing style can be a whole essay by itself, or it can be used within paragraphs of any kind of essay. You can structure your compare-and-contrast essay using the following methods:

  • Alternating method- In the alternating method, you describe one aspect of the first item and then instantly address the identical aspect of the second item.
  • Block method- When you employ the block technique, you talk about one thing before moving on to the next. Typically, you’d write one paragraph about the first subject, then another paragraph about the second subject, and so on.
  • Combination method- Usually, you combine both the alternating and block method to create the essay in the combination method. You may use the alternate technique for a few body paragraphs before switching to the block style for a more thorough examination.
  • Process or How-to Essay:

Process essays (also known as how-to essays) provide detailed explanations of a procedure. The primary purpose of a process essay is to provide readers with directions on how to accomplish something. When writing a how-to essay, you need to create an organized list of steps that explain or guide the reader.

A process essay not only discusses but also examines the processes in detail. It goes into further depth about the causes and effects of each phase of the procedure. 

It is essential to follow a logical or chronological order when writing the steps of a process essay. As a writer, you need to be extra careful to ensure that directions are systematic and easy to follow. Otherwise, it may confuse the reader. 

Process essays can be of three distinct types:

  • How to apply for a passport?
  • How to organize a destination wedding on a budget?
  • How to invest in the stock market?
  • How to expand a small business?
  • How does a spaceship work?
  • How do human activities affect the environment?
  • How does dieting impact the human body?
  • How does democracy work?
  • Problem And Solution Essay:

A problem and solution essay is written to explain a problem’s solution. This essay can offer various solutions to the situation you’ve described. In this essay style, a significant issue is highlighted as the main topic, and the writer provides the best solution. 

When writing such an essay, you have to view the problem from many perspectives to find a possible solution. Problem and solution essays have some essential similarities to cause and effect essays. Both essay styles use the same format. For instance, in the problem and solution essay, you highlight the primary issue first and then suggest a solution.

A good problem and solution essay will provide a relatively simple remedy to apply and solve the problem. You must stay away from all whims and focus on a single problem with defined, actionable approaches. Here are some problem and solution-explanatory essay examples:

  • The obesity pandemic is plaguing the USA.
  • The dangers of procrastination.
  • Bullying and its impact on the youth.
  • The severe repercussion of extensive social media use.
  • Classification Essay:

An academic article that classifies ideas, people, or objects that share standard features into specific groups or categories is known as a classification essay. The classification essay differs from other types of essays in that it requires more study. The format, on the other hand, allows for a lot of creativity.

A classification essay requires the author to categorize objects, events, or people with similar characteristics. Furthermore, you have to explain the reason behind segregation. You can use essay examples and references to add more weight to your classification essay writing.

Some examples of classification essays are: 

  • What are the types of political activists?
  • What are the different styles of comedy?
  • What are the different categories of diet?
  • What are the various styles of modern dance?

The Basic Structure Of An Explanatory Essay  

Most explanatory essays follow the three-section structure. The breakdown of the explanatory essay format is as follows:

  • Introduction:

Regardless of the essay type, the introduction is always the first paragraph. It is essential to include a hook in this section to generate interest among the readers. Ideally, the introduction contains a brief description of the topic. As a significant part of the essay, the attractiveness of the introduction decides whether the reader will go ahead and read the essay.

You should include essential background information about the research topic. This is to provide an overview to the reader on what precisely the essay covers. It’s crucial to keep the word count in mind as the introductory section should not exceed more than 200 words. It would be best if you developed an informative introduction within this limit.

The introduction covers the first two paragraphs of the essay and also includes the thesis statement. Usually, the thesis statement is added to the last paragraph of this section.

Since explanatory essays rely on solid research, you must develop a concise thesis statement. So, you should use reputable online journals, historical dictionaries, and relevant books for research.

To form a thesis statement, you may use the following:

  • An anecdote.
  • A question.
  • A catchy motto.
  • A surprising fact.
  • A humorous statement.

A significant portion of your explanatory essay is the main body. The body paragraphs contain the evidence, facts, figures, statistics, etc., proving your thesis statement. The standard length of this section is three paragraphs. Each of these paragraphs begins with a topic sentence. All the lines in the paragraph must flow seamlessly from one another.

The main body must provide an in-depth perspective on the essay topic. You can include infographics, figures, graphs, tables, etc., to support your thesis. Any content you include in this section should strengthen your explanation. It should give your readers confidence in your presentation. 

You should include a concluding statement in this section. It should offer the audience an overview of the thesis statement and its significance. Furthermore, you need to ensure that all your body paragraphs flow cohesively. It should contain relevant information related to the main topic.

  • Conclusion:

The conclusion of your essay is crucial since it reminds your audience of the topic at hand. This chapter should neatly wrap up the essay. To guarantee that you capture the audience’s attention, you should first restate the thesis statement. A summary of all three claims mentioned in the body paragraph should also be included in the conclusion.

You should explain the value of the perspective presented in the essay to leave a lasting impression on the reader. Additionally, ensure that you organize the conclusion logically. You should never introduce any new information in the conclusion section. Instead, it should re-emphasize the thesis statement and its relevance.

Pre-Writing Requirements: Outline

We always recommend that you create an outline before you begin your explanatory essay. The reason is that it makes the writing job more manageable. When you are equipped with an outline, you can plan and organize your content optimally. Moreover, it ensures that you don’t miss any relevant facts or evidence.

When drafting your explanatory essay outline, keep in mind that the length will vary depending on the topic. You must thoroughly research the topic to collect all the necessary information. Once you have the material in hand, you can plan the content structure adequately. 

You may use the following template to create your explanatory essay outline:

  • Background information on the topic.
  • Thesis statement.
  • Topic sentence.
  • Supporting detail (an explanation).
  • Supporting detail (an example).
  • A summary statement that relates to the topic sentence.
  • A summary statement that related to the topic sentence.`
  • A summary statement that relates to the topic sentence .
  •   Restate the thesis statement without repeating the thesis in exact words.
  •  Summarize and connect the critical points of your essay with a universal theme.

How To Write An Explanatory Essay?  

  • Find A Good Topic:

It always helps the writing process if you know the topic beforehand. So, we advise that you select a topic that you understand well. You can examine topics from different genres before selecting one that sparks your interest. Ensure that you choose a topic that is neutral and easy to write about.

When the foundation is strong, it results in a great essay. Hence, it is vital to invest time and effort to pick a strong topic. You must evaluate the scope of the topic. There should be sufficient information available on the particular issue or subject. 

Pro Tip: Select a topic that allows you to explain the event rather than take sides. Keep the topic strictly expository and conventional.  

  • Perform Exhaustive Research And Gather Evidence:

The extent of research determines the quality of your explanatory essay. Exhaustive research is a crucial ingredient for a well-defined essay. The information, logic, evidence, rationale, and arguments you use in the essay must be concrete, accurate, and concise. To find reliable information, you must look into credible sources and databases.

As a writer, you must examine the topic from all perspectives. This will help you craft a neutral and unbiased essay. You can gather statistical data, online surveys, and real-life examples to support your essay topic.

  • Create An Outline For Your Ideas: 

Even if you don’t employ a formal outline format, you should use some sort of pre-writing method to make sure your ideas are logical and well-organized. Pre-writing techniques such as clustering, looping, freewriting, and brainstorming are all effective. The composition of your essay will be a breeze if you stick to your organizing approach.

The outline will help you analyze what’s important and what can be left out. You won’t get overwhelmed when you know precisely how to approach your essay writing task. 

Pro Tip: We have included an easy-to-use outline template in this guide. Use that as an outline when composing your explanatory essay.

  • Develop A Solid Thesis Statement:

Although a thesis statement is usually one to two sentences long, its importance cannot be undermined. The thesis statement must convey the central message of your essay. Without a solid thesis statement, the essay won’t be impactful enough. 

An effective thesis statement is insightful and clear. It should contain key aspects of the essay. You may create a rough version of your thesis statement in the beginning and develop it further as you finish the essay. 

  • Validate Your Thesis With Proper Evidence:

After you have done the necessary research, it’s time to start composing your essay. You must arrange all the research you have gathered coherently and logically. Every piece of information must connect with each other and support the central idea. When you frame your essay into different sections and paragraphs, ensure that they flow smoothly.

To avoid misconceptions, ensure that you only use credible sources. Given the nature of an explanatory essay, your entire essay will fall flat if you include any wrong information. So, you should always be mindful of the data you use in such essays.

Furthermore, you must be vigilant about how you compile the information. Each section should be divided into paragraphs, and each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence. If the content does not explicitly support the main topic, you should not include it in the essay. You must ensure that every part of the essay is clear, concise, and direct.

Pro Tip: Ensure that you use examples, statistics, and figures strategically throughout the text. 

  • Write A Firm Conclusion:

Your essay should come to a solid conclusion. In a compelling concluding paragraph, tie your ideas together with great summing remarks. Furthermore, the conclusion chapter can be used to discuss the topic’s value and significance.

Post-Writing Requirements: Revision And Proofreading 

There is nothing worse than minor errors and grammatical mistakes bringing down the value of your writing. Hence, always ensure that you proofread the essay once it is complete. Reread the essay multiple times to make sure that it is flawless. When you find errors, take the time to revise and edit the essay properly.

The things you must scan for are:

  • Punctuation

Pro Tip: Always proofread your essay the day after completion. You can review the paper with fresh eyes. That way, you’ll spot the mistakes more effectively.

Valuable Tips On Explanatory Writing 

  • Include transition words and phrases to clarify relationships. 
  • Uses graphics, formatting, and multimedia, such as hyperlinks wherever appropriate.
  • Maintain a consistent formal style and tone throughout.
  • Use precise vocabulary and language that is relevant to the topic.
  • Utilize facts, examples, anecdotes, and quotations intelligently throughout the content.
  • Strictly adhere to the conventions of standard English grammar.

A Must-Have Checklist To Go Through Before Submission

  • Is your narrative clear? Does the essay possess a logical thesis? Do relevant sources support the topic?
  • Have you coherently concluded all the information in the essay? 
  • Are you leaving the reader informed or confused? 
  • Does the conclusion aptly communicate the meaning of the thesis statement and supporting ideas?
  • Have you used proper citations in the text and the reference list?

If written appropriately, an explanation essay is a type of writing that can successfully demonstrate your writing aptitude and talents. The initial step for you may be to select an interesting or unconventional topic. You can even make a dull issue intriguing by spending sufficient time researching data and figures.

Additionally, paying attention to details and crafting logical arguments that are backed up by rigorous investigation can make your explanatory paper enjoyable to read. All you have to do is capture your audience with succinct arguments backed thoroughly by logical analysis, facts, and numbers. That would turn your explanatory article into a masterpiece.

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Organizing an Exploratory Essay

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This resource will help you with exploratory/inquiry essay assignments.

Exploratory essays are very different from argumentative essays. In fact, an exploratory essay is likely different from any other essay you’ve written. Instead of writing to convince an audience of the validity of a thesis, you will be writing to find out about a problem and perhaps to form some preliminary conclusions about how it might be solved.

But there is another aspect the exploratory genre that is equally important. An exploratory essay is, in essence, a retrospective of your writing and thinking process as you work through a problem. It describes when, how, and why you completed certain types of research. This kind of writing is about how you work through problems that require writing and research. You will have to be introspective and think about your thinking process in order for your essay to turn out well.

Very roughly, then, your exploratory essay may follow this sort of structure:


The introduction should outline the problem you explored and why it’s important. In addition, you should briefly discuss 1) some of the problem’s possible causes; 2) the institutions and people involved with the problem; 3) some of the possible solutions to the problem. A brief overview of the types of sources you researched during your inquiry.

Body Paragraphs

Body paragraphs should discuss the inquiry process you followed to research your problem. These paragraphs should include the following:

  • Introduction of source (title, author, type of media, publisher, publication date, etc.) and why you chose to use it in your exploration
  • Important information you found in the source regarding your problem
  • Why the information is important and dependable in relation to the problem
  • Some personal introspection on how the source helped you, allowed you to think differently about the problem, or even fell short of your expectations and led you in a new direction in your research, which forms a transition into your next source.

The conclusion should restate the problem you explored, outline some of its possible causes, review the institutions and people involved, and highlight some possible solutions. If you still have any questions about the problem (and it’s ok to have some), you will discuss them here. Talk about why you think you still have questions regarding the problem you explored, where you might look to answer these questions, and what other forms of research you would have to do.

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  • Knowledge Base
  • How to conclude an essay | Interactive example

How to Conclude an Essay | Interactive Example

Published on January 24, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on July 23, 2023.

The conclusion is the final paragraph of your essay . A strong conclusion aims to:

  • Tie together the essay’s main points
  • Show why your argument matters
  • Leave the reader with a strong impression

Your conclusion should give a sense of closure and completion to your argument, but also show what new questions or possibilities it has opened up.

This conclusion is taken from our annotated essay example , which discusses the history of the Braille system. Hover over each part to see why it’s effective.

Braille paved the way for dramatic cultural changes in the way blind people were treated and the opportunities available to them. Louis Braille’s innovation was to reimagine existing reading systems from a blind perspective, and the success of this invention required sighted teachers to adapt to their students’ reality instead of the other way around. In this sense, Braille helped drive broader social changes in the status of blindness. New accessibility tools provide practical advantages to those who need them, but they can also change the perspectives and attitudes of those who do not.

Table of contents

Step 1: return to your thesis, step 2: review your main points, step 3: show why it matters, what shouldn’t go in the conclusion, more examples of essay conclusions, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about writing an essay conclusion.

To begin your conclusion, signal that the essay is coming to an end by returning to your overall argument.

Don’t just repeat your thesis statement —instead, try to rephrase your argument in a way that shows how it has been developed since the introduction.

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Professional editors proofread and edit your paper by focusing on:

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See an example

how to start off an explanatory essay

Next, remind the reader of the main points that you used to support your argument.

Avoid simply summarizing each paragraph or repeating each point in order; try to bring your points together in a way that makes the connections between them clear. The conclusion is your final chance to show how all the paragraphs of your essay add up to a coherent whole.

To wrap up your conclusion, zoom out to a broader view of the topic and consider the implications of your argument. For example:

  • Does it contribute a new understanding of your topic?
  • Does it raise new questions for future study?
  • Does it lead to practical suggestions or predictions?
  • Can it be applied to different contexts?
  • Can it be connected to a broader debate or theme?

Whatever your essay is about, the conclusion should aim to emphasize the significance of your argument, whether that’s within your academic subject or in the wider world.

Try to end with a strong, decisive sentence, leaving the reader with a lingering sense of interest in your topic.

The easiest way to improve your conclusion is to eliminate these common mistakes.

Don’t include new evidence

Any evidence or analysis that is essential to supporting your thesis statement should appear in the main body of the essay.

The conclusion might include minor pieces of new information—for example, a sentence or two discussing broader implications, or a quotation that nicely summarizes your central point. But it shouldn’t introduce any major new sources or ideas that need further explanation to understand.

Don’t use “concluding phrases”

Avoid using obvious stock phrases to tell the reader what you’re doing:

  • “In conclusion…”
  • “To sum up…”

These phrases aren’t forbidden, but they can make your writing sound weak. By returning to your main argument, it will quickly become clear that you are concluding the essay—you shouldn’t have to spell it out.

Don’t undermine your argument

Avoid using apologetic phrases that sound uncertain or confused:

  • “This is just one approach among many.”
  • “There are good arguments on both sides of this issue.”
  • “There is no clear answer to this problem.”

Even if your essay has explored different points of view, your own position should be clear. There may be many possible approaches to the topic, but you want to leave the reader convinced that yours is the best one!

  • Argumentative
  • Literary analysis

This conclusion is taken from an argumentative essay about the internet’s impact on education. It acknowledges the opposing arguments while taking a clear, decisive position.

The internet has had a major positive impact on the world of education; occasional pitfalls aside, its value is evident in numerous applications. The future of teaching lies in the possibilities the internet opens up for communication, research, and interactivity. As the popularity of distance learning shows, students value the flexibility and accessibility offered by digital education, and educators should fully embrace these advantages. The internet’s dangers, real and imaginary, have been documented exhaustively by skeptics, but the internet is here to stay; it is time to focus seriously on its potential for good.

This conclusion is taken from a short expository essay that explains the invention of the printing press and its effects on European society. It focuses on giving a clear, concise overview of what was covered in the essay.

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.

This conclusion is taken from a literary analysis essay about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein . It summarizes what the essay’s analysis achieved and emphasizes its originality.

By tracing the depiction of Frankenstein through the novel’s three volumes, I have demonstrated how the narrative structure shifts our perception of the character. While the Frankenstein of the first volume is depicted as having innocent intentions, the second and third volumes—first in the creature’s accusatory voice, and then in his own voice—increasingly undermine him, causing him to appear alternately ridiculous and vindictive. Far from the one-dimensional villain he is often taken to be, the character of Frankenstein is compelling because of the dynamic narrative frame in which he is placed. In this frame, Frankenstein’s narrative self-presentation responds to the images of him we see from others’ perspectives. This conclusion sheds new light on the novel, foregrounding Shelley’s unique layering of narrative perspectives and its importance for the depiction of character.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

  • Ad hominem fallacy
  • Post hoc fallacy
  • Appeal to authority fallacy
  • False cause fallacy
  • Sunk cost fallacy

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Your essay’s conclusion should contain:

  • A rephrased version of your overall thesis
  • A brief review of the key points you made in the main body
  • An indication of why your argument matters

The conclusion may also reflect on the broader implications of your argument, showing how your ideas could applied to other contexts or debates.

For a stronger conclusion paragraph, avoid including:

  • Important evidence or analysis that wasn’t mentioned in the main body
  • Generic concluding phrases (e.g. “In conclusion…”)
  • Weak statements that undermine your argument (e.g. “There are good points on both sides of this issue.”)

Your conclusion should leave the reader with a strong, decisive impression of your work.

The conclusion paragraph of an essay is usually shorter than the introduction . As a rule, it shouldn’t take up more than 10–15% of the text.

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92 Essay Transition Words to Know

Matt Ellis

Abruptly switching topics in essays can be jarring; however , transition words can smooth the change for the convenience of the reader. Moreover , you can use essay transition words to start a paragraph, sentence, or clause more naturally. Additionally , essay transition words can connect new information to the previous statement so you don’t have to say everything at once.

This guide looks at how to use transition words in essays. We’ll explain what they are and how to use them, plus we even share an essay transition word list with the most common and useful transition words examples.

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What are essay transition words?

In general, transition words and phrases bridge the gap between two topics whose connection isn’t obvious. Transition words and phrases like however , although , likewise , and on the contrary cue the reader that a change is coming so they know to expect it.

The type of transition word or phrase signals which type of change is coming. For example, transition words like therefore show a cause-and-effect relationship, while transition words like in conclusion introduce a summary or wrap-up. Often, conjunctive adverbs work well as transition words.

Essay transition words are no different from other types of transition words. They are often the same words and phrases used in other pieces of writing, just used for all types of essay , such as an informative essay or a narrative essay .

How to use essay transition words

Transition words and phrases are used to make transition sentences , which either contain two opposing topics in the same sentence or join together the opposing sentences or paragraphs that come before and after the transition sentence.

Essay transition words aren’t necessary for every sentence; you need them only when a shift in topic is so pronounced that it interrupts the writing flow . For example, consider this example, which doesn’t use transition words:

The GPS told us to go left. We went right.

Although those two sentences are grammatically correct, the abrupt change in topic is a bit jarring to readers. Some may feel like they need to reread the passage because they’re worried they missed something. That’s where transition words come in handy.

The GPS told us to go left. However , we went right.

The transition word however acts as a signal to the reader to prepare for a change in topic. When the reader sees transition words like this, they know to expect the switch, so it’s not so jarring.

You can use transition words to start a paragraph, sentence, clause, or even a brief phrase or individual word.

Although tired , we had to continue.

Even in situations when the connection between topics is obvious, essay transition words can help keep your writing organized and comprehensible. This is especially true with ordinal numbers and transition words like next , then , and last , all of which keep items from a series or sequence in order.

First , you wet your hair, and then you apply the shampoo. Last , you rinse the shampoo with warm water.

Keep in mind that transition words aren’t always sentence starters . Sometimes essay transition words and phrases like also , too , or above all can come at the end of a sentence, clause, or phrase.

We were happy to get second place, but we wanted first place above all .

However, most essay transition words work best at the beginning of a sentence, where they can more effectively bridge the gap between two seemingly unrelated topics.

92 transition words examples

Essay transition word list for contradictions.

  • alternatively
  • nevertheless
  • nonetheless
  • notwithstanding
  • on the contrary
  • on the other hand

Essay transition word list for additions

  • accordingly
  • additionally
  • comparatively
  • coupled with
  • equally important
  • furthermore
  • in addition
  • in the same way
  • understandably

Essay transition word list for introducing examples

  • for example
  • for instance
  • in particular / particularly
  • specifically
  • to illustrate

Essay transition word list for conditions and cause and effect

  • as a result
  • consequently
  • for fear of
  • for this reason
  • in the event of
  • subsequently
  • under these/those circumstances

Essay transition word list for extra clarification

  • by all means
  • in other words
  • incidentally
  • predictably
  • significantly
  • undoubtedly

Essay transition word list for summarizing

  • briefly / in brief
  • in conclusion
  • in summary/summation
  • to summarize

Essay transition word list for time relations

  • at the same time
  • in the meantime

Essay transition word list for series and sequences

  • first , second , third , etc.

Essay transition words FAQs

In general, transition words and phrases bridge the gap between two topics whose connection isn’t obvious. Transition words and phrases like however , although , likewise , and on the contrary cue the reader that a change is coming so they know to expect it. Essay transition words have the same function in essays.

When should you use essay transition words?

Use essay transition words and phrases to either contain two opposing topics in the same sentence or join together the opposing sentences or paragraphs that come before and after them. Essay transition words aren’t necessary for every sentence; you need them only when a shift in topic is so pronounced that it interrupts the writing flow.

What are some essay transition words examples?

Some of the most common essay transition words examples include however , although , ultimately , in summary , next , last , also , in general , for that reason , as a result , for example , in the meantime , therefore , similarly , and likewise .

how to start off an explanatory essay

In a black-and-white photo from 1967, Barbra Streisand is shown in profile, smiling as she stands onstage.

The Great Read

Barbra Streisand Is Ready to Tell All. Pull Up a Seat.

At home in California, Streisand talks about her new memoir, exploring the movies and men of her life, and her determination to control her own art.

Barbra Streisand at her 1967 one-woman show in Central Park. Credit... William E. Sauro/The New York Times

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Wesley Morris

By Wesley Morris

Reporting from Malibu, Calif.

  • Nov. 7, 2023

Maybe it’s her grandkids, maybe it’s being 81, but Barbra Streisand is open to new stuff. Take sharing. Well, take sharing herself . “ My Name Is Barbra ,” her first memoir, is upon us. It’s 970 pages and billows with doubt, anger, ardor, hurt, pride, persuasion, glory and Yiddish. I don’t know that any artist has done more sharing.

And yet, last month, after lunch at her home in Malibu, Calif., Streisand shared something else, a treasure she guards almost as much she’s guarded the details of her life. And that’s dessert. There’s a lot in this book — tales of film and television shoots, clashes and bonds with collaborators, a whole chapter on Don Johnson (it’s short) and another called “Politics,” her unwavering preference for big blends of the masculine and the feminine. But food is so ubiquitous that it’s practically a love of Streisand’s life, especially ice cream.

So when it’s time for dessert at Streisand’s, despite any choice you’re offered, there’s truly only one option. And that’s McConnell’s Brazilian Coffee ice cream. She writes about it with an orgasmic zeal comparable only, perhaps, to her stated zests for Modigliani and Sondheim. How much does Streisand love Brazilian Coffee? In the book, she’s in the middle of a sad story about a dinner with her buddy Marlon Brando at Quincy Jones’s place, when she interrupts herself to rhapsodize over its flavor and reminisce on the lengths she has gone to get some. So I wanted to have what she’s having.

“ Okaaayyyy ,” Streisand said. She gave her longtime assistant, Renata Buser, a deep, knowing look.

“We’ll trade. You give a good review.”

Panic, panic, panic. Stammer, stammer, stammer.

She was grinning. Buser was smiling.

“I love to laugh right now,” said Streisand, who said she’s been in a funk over the state of the planet.

Buser agreed: “You really needed a laugh.”

But Streisand wasn’t entirely kidding — well, about the good review she was. But not about the ice cream.

See, sometimes, they explained, like two girls talking about an ornate but dire piece of cafeteria gossip, there’s a situation with how available it is. (Basically, McConnell’s sometimes takes Brazilian Coffee off the market, leaving Turkish Coffee and sometimes just … “Coffee.”) When she gets her hands on some, she all but password-protects it. “My husband happens to like Turkish Coffee. Thank God ,” Streisand says of the actor James Brolin, her spouse of 25 years. “So he doesn’t take my stash.”

To be clear: They’re not the same?

“ Noooo, ” Streisand and Buser said together. Streisand was shrugging that “are you serious right now?” shrug: “Turkey is not Brazil .”

It goes on like this for another minute until something crucial suddenly occurs to Streisand.

“Are you a fan of coffee ice cream?”

She didn’t have time for this. “We have vanilla.” More kidding. “I’ll give you a scoop — well, how about half a scoop? He’ll have half a scoop. I’ll take the other half.”

Eventually, Buser arrives with a bowl, and I get it.

If Loro Piana made dessert, this is how it would taste, like money. Buser had lodged Streisand’s demiscoop inside a wafer cone just the way she likes. Mine was gone in about 90 seconds. Streisand, though — she made the eating of this ounce of ice cream a discreet aria of bliss. Little nibbles of cone, then one spin around her mouth. Nibble, nibble, spin. I’ve seen one other person make love to a dessert this way, and she gave birth to me. Otherwise, no one will ever quite have what they’re having.

THIS MEMOIR OF STREISAND’S encompasses her girlhood in working-class Brooklyn in the 1940s, her big break on Broadway in “Funny Girl” in 1964, a movie career that made her the biggest actress of the 1970s, her popular albums and top-rated TV specials, the awards, the snubs, her hangups, terrors and passions, her close girlfriends, the men she’s loved and, yes, the foods she might adore more. “My Name Is Barbra” is explanatory and ruminative and enlightening. It’s shake-your-head funny and hand-to-mouth surprising. The lady who wrote it is in touch with herself, loves being herself. Yet she disliked memoir-writing’s ostensible point. “I’ve been through therapy many, many years ago, trying to figure these things out,” she told me. “And I got bored with that. Trying to get things out. I really didn’t want to relive my life.”

Streisand sits in her dressing room, her back to the camera but her face visible in the mirror’s reflection.

Writing the book forced Streisand not only to relive it, but to do the synthesizing between the present and the past. For instance, she frequently reckons with how losing her father at a young age and living for decades with her mother’s glass-half-empty approach to maternity set her up for a journey of approval.

Those 970 pages also turn the book into a piece of exercise equipment. Streisand doesn’t like the heft. “I wanted two volumes,” she said. “Who wants to hold a heavy book like that in their hands?”

Rick Kot, an executive editor at Viking who oversaw production on the book, told me, “Publishing books in two volumes is difficult just as a commercial venture. And nobody seems to have any issue with how long” Streisand’s is.

The bigness of it makes literal the career it contains. Streisand is poring over, pouring out, her life. She’s feeling her way through it, remembering, sometimes Googling as she types. It’s not a book you inhale, per se. (Unless, of course, you’ve got a pressing lunch date with the author.) Nor does it inspire the “five takeaways” treatment that juicy new memoirs by Britney Spears and Jada Pinkett Smith have. Not that there weren’t requests for spicier material. Streisand said that Christine Pittel, her editor, told her “that I had to leave some blood on the page.” So feelings are more deeply plumbed; names are named.

And she did do some hemming and hawing. “I was very late in delivering the book,” she said. “I think I was supposed to deliver it in two years.” It took her 10. And as she went, she thought about her legacy. “If you want to read about me in 20 years or 50 years, whatever it is — if there’s still a world — these are my words. These are my thoughts.” She also considered those other Streisand titles, the ones by other people. “Hopefully, you don’t have to look at too many books written about me. You know, whenever I was told about what they said, certain things, I thought, like, who are they talking about?”

There are takeaways. But they’re too chronic to qualify as “current.” Mostly, they involve Streisand’s hunger for work and her endless quest to maintain control over it. Singing and acting made her famous. This insistence on perfection made her notorious. Sexism and chauvinism are on display throughout the book. But what becomes apparent is that the woman who has a “directed by” credit on just three films (“Yentl,” “The Prince of Tides” and “The Mirror Has Two Faces”) had been a director from the very start of her career. Here is the book’s grand revelation — for a reader but for the author, too. “I didn’t know about it,” she said, of this proclivity for management, planning, vision, authority and obeying her instincts. “But writing the book, I discovered it. Basically, I was doing that, you know, when I was 19 years old — or even showing my mother how to smoke.”

Streisand is unsparing about the treachery she faced at work, collaborating with men. Sydney Chaplin (one of Charlie’s kids) played the original Nick Arnstein during her “Funny Girl” Broadway run; they shared a flirtation that Chaplin wanted to consummate and that Streisand wanted to keep professional. (For one thing, she was married to Elliott Gould.) So, she writes, Chaplin did a number on her. In front of live audiences, he’d lean in to whisper put-downs and profanity. When it came time to shoot “Hello, Dolly!,” Streisand couldn’t understand why her co-star Walter Matthau and their director, Gene Kelly (yes, the Gene Kelly) were so hostile toward her. She confronts Matthau, and he confesses: “You hurt my friend,” meaning Chaplin, his poker buddy. Throughout her career, she’s up against what one surly camera operator, on the set of “The Prince of Tides,” boasts is a boys’ club.

That’s the sort of blood that gives this book its power — not the prospect of a bluntly louche Brando and a doting Pierre Trudeau being honest-to-God soul mates, not whatever her byzantine thing with Jon Peters was about. It’s that Barbra Streisand endured a parade of harsh workplaces yet never stopped trying to make the best work. That experience with Chaplin left her with lifelong stage fright. But what if it also helped sharpen her volition to get things — in the studio, on a film set, before a show — exactly, possibly obsessively, right?

“When I was younger, I think they had a preconception, you know, because maybe I was aloof or something, because I was a singer but I wanted to be an actress. And then as an actress, I wanted to be a director,” she said to me. “In other words, take another step. Be the actress as well as the singer. To me, it was so much easier to look at the whole. But even when I was an actress, I would care about the whole.” Like that scene in Sydney Pollack’s “The Way We Were,” from 1973, where Streisand touches Robert Redford’s hair while he’s sleeping, a personal choice she made by instinct.

Over and over again — with TV specials, live concerts, musical arrangements — she was executing ideas. The execution earned her a permanent reputation. And she knows it. In the book, she tells a story about making some staging suggestions for her 1980 Grammys performance with Neil Diamond and muses, “This kind of incident may be why I’m called ‘difficult.’”

“Difficult” is in the work. Streisand’s characters constitute this cocktail of “mercurial” and “determined” with a couple squirts of “feral.” They’re multitaskers, consumed with both busyness and learning how to do something . She was perfect for romantic comedies during second-wave feminism: Her drive drove men nuts. My favorite performance from this ’70s run of hers is in “The Main Event,” a frothy, filthy, solidly funny screwball hit from 1979. She’s in high expressive form and at peak curls, playing Hillary Kramer, a fragrance mogul forced to sell her company after her accountant runs off with all her money. But she discovers a surprise asset: a terrible boxer, Eddie “Kid Natural” Scanlon (Ryan O’Neal), whose career she tries to turn around. The movie, which Howard Zieff directed, sums up the Streisand experience: her tenacity; her outrageous comfort as both a comedic actor and as a version of herself; her exasperation with men who exploit her and count her out.

Eddie doesn’t want to work with Hillary and bets that the sight of his battered face will disgust her right out of boxing management. The violence of boxing does send Hillary vomiting during the drive home from one of his fights. What it doesn’t do is deter her. “I hope this taught you a lesson,” says Whitman Mayo, who plays Eddie’s pal and trainer, Percy. “It has,” Streisand says. “Get him in shape .”

The two men share a sinking feeling, seemingly typical when it comes to Streisand. “She’s not giving up, Percy,” Eddie says to his trainer, who must concur: “That’s a problem.” People who’ve negotiated with her probably recognize the look of worry and fatigued resignation on O’Neal’s face. He’s going to lose.

It’s reasonable to suspect that Tom Rothman, the head of Sony Pictures, knows the feeling. When the company was planning to release an anniversary edition of “The Way We Were” this year, Streisand argued for him to include two scenes that, she was pained to discover, had been omitted from the original. For Rothman, the trouble with granting Streisand her wish was that, as “a filmmaker’s executive,” as he put it in an interview, he didn’t want to change anything without Pollack’s input. But Pollack’s been dead for 15 years. They agreed to release two versions: Pollack’s and, essentially, Streisand’s extended cut.

This, she writes, is a triumph of her relentlessness. “The word she uses in the book, that’s 100 percent accurate,” Rothman told me. “She’s relentless.” Her being right about the scenes didn’t matter to his bottom line, which required him to do justice to Pollack’s memory while assuaging Streisand’s worries over creative injustice. “She would say: ‘This is better, this is better! This is why it’s good!’ And I would say: ‘But Sydney Pollack didn’t want it!’”

The reason Rothman wanted to land at a happy solution was because of the person he was negotiating with. “Barbra broke a lot of not just artistic boundaries but boundaries for female artists in the movie business, in Hollywood, in terms of taking control of her career,” he said. “I have boundless respect for her.”

Streisand’s boundlessness, her capaciousness — the lack of precedent for her whole-enchilada ambitions, the daffiness, the sexiness, the talent, orchestration, passion, originality; her persistence and indefatigability; the outfits; the hair — were a watershed. She was always adapting, if not to what was cool or “current,” per se, then certainly to whom she felt she was at a given moment. “You know me,” she writes, late in the book. “I’m the version queen.”

The line is straight from Streisand to Madonna, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Queen Latifah, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift — version queens of different kingdoms. That’s just a list of the obvious people who followed her into showbiz and makes no mention of the less famous folks whom Streisand inspired into a thousand other achievements. She’s “to thine own self be true” in neon. This might be the real Streisand Effect. And now she can take a step back and appreciate it.

“That gives me real joy, that I affected some people into doing what they wanted to do,” Streisand said. “That I gave them some sort of courage. Or if they felt different, you know, I was somebody who felt different. That’s a reward for me. That makes me feel great.”

THIS HOME OF STREISAND’S has been called a compound. But even with the ocean overlook, it’s too rustic, cozy and deceptively modest for the geologic or ego-logical footprint that “compound” connotes. There’s an active farm and enough rose varieties to hijack a flower show. It’s neither Xanadu nor Neverland Ranch. There’s some reality to Streisand’s place, some soul.

This is to say that paintings are everywhere, outside the bathroom, up the main staircase, in the bathroom. There are oils by John Singer Sargent and Thomas Hart Benton, portraits by Ammi Phillips and Mary Cassatt. A wall holds one of Gilbert Stuart’s George Washingtons. She loves Klimt and adores Tamara de Lempicka and Modigliani, adores them with an awe the world reserves for her. Some of the paintings are by Streisand, including a portrait of Sammie, her late Coton de Tulear, whose fur is affixed to the canvas. One, her son, Jason Gould, did.

Streisand’s fans know what’s on her property and the labor she personally devoted to realizing it — that there’s a mill with a functioning waterwheel, that she’s dedicated a room to her collection of dolls and that another’s maintained for the display and storage of her stage and screen costumes. They’d know because, in 2010, Streisand put it all in a book called “My Passion for Design.” Nevertheless, people have concluded that Streisand lives at her own personal Grove. They’ll ask: Are you going to see the mall? But there is no mall to see. Nothing’s for sale, nothing is open to the public.

Less known is how it might feel to stand here, in a living room at Streisand’s house, to gaze over her shoulder at the ocean and stop yourself from saying out loud, “On a clear day you really can see forever.” It’s strange to move from the bulk of her book to the lightness of the woman who wrote it, to the one-of-a-kind incandescence that’s kept her a star. No memoir can quite contain that. An odd effect of that stardom is how that person can start to seem an uncanny sort of familiar. One of the mightiest, most Olympic performers we Americans have ever experienced, is, on a Tuesday at lunchtime — and I mean this from the bottom of my heart — just some lady. The one behind you at a Gelson’s, maybe, who might notice the cottage cheese in your cart and get moony over how creamy it is. (“I love going to the supermarket,” she told me.)

After lunch, Streisand was ready to relax and needed to stretch her back, which lately has been acting up. Relaxing meant letting loose her three Cotons de Tulear, dogs as white as snowflakes, whiter in fact, like bleached teeth. It meant retreating to the family room. So off I went down a wallpapered hallway paneled with more framed art and into another section of the house that felt different from the airs of presentation and preservation that typify the rest of the home. The kitchen was here, for one thing. For another, hunched over a round table was James Brolin. Streisand calls him Jim, and Jim was in a T-shirt and sweatpants, cross-referencing information on an iPad with what he was writing on a sheet of paper. He was jotting down film titles to watch later for movie night. They had just had a Scorsese marathon.

There’s life all over the property. But here in the family room is where everybody lives, including that portrait of Sammie, which, at the moment, was propped up on the floor because “I don’t have any places to hang anything anymore,” she said. This way she can see it from the sofa while she watches TV. This part of the house seems like the only place where anything gets strewn. “It’s not that orderly,” she told me. “Meaning, I have the things I need around me.” Like her pets, like Jim. “It’s a playroom. We watch TV, we have the dogs on our laps. It’s more disordered.”

It felt, in many ways, like a secret, the comfy chaos of this zone feeling preferable to the control on display everywhere else. Streisand seemed at home here because she was. She took a seat and proceeded to ply the dogs, Fanny and Sammie’s lab-bred clones, Scarlet and Violet, with a treat. They looked up at her with expectant patience. I’ve seen scores of dogs anticipate a treat. It’s as if Streisand’s had heard about the bonkers approach of those other dogs and zigged, sitting patiently as Streisand doled a morsel or two to each. Even she seemed impressed. Here is another of stardom’s odd effects. Without us, it’s Tuesday.

Wesley Morris is a critic at large and the co-host, with Jenna Wortham, of the culture podcast “Still Processing.” He has won two Pulitzer Prizes for criticism, including in 2021 for a set of essays that explored the intersection of race and pop culture. More about Wesley Morris



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    An exploratory essay is, in essence, a retrospective of your writing and thinking process as you work through a problem. It describes when, how, and why you completed certain types of research. This kind of writing is about how you work through problems that require writing and research. You will have to be introspective and think about your ...

  21. Expository Essay Guide With Definition & Examples

    Write with Grammarly What is an expository essay? An expository essay is an essay that communicates factual information. Broadly, this type of writing is known as expository writing. Expository essays rely on different structures to communicate their positions, like compare and contrast, process essays, and analyzing cause and effect.

  22. What Are Good Sentence Starters for Essays?

    You're introducing a new idea, such as at the beginning of an essay or of a paragraph You're presenting a conclusion or summary, for instance at the end of an essay. You want to add emphasis to a particular sentence or point. The sentence requires certain context, such as background information.

  23. How to Conclude an Essay

    Step 1: Return to your thesis To begin your conclusion, signal that the essay is coming to an end by returning to your overall argument. Don't just repeat your thesis statement —instead, try to rephrase your argument in a way that shows how it has been developed since the introduction. Example: Returning to the thesis

  24. 92 Essay Transition Words to Know, With Examples

    Abruptly switching topics in essays can be jarring; however, transition words can smooth the change for the convenience of the reader.Moreover, you can use essay transition words to start a paragraph, sentence, or clause more naturally.Additionally, essay transition words can connect new information to the previous statement so you don't have to say everything at once.

  25. Barbra Streisand Is Ready to Tell All. Pull Up a Seat

    Panic, panic, panic. Stammer, stammer, stammer. She was grinning. Buser was smiling. "I love to laugh right now," said Streisand, who said she's been in a funk over the state of the planet.