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Expository Essay Format Tips — Writing Guide with Examples

Is an expository essay a challenge you've never dealt with before? Well, one of the major issues you may ponder on besides its explanation is the appropriate format for writing this specific assignment. Our article is focused on providing you with a clear answer to that question. Also, we are going to discuss several strategies that will help you deal with that essay without worries, and offer you some ideas and tips to apply. Here, we will go through the main stages of the expository essay writing process and its features:

  • Meaning of the expository essay
  • Its structure and outline specifics
  • Formatting standards and style options

Then, you can use this guideline in composing an expository essay and be confident about meeting all academic requirements perfectly.

To have an insight into the expository essay format, we shouldn't neglect the basics. Hence, in our guide, we will recall everything you need to know about this academic paper. To hit the ground running, let's start with the assignment's definition. What is the purpose of expository essays? It is a precise piece of writing where the author (you) expounds on a certain subject matter, studies it carefully, reveals insightful information, and clarifies relevant related issues. This way, an incorrect perception of a matter can be pointed out and solved with explanations and evidence. For that, you need to be ready to provide the facts. Expository writing is one of the main kinds there are together with narrative, argumentative, and descriptive ones. If you don't know what expository papers are about, look through the prompts below. Those are topics and ideas that can be discussed in this specific assignment.

  • What are scientists doing to make our lives longer?
  • The impact of art on our behavior and thoughts.
  • A new religion: What would it be?
  • Step-by-step: Change your life in a month.
  • Generation of consumption. What makes a reasonable consumer nowadays?
  • The variety of happiness: Things that make people smile.

If your topic sounds similar, you are writing an expository essay. Also, you can use these prompts for inspiration to formulate your own idea that will be the center of your narration.

Structure Aspects to Keep in Mind

A major element of any well-written essay is the structure it takes. That of an expository essay won't be different much from the other assignments' organization. As always, your writing should have:

  • The introduction that catches the reader's attention and provides basic information on your topic.
  • The body, where you provide the facts and relevant evidence to support a topic sentence.
  • The concluding paragraph, where everything discussed in your expository writing is summarized.

Here, you need to keep in mind that the content of each section depends on expository essay topics you choose for discussion. All the evidence you provide should be related to the controlling idea of your writing and support it in different perspectives. You may ask, "why not focus on one thing and explore it profoundly?" Your reader may have questions or doubts, and your task is to expose a particular topic in a way so that any "what if's" to be cleared. So, the aim is to cover various aspects of your message - that will help to support it better.

In this assignment, things are rather simple. You choose a subject and describe several features or theories of it that you have studied, and that would be interesting for the audience to know more about. But, remember the smooth transition between the introduction and body paragraphs. Be sure to make your ideas logical continuation of one another. That strategy will help to coherently develop the narration without tangling the structure of an assignment.

For instance, if you are going to write an expository essay on zero-waste lifestyle, your three main points to discuss could be:

  • Importance of waste-reducing for our environment
  • The challenges people face while going zero-waste
  • First steps in acquiring zero-waste habits

This way, you talk about why it is important to consider a zero-waste concept. Then, you develop your essay by discussing what obstacles one can face. And, as for the last section of the body paragraph, you state that yes, it can be challenging. But, by approaching zero-waste lifestyle step-by-step (provide precise examples here), you will succeed easily. So, you choose a relevant idea as the thesis statement, investigate it, and highlight its major features.

Beyond those traditional parts of an expository assignment, there is more to be said about the essay format to use. The rage of specific details would depend on your choice. At the college level, there are various formats that may be used - frequently, they are closely connected to the major discipline of yours. For example, specialties under humanities would typically use the MLA style. Also, the AMA (American Medical Association) or CSE (Council of Science Editors) formats are popularly applied in natural science courses. But in this guide, we are going to focus on two main formats of your expository essay - MLA and APA.

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APA Expository Essay Format - One Popular Approach

Is it your first time coming across the term 'APA format,' and you don't know how to meet its requirements? You would need to get some introduction to its meaning. The APA is an abbreviation for the American Psychological Association - a professional body of psychologists that was formed in 1892. Today, it has over 110,000 members. The APA style is a set of rules for academic papers writing. It explains how assignments should be formatted or styled, what grammar one has to use, or how to prepare references appropriately. The aim is to ease the comprehension of the material by the reader and create a standardized guide on how the paper in social and behavioral sciences should be written.

The APA style is most widely used in social sciences. As for the book that contains all the information on the style, that's the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. It is shortly called the APA Publication Manual. The first edition of this book was published in 1952. And, the most current one is the 6th, as of September 2018, was published after four years of development.

The APA expository format has general requirements:

  • The document should be written using a white paper of the size 8.5x11 inches.
  • The font type (or typeface) for the document is Times New Roman, with 12 points font size.
  • A 1-inch margin on all four sides (top, bottom, right, and left) of each page is required.
  • The text should be written with double spacing.
  • The first word of the paragraph should be indented by half of an inch.
  • Each page of the document is expected to have a running header with all words IN CAPS and aligned to the top left corner.
  • The running header should be the title of the work (up to 50 characters with spaces). If the title is too long, use its shorten version.
  • The page numbers (Arabic) should be located in the top right corner without using the abbreviations for pages (that is p. or pp.).

The structural parts expected to be used in an APA style expository essay are:

  • Title page
  • Abstract
  • Main body (the essay itself)
  • References

The title page is also called the cover page. For shorter essays, there is no point in using a cover or title page unless it's required by your instructor.

An abstract is a section that serves as an overview of the whole work. It contains information about what topic is discussed, the methods used for analyzing the issues, and the major findings or conclusions. It is expected that the abstract be no more than 250 words, so watch your word count.

The references are the complete list of sources used in creating the content of the writing. They are organized at the end of the work in a section that may be titled Reference List or Bibliography. In the context of an expository essay, that is one of the major aspects to pay attention to. Since this writing isn't too lengthy, such sections as abstract or title page may be omitted. But, what always remains untouched are your references and the formatting of your citations used. These elements show that your essay is supported by reliable information sources.

MLA Expository Essay Format - Another Popular Approach

MLA is the abbreviation for the Modern Language Association of America, a professional body of scholars in literature and languages that was founded in 1883. The MLA format is also a style guide for academic writing. It gives details on particularities that should be applied for formatting and presenting school assignments and other similar documents. The book is titled the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing. It was first published in 1985, and the last published edition (the 3rd) was released in 2008, but the style manual is no longer printed since 2016. This style is popular in use within the humanities: English literature, comparative literature, media, and cultural studies, as well as similar disciplines in that field of academia.

There are important formatting requirements that should be met by a student when using the MLA expository essay format. They include:

  • The essay should be written and printed on white paper with a size of 8.5x11 inches.
  • Except for the header, which may have a different margin, there should be a 1-inch margin at the bottom and both sides of each page.
  • The font type recommended is the Times New Romans with 12pts size. However, if you use a different font type, the MLA recommends differentiating the regular and italicized styles.
  • The text should be double-spaced. Use single space after periods or any other punctuation marks only if you are specifically told to do so by your instructor.
  • A consecutive header with a half-inch margin should be put on every page (top right corner).
  • The first line of each paragraph should be a half-inch to the right. To do so, MLA suggests using the tab key instead of hitting the space button multiple times.
  • Use italics appropriately. It should be applied for mentioning the title of longer works or making an emphasis where it's needed.
  • If there are any end-notes, they should be put on a separate page before the references or works cited sections.

There are even more rules concerning different aspects of expository essay format. But those discussed above are general standards that should help you prepare a relevant assignment. Always remember that the final format requirements depend on the demands of your professor, so make sure you know following what rules is expected from you.

The process of creating an expository essay is a demanding one. That's because of the profound investigation required. As a general recommendation, start working on your assignment when you have enough time to do it diligently and without hurry. And if you have any need for assistance with writing an expository paper, feel free to contact us. On our platform, you will cooperate with experts only. Our experience will reflect perfectly on the high quality of the papers you get from us. So, don't miss your chance to order a top-notch expository essay now!


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