What is an expository essay?

Riding on an approach that would satisfactorily address the above interrogative heading would be the best way. The expository essay definition is such a topic which has been attempted by many writers but answering what an essay is and then moving on to explain the concept of exposition would be ideal to have a clear understanding of the topic in question. Thus the desired premise would be created to tackle the question "what is an expository essay?"

An essay was recognized as a literary form at a very later stage. Earlier writers like Francis Bacon, Benjamin Franklin and Rabindra Nath Tagore tried out their hands in this area and produced the finest pieces of art. An essay is the presentation of the view point of the writer on a specific topic. The word essay comes from the French word essai which means an attempt. It attempts to explain or present the opinion of the author. It is generally grouped under expository prose but it can be further grouped in accordance to the purpose it serves.

An essay can be divided into many forms. First being the expository type which aims to explain. Next is the Persuasive type, which aims to convince a reader. Third is the Analytical type, which aims to analyze a particular work in any field and last is the argumentative essay, which presents arguments for or against an opinion or hypothesis. How to define expository essay is the topic undertaken and this would be accomplished by comparing expository form with the other forms.

An expository essay is basically an explanatory composition. It defines and gradually explains the opinion or hypothesis undertaken through presentation of information along with examples and analysis of that information. It generally has a central theme and there may be, at times, other themes. Although there is one central issue around which all the themes revolve. This theme is the binding force and gives the essay a compact form.

A persuasive essay is different from an expository one. This type presents the opinion of the author and aims to persuade or convince the reader. It is done by not only presentation of the opinion but also by presenting arguments. These arguments are presented to persuade a reader. The important qualities of a persuasive essay are the presentation of the author's opinion maintaining the reader's interest.

An analytical essay on the other hand analyzes a book, a play, a movie or other piece of art. It does not only present facts about the piece but also presents an analytical discussion of it. It deals with the style and device employed by the author. It also includes personal response of the essayist.

The last form is argumentative. This form presents one's own opinion, theory and hypothesis and proving it correct through arguments. Thus presenting an expository prose is different from presenting an argumentative one.

From the above discussion, an expository essay can be easily differentiated from the others. Thus it would be wise to discuss on the requirements of writing one:

  • It is important to carry out proper research of the topic undertaken. This is essential as it enables the writer to provide necessary information.
  • The essay should have an introductory passage that briefs up about the topic. It gives an idea about the theme.
  • The body is the largest portion of the essay. It is the main part providing the points and explaining them.
  • There should be a smooth transition from one point to the other
  • There should be a conclusion emphasizing the central theme.