How to Write an Explanatory Essay With Examples

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:

  1. Explain how two individuals of different interests and backgrounds could become unlikely allies.
  2. Tell about a world-class athlete. Explain why you include this person in that category.
  3. Describe the purposes of the Internet. Include various viewpoints, including that of users and providers.
  4. Discuss a public health issue that you think is serious enough to warrant immediate attention.
  5. Describe a significant environmental problem and what you believe should be done about it.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Your goal is to write a paper about an individual newly arrived from another country. Discuss some kinds of information you would include.
  10. 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.  

B. Editing

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.

II. Body

A. The first body paragraph.

  1. A topic sentence that identifies the first argument.
  2. Accurate evidence that supports this argument, which should contain an accurate citation.
  3. An explanation of the evidence presented, which helps readers to understand the intended message.
  4. 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.

  1. A topic sentence that identifies the second argument.
  2. Accurate evidence that supports this argument, which should contain an accurate citation
  3. An explanation of the evidence presented, which helps readers to understand the intended message.
  4. 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.

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

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

I. Introduction

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.  

III. Conclusion

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.