How to Write an Explanatory Essay

Updated: May 8, 2023

How to Write an Explanatory Essay

Academic papers come in numerous forms, and learners must know how to approach different essays. One common assignment is explanatory essays, in which the writer must express a particular perspective about a specific subject or situation. However, the view should have extensive analysis to make it practical.

Explanatory essays are not as challenging as most students think because their writing entails reporting particular subject matters or circumstances. It also explains the investigation from another person’s perspective. Such essays are evaluations in various courses such as media journalism and history.  Here, you must base your arguments on factual information and proof.

If you get an assignment to compose an explanatory essay, don’t panic; read this comprehensive guide and understand the structure, outline, and tips to craft a well-researched paper.

What Is an Explanatory Essay

With different essays to write, students can get confused on how to compose an explanatory paper.

As the name suggests, an explanatory essay definition requires you to explain a particular research subject in detail while presenting a specific view about the issue, event, or circumstance. An explanatory essay entails extensive research to uncover facts and examples to support your standpoint. It doesn’t have to be the author’s perspective; you can also present third-party views from other people.

The nature of such essays does not require intense debates and criticism to prove the analysis. With a simple explanation of the research objective and standpoint, the paper will communicate your ideas without any complicated jargon. Thus, if you follow a proper format, you can compose a meticulous paper.

Usually, the writer picks a topic and develops the arguments from a certain angle, giving the audience room to debate the analysis. However, your perspective must have sufficient evidence to prove its feasibility.

However, most students make the mistake of believing that explanatory essays should be one-sided in the arguments. Instead, explanatory papers entail demonstrating an objective perspective about the topic in question. The principal purpose is to describe clearly and logically the turn-out of events.

Ultimately, the audience must comprehend why you arrived at the outcome, even if they have opposing opinions.

How to Start an Explanatory Essay

It can be pretty challenging to start this paper if it is the first time to tackle an explanatory essay.

Thus, it would be best if you took the time to prepare a few things during the prewriting phase to ensure you craft an organized and logical paper. For instance, you have to pick an interesting topic, research, design an outline before essay composition.

Below are steps to follow when writing an explanatory paper.

Picking a Topic

The first step entails topic selection if your tutor has not assigned one to you. Carry out a thorough brainstorming session to come up with significant ideas. It is advisable to narrow down your thoughts to something you can write about. A familiar topic is much easier to maneuver than a challenging subject with rare research sources.

In-depth Research

Research is vital since you can start expounding on the main ideas and get sub-topics and more factual information. Make sure you jot down meaningful quotes, facts, and statements that you can later use when drafting your paper.

Design an Outline

Ensure you have a detailed outline that captures all the significant points from your research. It will speed up your writing, giving you an idea of what to write in each section.


The next step entails coming up with the first draft of your expository paper. Expound on the significant themes to build your essay and refine it as you proceed with the writing. It might take long hours of putting all ideas in an organized and logical form. Thus, don’t rush through because you might miss out on essential parts.


Finally, review your expository paper by thoroughly editing and eliminating all the primitive errors, such as typos and improper sentences. Proofread your work and submit a polished paper to your professor.

Though the expository paper might seem quite technical, you can get it right if you have a helpful guideline. If not, you can contact competent experts from our service for top-notch academic writing assistance.

Explanatory Essay Structure

Not many students know how to structure an explanatory essay. While it may seem complicated, the paper follows the standards of a typical essay. With a captivating introduction, detailed body text, and powerful conclusion, you are set to get an A grade for your expository paper.

Ensure the introduction is clear with a thesis statement that presents the paper’s research intention and a hook sentence to capture the audience. The main body comprises several paragraphs that explain the central topic and extended analysis with supporting facts.

Finally, the conclusion is a recap of the entire paper, revealing the impact of the study.

How to End an Explanatory Essay

It is imperative to end your paper with powerful remarks and reflective thoughts. Link your major themes in summary sentences while paraphrasing the thesis statement. Draw the readers by allowing them to feel the implication of your analysis.

Explanatory Essay Outline

It is essential to have a proper plan in place to simplify your work. Designing an outline is one way of organizing your ideas and ensuring you stick to the main subject. An explanatory outline will guide you in laying out your thoughts systematically.

Below is an overview of the explanatory essay format:


  • Include a hook sentence
  • Brief topic explanation
  • Thesis statement

Main Body

  • Include a topic sentence
  • Support your argument with factual data
  • Use examples
  • Explore one topic per paragraph
  • Use effective transitions


  • Paraphrase thesis statement
  • Summarize major points
  • Highlight value of the study

Explanatory Essay Introduction

Introducing any academic paper might seem complicated, and an explanatory essay is no exception. You have to capture the audience using a hook sentence. It can be a compelling question, a striking statement, or a fact that evokes the readers’ curiosity about the subject in question.

Make your introduction clear and brief, since lengthy sentences might bore the audience into not reading your essay.

You must also include a short explanation about the subject to allow the readers to know your research intentions. Not forgetting to develop a thesis statement that reveals the main objective of the explanatory essay.

Explanatory Essay Body

The main body text usually comprises three paragraphs, but it depends on the paper’s parameters and complexity. This section is the backbone of the essay since it holds the arguments, explanations, and supporting data. You should explain each significant idea in its paragraph to avoid confusion and disorganization.

Each paragraph should explain the idea with factual data and proof to support the argument. Fact-checking is essential since it plays a role in the explanations in this section.

Moreover, you have to incorporate logic and transitional flow to allow the audience to comprehend your paper with ease.

Explanatory Essay Conclusion

This is a decisive section that determines whether your explanations were successful or not. Here, you must first paraphrase the thesis statement to refresh the readers on your initial research goal. Include a summary of significant points in the paper while highlighting the value of the analysis.

Since the readers will have the last remarks in this section, make sure your conclusive statements are striking and memorable. Moreover, you can inspire the readers to continue researching the topic further to gain more helpful information.

There is More We Need to Tell You

Ultimately, composing an explanatory paper requires more than writing skills and research. Express your thoughts clearly in simple language to avoid confusing the readers. Moreover, you can express your standpoint even if the audience disagrees.

Explanatory essays are systematic since they involve exploring ideas, evidence evaluation, and elaboration while presenting arguments logically.

Check out the tips below to assist you in crafting an exceptional explanatory essay.

Pick an Appropriate Topic

Sometimes your tutor will give you the freedom to pick an essay topic. Thus, you must read the essay prompt carefully to have an idea of the paper’s parameters. Select a theme you are familiar with to avoid deviating away from the main subject. It is easier to craft a great essay on something you are interested in rather than exploring a complicated subject.

In-depth research

It is imperative to do your research extensively in the prewriting phase to ensure all the significant points are well-elaborated. Fact-checking is a critical aspect that determines the essay’s value. Thus, you should set aside adequate time to research reputable sources while jotting down relevant information.

Outline Creation

Designing an explanatory outline is necessary since it acts as a thought-builder during the drafting phase. Having an outline will simplify your writing, and you can deliver your work within the required time frame. It acts as a guide that lets you expound on the significant points.

Review Your Papers

Finally, after the final draft, you can eliminate errors and polish your explanatory paper in readiness for submission to your tutor. Edit and proofread the paper thoroughly to ensure it meets all the required academic standards.

Finding it challenging to craft an explanatory paper? Contact our expert essay writers and submit a flawless essay.

George Lynch
George Lynch
Literature, Psychology, Religion
Experience: 3+ years
I’ve been enjoying academic writing since day one in college. Today, having a full-time job, I’m still looking forward to writing essays and research papers online for others.
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