A Detailed Guide to Prepare an Impressive Explanatory Essay

How to Write an Explanatory Essay

Any topic or situation that happened in the past can be analyzed through multiple viewpoints. It’s not wise to stick to only one angle of approach. The best way forward is to lay out an argument by making use of logic, statistics, and evidence to prove the validation of an idea. That is exactly what an explanatory essay is all about. It is one of the many assignments that university students get to write.

This type of essay can either explain a past event or your own point of view. The essay isn’t focused on criticizing or debating the information. Instead, you explain the data in a natural way. In this comprehensive article, you’ll learn how to compose a high-quality essay of this type.

How to Write an Explanatory Essay

What Is an Explanatory Essay

It is a kind of writing in which you as an author present a specific viewpoint on a particular topic or event. This viewpoint isn’t something with which you have to agree. But it must be research-based and logically oriented, so it becomes feasible.

You can commonly find explanatory essays in disciplines like journalism or history. In these disciplines, students are exposed to various situations and facts and encouraged to give unprejudiced explanations that are founded on facts, evidence, and statistics.

Authors determine a specific topic from among varied explanatory essay topics. Then they approach it from a certain angle. As this angle is a bit complex, it paves the room for explanation and discussion. At this point, students can make the mistake of defending a specific side of a viewpoint. You should remember that explanatory writing is not about focusing or defending a single side of an argument. Rather, you need to present a balanced and neutral viewpoint on the subject by giving authentic facts and theories.

After completing the essay, you should be well-versed with the idea, even if you don’t agree fully with it.

Different Types of Explanatory Essay

There are six types of explanatory essays. They are as follows.

Types of an Explanatory Essay

Compare and contrast essay

It is a kind of essay wherein you compare and contrast two different things. In this type of essay, the writer makes a comparison of all the similarities that exist between the two things they have selected. They also contrast all the differences that are present in the two things. The objects that you take belong to a single category.

For example, you can compare and contrast two high schools with each other. But you cannot compare and contrast a high school with a college.

Cause and effect essay

In this type of essay, you try to determine the cause behind something. Questions like why did a particular thing happen and what effects it can give rise to getting explored in them.

For example, you can find the cause and effect of eating excessive food on weight.

Problem and solution essay

In this essay, you provide an analysis of the issues and their resolution. The best way to attempt this is to give multiple solutions and elaborate on their pros and cons.

An example of a problem and solution essay is to examine the issue of coronavirus properly and suggest solutions to overcome the problematic situation.

Definition essay

In this type of explanatory essay, the writer has to provide an entire description of the issue. It revolves around the why, what, and how of the topic. The paper can begin with a dictionary definition of any topic and then move on to its extended definition.

Classification essay

This type of essay segments the topic into varied categories and groups. The writer explains the categories elaborately for the reader to attain more clarity on the topic. An example of this essay is to write about different kinds of footwear. Everybody paragraph in a classification essay will define the features of the different types of shoes.

Process essay

This type of essay is all about the procedure of something. For instance, how to cook a vegetable soup. This kind of essay comprises a stepwise process of doing or making something. For instance, describing the various steps of baking a cake.

What Is the Difference between an Explanatory Essay and an Expository Essay

Although many students consider both these essays the same, there are subtle differences between the two. There are some characteristics of an explanatory essay that differ from an expository essay. Here are the major differences.

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Characteristics and Outline of an Explanatory Essay

University students often wonder how to write an explanatory essay that pleases their professor. If you want to write such an essay, you need to know its outline and characteristics. Note that the outline varies according to the length of the issue and the data you are presenting. Most of these essays extend to a single or two pages in length.

Good explanatory essays consist of an introduction, a body paragraph, and a concluding statement. Here is how you frame the different parts of such an essay.

The introduction should have

  • A hook
  • Background data
  • Thesis statement

The body part has 3-5 paragraphs. Their purpose is to

  • Identify arguments with topic sentences.
  • Give evidence for the topic sentence by using the sources.
  • Describe the evidence and link it with the argument.
  • Conclude every para by strengthening your argument and describing its significance.
  • Using conclusion to flow into the subsequent para logically.

The concluding part of the essay should do the following

  • State the thesis statement once again.
  • Give a summary of the major points.
  • Provide a definite conclusion so the audience can get a final impression.

It’s important to understand the outline of this kind of essay to write it well. Here’s a brief explanatory essay outline for your convenience.


The introduction of an explanatory essay comprises three major elements. A hook, background data, and a thesis statement. These three things allow readers to glean information about what is actually included in your essay.

To make a good essay, you need to get your reader interested in your essay topic. For it, you need to present them with a hook statement. This statement can be an exciting fact or a thought-provoking quote.

After that, you can provide the relevant background information, but it should not seem like general knowledge. At the end of your introduction, include an explanatory thesis. It works to emphasize your major topic and remove any confusion about what is yet to be discussed.

Body paragraphs

There are three body paragraphs in explanatory essays. The number can extend to five if you are writing on a very detailed topic. For writing the body paragraphs, begin by presenting a topic sentence that describes the information you will be explaining. It should also transition the writing from the prior point to the subsequent one.

Thereafter, present a claim that backs the thesis. Then, write about the evidence that you have gleaned from your research. It validates the claim and strengthens your position. In the end, write a concluding statement that briefly describes the importance of the claim concerning the thesis statement. Repeat it three times for every one of your claims.


The main considerations when writing the conclusion of an explanatory essay include restating your thesis statement. When you restate your statement, it pulls the attention of the reader back to the main topic. It also adds more validity to your point of view.

The second thing is to briefly write the three supporting points that you have written in the body part. It’s important to restate the importance of every supporting point clearly and concisely. It will go on to showcase that you have appropriately and logically defended your thesis. It gives more weightage to your writing.

The last thing is to provide a concluding statement. It describes the value of the particular point of view from an international perspective. Your conclusion should give the people a call to action and stimulate them to learn about the topic in detail.

This is the basic explanatory essay outline that you should follow when you are composing this kind of essay.

Best Explanatory Essay Topics for 2022

Generally, students are pre-assigned topics on which they have to prepare explanatory essays. But in case your professor asks you to choose a topic by yourself, you should keep in mind that these kinds of essays are strictly based on facts and are unbiased. So, it’s best for you to choose a topic that does not cause any controversy.

You can describe practically any idea or event through this type of essay. Below are some explanatory essay topics that will prove useful for you when you have to prepare such an essay.

  • What is the impact of depression on the growth of teenagers – Depression impacts people in diverse ways. Those who suffer from it can exhibit changes in their diet to mood swings. It is a very vast topic in which you can cover many things.
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of social media in modern society – Many people are addicted to different social media channels. Although it provides a significant advantage of allowing individuals to share their ideas, it also has a certain negative impact on the minds of people.
  • What are the significant factors that led to the American Civil War – There were many causes of the American Civil War, from slavery to a feeling of power loss. You can explain them in detail.

Explanatory Essay Topics According to Its Different Types

As mentioned before, these essays are of six types. Here are some topics of each of its types.

Compare and contrast essays topics

  • Economic development and political turmoil
  • eBooks or conventional books
  • Android phone or iPhone
  • To be a part of social media channels or not.
  • Online classes vs. physical classes

Cause and Effect essays topics

  • The Civil Rights movement and its impact
  • The effect of the internet on children.
  • Consumption of alcohol and the nervous system.
  • The effect of professional sport on students.
  • The attraction of fast-food restaurants and its effects on the population.

Problem and solution essays topics

  • Immigrants who are undocumented
  • Mass shootings.
  • Sexual violence on educational campuses.
  • The brutality of the police force
  • Suicide

Definition essays topics

  • What is the meaning of democracy?
  • Classical music.
  • The idea of friendship.
  • What does it mean to be courageous?
  • What is the real meaning of love?

Classification essays topics

  • Different kinds of artists
  • Different types of exercises
  • Different music genres.
  • Different types of foods.
  • Different kinds of readers

Process essays topics

  • Explanation of the procedure to choose a suitable university.
  • How people can relieve a sore throat
  • How to get a driving license
  • How to make friends in university
  • How to travel alone in Asia

Useful Tips to Write an Explanatory Essay

Now that you are aware of the entire explanatory essay format read through some tips to create an impressive essay of such type. They are especially useful for those who have not yet composed this type of essay before.

  • Choose a topic that you can comprehend. Complicated topics can cause you to experience writer’s block. Pick a topic that’s neutral but still exciting enough.
  • Do extensive research from authentic resources to avoid putting any false facts in front of your readers.
  • Make an outline of the introduction, body, and conclusion. It will help you to organize your information and ideas.
  • Don’t forget to go through your essay to check for any grammatical or punctuation errors.

Summing up

Creating an impressive explanatory essay boils down to choosing an understandable topic, conducting thorough research, creating an outline, and checking for any silly grammatical mistakes. You can get inspired by the various topics given above pertaining to different types of this essay. Present unbiased views and ensure that you are backing your arguments with relevant evidence. Feel free to connect with an essay writing service if the need arises.