It is no secret that the world of academic writing is tough. You must be able to express yourself clearly, concisely, and persuasively to succeed. The trick is knowing how to present your thoughts, so they resonate with an audience.
This guide will explain how to start an explanatory essay and the various tips you can use to write one.
What is an explanatory essay?
An explanatory essay, by definition, is a type of writing that allows you to explain something. It can be about anything – a person, event, or thing – and you use your explanation to inform the reader about the topic.
Explanatory writing differs from descriptive essays, narrative essays (stories), and persuasive essays (arguments) because it does not attempt to argue, describe, or narrate; rather, it presents a view on a particular topic or event backed up by logic and research.
Explanatory essay format
The format of an explanatory essay is divided into three parts:
- The introduction: usually, one paragraph
- The body: three to four paragraphs, depending on the length of the essay
- The conclusion: one paragraph
Explanatory essay outline
The outline of your explanatory essay should be a clear and concise description of the main points you want to make in your introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion:
- Explanatory essay introduction: this is the first paragraph where you introduce your topic and its objective. Students are often advised to write a thesis statement after the introductory paragraph.
- Body paragraphs: these paragraphs provide details of your explanation or points. They also contain facts that support one another throughout each section with a smooth transitory flow to avoid confusion.
- Conclusion: your conclusion is your closing paragraph, which summarizes your points and gives your reader clarity on your essay.
How to write an explanatory essay
Below are tips and steps you should consider when writing an explanatory essay:
The first step in writing a good explanatory essay is to choose a topic. Good explanatory essay topics allow you to research broadly and write extensively. When researching, you write down your ideas, connect them, and include all relevant facts.
2. Provide evidence to support your point
To support your point of view, you should use facts and statistics, quotes from experts, and personal experiences. Provide factual information to prove your point by citing examples that are relevant to your topic. You can also reference quotes from experts who have studied similar topics.
3. Ensure the essay follows a logical structure
A logical explanatory essay outline is the backbone of your essay. You must organize your thoughts into a clear structure that shows connections between ideas and evidence.
Use transitions to make it easy to follow your readers and grasp your explanation. Transitions are words or phrases that help connect two sentences or paragraphs. Ensure each transition is relevant and appropriate for its place in the essay.
Transition words include furthermore, and, nor, firstly (secondly, thirdly, and so on), in addition, finally, similarly, nevertheless, likewise, also, hence, still, thus, and consequently.
4. Use the active voice
The active voice is more direct and concise than the passive. In addition, using the active voice will make your writing sound more dynamic because of its verb form.
5. Provide a conclusion
The conclusion is the last part of your essay, and it is important to ensure that you include relevant information. It summarizes your main points and reinforces your thesis statement. You can’t learn how to write an explanatory essay without learning how to write the perfect conclusion.
When writing, it is easy to get distracted and lose track of the objective of your essay. The best way to ensure this does not happen is by summarizing all relevant information at the conclusion of your essay.
You must end by reinforcing your thesis statement in your concluding paragraph. In addition to reinforcing your thesis statement, you can include new information and end with a quote or a strong hook.
6. Avoid clichés and flowery language
Wordiness can occur when you run out of things to say. You should always:
- Avoid using buzzwords
- Avoid using words that are too big or too small to make your sentence longer or shorter
- Avoid writing sentences with unnecessary words
- Avoid filler words
- Avoid repetitions
The key to explanatory writing is learning to express your thoughts clearly and succinctly. Following the guidelines above will give you a strong foundation for your explanatory writing and put forth a compelling explanation that adds value to the reader.