The number of academic writing genres is so expanding, that students always confuse the features of each of the styles. In college, teachers practice to assign them different types of an essay to train their writing skills. But they continue to confuse such elementary things as "narrative" and "expository" essay. However, the difference between these essay types is visible and clear. To uncover it, we want to you to take look at definitions of key words that reveal the purpose of these two variants of writing assignments.
What is the difference between words "tell" and "explain"?
"Tell" means to provide some information about certain subject or issue. "Explain" is to express the information on the topic in order to make it more understandable to the reader. So, in a narrative essay the writer tells a story, while in the expository essay the writer explains or describes the issue, provides guidelines to some process.
What to write in your expository essay?
The aim of the argumentative essay is to expand the information on the topic in a logical manner. The essay writer must support his ideas with relevant evidence. With its content and structure, an expository essay must resemble manuals, descriptions, and instructions. All these types of writing provide sufficient information on the topic in easy to understand the logical order. To be more precise, before you select argumentative essay topic, it is important to decide what essay variation you would like write. There are such types of it:
- Expository definition essay. Take a concept of the phenomenon and discuss the denotation and connotation of it.
- Expository process essay. Write the guidelines about the mechanics of making some particular process. Your goal is to instruct the reader.
- Expository classification essay. Here the aim of the write is to categorize the broad concept into smaller groups according to their function.
- Expository compare and contrast essay. The aim of any expository writing is to reveal the features of notions indicated in the topic. One of the most useful ways to detect these features is to compare and contrast them.
- Expository cause and effect essay. In this case, two objects must be indicated in the topic and the writer must explain how one object affects the other.
What is the key feature of expository essay topics?
As the main aim of the expository essay is to explain a topic in a logical manner, the topics must contain signal words that illustrate this action. Good expository essay topics usually start with words "Describe", "Explain", "Define". They show the writer the aim of the text he is going to write. The direction of this writing and idea creation is determined by the signal word stated in the topic. It is important to keep to the denotation of this word. For example, if it is written “to define” in the expository essay topic, you must provide a substantial definition of the object, but not reflects the effects of it on another object.
When should I make up a topic for an expository essay?
Students usually come up with expository essay topic on the prewriting phase of essay writing. Sometimes teachers offer the topic, but most often students use their own creative skills to define about what they will write. So, a topic of the essay determines the further actions of the writer. You cannot start writing an essay without a sharp clue about what to write. When you have a well-formulated topic, it is a half success of your final writing. During the selection of the topic take into account such criteria:
- the topic must be interesting for you to write and interesting for the audience to read;
- the topic must force the writer to conduct a research to present a content of correspondent quality;
- the topic must correspond to your academic level. Topics for high school students differ in the complexity with topics for college students. Mind it
- expository essay topic must be relevant to the subject on what you were assigned to write. For example, if your subject is “law studies” it is an unsuccessful idea to write about reasons of children obesity in high school.
- you must be able to find and show worthy evidence and examples on the topic. Without it, your topic cannot be fully covered and the writing will be poor.
Expository essay writing prompts: 50 best ideas
Teachers of many subjects can assign expository essay writing. That is why even if you know some prompts and a basic concept of this kind of writing it is still difficult to make up a worthy topic for the essay on a particular subject. So, we divided the most efficient topic ideas into groups according to the most popular subjects. Select the one you liek to write a perfect expository essay!
1. Personal experiences
Describing situations from your personal experience is the easiest way to make up a topic for your expository essay. It is a chance for a student to express his feeling about the certain issue or give an explanation of some phenomenon based on his experiences. This expository essay theme is a good source for your academic writing ideas because you can get much evidence with fewer efforts.
- Describe your first day at school.
- Explain how growing up with (or without) a sibling influenced on your personality.
- Describe what is it like to live with a pet.
- Explain how studying apart from parents raised your courage.
- Define the meaning of true friendship to you.
- Describe the hobby you enjoy doing and how someone could go about learning this hobby.
- Describe your favorite vacation place. Give reasons as to why you enjoy spending time there.
- Describe your first work experience and what skills and knowledge you gained during it.
- Explain how your favorite teacher affected your professional development.
- Explain how music influences your life.
The most frequent task at literature lessons is to create an essay on the topic concerning the literary work students currently study. Usually, all students differ in the aspects they pay attention during reading and analyzing of the book or a poem. Someone pays attention to characters, other treat seriously the general idea of the creation. To write an expository essay concerning topic from literature you must define what aspects you are interested in analyzing books the most.
- Define what writing style features are innate to the author of your favorite book.
- Compare the motives of protagonist and antagonist from the novel.
- Define the historical background of the main idea of the novel.
- Explain how modernism movement had been developing.
- Define the key signs of detective genre in the story.
- Explain the significance of the literary work for future generations.
- Describe the way how the author expressed social issues in the book.
- Define the significance of the author for the cultural heritage of a certain nation.
- Define who influenced the writing style of the author.
- Describe psychological subtext of the novel.
History is a subject that is compulsory for students of at nearly every major. Because the awareness of basic historical events is a must for educated person. To make an expository essay topic on this subject bear in mind that history studies the development of countries, its significant inventions, and outstanding personalities.
- Explain the consequences of the World War II for the United States.
- Explain the significance of technical progress in the history of the United States
- Explain the effect of newspaper invention.
- Describe the period of Great Depression in the United States.
- Describe the key aspects of John's Kennedy political activity.
- Define who is responsible for mass terrors in XXth century.
- Define current dangers of military activity in the Eastern Asia.
- Define the precursors of Civil War in The United States.
- Explain the significance of negotiations during military operations.
- Explain why some countries tend to implement Communism.
4. Social issues
Social topics is a win-win if you want to present the audience impressive and actual material. You only have to dig into current social problems of your local community and get the basis for topics from there. The source of social problems is hard to exhaust because new problems intensively appear in the society.
- Describe the reasons for rising teenage pregnancy rate.
- Explain social precursors of drug addiction.
- Describe three things you would like to change in your society and explain why you would change them.
- Define possible consequences of brothers and sisters constantly fighting
- Define current harmful hobbies for teenagers.
- Explain the social significance of wearing a uniform at school.
- Explain the possible consequences of dropping out of college.
- Describe the changes in communication in the last 20 years since the internet emerged.
- Explain why the tolerance in a workplace is crucial.
- Define the causes and effects of not voting in the elections.
5. Science and Technology
The advancement of technology is rapidly growing nowadays. Every day you can learn some new facts about science developments. So, if you want to have nontrivial expository essay topic that requires thorough research, choose something that refers to a technological area of study. Even if you are a Liberal Arts student, there are plenty interesting issues to dwell upon in terms of this theme.
- Explain why people should continue space exploration?
- Define the latest developments in human brain study.
- Explain how to cure of cold fast and on a low budget.
- Describe the significance of studies about black holes.
- Explain the current reasons of environment pollution.
- Define the most popular alternative sources of energy.
- Define the latest developments in searches for cure of cancer.
- Explain how basic knowledge of IT is essential nowadays.
- Explain the reasons people must use solar energy.
- Describe the long-term effects of global warming.
So you’re back here again, reading this blog post when you should actually be focusing on that expository essay homework that’s been lying on your desk for a couple of days now. The paper has gathered dust, and the places where you had written the word ‘topics’ and then listed a few of them have all been scratched out, presenting a motley of grayish dirt and bright blue ink. Right about now, you’re so uninspired that you’re actually up late into the night in the quest of that one topic that you can see and go “Eureka!” as if you’re the next Archimedes.
So, you want one topic, eh? A topic you could think of as the ‘The One.’ That topic that could be labeled as ‘It,’ which haunts and eludes Dean Moriarty and Sal Paradise in the legendary novel On The Road by Jack Kerouac. Well, we’ve got what you can safely term ‘a pleasant surprise’ for you. How about we give you 27 such essay topics that will not only pique your interest but even those who’ll be mercilessly and ruthlessly grading your essay? With one of these topics becoming the foundation rock of your essay, you’ll find yourself in a position where you just can’t wait to get started on the essay writing process.
1. Your school has a memorial. Describe in detail the history of that memorial as well the event or person that this structure commemorates.
Didn’t strike you that your school grounds could be a starting point for an outstanding expository essay topic? A topic like this is bound to grab the attention of your teachers. Who knows, even they may not know about the history of the memorial. Your research on this aspect is going to involve a little bit of groundwork so be prepared. To make this essay more exciting, you might consider adding in some folklore concerning the event or person it was built to honor.
2. Is there a link between the standard of education one receives and wealth? Explain your standpoint.
A rather controversial topic to pick but also one that can give you ample opportunity to display your analytical skills. Start by quoting studies and researches that have been carried out in this regard. In fact, this essay should be statistic-rich so ensure that you do your research really well and that the data you present doesn’t contradict with the stance you’ve chosen to take on this topic.
3. Why do teens wear makeup? Present your views with the help of supporting arguments.
Fascinating isn’t it? Most of us often wonder why this happens. Is it because the media has put forward an unrealistic image of girls through high school teen dramas that force teenage girls to look good at all times? Or is it because certain personality types (like ‘emo Goth’ for example) consider dark eye makeup to be a necessity? The research on this topic will shock you.
4. Can poor memory result in a good mood? Illustrate how it can with the help of examples.
There are so many news articles that have published researches stating that if you’re in a good mood, you’re most likely to forget things. Conversely, there are also studies that state the reverse as true. We suggest you carry out a short survey amongst your friends and family (and even teachers if you wish) and find out if this a common occurrence. This will definitely enrich your essay.
5. What are the pros and cons of owning a smartphone for a teenager?
In a world where we cannot even imagine a second without our most prized possession – our smartphones – this is sure to be an attention-grabbing topic. The good thing about using this one for your expository essay is that there’s plenty of research available on it, so you won’t be struggling on that account. The topic is also pretty straightforward and simple.
6. Write an essay on why marijuana has been one the most popular stimulant drugs throughout history.
As we already know, the use of marijuana is not something can be classified as ‘new age.’ It has been around for ages and is one the most popular drugs that have been used by kings and queens, celebrities and commoners alike. It’ll be wise to throw in a paragraph on the dangers of smoking marijuana.
7. Does technology have an effect on interpersonal relationships? If so, analyze how and why.
If you haven’t noticed yet, you too spend a lot of your time hooked on to your phone, tablet or laptop when friends, family or even your ‘bae’ try to talk to you. Virtual relationships have suddenly become much more important than real ones, with many youngsters these days even continuing year-long romantic relationships on Facebook and other such platforms. You can use these points to your advantage in your essay.
8. How can one be a good roommate when sharing dorms in college?
This is probably one of the biggest concerns of most students when they head out of the cocoon of high school and step into the world of college. Quibbles are quite common when two (or more) strangers are forced to share the same room. In your essay, you can shed some light on how such petty squabbles can be avoided and how roommates can live more peacefully with each other.
9. Is Donald Trump’s presidency going to affect the racist sentiments of America?
This a current hot-button issue that is sure going to attract a lot of interest. Due to its controversial nature, we suggest that you don’t take a strong stance and lean on either side of the fence as that can be too dangerous. Also, use only politically correct language in this essay as you don’t want to risk offending people.
10. Should same-sex marriages be made legal? Elaborate your opinion with the help of examples.
Another one on our list of topics that can have widely varying opinions is the issue of same-sex marriages. Yet again, we suggest you do not use offensive terms at all even though you can take a for or against stance for this essay. An analysis of the recent trends of same-sex marriages and how they affect society should be a part of your essay.
11. Should paper textbooks be completely replaced by laptops and tablets? Discuss.
In a bid to conserve natural resources and save trees, many schools have taken the jump from the traditional paper and pen mode of writing and reading to its digitized form, employing laptops and tablets as substitutes. You will have to present the pros and cons of such a move, and then draw a conclusion accordingly. Make this essay as data rich as possible.
12. Is there life on any other planet apart from Earth? If so, in what forms and where?
This would be your chance to put forward and prove all the crazy ET theories that you have! You can even draw inspiration from popular movies and use them as references to take this essay to a whole new level. You will get enough matter too on this subject. If your school allows, try and include a couple of real life pictures of extraterrestrial life on other planets to make it a more enjoyable read.
13. How can electronic clothing change the way people dress in the future?
This topic can be perfect for you if you’re as much of a fashionista as a tech junkie. Electronic clothing, or also what is known as smart clothing, has chips and mini-computers embedded in them. Discuss the practicality of electronic clothing, its advantages as well as disadvantages in your expository essay. You can throw in some references of how electronic clothing has been used in sci-fi movies as well.
14. How can one write the perfect cover letter? Illustrate with examples.
Well, what you learn from this topic can come very handy in the future as pretty soon you’ll be entering a phase of life where you will have to write plenty of cover letters for yourself. In fact, giving a sample in your essay can be a practical learning experience, and when your teacher grades you, you’ll know exactly where you went wrong which prospective employers are not going to tell you about.
15. You have been given the opportunity to come up with your own religion. Describe the religion you’ll create in detail.
We’d say this topic is a toughie. But at the same time, it’s one that can totally fire up your imagination, and make you feel like you have god-like powers. Well, jokes apart, for this essay you’ll first, have to carry out a deep research of the various major religions on this planet. Some ideas, of course, can be borrowed, but due credit must be given.
16. What are the advantages of learning a foreign language, and which languages will prove to be most beneficial? Support your choice with arguments.
Are you a wannabe polyglot? Or a big lover of foreign language movies? Your essay is supposed to focus on why schools insist their students learn a foreign language and how it can actually help in a person’s overall development. You can also bring the aspect of globalization into play over here. Round it off with a list of the most popular foreign language and why one should learn them.
17. How can freshmen choose the best activities to take up in college?
We bet you faced the same dilemma in the first semester of your college life. The good thing is, this essay will allow you the scope of sharing your personal experiences and what you learned from them. You’ll have to give some concrete suggestions on how students can make the best choice when it comes to taking up activity classes so do your research on the best practices.
18. Explain what you think are the negative and positive aspects of materialism.
You can love it or hate it, but you just can’t ignore the impact of materialism on modern day society. Every possession is now a status symbol. This topic is perfect for both who just cannot do without all their earthy possessions as well as for those who believe in delusional aspects of being materialistic. Starting with a meaningful quote that sums up the standpoint you’ve taken will be a great idea.
19. Does music have the power to affect one’s life? If so, how? Explain.
If you live, eat and breathe music, this topic is the one for you. Several studies have shown that music has some healing properties and can help those who have depression and stress. Music is also known to calm down agitated animals. You can include all of these points in your essay, and you can even borrow bits and pieces from the biographies of famous musicians and analyze how music changed their lives.
20. Why is teenage pregnancy on the rise? Analyze the social stigma associated with teenage abortion.
This is a sensitive topic, and you have to handle it with tact and maturity. If you plan to interview people as a part of your research for your essay, make sure you do not reveal their real names in your paper. You will have to analyze the causes of pregnancy in teenagers and how they handle the whole thing, including their families’ responses if they come to know.
21. Explain the role of curse words in day to day lives of people.
Curse words have proliferated our language more than acronyms, and these days it’s not uncommon to find people hurling slangs at each other for the smallest of issues. In fact, among the teens and students of the current generation certain erstwhile curse words have adopted positive connotations. So in your paper, you’ll have to analyze the evolution of slangs and why and in what situations people use these terms.
22. Explain the strategies that can be employed to sell an item that no one needs.
Time to bring your inner salesman/adman out! While it’s good to include the ways that advertizing pundits and sales gurus put forward, we recommend that you come up with some of your own innovative strategies. You can also include a sample ad as that’ll make your essay so much richer and fun to read. Make sure you have your best thinking cap on for this topic.
23. Discuss how obesity is affecting the productivity levels of individuals at work.
You can start by arguing that obesity not only has an impact on the economy of a nation but it can even lower productivity levels at work. Here too, you can resort to the large body of researches carried out on this topic. You’ll have to establish the relationship between obesity and productivity as well, and you can give you a few suggestions on how this trend can be curbed.
24. Is ignorance really bliss? Supplement your stance with arguments.
Presently, we live in a world where it’s become really difficult to ignore anything as everything a person does is broadcast live on social media. We’re more interconnected than we ever used to be. So in such a world, can ignorance be bliss? You’ll have to present the distinguishing factors between trivial and vital information and state which ones should be disregarded and which should be paid attention to.
25. Why do people shop impulsively? Discuss its effects.
If you’ve always been one of those who just splurges on a whim for things that are not even necessary, you can write about you why you did it and how you felt about it later in this essay. If you want you can give your personal shopping expenses and compare it with those put forward by the government and analyze how the numbers vary greatly for impulsive shoppers. This would be a cause and effect expository essay.
26. How can smart homes change the way we live?
Home automation is the next big thing, and this topic is for the tech geeks who are fascinated by the constant innovations in technology and just cannot do without virtual assistants such as Amazon’s famous Alexa. In your essay, talk about what makes up a smart home and how it’s actually making lives easier for people. On the flipside, also mention how it can lead to laziness and what are the technical difficulties an average user can face.
27. Describe the impact of video games on children and teenagers.
Board games are now an extinct species, and outdoor sports seem to be headed the same way as everything goes virtual. Now it’s about putting your VR headset on and swishing that motion controller left or right to get the feeling that you’re outside playing games. In your essay, you’ll have to evaluate whether playing such Video games is making children and teenagers smarter or lazier, and how it’s shaping their personalities and affecting their development.
Now that the battle is half won (you’ve chosen your topic from our list), the next part is facing the nemesis of writing. Don’t worry. Every essay has the same structure, and you can never go wrong if your paper has a solid introduction, a coherent main body and a brief conclusion.
If you’re still a bit nervous, JK Rowling has a few words to inspire you – “And the idea of just wandering off to a cafe with a notebook and writing and seeing where that takes me for awhile is just bliss.”