Explanation of an Expository Paragraph
Different kinds of paragraphs serve different functions, and a skilled writer knows how to use them all. The expository paragraph is a relatively simple concept. Teachers of elementary and middle school sometimes use the “hamburger model” to explain the expository paragraph: the top bun is the topic sentence, the fillings are the body sentences and the bottom bun is the concluding sentence.
The word “exposition” refers to a type of discourse that “conveys information.” An expository paragraph, then, seeks to provide a reader with information on a given topic. This kind of paragraph conveys information in the manner of facts, statistics and other descriptive evidence, rather than arguing a viewpoint or trying to persuade the reader.
All effective expository paragraphs commence with a topic sentence that clearly delineates the direction of the paragraph. The next three or more sentences constitute the body of the paragraph and convey the information that supports the topic sentence. Finally, an expository paragraph ends with a statement that concludes the ideas presented, linking them back to the original topic sentence.
Non-debatable topics provide appropriate subjects for expository paragraphs. A description of an animal, scientific discovery or invention, famous person’s life, social issue or historical event are all appropriate topics that don’t require a writer to take a stance on. Because expository paragraphs are informative, they may require research if the writer is not already informed about the topic.
Students as young as grade three can learn to practice the concept of an expository paragraph. Being able to write an expository paragraph is a timeless skill, though; students in high school and even college use expository paragraphs in essays and reports.
Nadine Smith has been writing since 2010. She teaches college writing and ESL courses and has several years experience tutoring all ages in English, ESL and literature. Nadine holds a Master of Arts in English language and literature from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, where she led seminars as a teaching assistant.