Expository Essay Outline: Organize your Essay’s Sentences Perfectly!

expository outline

The expository essay is a report or objective presentation of a subject, event, or situation. Given its objective nature, sticking to a sensible expository essay outline is crucial in constructing a clear, complete and easily understandable coalition of facts and views regarding a topic. This type of essay requires you to inform, explain, clarify, or instruct using definitions, facts, examples, or other people’s opinions—all this apart from your own criticism and argument.

The outline for this essay type is as follows:

    1. Introduction Paragraph

The introductory paragraph includes 4-6 sentences which may be broken down into the following:

      • Attention-grabber – This may be an interesting statistic, a word picture, a quotation, a unique fact, a question, or even a line in a song that pertains to your topic.
      • Thesis statement – This is a line that expresses the main essence of what your essay is all about. Avoid elaborating it at this point; keep it simple and clear.
      • Your 3 main points – This will enumerate the main points your essay will tackle, arranged in the order that you plan to present them in. You may use one sentence for each main point, or combine your three main points in a single sentence.
      • Concluding or transitional line – This sentence will conclude your introduction and smoothly carry your reader on to the next paragraph.
    1. Body

This part of the expository essay outline consists of paragraphs that will support your thesis statement. Each paragraph centers on a single main point, and these paragraphs are organized as you mentioned them in the introduction.

For better organization and readability, first consider your three main points and state them as topic sentences. A topic sentence is a line that encapsulates the main idea of a paragraph. Once you’ve formulated your three topic sentences, use each of them to start each paragraph in the body of your essay. Then fill out each paragraph with sentences that support each topic sentence. To illustrate the outline:

      1. Body paragraph 1
        • Topic sentence
        • 2-3 supporting sentences
        • Transitional or concluding sentence
      2. Body paragraph 2
        • Topic sentence
        • 2-3 supporting sentences
        • Transitional or concluding sentence
      3. Body paragraph 3
        • Topic sentence
        • 2-3 supporting sentences
        • Transitional or concluding sentence

Remember to use concrete and credible facts, details and information in writing the expository essay. Stick to objectivity and avoid giving your own criticism or opinion.

    1. Concluding Paragraph

The final part of the expository essay outline is the conclusion. Restate your thesis statement and your three main topic lines using slightly different wording. Finally, end with an interesting line that cleverly clinches your essay, making your reader smile or ponder about what you have written.


Peter Sinelly is an instructor of anthropology at the University of Central Florida. His professional interests include the theory of migration and island colonization, settlement patterns and ecological adaptation, history of ceramics, anthropology and underwater archaeology.