An explanatory essay, also known as an expository essay, is a piece of writing in which the author presents a detailed explanation or interpretation of a particular topic, situation, or event. The primary aim is not to persuade the reader to adopt a certain viewpoint, but to provide a balanced and unbiased analysis. This article will guide you through the step-by-step process of writing an effective explanatory essay.
The introduction of an explanatory essay acts as the gateway into your argument. It is the first impression that you make on your reader, and it sets the stage for the rest of your essay. So it is the first thing to consider when you start wondering how to write an explanatory essay. An effective introduction comprises three main components: a hook, some background information, and a thesis statement. Let’s delve deeper into each of these elements.
The first few lines of your essay are crucial, as they can either pique the reader’s interest or cause them to lose interest. Therefore, starting your essay with a compelling hook is paramount. This could be an intriguing fact, a provocative question, or a powerful statement related to your topic. The goal here is to draw the reader in and make them want to read more.
For instance, if you’re writing an explanatory essay about climate change, you might start with a startling statistic like: “According to NASA, Earth’s average surface temperature has risen about 2.12 degrees Fahrenheit (ca. -17 °C) since the late 19th century”.
Once you’ve hooked your reader, it’s time to provide some context and background information on your topic. This helps the reader understand what you’ll be discussing in your essay. It’s important to keep this section brief and relevant. Avoid going into too much detail, as you’ll have ample opportunity to delve into specifics in the body of your essay.
Using our climate change example, you might provide some information on what climate change is, why it’s a concern, and its potential impact on our planet.
The final element of your introduction is the thesis statement. This is arguably the most critical part of your introduction, as it clearly states the purpose of your essay and what you aim to explain. It should be concise, clear, and specific.
In the context of our climate change essay, a thesis statement might look something like this: “This essay aims to explain the causes of climate change, its potential impacts on global ecosystems, and measures being taken to mitigate its effects”.
The body of your explanatory essay is where the magic happens. It’s where you delve deep into your subject, providing detailed explanations and supporting evidence. The body of your essay should be composed of several paragraphs, each focusing on a different aspect or point related to your thesis statement. Each paragraph should follow a specific structure: a topic sentence, explanation, evidence, and a conclusion. Let’s break down these elements.
Every paragraph in the body of your essay should start with a topic sentence. The topic sentence introduces the main idea or point that will be discussed in that paragraph. It sets the stage and provides a roadmap for what’s to come. The topic sentence should directly support your thesis statement and provide a smooth transition from the previous paragraph.
For example, if your essay is explaining the impacts of climate change, a topic sentence might be: “One significant impact of climate change is the rise in sea levels”.
After introducing your main idea, it’s time to explain it in detail. This is your chance to delve deeper into the topic and provide your reader with a thorough understanding of the point you’re making. Be sure to stay focused and keep your explanation relevant to the topic sentence.
Continuing with our example, you might discuss why and how climate change leads to rising sea levels.
Once you’ve explained your point, you need to back it up with evidence. This could be facts, statistics, examples, or quotes from credible sources. Providing evidence not only strengthens your argument but also adds credibility to your essay.
For instance, you could quote a recent scientific study that shows the correlation between global warming and rising sea levels.
Finally, wrap up your paragraph with a concluding sentence. This should sum up the point you made and reiterate how this supports your thesis statement. It also provides a smooth transition to the next paragraph.
The conclusion is the final act of your explanatory essay, the curtain call that brings your performance to a close. It serves to reinforce your thesis statement, summarize your main points, and leave the reader with a lasting impression or thought to ponder. Here’s how you can craft a compelling conclusion for your explanatory essay.
The first part of your conclusion should restate your thesis statement. However, rather than merely repeating it verbatim, try to phrase it differently while preserving its original intent. This reminds the reader of the purpose of your essay and ties back to the main argument you’ve been making throughout your essay.
For instance, if your original thesis was, “This essay aims to explain the causes of climate change, its potential impacts on global ecosystems, and measures being taken to mitigate its effects,”; you might restate it as “We have explored the various factors contributing to climate change, examined its potential repercussions on our planet’s ecosystems, and discussed the steps being undertaken to curb its devastating effects”.
Next, briefly recap the main points you made in your body paragraphs. This serves to remind the reader of the journey they’ve taken through your essay and the key insights they’ve gained. Keep this summary concise and focused; you want to jog the reader’s memory, not rehash your entire essay.
Continuing with our example, you could say, “From the role of greenhouse gases in warming the earth to the alarming rise in sea levels and the global efforts towards renewable energy, we have delved into various facets of the climate change phenomenon”.
Finally, conclude your essay with a final thought or call to action. This could be a prediction, a suggestion, a question, or any statement that will leave the reader thinking about your topic even after they’ve finished reading.
In the context of our climate change essay, you might end with a call to action like, “As we stand on the brink of a climate crisis, it is incumbent upon each one of us to do our part in mitigating the effects of climate change”.
Writing an explanatory essay may seem daunting, but it becomes much more manageable when broken down into these clear steps. Remember, the goal is to present a well-rounded analysis, not to argue for a specific point of view. With careful planning and thoughtful writing, you can master the art of the explanatory essay and effectively share your insights with readers.