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How to Start an Explanatory Essay: Sample Format, Outline, Topics, and Graphic Organizer

In the course of your college life, you’ll be required to write various essays. One such piece is the explanatory essay. It will help you not only understand the topic of discussion but also help others know the subject better. 

To best write your explanatory essay, you will need to know what it is, the structure, dos, and don’ts, as well as the writing process. Below, we provide all the necessary information you need to craft an engaging, informative, and helpful explanatory essay. 

What is an Explanatory Essay?

As the name suggests, an explanatory essay seeks to provide comprehensive information surrounding the matter in question. Here, you will be providing facts to elucidate on a subject and describe what happened. You will be making claims and offering evidence to support the claims. 

You should be careful not to veer off to other forms of essays, such as a persuasive essay where you want the reader to see things from your perspective. In the explanatory article, you will be discussing a topic, and it doesn’t matter whether the reader is convinced to see things as you see them. Your goal remains to explain and provide all there is to the subject. 

Key Elements of an Explanatory Essay

I. Pre-Writing Stage 

Before you start writing your essay, some important things should precede this exercise. 

1. Understand the Prompt 

Your tutor is likely to provide you with a topic, or he/she may leave that at your discretion. You’ll have a prompt that will give the topic instructions such as word count, referencing style, font type, and writing context. Read and reread these instructions to help you in the planning phase. 

2. Choose your Topic Carefully 

Topic selection is the next major step after you’ve understood what is required of you. You should choose a topic that interests you in your area of study. For example, if you are a history student and are passionate about human rights, you may choose to discuss the holocaust.

Something else, the topic should have enough information to research from and explain the issue better. Enough resources ensure that you have enough claims and corresponding pieces of evidence to discuss. However, if you love a topic and there is nothing much to write about, you will likely fill your paper with fluff, reducing its quality. 

3. Read Widely 

In this planning stage, you should read widely to see how exceptional writers have crafted explanatory essays, word selection, and usage as well as organization. I’m sure you’ll get helpful content and ideas that will be very instrumental in the writing stage. It helps to put down some notes and key points as you explore content online. 

4. Create an Outline 

An outline will help you organize your main ideas in a fluent and engaging manner. Since most explanatory essays have five paragraphs or thereabout, you will allow the right number of words per section. 

At this stage, you also settle for your main points, resources to use, and word count per section. 

II. The Writing Stage 

This is the main section of your explanatory essay. It has three parts, that is, the intro, body paragraphs, and the conclusion. 

1. Craft a Strong Intro 

Although this is the first part of the essay, it helps to write it last with the conclusion. The reason is this; some new and vital ideas may come up as you write the body paragraphs. If you had completed the intro, you would have to rewrite it to encompass the new line of thought. 

When writing the introduction, start with a hook. It involves something captivating that will grab the reader’s attention. It can be a personal story, a shocking statistic, or an anecdote. 

Finish with a thesis statement. This is a summarized sentence or two regarding what will paper will discuss. 

2. Writing the Body Paragraphs 

The body of the explanatory essay discusses the main ideas. In most cases, it will involve three paragraphs. Start each paragraph with a new claim and use the rest of the paragraph to support and explain your assertions. Evidence-based arguments is the basis of the body paragraphs.

Ensure you don’t bring your own opinions unless the prompt allows you. Also, remember the purpose is to explain or discuss the topic of interest and not to persuade your readers. 

3. Concluding your Explanatory Essay 

In this last section, you are tying up your essay. You will restate your thesis statement, using different words, and help the reader see why the piece was important. Do not just summarize your main points. Make it engaging and captivating as well. 

III. Post-Writing Phase 

After completing your paper, there are few things remaining before you can submit your essay. 

1. Proofreading and Thorough Editing 

This stage involves rereading your prompt instructions to make sure you followed them, checking grammatical, and syntax errors to address them. To maintain clarity of your essay, you’ll need to rewrite some sentences and delete others. It is an inevitable process of refining your essay. 

As you make the changes, keep the word count in mind. Sometimes after the changes, you will need to add more words. That is why it is advisable to write more words such that even after editing and refining, you are still within the word count range. 

2. Get a Second Opinion 

Most times, when we edit our work, we fail to see some mistakes, since we read from our mind and not what is written. If you have peers also writing explanatory essays, you can give them your work for a review. They can highlight areas that you might need to revise. 

When this is done, you can confidently submit your work and wait for an excellent score. 

Final Thoughts

Writing an exceptional explanatory essay involves finding the right topic, writing a compelling introduction, and evidence-based claims on the body paragraphs. You’ll need to plan yourself before writing and also proofread and edit your work before submission.

Reading other explanatory essays will help you structure your essay better and write clearly and succinctly. If you still feel stuck, we can help you write your essay at an affordable price and submit within the deadline.

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