How to Create an Explanatory Essay in 2021

How to Create an Explanatory Essay in 2021

How do you start an explanatory essay? An explanatory essay is an academic paper that requires you to inform or explain to your readers about a specific subject. Make your explanation valid by providing evidence to support your claim. A high-quality explanatory essay begins with a unique outline.

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The main purpose of writing an explanatory essay is to provide your readers with objective and unbiased information about your discussion.  Make your explanation understandable by using simple language. The analysis that you perform on the subject of your essay needs to be factual, balanced, and fair.

When writing your essay, use words like “define” or “explain” and provide useful information to your readers. Also, answer any questions associated with the topic.

Explanatory Essay Structure

Writing high-quality essay requires that you understand the structure of your essay and use it to make your writing coherent. This will increase your chances of getting a good grade.

An explanatory essay uses the MLA format and the standard five paragraphs structure. Here is a structure of an explanatory essay structure

Paragraph 1: The first paragraph introduces your topic and captures your readers’ attention using a hook. Provide background information and context.

Finally, write your thesis statement, which is usually the last sentence of your first paragraph. The thesis sets the theme and goal of your entire paper.

Paragraph 2: Discuss your first point and provide supporting evidence

Paragraph 3: Discuss your second point and provide supporting evidence

Paragraph 4: Discuss your third point and provide supporting evidence

Paragraph 5: Provide a concise and succinct summary of your main discussion points and restate your thesis

How to Write an Explanatory Essay

The ability to create a structure for your explanatory paper is vital for successful completion of your writing. After understanding how to construct an explanatory structure, you need to follow these five steps to begin writing your essay.

1.  Select Explanatory Essay Topics

The first step in writing an explanatory paper is to brainstorm for topic ideas and selecting a topic. Your instructor might also provide you with essay prompts and instructions to help you in the process.

Carefully read and follow your instructor’s instructions. Make sure you select a topic that is not too broad or too narrow. The topic that you pick should be manageable enough for you to address it within the 5 paragraph structure of your essay.

Make sure it is relevant, significant, and interesting enough for you to enjoy researching and writing about the subject. This will make your paper engaging to your readers.

2. Explanatory Essay Outline

explanatory essay outline

An outline will help organize your thoughts in a logical manner. Readers will be able to follow and understand what you are explaining. An outline also simplifies your writing process. This will enable you to write and complete your work faster. An explanatory essay outline has the typical 5 paragraphs as follows


Hook – a first sentence that attracts your readers’ attention

Background information and context

A thesis statement or claim

Main Body

Body paragraph 1

Topic sentence 1 – 1st Fact + Evidence + Examples + Analysis

Body paragraph 2

Topic sentence 2 – 2nd Fact + Evidence + Examples + Analysis

Body paragraph 3

Topic sentence 3 – 3rd Fact + Evidence + Examples + Analysis


Summarize the main points and discuss the significance of your topic

Explanatory Essay Introduction

An engaging introduction will make the readers want to read more and find out more about your topic. Make sure you use a hook and provide background information to put your work in context. Finally, in the last sentence write your main idea. This is your thesis that will guide your writing and the readers throughout the text.


The three body paragraphs explain the main points you have stated in your thesis and support them with facts, evidence, and relevant examples. Depending on your subject, you can add another paragraph if necessary.

Make sure your thesis statement guides you so that you do not veer off the topic. Make your arguments concise but exciting and avoid fluff.


The concluding paragraph is the final paragraph of your paper that summarizes your explanation or analysis in the body section. This paragraph is precise depending on your topic and what you want your readers to do.  You can also include a call to action. A strong concluding paragraph should make the following checklist

  • Make a brief summary of your thesis, evidence, and facts.
  • The conclusion should be brief and to the point
  • Discuss the importance and significance of your subject
  • Expose unanswered questions in relation to the topic
  • Make a call to action depending on your topic and goal

3.   Explanatory Essay Draft

After you have identified your topic and you have also defined your outline, you can write your first essay paper draft. The explanatory essay outline will make your drafting process much easier. You will expand and elaborate on your points in the outline and make sure they are logically connected.

4.   Edit and Proofread your Paper


Carefully proofread and edit your work. Focus on grammar, correct spelling mistakes, and use the proper punctuation. Tools like grammar checking software can make the editing and proofreading process easy and fast.

When using the grammar checking software, make sure that the corrections you make are correct and logical. The software might not be 100 percent accurate. Also, check the tone, style, and readability of your essay and make sure it resonates with your audience.  

Take some time away from your work for a day or two and get a mental break before submitting your work. Come back and read your paper again with a fresh mind and pair of eyes.

This way, you may be able to notice some glaring mistakes that you did not pick the first time. You can also ask someone else to read your work and point out any errors that you need to correct.

5.   Revise your Work

A checklist can help you verify that your work is satisfactory or if you need to make some changes and polish it up a bit. Depending on your goal and topic, you can check your thesis statement and determine if it is strong enough.

Other areas you can check is the relevance of the evidence and examples you have provided. Look to see if there is any fluff or unnecessary information that you need to remove.

Check the transitions from one sentence to another and confirm if your choice of words is good and precise. Counter check your formatting style and make sure your content is engaging and effective. Most importantly, countercheck if you have followed all your instructor’s instructions.

Explanatory Essay Purpose

An explanatory essay is assigned to students to test their knowledge and skill in explaining or describing a subject. Mostly you will be assigned this type of essay towards the end of your school semester to test what you have learned. It is also an excellent way to introduce students to explanatory writing, which includes the following disciplines

  • Business
  • Journalism
  • Scientific writing

Examples of explanatory essays include news articles, business letters, term papers, press releases, and scientific journals. This type of essay is an important life skill, and most careers require you to have it.

5 Types of Explanatory Essay

explanatory essay

Explanatory essays come in five different types. Each of these types of essays require you to have an outline for explanatory essay before you can start writing. Here are the types of explanatory essay that your instructor may ask you to write

1.  Descriptive Essay

In this type of essay, you are required to make a vivid description of a specific subject. It could be a person, a place, or something you experienced. When writing a descriptive essay, you are allowed to freely express yourself and keep the readers interested in your content. This makes a descriptive essay unique.

2.   Process Essay

A good example of this type of essay is when you are writing a “How to” essay. The goal of your writing is to educate your readers on “how” they can do something.  You will need to describe the process to them so that they can learn. Some examples are “how to wake up early,” “how to lose weight fast,” or “how to become a good writer.”

3.   Comparison Essay

A comparison essay is where you will be required to compare and contrast two subjects. You will also need to point out key similarities and key differences. In this essay, you can use your analytical skills to describe differences and similarities. Like any other essay in this type of explanatory essay, you can use an explanatory essay outline template to make your work easier.

4.   Cause and Effect

In the cause and effect essay, you are required to write about why things happen and how they happen.  You will also explain the result of “how or why” things happen. You can find explanatory essay sample on this topic.

5.   Problem or Solution Essay

In this type of explanatory essay, you are writing about a problem and looking for ways to solve the problem. You will need to break down your essay into a brief explanatory essay introduction to the problem. You will also write more about the solutions.

Key Takeaway

The foundation of a successful explanatory essay is based upon the ability to create a functional outline before you start writing. You can use explanatory essay outline example to understand how to create outlines. This will make your essay writing process easier and set you up for a good grade. Most of the essays that you will write will require you to have an outline so that your paper can have a logical flow. Make sure you use an essay outline formula so that readers can follow your reasoning.

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