A. What Is Expository Writing?
什么是说明文？有逻辑、很直接地解释一个话题、阐明1个事物/现象... 基于事实说话，不掺加作者的想法/感受。The purpose of the expository essay is to explain a topic in a logical and straightforward manner. Without bells and whistles, these essays present a fair and balanced analysis of a subject based on facts—with no references to the writer's opinions or emotions.
说明文就是展露信息，把被说明的事物毫无掩饰地展示给读者。The word "expository" is a derivative of the word "exposition." As you can already understand from the name, the core task behind an expository essay is to expose information. Simply put, to expose something means to lay something bare, uncover, or discover information in a way to make it understandable for a reader.
说明文最爱用的词就是"explain", "define"。可以看看后面跟的例子，写作重点并不是讨论电脑改没改变学生生活，而是如何改的。A typical expository writing prompt will use the words "explain" or "define," such as in, "Write an essay explaining how the computer has changed the lives of students." Notice there is no instruction to form an opinion or argument on whether or not computers have changed students' lives. The prompt asks the writer to "explain," plain and simple. However, that doesn't mean that writing to explain is easy.
B. The Five-Step Process for Expository Writing
说明文是日常工作中最常用的文章体裁，很有技巧。Expository writing is a life skill. More than any other type of writing, expository writing is a daily requirement of most careers. Understanding and following the proven steps of the writing process helps all writers, including students, master this type of essay writing.
五步走。Here are tips for each part of the essay structure and writing process:
第一步写前准备。这步非常重要。包含：想想要被说明的对象、从哪几个角度说明——必须做调研（调研指南）、记点笔记——写下大纲。1. Prewriting——In the prewriting phase, students should take time to brainstorm about the topic and main idea. Next, do research and take notes. Create an outline showing the information to be presented in each paragraph, organized in a logical sequence.
第二步打草稿。2. Drafting——When creating the initial draft, consider the following suggestions:
- 开头段里需要有主题句：要说明哪几点，成为了主题句。主题句不要有主观想法，限定写作范围。The most important sentence in the introductory paragraph is the topic sentence, which states the thesis or main idea of the essay. The thesis should be clearly stated without giving an opinion or taking a position. A good thesis is well defined, with a manageable scope that can be adequately addressed within a five-paragraph essay.
- 开头段之后，3个设有分论点的主体段。主体段里要有一些支撑分观点的事实和例子。Each of the three body paragraphs should cover a separate point that develops the essay's thesis. The sentences of each paragraph should offer facts and examples in support of the paragraph's topic.
- 结尾段再次强调文章主题句——被说明对象是怎么被说明的——和主要分论点。The concluding paragraph should reinforce the thesis and the main supporting ideas. Do not introduce new material in the conclusion.
- 不要用第一人称。Since an expository composition discusses an event, situation, or the views of others, and not a personal experience, students should write in the third person ("he," "she," or "it"), and avoid "I" or "you" sentences.
- 总结来说，说明文结构一般是5段：开头+3*主体段+结尾段。开头：主题句；主体：给出支撑细节；结尾：整合总结。Expository Essay Structure: Usually, your essay is composed of five paragraphs. The introductory paragraph contains the thesis or main idea. The next three paragraphs, or body of the essay, provide details in support of the thesis. The concluding paragraph restates the main idea and ties together the major points of essay.
第三步检查。问问自己这6个问题。3. Revising——In the revision phase, students review, modify, and reorganize their work with the goal of making it the best it can be. Keep these considerations in mind:
- 你的文章是不是客观有逻辑，用了一些事实和例子支撑？Does the essay give an unbiased analysis that unfolds logically, using relevant facts and examples?
- 文中信息可以让观众理解吗？Has the information been clearly and effectively communicated to the reader?
- 有没有写了一些没用的？Watch out for "paragraph sprawl," which occurs when the writer loses focus and veers from the topic by introducing unnecessary details.
- 句型有没有变化？单词使用地精准吗？Is the sentence structure varied? Is the word choice precise?
- 用的连接词好不好？Do the transitions between sentences and paragraphs help the reader's understanding?
- 结尾段有没有告诉大家这篇说明文的价值？主题？支撑观点？Does the concluding paragraph communicate the value and meaning of the thesis and key supporting ideas?
- 感觉写的不对头，好好看看主题句，可能主题句有问题。If the essay is still missing the mark, take another look at the topic sentence. A solid thesis statement leads to a solid essay. Once the thesis works, the rest of the essay falls into place more easily.
第四步打磨。4. Editing——Next, proofread and correct errors in grammar and mechanics, and edit to improve style and clarity. While your essay should be clear and concise, it can also be lively and engaging. Having a friend read the essay helps writers edit with a fresh perspective.
第五步成型。可以写完分享给别人，寻求一些反馈。5. Publishing——Sharing an essay with a teacher, parent, or other reader can be both exciting and intimidating. Remember, there isn't a writer on earth who isn't sensitive about his or her own work. The important thing is to learn from the experience and use the feedback to make the next essay better.
- Paragraph 1: Introduction with a hook to grab your readers' attention, and a thesis statement that clearly presents the main concept and goal of your paper.
- Paragraph 2: Body, 1st point + supporting evidence.
- Paragraph 3: Body, 2nd point + supporting evidence.
- Paragraph 4: Body, 3rd point + supporting evidence.
- Paragraph 5: Conclusion with a concise summary of your key points and a thesis restatement.
- Create a hook with a disputable question or an interesting dilemma, to attract attention;
- Reveal the idea of your topic and purpose;
- Make a powerful thesis statement.
- Make it well defined;
- Provide facts;
- Help readers get the main idea of your essay;
- Define the intention of your writing.
- Focus on a single point in each of your three body paragraphs;
- Make what each paragraph focuses on clear;
- Provide supporting examples, facts, and arguments;
- Make smooth transitions between paragraphs;
- Where appropriate, explain the value and importance of your arguments.
- Start with a brief overview of key points, ideas, and arguments;
- Restate your thesis;
- Offer possible solutions (when appropriate);
- Explain the value of your research.
D. Expository Essay Variations
说明文有很多小的变体，下切地更细。Essay writing is a huge part of a education today. Most students must learn to write various kinds of essays during their academic careers, including different types of expository writing:
【Definition essays 下定义】，就是把某一概念说清楚是怎么回事。Definition essays explain the meaning of a word, term, or concept. The topic can be a concrete subject such as an animal or tree, or it can be an abstract term, such as freedom or love. This type of essay should discuss the word's denotation (literal or dictionary definition), as well as its connotation or the associations that a word usually brings to mind.
【Descriptive Essay 描述性文章】，描述一个事物、人、地方... Descriptive Essay: This is an essay in which the writer is asked to describe something.This could be a person, place, experience, situation, etc. Descriptive Essays are unique in the sense that you have a lot of freedom when it comes to the content. You should present something exciting or beautiful, all the while keeping the reader interested.
【Classification essays 分类】，大主题分为几个小主题。Classification essays break down a broad subject or idea into categories and groups. The writer organizes the essay by starting with the most general category and then defines and gives examples of each specific classification.
【Compare and contrast essays 对比比较】，2个事物之间说说异同。Compare and contrast essays describe the similarities and differences between two or more people, places, or things. Comparison tells how things are alike and contrast shows how they are different.
【Cause and effect essays 因果】，说清楚2者之间的关系。Cause and effect essays explain how things affect each other and depend on each other. The writer identifies a clear relationship between two subjects, focusing on why things happen (causes) and/or what happens as a result (effects).
【"How to" essays 如何做】，像是流程性作文，解释清楚步骤和过程。"How to" essays, sometimes called process essays, explain a procedure, step-by-step process, or how to do something with the goal of instructing the reader.
【Process Essay 流程作文】，基本和"How to"没什么区别，更关注一个过程。Process Essay: The classic "How To" assignment. The purpose of this essay is to teach the reader about a learning process: how to build a car, how to edit a paper, or even how to flirt with a girl.
【Problem/Solution Essay 问题与解决作文】，先有一个问题，通过说明解决问题的步骤来完成作文。Problem/Solution Essay: The universal standard prompt assignment. In this situation, we have a problem and are looking for solutions. The essay is broken down into a brief introduction to the problem, and filled with content about solutions.