Expository Essay Topics High School

List Of Fifteen Expository Essay Topic Ideas For High School Students


The expository style of writing or explanatory style is used to teach students how to explain or inform the reader about their topic of interest. This writing piece should not be opinionated but instead should present factual evidence about the topic at hand and allow the reader to develop an understanding of the topic based on what is being written.

Here is a list of fifteen potential topic ideas that will provide material for this assignment for any high school student project.

  1. Choose any person in the world whom you admire and describe why you admire them

  2. Pick an animal that you would like to become for just one day and describe why you chose that particular animal and what you want to experience

  3. Pick a day in the past or the future that you would like to travel to if it were possible to travel through time

  4. Describe the best book you have ever read and tell why it was your favorite

  5. Tell how your favorite teacher has influenced your time in school and what characteristics make them important to you

  6. Talk about your favorite place to go shopping and what makes that store the best

  7. Tell who your favorite musical artist or composer is and why you enjoy their work

  8. Compare the different styles of music and tell which one you feel is the most enjoyable to listen to

  9. Describe a day you spent with your family and tell why this day was memorable

  10. Talk about your best friend and why your relationship with them is important

  11. Describe your pet and why that pet is an important part of your family and life

  12. Talk about your favorite hobby and why you enjoy this activity

  13. Describe your parents and how they have influenced your life and the way you do things each day

  14. Describe your favorite subject in school and why you enjoy that particular course

  15. Describe your favorite automobile and why you like that particular style of transportation

The most important part of this style of writing and what the instructors will be looking for in the final composition is how you develop the reason for your choices. Each of these topics will allow you to present an argument for your choice and provide great topics for an expository essay.

After you have a topic idea, what's next? You have to develop information that you will put into your essay and decide on your audience and purpose. Then you will need to decide the point of view, tone, and style of writing you will use. Sound confusing? Don't worry. Just answer the following questions to get ready to write. You can open up a word processing program, copy these questions, and then answer them, or do it the old-fashioned way with paper and pen.

  1. Topic idea: ______________________________________________. (Write yours out.)
  2. What kind of expository essay is this? (How to? How does it work? Definition? Fact? Cause? History of?)

Gathering Ideas:

  1. List or cluster different aspects or parts of your topic.
  2. Circle the aspects which are most interesting to you. Cluster those.

Topic Evaluation:

  1. Do you have enough to say or too much? Do you need to narrow your topic or expand it?
  2. What sources can you use? Where can you find them?

Audience Evaluation

  1. What are some things your audience would be familiar with which you can compare your topic with?
  2. What do they already know?
  3. What would they be interested in knowing?
  4. What kind of tone would be best for this audience? (informational, satiric, humorous, folksy, professional?)
  5. Considering your audience, which point of view would be the most effective one to write in? Would it be better to write in the first person ("I" or "we"), second person ("you"), or third person (impersonal)?

Write Your Thesis

  1. Your purpose (What do you want audience to think, do, or know after reading? This will be related to what your audience doesn't know.)
  2. Turn your topic into a question: ___________________________________________
  3. Answer that question: __________________________________________________
  4. Make a thesis statement: _______________________________________________
  5. Essay map—sentence(s) which list main sub-topics: ______________________________________________________________ (These can be headers for sections of the paper.)

Essay Organization

  1. Which sort of organization would work best for you? Examples: chronological (in time), spatial (in space and time), process (step-by-step), topical (part-by-part), cause/effect, historical overview, comparison and contrast, or reverse expectations.
  2. Write a brief outline for how you will structure the body of the paper.

Intro and Conclusion

  1. Which of these introduction and conclusion ideas could you use? Reverse expectation, expectation fulfilled, scenario (imagined typical story, also called a case study), personal story, frame story, vivid description, conversation, definition, comparison and contrast, analogy, startling statistic or fact, quotation, story from book or movie.
  2. Choose the best one(s) for your essay and explain what you will do.

Tone, Voice, and Style

  1. Which person will you write in for your essay? (1st “I,” 2nd “you,” or 3rd “he, she, it.”) Why?
  2. What sort of tone will you have? Why? (Example: serious and informative, humorous, sarcastic, enthusiastic.)

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