How to write an explanatory essay

An explanatory essay is a writing style in which the author expresses a viewpoint on a particular topic, case, or circumstance.

In this essay type, you present facts or arguments from others in an objective manner. In other words, simply encourage readers to draw their own conclusions rather than persuading them to agree or disagree with a point of view.

Step 1: Explanatory essay topic

An explanatory essay may seem difficult to find a topic about, but it is actually quite easy.

As long as it fits within the instructions of your assignment, you can describe almost everything. Explanatory essay topics are usually assigned to students beforehand. 

But if you need to choose your own topic, it is better to consider some factors.

Explanatory essay topic checklist

For this guide, we will be choosing the topic of the events that led up to World War I in our explanatory essay. We choose this topic because it is fact-based and non-controversial.

Step 2: Planning and researching

Strong arguments to support the main theory are the secret to a well-written explanatory essay. Therefore, you must remember to do proper research and data collection before starting the writing process.

This essay type relies mainly on data and research. You need to make a list of all the critical details from your references and include them as facts in your essay.

Research checklist

Step 3: Thesis statement and outline

Once you’ve gathered all of the necessary data, the next and most critical step is to write a thesis statement.

The thesis statement communicates your overall perspective on the issue concisely. In other words, you’re showing what you’ll be telling your reader. A strong thesis statement sums up what you’re going to say in your academic essay.

For our sample explanatory essay on the events that led up to World War I, we have created this thesis statement:

Explanatory essasy thesis statement example


....(introduction starts)
....(introduction continues)
....(introduction continues)
Militarization, colonialism, and mutual defense treaties heightened tensions among European countries, leading to the outbreak of World War I. Thesis statement, which is usually the last sentence of your introduction

With this thesis statement, we have made it clear what the essay will be about and stated the main points in the essay.

Prepare an outline

Preparing an essay outline will help you organize your headings, findings, and thoughts. If you do not want to prepare an outline, you can try mind mapping or writing your thoughts on individual index cards, as in the old days.

essay outline infographic (740 × 540 px) 3

Step 5: Explanatory essay introduction

The hook sentence, contextual information, and thesis statement are the three critical components of the explanatory essay introduction.

World War I was one of the most destructive battles in modern history. Because of the war’s global effect and historical importance, it is also known as “The Great War.” Hook: Write something interesting, a fact maybe, to draw the attention of the reader. World War I was the first global disruptive battle in which Western Civilization had ever been involved. The War has been the subject of several studies that have presented numerous factors contributing to the outbreak of the conflict. Background: Inform the reader about the subject by providing a background of the issue. The studies on the war tell us that militarization, colonialism, and mutual defense treaties heightened tensions among European countries, leading to the outbreak of World War I. Thesis statement: State your main argument on the subject.

Introduction best practices

Step 6: Body paragraphs

Unless the subject is highly detailed, the body should most certainly include three paragraphs, each with its own topic sentence. Here are the steps to a great body paragraph.

Militarism, which was one of the leading concepts that caused World War I, was highly relevant during that time. Topic sentence: Start with a topic sentence that supports your main argument on the subject. Militarism is the creation of military forces for both national defense and imperial interest’s security. Context: Provide contextual information so the readers understand the issue better. A race of guns had started between the world’s leading powers at the beginning of the 20th century. By 1914, Germany had increased its military spending the most. Furthermore, the military establishment, especially in Russia and Germany, began to exert a significant impact on public policy. Background: Provide additional background information in detail. This rise in militarism prompted countries to join the war effort. Closing sentence: Finish the paragraph by explaining and evaluating the arguments of the paragraph.

Four steps to a great body paragraph

Step 7: Explanatory essay conclusion

In the conclusion paragraph of an explanatory essay, three key elements must be used.

After all, it is clear from these points that militarization, colonialism, and mutual defense treaties were the main events that led up to the outbreak of World War I. Restatement: Restate your main argument in the conclusion. The rise in military power led the countries to join the war. Colonialism practices of some European countries had derived from the quest for bigger empires. This increased rivalry culminated in an increase in warfare. This moved the globe closer to World War I. Also, countries throughout Europe developed mutual defense alliances over time, which gradually drew them into war. Summary: Mention the key points of your body paragraphs. All these practices and concepts were steps toward World War I, a destructive war whose effects we still feel today. Concluding sentence: Finish the essay with a memorable sentence to attract the readers.

5-Paragraph Explanatory Essay Example

The Israel-Palestine Conflict: Essence and Outcomes


The conflict between Israel and Palestine is one of the most enduring and complex conflicts in the world. Catchy hook sentence It has its roots in a long history of religious and political tensions, and its outcomes have been devastating for both sides. Background information on the conflict This essay will explore the essence of the Israel and Palestine conflict and the outcomes it has had. Thesis statement

Body paragraphs

The Israel and Palestine conflict began in the early 20th century when Jewish immigrants began to settle in Palestine, then part of the Ottoman Empire. Topic sentence: The origin of the conflict After World War I, the League of Nations granted Britain a mandate to administer Palestine, with the goal of establishing a Jewish homeland. Establishment of Israel and Arab countries' attacks In 1948, Israel declared its independence, and Arab countries attacked it, leading to a series of wars and conflicts that have continued to this day. Root causes of the conflict

The essence of the conflict lies in the competing claims of Israelis and Palestinians to the same land. Israelis see Israel as their ancestral homeland, while Palestinians see it as the land of their ancestors, who have lived there for generations. Competing claims of Israelis and Palestinians Moreover, the conflict is fueled by religious and cultural differences between Jews and Arabs. Religious and cultural differences Israelis are predominantly Jewish, while Palestinians are predominantly Muslim, with a Christian minority. Essence of the conflict

The outcomes of the conflict have been devastating for both Israelis and Palestinians. The ongoing violence has resulted in thousands of deaths and has led to the displacement of millions of people. Topic sentence: Outcomes for both The conflict has also had a profound impact on the region, destabilizing neighboring countries and contributing to the rise of extremism and terrorism. The conflict has also had a negative impact on the economies of both Israel and Palestine, as businesses have been disrupted and investors have been scared off. Negative impact on the economies and region


In conclusion, the conflict between Israel and Palestine is a complex and enduring conflict with deep roots in history and culture. The competing claims of Israelis and Palestinians to the same land, as well as religious and cultural differences, have fueled the conflict. Recap of the conflict and its essence The outcomes of the conflict have been devastating for both sides, resulting in widespread violence, displacement, and economic hardship. Reiteration of the outcomes The conflict is ongoing, and a resolution remains elusive, but it is important to continue to work towards peace and understanding between Israelis and Palestinians. Concluding sentence

Key takeaways

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Ibrahim Akturk
Content editor at Tamara Research. Translation major, huge coffee and baking nerd. Addicted to good music and great articles.