Apa Format For Expository Essay

How To Format An Expository Essay In The APA Style

Are you writing an APA style expository essay, but have no idea how to format it? Then take the time to learn how to do so, and it will ensure you will not get penalized for any formatting errors. Getting the formatting right is not that difficult when you take some basic guidelines into account – it’s easier than you might think. With that notion in mind, read on for some APA style formatting guidelines when writing your expository essay:

Basic formatting Tips

Here is a list of some basic formatting tips to follow:

  • Font:
  • the font must be 12 in size and the style has to be Times New Roman.
  • Line spacing:
  • it is a general requirement that all the pages of the work must have double spacing. You can easily do this on any word processing software.
  • Indenting:
  • every single paragraph that you write must have the first line indented. This can be done by pressing the tab button, and continue to write as you normally would. This can be an easy one to forget, so check back once you have completed the draft of the expository essay.
  • Headings:
  • it is important to use clear headings that describe the section which is to come. For example, this could be the method, discussion and conclusion sections of the project. The headings should be capitalized, in boldface and centered. This will create a neat layout for your project.
  • References:
  • a section must be included where references are placed so that you show where you get the information from. An extra page should be dedicated to this.

If you follow these general formatting rules then you will have an easy time writing your expository essay in APA style.

Title Page

A title page must also be included for your project, and here is what it must contain:

  • The name of your supervisor who is running the course
  • Your name
  • Name of the course that you are taking
  • The title of the project

The title page is a formality, but it must be done correctly to get the full marks. In some cases extra items might need to be included. Find out from your supervisor if this is the case for your specific project – it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Expository Essays


The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.

Contributors: Jack Baker, Allen Brizee, Elizabeth Angeli
Last Edited: 2013-03-11 10:04:15

What is an expository essay?

The expository essay is a genre of essay that requires the student to investigate an idea, evaluate evidence, expound on the idea, and set forth an argument concerning that idea in a clear and concise manner. This can be accomplished through comparison and contrast, definition, example, the analysis of cause and effect, etc.

Please note: This genre is commonly assigned as a tool for classroom evaluation and is often found in various exam formats.

The structure of the expository essay is held together by the following.

  • A clear, concise, and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay.

It is essential that this thesis statement be appropriately narrowed to follow the guidelines set forth in the assignment. If the student does not master this portion of the essay, it will be quite difficult to compose an effective or persuasive essay.

  • Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion.

Transitions are the mortar that holds the foundation of the essay together. Without logical progression of thought, the reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument, and the structure will collapse.

  • Body paragraphs that include evidential support.

Each paragraph should be limited to the exposition of one general idea. This will allow for clarity and direction throughout the essay. What is more, such conciseness creates an ease of readability for one’s audience. It is important to note that each paragraph in the body of the essay must have some logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph.

  • Evidential support (whether factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal).

Often times, students are required to write expository essays with little or no preparation; therefore, such essays do not typically allow for a great deal of statistical or factual evidence.

Though creativity and artfulness are not always associated with essay writing, it is an art form nonetheless. Try not to get stuck on the formulaic nature of expository writing at the expense of writing something interesting. Remember, though you may not be crafting the next great novel, you are attempting to leave a lasting impression on the people evaluating your essay.

  • A conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided.

It is at this point of the essay that students will inevitably begin to struggle. This is the portion of the essay that will leave the most immediate impression on the mind of the reader. Therefore, it must be effective and logical. Do not introduce any new information into the conclusion; rather, synthesize and come to a conclusion concerning the information presented in the body of the essay.

A complete argument

Perhaps it is helpful to think of an essay in terms of a conversation or debate with a classmate. If I were to discuss the cause of the Great Depression and its current effect on those who lived through the tumultuous time, there would be a beginning, middle, and end to the conversation. In fact, if I were to end the exposition in the middle of my second point, questions would arise concerning the current effects on those who lived through the Depression. Therefore, the expository essay must be complete, and logically so, leaving no doubt as to its intent or argument.

The five-paragraph Essay

A common method for writing an expository essay is the five-paragraph approach. This is, however, by no means the only formula for writing such essays. If it sounds straightforward, that is because it is; in fact, the method consists of:

  1. an introductory paragraph
  2. three evidentiary body paragraphs
  3. a conclusion

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