Barbara P.
Barbara P.

15 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing an Expository Essay

12 min read

Published on: Aug 8, 2023

Last updated on: Aug 15, 2023

Mistakes to Avoid in Expository Essay Writing

Are you struggling to write a clear and effective expository essay? Do you often find yourself receiving lower grades than expected due to common mistakes in your writing? 

If so, you're not alone. 

Many students struggle with expository writing, especially when it comes to avoiding common mistakes that can hinder their success.

But don't worry! 

In this blog post, we will explore some common mistakes to avoid when writing an expository essay. We will provide examples of essay mistakes and offer tips on how to avoid them. 

By the end of this blog, you will know what to watch out for when writing an expository essay.

For a brief breakdown of the elements of an expository essay, check out this video.

So, if you want to improve your grades and become a better expository writer, keep reading!

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Mistake #1: Lack of Clarity and Coherence

Clarity and coherence are vital in expository writing. Clarity means "the message of the text is clear," while coherence means "the ideas in the text are logically connected."

Without clarity and a consistent point of view, the reader may become confused and lose interest in the essay. Try to logically connect with the reader.

For example,
If a writer jumps from one idea to another without proper transitions can confuse readers.

Tips For Achieving Clarity and Coherence In Writing

  • Use simple and concise sentences.
  • Use transitions to connect ideas.
  • Use topic sentences to introduce new ideas.
  • Avoid using jargon or overly technical language.

Mistake #2: Weak Thesis Statements 

A thesis statement is the main argument or point that a writer is trying to make in an essay. A strong thesis statement is essential in expository writing to provide focus and direction to the essay.

A weak thesis statement may lead to a lack of direction in the essay or confusion for the reader.

For example, a weak thesis statement might be, "The ocean is big." This statement is too broad and doesn't provide any focus for the essay.

Tips For Writing A Good Thesis Statement 

  • Make sure the thesis statement is specific and focused.
  • Make sure the thesis statement is arguable and not a statement of fact.
  • Include the main points of the essay in the thesis statement.

Mistake #3: Insufficient Evidence 

Evidence is critical in expository writing to support the central argument or point. Without sufficient evidence, the essay may lack credibility.

For example, 
If a writer makes a claim without providing any evidence to support it, the reader may be skeptical of the argument.

Tips For Finding And Incorporating Evidence In Writing -H3

  • Use credible sources, such as scholarly articles or reputable websites.
  • Use data or statistics to support arguments.
  • Use examples or anecdotes to make arguments more relatable.

Also, the use of metaphors and analogies in your writing can amplify your message, ensuring that your ideas resonate with your readers.

Mistake #4: Poor Organization 

Organizing an expository essay is important to help the reader follow the writer's argument or point. Without proper organization, the essay may appear disorganized and difficult to follow.

For example,
If a writer jumps back and forth between ideas, the reader may struggle to understand the purpose of the essay.

Tips For Organizing An Expository Essay 

  • Use an outline to plan the structure of the essay.
  • Use topic sentences to introduce new ideas.
  • Use transitions to connect ideas.

Mistake #5: Inappropriate Tone

Tone refers to the attitude or feeling that the writer expresses in the essay. An inappropriate tone can make the writer appear unprofessional.

For example, if a writer uses slang or offensive language, the reader may not take the essay seriously.

The table below shows inappropriate tones with examples:

Inappropriate Tone



Clearly, the author of this article lacks basic knowledge about the topic.


Oh sure, because everyone knows that writing an essay is just so easy!


Writing an essay is a piece of cake. Just chill out and let the words flow.


As we all know, only ignorant people would disagree with my position.


Only an idiot would believe such a ridiculous argument.

Tips For Achieving Appropriate Tone In Writing

  • Consider the audience and the purpose of the essay.
  • Avoid using slang or offensive language.
  • Use a neutral tone to present facts and arguments.

Consistency in tone and voice contributes significantly to the coherence and smooth flow of your essay, allowing your ideas to unfold naturally.

Mistake #6: Incorrect Formatting and Citations 

Proper formatting and citations are crucial in expository writing to give credit to sources and avoid plagiarism.

Examples of incorrect formatting and citations include incorrect citation styles, missing information, or incorrect formatting of in-text citations and references.

Tips For Proper Formatting And Citation In Writing Include 

  • Familiarize yourself with the appropriate citation style.
  • Use citation generators or style guides to ensure correct formatting.
  • Double-check all references and citations for accuracy.

Mistake #7: Unclear Transitions 

Transitions are important to provide a smooth flow between ideas and paragraphs in expository writing.

Examples of unclear transitions include abrupt changes in topic or ideas without proper connections between them.

Here are some examples of unclear transitions with examples:

Inadequate Transitions


Abrupt transitions

"Moving on," "In conclusion," or "On the other hand" with no context or explanation

Non-existent transitions

Jumping from one idea to another without any indication that they're connected

Vague transitions

"Additionally," "Furthermore," and "Moreover" without providing a clear relationship between the ideas

Redundant transitions

Overusing transitional words such as "Therefore," "Thus," and "As a result," which can become repetitive

Confusing transitions

Using transitional words that don't match the relationship between the ideas, creating confusion for readers

Tips For Writing Clear And Effective Transitions Include 

  • Use transitional words or phrases such as "however," "meanwhile," or "therefore."
  • Avoid using repetitive transition phrases.
  • Use parallel structure when transitioning between ideas.

Mistake #8: Repetitive Language 

Using varied language in expository writing is essential to keep the reader engaged and avoid monotony.

Examples of repetitive language include using the same words or phrases repeatedly within a paragraph or essay.

Tips For Avoiding Repetitive Language Include 

  • Use synonyms or alternative phrasing.
  • Vary the sentence structure.
  • Use descriptive language and specific details to convey ideas.

Mistake #9: Lack of Analysis 

The analysis is a critical part of the essay, and it is important to convey ideas and support arguments effectively.

Examples of a lack of analysis include providing only surface-level information or failing to provide evidence to support claims.

Tips For Incorporating Analysis Into Writing Include 

  • Analyze the evidence and provide examples to support claims.
  • Consider multiple perspectives and opinions.
  • Offer insight and interpretation of the evidence presented.

Mistake #10: Failing to Answer the Prompt 

Addressing the prompt is essential to ensure that the essay stays focused and relevant.

Examples of failure to address the prompt include going off-topic or failing to answer the question posed in the prompt.

Tips For Addressing The Prompt Effectively Include 

  • Carefully read and understand the prompt.
  • Create an essay outline that focuses on the prompt.
  • Stay on-topic and avoid tangents.

Mistake #11: Lack of Synthesis  

Synthesis is important to combine information from multiple sources and present a cohesive argument in expository writing.

Examples of a lack of synthesis include failing to combine ideas or not considering multiple perspectives.

Tips For Incorporating Synthesis Into Writing Include 

  • Consider how different sources relate to each other and to the topic.
  • Combine ideas and evidence from multiple sources to support claims.
  • Offer a unique perspective or analysis on the topic.

Mistake #12: Overgeneralization  

Overgeneralization in expository writing occurs when a writer makes a sweeping statement without sufficient evidence.

For example, 
The statement "It is a fact that," is overgeneralized if stated without citing any specific sources to support the claim.

To Avoid Overgeneralization, Writers Should 

  • Use specific examples and evidence to support their claims
  • Avoid making sweeping statements or broad generalizations without proper evidence
  • Be cautious about using words like "always" or "never" unless it can be clearly supported with evidence

Mistake #13: Grammatical Errors  

Proper grammar is essential in expository writing to convey the intended meaning and ensure clarity.

Here are some examples of grammatical errors in expository essays:

Grammatical Error


Subject-Verb Agreement

The students was studying for the exam

Pronoun Agreement

When a person goes on vacation, they need to relax

Run-on Sentences

I woke up early this morning I didn't sleep well last night

Comma Splices

She loves to write papers, she also enjoys reading books

Incorrect Verb Tenses

Yesterday, I go to the store and buy some groceries

Misuse of Articles

Can you please pass a salt?

Misuse of Homophones

He ate two many slices of pizza

Incorrect Use of Prepositions

I'm going to the beach at Saturday

Lack of Parallelism

She likes to swim, dance, and reading books

Sentence Fragments

Although it was raining outside. I went for a walk

Tips To Avoid Grammatical Errors

  • Use proper grammar rules, including correct verb tenses and subject-verb agreement
  • Proofread their work carefully to catch any errors
  • Use online grammar tools to help identify and correct errors

Mistake #14: Use of Contractions and Informal Language

Formal language is important in expository writing to maintain a professional and academic tone.

For example,
Using informal words like "gonna" or "ain't" and using contractions like "it's" instead of "it is."

Tips To Avoid Using Contractions And Informal Language 

  • Use formal language and avoid slang or casual expressions
  • Use full words instead of contractions
  • Avoid using personal pronouns like "I" or "you" unless it is necessary

Mistake #15: Lack of Proofreading and Editing 

Proofreading, revising and editing are essential in expository writing to catch errors and improve the overall quality of the essay.

Examples of errors that can be caught through proofreading and editing include spelling errors, grammatical errors, and formatting errors.

Tips To Proofread And Edit Effectively

  • Take a break between writing and proofreading/editing to gain a fresh perspective
  • Read the essay out loud to catch errors
  • Use editing tools and ask others for feedback

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Wrapping up!

Avoiding these mistakes when writing an expository essay is crucial to producing a good essay. This is especially important for college essays, which are a critical component of the college application process. 

To ensure your essay is successful, it's important to support your thesis with evidence. Additionally, the body of the essay should be well-organized and flow smoothly from one idea to the next. 

By avoiding the mistakes mentioned in this blog, you can create an essay that is sure to impress colleges and universities. 

Still, feeling unsure about how to craft a perfect essay? Don't worry, got your back! 

Our expository essay writing service has a team of professionals who are ready to help you conquer any essay topic that comes your way.

Get in touch with our essay writing service now and take the first step toward academic success!

Barbara P.


Barbara P. (Literature)

Barbara is a highly educated and qualified author with a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university. She has spent a significant amount of time working in the medical field, conducting a thorough study on a variety of health issues. Her work has been published in several major publications.

Barbara is a highly educated and qualified author with a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university. She has spent a significant amount of time working in the medical field, conducting a thorough study on a variety of health issues. Her work has been published in several major publications.

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