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How to Write a Five Paragraph Essay
Last Updated: January 20, 2023 Fact Checked
This article was co-authored by Jake Adams and by wikiHow staff writer, Danielle Blinka, MA, MPA . Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, a Santa Monica, California based online tutoring business offering learning resources and online tutors for academic subjects K-College, SAT & ACT prep, and college admissions applications. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients the very best online tutoring experience and access to a network of excellent undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges all over the nation. Jake holds a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University. There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 521,347 times.
Five paragraph essays are a common assignment throughout your school career, especially in high school and college. Since any subject can include a five paragraph essay, you’ll want to be good at writing them. Luckily, five-paragraph essays are really easy to write if you know the expected format and give yourself the time you need to write it. To write your five paragraph essay, draft your introduction, develop three body paragraphs, write your conclusion, and revise and edit your essay.
Drafting Your Introduction
- For example, you could phrase your hook like this: Nature’s life cycle is often used as a metaphor to convey ideas about the passage of life.
- If you are writing a persuasive essay, don’t include your stance in your hook.
- Don’t say “In this essay” or “I am going to show.” Instead, use the “show, don’t tell” technique using descriptive language.
- It’s often easiest to come up with your hook after you write the rest of your essay. If you’re struggling to come up with one, use a basic placeholder and then create a better hook when you revise your essay.
- Don’t reveal your main points yet.
- For example, you could say something like this: While spring compares with birth, summer can symbolize maturity, with fall and winter showing a descent toward death.
- This sentence depends on what type of paper you’re writing. If it’s an argumentative paper, introduce both sides of the argument. In an informative paper, mention the central idea and focus.
- As an example, you could narrow your topic like this: Writers often use nature metaphors in their work to show themes about life, such as the blossoming of youth.
- For example, your thesis could read like this: In the poem “Raspberries,” the author shows youth through the ripening berries, summer blossoming, and blushing color of the fruit.
- Each of the three examples provided in the thesis will become the topic of a body paragraph. For the example thesis, you would have body paragraphs about ripening berries, summer blossoming, and the blushing color of the fruit.
Developing Three Body Paragraphs
- You should include three body paragraphs, one for each supporting point.
- Your topic sentence is like a mini-thesis for just that paragraph.
- Use a quote related to your thesis and analyze it in the body paragraph. If you use a topic sentence, put the quote next.
- For example, your topic sentence could look like this: Ripening berries show youth in the poem “Raspberries” by reaching maturity and becoming ready for picking.
- Each paragraph should contain two to three examples or pieces of evidence.
- If you use research, cite your sources in the appropriate format that your instructor specifies.
- Include two to three sentences of commentary for each example or piece of evidence.
- Depending on the type of evidence or examples, it’s often best to alternate your evidence and commentary throughout the paragraph. For example, provide one example, then provide the commentary.
- For example, you could wrap up your paragraph like this: As the girl plucks the ripe raspberries from the bush and eats them, her actions represent her own youth and readiness to be “plucked” by someone.
Drafting Your Conclusion
- For example, you could restate your thesis like this: The poem “Raspberries” provides an allegorical representation of youth through a metaphor of ripening berries, summer blossoming, and blushing color of the fruit.
- If you're a beginning writer, it's okay to start your conclusion with "In conclusion." However, if you're an advanced writer, avoid starting your conclusion with statements like “In conclusion,” “To conclude,” or “In the end.”
- Use an authoritative tone as you restate your arguments so that your reader walks away knowing that you are correct.
- Include a call to action.
- Provide a warning about what could happen if your stance is ignored.
- Create an image in the reader’s mind.
- Include a quote.
- Make a universal statement about life.
Revising and Editing Your Essay
- Always reread your sentence to make sure that the word processor is suggesting the right word. If you’ve misspelled a word that is similar to another word, then it’s possible that your spell check could suggest the wrong spelling, such as “then” instead of “than.”
- Look for errors that your spell checker missed.
- If you can, ask someone else to proofread your paper. They will usually spot errors that you overlooked.
- Combine choppy sentences.
- Breakup long, convoluted sentences into shorter sentences.
- Rewrite fragments and run-on sentences.
- If you have cited sources, make sure that you include a reference page in the style chosen by your instructor.
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- Never plagiarize an essay, which means copying someone’s work or ideas without giving them credit. Your teacher will deny you credit for the essay, and you may also get a discipline consequence. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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- ↑ Jake Adams. Academic Tutor & Test Prep Specialist. Expert Interview. 20 May 2020.
- ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/five-paragraph-essay/
- ↑ https://www.jscc.edu/academics/programs/writing-center/writing-resources/five-paragraph-essay.html
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/college-writing/
- ↑ https://www.bucks.edu/media/bcccmedialibrary/pdf/FiveParagraphEssayOutlineJuly08_000.pdf
- ↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4789530/
- ↑ https://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/ending-essay-conclusions
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/proofreading/proofreading_suggestions.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/proofreading/steps_for_revising.html
About This Article
To write a five paragraph essay, start with an introductory paragraph that includes a hook to capture your audience’s attention, and a thesis that explains the main point you’re trying to make. Then, use the next 3 paragraphs to explain 3 separate points that support your thesis. As you explain each point, use evidence from your research or examples in the text you’re discussing. Finally, conclude your essay with a paragraph summing up the points you’ve made and telling the reader how those points support your thesis. For tips on how to revise your essay to improve the flow and formatting, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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A Sample Five-Paragraph Essay
The Benefits of Regular Exercise
by Bette Latta, Professor of English, University of Tennessee