How to Write a Five-Paragraph Essay, With Outlines and an Example
A five-paragraph essay is a simple format for writing a complete essay, fitting the minimal components of an essay into just five paragraphs. Although it doesn’t have much breadth for complexity, the five-paragraph essay format is useful for helping students and academics structure basic papers.
If you’re having trouble writing , you can use the five-paragraph essay format as a guide or template. Below we discuss the fundamentals of the five-paragraph essay, explaining how to write one and what to include.
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What is a five-paragraph essay?
The five-paragraph essay format is a guide that helps writers structure an essay. It consists of one introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs for support, and one concluding paragraph. Because of this structure, it has been nicknamed the “hamburger essay,” the “one-three-one essay,” and the “three-tier essay.”
You won’t find too many five-paragraph essay examples in literature, simply because the format is too short. The five-paragraph essay format is more popular for educational assignments, such as school papers or quick writing exercises. Think of it as a writing tool to guide structure rather than an independent genre of essay.
Part of the appeal of the five-paragraph essay format is that it can accommodate all types of essays . No matter your assignment, whether an argumentative essay or a compare-and-contrast essay , you can apply the structure of a five-paragraph essay to communicate clearly and logically, as long as your topic is simple enough to be covered in just five paragraphs .
How to start a five-paragraph essay
As with all essays, before you begin writing a five-paragraph essay, you first need to know your thesis, or main topic. Your thesis is the idea you will defend or expand upon, and ultimately what your entire essay is about, and the three paragraphs in the middle will support, prove, or elaborate on your thesis.
Naturally, you can’t begin writing until you know what you’re writing about. If your thesis is not provided in the assignment, choose one that has sufficient content for discussion, or at least enough to fill five paragraphs.
Writers typically explain the thesis in the thesis statement , a sentence in the first paragraph that tells the reader what the essay is about. You don’t need to write this first, but phrasing the topic as a single sentence can help you to understand it, focus it, and revise it if needed.
Once you’ve selected a topic, we recommend writing a quick essay outline so you know what information to include and in which paragraphs. Your five-paragraph essay outline is like a blueprint where you can perfect the order and structure of your essay beforehand to save time on editing later.
How to transition between paragraphs
One of the biggest challenges in essay writing is transitioning from one paragraph to another. Good writing is seamless and fluid, so if your paragraph transitions are jarring or abrupt, readers will get distracted from the flow and lose momentum or even interest.
The best way to move logically from one point to another is to create transition sentences using words or phrases like “however,” “similarly,” or “on the other hand.” Sometimes adding a single word to the beginning of a paragraph is enough to connect it to the preceding paragraph and keep the reader on track. You can find a full list of transition words and phrases here .
Five-paragraph essay format
If you’re writing your five-paragraph essay outline—or if you’re diving right into the first draft—it helps to know what information to include in each paragraph. Just like in all prose writing, the basic components of your essay are its paragraphs .
In five-paragraph essays, each paragraph has a unique role to play. Below we explain the goals for each specific paragraph and what to include in them.
The first paragraph is crucial. Not only does it set the tone of your entire essay, it also introduces the topic to the reader so they know what to expect. Luckily, many of the same suggestions for how to start an essay still apply to five-paragraph essays.
First and foremost, your introductory paragraph should contain your thesis statement. This single sentence clearly communicates what the entire essay is about, including your opinion or argument, if it’s warranted.
The thesis statement is often the first sentence, but feel free to move it back if you want to open with something more attention-grabbing, like a hook. In writing, a hook is something that attracts the reader’s interest, such as mystery, urgency, or good old-fashioned drama.
Your introductory paragraph is also a good spot to include any background context for your topic. You should save the most significant information for the body paragraphs, but you can use the introduction to give basic information that your readers might not know.
Finally, your introductory paragraph should touch on the individual points made in the subsequent paragraphs, similar to an outline. You don’t want to give too much away in the first paragraph, just a brief mention of what you’ll discuss. Save the details for the following paragraphs, where you’ll have room to elaborate.
The three body paragraphs are the “meat” of your essay, where you describe details, share evidence, explain your reasoning, and otherwise advance your thesis. Each paragraph should be a separate and independent topic that supports your thesis.
Start each paragraph with a topic sentence , which acts a bit like a thesis statement, except it describes the topic of only that paragraph. The topic sentence summarizes the point that the entire paragraph makes, but saves the details for the following sentences. Don’t be afraid to include a transition word or phrase in the topic sentence if the subject change from the previous paragraph is too drastic.
After the topic sentence, fill in the rest of the paragraph with the details. These could be persuasive arguments, empirical data, quotes from authoritative sources, or just logical reasoning. Be sure to avoid any sentences that are off-topic or tangential; five-paragraph essays are supposed to be concise, so include only the relevant details.
The final paragraph concludes the essay. You don’t want to add any new evidence or support in the last paragraph; instead, summarize the points from the previous paragraphs and tie them together. Here, the writer restates the thesis and reminds the reader of the points made in the three body paragraphs.
If the goal of your essay is to convince the reader to do something, like donate to a cause or change their behavior, the concluding paragraph can also include a call to action. A call to action is a statement or request that explains clearly what the writer wants the reader to do. For example, if your topic is preventing forest fires, your call to action might be: “Remember to obey safety laws when camping.”
The basic principles of how to write a conclusion for an essay apply to five-paragraph essays as well. For example, the final paragraph is a good time to explain why this topic matters or to add your own opinion. It also helps to end with a thought-provoking sentence, such as an open-ended question, to give your audience something to think about after reading.
Five-paragraph essay example
Here’s a five-paragraph essay example, so you can better understand how they work.
Capybaras make great pets, and the laws against owning them should be reconsidered. Capybaras are a dog-sized animal with coarse fur, native to eastern South America. They’re known across the internet as the friendliest animal on the planet, but there’s a lot of misinformation about them as pets. They’re considered an exotic animal, so a lot of legal restrictions prevent people from owning them as pets, but it’s time to reevaluate these laws.
For one thing, capybaras are rodents—the largest rodents in the world, actually—and plenty of rodents are already normalized as pets. Capybaras are closely related to guinea pigs and chinchillas, both of which are popular pets, and more distantly related to mice and rats, another common type of pet. In nature, most rodents (including capybaras) are social animals and live in groups, which makes them accustomed to life as a pet.
There are a lot of prevalent myths about capybaras that dissuade people from owning them, but most of these are unfounded. For example, people assume capybaras smell bad, but this is not true; their special fur actually resists odor. Another myth is that they’re messy, but in reality, capybaras don’t shed often and can even be litter-trained! One rumor based in truth is that they can be destructive and chew on their owners’ things, but so can dogs, and dogs are one of the most common pets we have.
The one reasonable criticism for keeping capybaras as pets is that they are high-maintenance. Capybaras require lots of space to run around and are prone to separation anxiety if owners are gone most of the day. Moreover, capybaras are semi-aquatic, so it’s best for them to have a pool to swim in. However difficult these special conditions are to meet, they’re all still doable; as with all pets, the owners should simply commit to these prerequisites before getting one.
All in all, the advantages of capybaras as pets outweigh the cons. As rodents, they’re social and trainable, and many of the deterrent myths about them are untrue. Even the extra maintenance they require is still manageable. If capybaras are illegal to own where you live, contact your local lawmakers and petition them to reconsider these laws. You’ll see first-hand just why the internet has fallen in love with this “friend-shaped” animal!
In this example, you’ll notice a lot of the points we discussed earlier.
The first sentence in the first paragraph is our thesis statement, which explains what this essay is about and the writer’s stance on the subject. Also in the first paragraph is the necessary background information for context, in this case a description of capybaras for readers who aren’t familiar with them.
Notice how each of the three body paragraphs focuses on its own particular topic. The first discusses how rodents in general make good pets, and the second dispels some common rumors about capybaras as pets. The third paragraph directly addresses criticism of the writer’s point of view, a common tactic used in argumentative and persuasive essays to strengthen the writer’s argument.
Last, the concluding paragraph reiterates the previous points and ties them together. Because the topic involves laws about keeping capybaras as pets, there’s a call to action about contacting lawmakers. The final sentence is written as a friendly send-off, leaving the reader at a high point.
Five-paragraph essay FAQ
What is a five-paragraph essay.
A five-paragraph essay is a basic form of essay that acts as a writing tool to teach structure. It’s common in schools for short assignments and writing practice.
How is it structured?
The five-paragraph essay structure consists of, in order: one introductory paragraph that introduces the main topic and states a thesis, three body paragraphs to support the thesis, and one concluding paragraph to wrap up the points made in the essay.
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Every essay is an opportunity to share an original idea on a subject about which you have some knowledge. Sometimes you only just gained that knowledge—as in a free response question paired with a reading segment during an exam—and other times you’ll be writing about a subject that you have studied for years and know like the back of your hand. In either case, writing a five-paragraph essay can serve as a useful tool for communicating your thoughts to an academic audience.
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5 Paragraph Essay: What Is It?
A five-paragraph essay is a prose composition that follows the basic structure of five paragraphs. It includes an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Often critiqued for being too formulaic, the five-paragraph essay is an essential tool in every writer's toolkit and is especially handy on timed writing assignments and exams.
Why is this format best for writing timed essays? During an exam, you might be asked to write an essay, and you may have only just learned some of the details about the subject. You likely won’t have time to draft a uniquely formatted, in-depth analysis in the time you are given. That’s where the five-paragraph structure comes into play; you can use it as a vehicle to get your main idea across to the reader and not spend precious time on how to structure your essay.
This essay format can also be thought of as a building block for almost every type of essay you could write. It is built on a thesis statement and uses the main pieces of support, which are formatted into segments (or paragraphs), to uphold your thesis. This approach can be expanded based on however much support or analysis is appropriate for your essay.
The key principle of this familiar structure is to organize your perspective or claim in a way that is logical and easy for your reader to understand.
You can use the five-paragraph format for writing any of the five styles of essay: argumentative, descriptive, narrative, informative, and persuasive. Think of this approach as not merely an essay structure, but also a means to adapt your writing and strengthen your composition skills for any future assignment.
5 Paragraph Essay Structure
Sometimes the five-paragraph essay is referred to as the hamburger of essays. That’s not because it’s cheesy, but rather because of how it is built—like a hamburger with a beginning (bun), middle segmented into separate parts (hamburger patty, lettuce, condiments, etc.), and end (bun).
Below is the basic structure of a five-paragraph essay:
Body paragraph 1
Body paragraph 2
Body paragraph 3
Call to action
The paragraphs below break down each section to show how it functions within the whole essay.
The introduction serves several purposes, all of which are important and should not be forgotten or glossed-over. Remember, this is the "bun" to the hamburger and without it, the whole thing falls apart. The introduction starts with a statement to get your readers’ attention—this is called a hook .
A hook can take the form of a question, quote, statistic, or anecdote; it grabs your reader and pulls their interest into the topic.
Hook as a Question: Have you ever stood at the edge of the crashing waves in the ocean and wondered how far out it goes?
Hook as a Quote: Clarence Joshua Tuttle once said, “Why do we call this planet Earth, when it would more aptly be called Ocean?"
Hook as a Statistic: About 71% of the face of the earth is covered by water, and the oceans hold about 96.5% of earth’s water.
Hook as an Anecdote: As a child, I used to gaze at the line where the horizon met the sea and wonder how it could stretch on for infinity.
In addition to the hook catching your reader’s attention, your introduction should also contain background information on the topic to give your reader context.
Without some kind of explanation about the topic’s background, you risk your reader not having the full picture, or worse, not understanding what you’re talking about at all.
You don’t have to include too much background explanation for your five-paragraph essay. Usually a couple of sentences will suffice to give the necessary context.
Lastly, your introduction needs your thesis statement, which is arguably the most important part of the essay.
A thesis statement is a single sentence that explains your main argument for the entire essay. You don’t have to pack every point you’re going to make into the thesis, but your thesis should be a clarified version of the main point.
The vast majority of our planet is covered in water, so there needs to be more awareness about the impact of global warming on Earth's oceans and the wildlife therein.
The thesis should be stated near the end of the first paragraph. It should be supported by details and evidence in the following paragraphs.
3 Body Paragraphs
The body paragraphs are the meat of your five-paragraph essay (literally, remember the hamburger—the body paragraphs are the juicy middle). You can use more than three paragraphs if you have more points that need to be discussed, but typically no less than three.
You can consider each of your body paragraphs to be one piece of support for your thesis. The first sentence of each paragraph should be the topic sentence for that paragraph, and can act like a mini-thesis. It will state the main idea of that particular paragraph, and the rest of the paragraph will dive into further explanation by including examples and supporting details.
Your body paragraphs should look something like this:
Paragraph 1: First piece of support
Paragraph 2: Second piece of support
Paragraph 3: Third piece of support
Your five-paragraph essay should not end abruptly; it should include a short summary that will wrap up your argument and/or observation on the topic, just like the bottom bun of the hamburger. Provide a brief summary, and then remind your audience of your thesis statement.
By restating or rephrasing your thesis, you are reminding your audience that in the body of the essay you explained everything you said you would way back in your introduction.
The last thing your conclusion needs is something to bring the topic back into the reader’s world. Make them remember why it’s relevant. This could be a call to action, warning, provocative question, or something to evoke emotion in the reader.
Because of [insert main idea], you should take [X] action.
If you (or we) don’t do [X thing], [X consequence] will happen.
What do you think will happen if [X] continues (or ceases. Whatever is relevant to your main point.)?
Could be a quote or anything you think will stir the emotions of the reader on the subject.
How to Make a 5 Paragraph Essay Outline
With the basic structure of a five-paragraph essay in mind, you can begin the process of making an outline.
An outline is simply a plan for your essay, and it’s important to create one so you know how to organize your ideas. Without an outline, you’re likely to ramble or wander all over your topic without fully developing your main point.
Below are the essential steps to drafting an outline for your five paragraph essay.
The first thing you need to do is brainstorm the topic; look for associations you may already have and keep the assignment or prompt in the front of your mind.
How to brainstorm a topic: Brainstorming is a strategy for coming up with ideas and content for your essay. Brainstorming can be anything from creating word associations, to freewriting, to making lists, to drawing a venn diagram, or whatever makes sense for you so that you can break down the topic and pick out what you have to say.
Sort through whatever you come up with in the brainstorming process, and pick out something that you find important or something you can elaborate.
Next, you need to draft a thesis statement. As previously stated, your thesis is the guide for your essay—especially so in a five-paragraph essay—because your thesis introduces the ideas of your body paragraphs.
Take whatever piece of the puzzle you came up with after brainstorming, and work it into a single statement that makes a claim on the topic.
The thesis statement of your five-paragraph essay should contain a claim of some sort about the subject. It should an original thought, and not be a restating of known facts.
Now, apply the basic structure of a five-paragraph essay to your topic. An outline typically uses numbers as a way to organize the essay. Each point can be a key word or phrase; you don’t need to use whole sentences in an outline.
Organize the paragraphs by the main points that support your thesis, then include subpoints, or pieces of evidence, to explain the topic sentence of that paragraph.
5 Paragraph Essay Example: The Outline
Here’s an example of a five-paragraph essay outline:
Hook: Children are no longer growing up walking to the candy store around the corner or sharing root beer floats at the local diner with kids they’ve known their entire lives. They aren’t even growing up in an innocent world like when Super Mario Brothers was the most popular video game.
Background: The world has changed rapidly in the last fifty years.
Thesis: Because of violence in video games, movies, social media, and increased pressure from peers, being a parent today is much more difficult than it was a generation ago.
Topic sentence: The progression of technology has given children more entertainment, but it has also decreased their attention spans, making it much more difficult to keep them on task.
Supporting detail: Music, video games, and social media are all easily accessible on phones or computers.
Supporting detail: Research shows that excessive screen time for children can drastically affect their attention span and even brain development.
Topic sentence: Not only do parents have to be aware of the effects of constant screen usage, it means they must also be vigilant about their children being exposed to inappropriate material.
Supporting detail: In film
Supporting detail: On television
Supporting detail: Online
Topic sentence: Children are now often exposed to dangerous situations during their daily lives or via the media.
Supporting detail: Access to drugs & alcohol
Supporting detail: Violent crimes (school shootings, etc.)
Rephrased Thesis statement: Society and media have a huge impact on children’s lives and have worked together to make parenting extremely difficult, now more than ever.
Call to action: Because of these changes, it is up to parents to remain present so we can be aware of and sensitive to all these challenges facing our children.
Writing a 5 Paragraph Essay
With your outline in hand, it’s now time to write your five-paragraph essay! The beauty of this process is that your argument is now fully mapped out, and you know exactly what you need to say.
The first thing to do is nail down your thesis statement. Again, the body of your essay hinges on the main point contained in your essay, so you need to be certain of that before you proceed. Next, you can start to put together your body paragraphs.
5 Paragraph Essay Transitions
Be sure you include transitions between paragraphs, otherwise, your essay will feel very robotic and will not be enjoyable to read. Transitions help to show the relationship between thoughts as you move from one to another.
You can use simple transitions (i.e. first, next, and last); or use phrases to show similarity (i.e. also, in the same way, likewise, just as, etc.) and/ or differences (i.e. but, however, in spite of, etc.).
A Note on The Limits of the 5 Paragraph Essay
Remember, there is often more to your topic than can be explained in a five-paragraph essay. That’s why these essays are a great tool for exam essays; you simply won’t have the time to complete an exhaustive analysis, so the five-paragraph essay is the next best choice.
Keep this perspective in mind and remember that however brilliant your essay is, it is not the end-all-be-all on the subject. The five-paragraph essay is, however, an excellent vehicle you can use to explain your original thought on a subject in an organized manner.
5 Page Essay - Key takeaways
- A five paragraph-essay follows the basic structure of five paragraphs: an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
- Five-paragraph essays are a great tool for timed writing assignments and exams, but can also be used as a foundation for any type of essay.
- Start writing a five-paragraph essay by creating a thesis statement.
- Each body paragraph is one piece of support for the essay's thesis. They should each have a topic sentence, or main idea, that is in support of the overall thesis.
- The conclusion of a five-paragraph essay is important because it restates the thesis and then makes the subject personal to the reader.
Frequently Asked Questions about 5 Paragraph Essay
--> how do i write a 5 paragraph essay.
Write a 5 paragraph essay by following the basic structure: introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
--> How long is a 5 paragraph essay?
A 5 paragraph essay can be anywhere from one to one hundred pages; it all depends on how much you need to support your thesis statement.
--> How many words are in a 5 paragraph essay?
A 5 paragraph essay can contain as many words as necessary to fully support and explain your main point, or your thesis.
--> How many topic sentences are in a 5 paragraph essay?
Typically, a 5 paragraph essay will contain 4 topic sentences with one of them being the thesis statement, and the other 3 being the topic sentences of the body paragraphs.
--> What does a 5 paragraph essay look like?
A 5 paragraph essay can look very different from one essay to the next, however they will all follow the basic structure of the five paragraphs: introduction, (at least) 3 supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion.
Final 5 Paragraph Essay Quiz
5 paragraph essay quiz - teste dein wissen.
What is the definition of a five-paragraph essay?
A five-paragraph essay is a prose composition that follows the basic structure of five paragraphs that include an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
Why are five-paragraph essays a good choice for timed exam assignments?
During an exam, you likely won’t have time to draft a uniquely formatted, in-depth analysis in the time you are given.
True or false: Five-paragraph essays can also be used to write argumentative, descriptive, narrative, informative, and/ or persuasive essays.
Fill in the blank: The key principle of the five-paragraph structure is to ___________ your perspective or claim in a way that is logical and easy for your reader to understand.
Why is the five-paragraph essay often referred to as a "hamburger" essay style?
Because of how it is built; like a hamburger with a definite beginning (bun), middle segmented into separate parts (hamburger patty, lettuce, condiments, etc.), and end (bun).
Which paragraph in a five-paragraph essay contains the hook?
Which is arguably the most important part of a five-paragraph essay?
True or false: In a five-paragraph essay, you should always devote one entire paragraph to a background explanation of the topic.
In a five-paragraph essay, is it possible to use more than five paragraphs or less than five paragraphs?
Which of the following is not a strategy to concluding a five-paragraph essay?
_____________ is a plan for your essay, and it’s important to create one so you know how to organize your ideas.
What are some examples of brainstorming exercises?
Word association, freewriting, making lists
Why brainstorm your topic before you begin writing?
Brainstorming can give ideas about how the topic relates to you (the writer) and what you might have to say about it
Should you brainstorm before or after you create a thesis statement?
Which of the following is an example of a transition to show similarity?
Why are transitions necessary between ideas and paragraphs in a five-paragraph essay?
Transitions help to show the relationship between thoughts as you move from one to another.
What is an opinion?
Opinion is a personal conjecture.
Should you use an opinion to support your thesis?
"An opinion does not require verification."
True or false?
If something has failed to acquire verification, what is it?
"Humans will evolve into beings of pure energy." Is this an opinion or a potential fact?
An opinion. It cannot be verified, whereas potential facts are in the process of verification.
Fact is not ____. Fact is what is found out during the search for the truth.
Fact is what has continually withstood the test of _____.
Can a fact be arrived at logically?
Yes. Through the argumentation of a hypothesis.
If a conclusion has been arrived at practically through the experimentation of a hypothesis, is it a fact?
Yes, assuming there are no flaws with the experiment.
What is a potential fact?
Potential facts are in the process of being proven or disproven. The advanced study of quantum mechanics involves potential facts, for example.
If something is a conclusion, is it a fact or an opinion?
It could be either. Facts and opinions can both be conclusions of a kind.
Can facts evolve?
Yes, people are learning new things all the time. This should not be used an argument for conspiracies or pseudoscience, which have no basis in real learning or research.
Opinion is not concerned with _____, while facts are.
Is a subjective conclusion an opinion?
Yes. Subjective conclusions contain bias.
If a hypothesis has been tested repeatedly and the results are inconclusive, is taking a stance on it an opinion?
Yes. If a hypothesis has been repeatedly tested and the result consistently provides no answer, then to declare an answer is a matter of opinion.
If something is quantified, is it fact?
Yes. However, quantified results can lead to all kinds of conclusions, including incorrect ones if used fallaciously.
If many people have seen something, is it a fact?
Not necessarily. If something is clearly witnessed by multiple unbiased people, it is a fact.
In what ways should you be wary of what you see or read? You should be wary of what?
Be wary of unverified sources, unread context, generalization, sets of information, and all logical fallacies.
What is a hook for an essay?
A hook is an attention-grabbing opening sentence of an essay. The hook catches the reader's attention with an interesting question, statement, or quote.
What are the features of a good hook?
What is purpose in an essay?
Purpose in an essay is the effect the writer intends to have on the reader.
True or false:
A quote for a hook has to come from someone famous.
False. A good quote can come from anywhere.
What is a quote ?
A quote is a direct copy of someone else's words. As an essay hook, a quote is a memorable sentence or phrase that gets the reader interested in your subject.
When should one use a quote for a hook?
When the topic or argument makes them think of a quote
What are the different types of quotes one can use for a hook?
What is a rhetorical question ?
A rhetorical question is a question with no real answer. Rhetorical questions are used to get a reader thinking about a subject or experience.
A writer wants to get the reader thinking about their argument. What type of question can they use to encourage the reader to want to learn the answer?
a question answered in the essay
When writing a fact or statistic for a hook, it should be:
relevant to the topic
Where are some places one can look for stories to use as a hook?
If a story is too much for a hook, what else can a writer do to get the reader interested in an experience?
describe one scene from a story
Which type of hook is particularly effective for arguing a position or persuading?
a strong statement
True or false:
It's okay if the reader doesn't agree with a strong statement used for a hook.
True! Even if the reader doesn't agree with the statement, they will be interested in seeing how the writer supports that statement.
What are some ways to write a hook when you're stuck?
consider the purpose of the essay
What is APA format?
APA is the American Psychological Association's guide to formatting papers and citing sources.
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How to Write a Five-Paragraph Essay
Many students find it challenging to write a good essay. Often, the main challenge is to organise and develop the ideas and arguments in a clear and coherent way. Sometimes a step-by-step description can help students on their way and make essay writing a more manageable task.
The five-paragraph essay is often assigned to students to help them in this process. A good five-paragraph essay is a lot like a triple-decker burger, and it is therefore often called the hamburger essay. It requires a clear introduction and conclusion (the top and bottom bun) that hold the main body of the essay (the burger and all the juicy stuff) in place.
Before you start writing an essay, you need to get organised. Read through the task you are given several times, underlining important words that tell you what you are expected to do. Pay special attention to the verbs in the task you are given ('discuss', 'summarise', 'give an account of', 'argue'…). Make sure you do what you are asked and that you answer the whole question, not just parts of it.
The introduction to a text is extremely important. A good introduction should accomplish three things:
- Firstly, try to capture the reader’s interest and create a desire to read on and learn more. There are many ways to achieve this. For example, you can start with a relevant quotation from a famous person or a short anecdote. You could also present some interesting statistics, state a startling fact, or simply pose a challenging question.
- Secondly, provide the reader with the necessary information to understand the main body of the text. Explain what the paper is about and why this topic is important. What is the specific focus of this paper? Include background information about your topic to establish its context.
- Thirdly, present your approach to the topic and your thesis statement. The thesis statement is the main idea of the essay expressed in a single sentence. Make sure your thesis statement comes out clearly in your introduction.
The body of the essay consists of three paragraphs, each limited to one idea that supports your thesis. Each paragraph should have a clear topic sentence: a sentence that presents the main idea of the paragraph. The first paragraph should contain the strongest argument and the most significant examples, while the third paragraph should contain the weakest arguments and examples. Include as much explanation and discussion as is necessary to explain the main point of the paragraph. You should try to use details and specific examples to make your ideas clear and convincing.
In order to create a coherent text, you must avoid jumping from one idea to the next. Always remember: one idea per paragraph. A good essay needs good transitions between the different paragraphs. Use the end of one paragraph and/or the beginning of the next to show the relationship between the two ideas. This transition can be built into the topic sentence of the next paragraph, or it can be the concluding sentence of the first.
You can also use linking words to introduce the next paragraph. Examples of linking words are: in fact, on the whole, furthermore, as a result, simply put, for this reason, similarly, likewise, it follows that, naturally, by comparison, surely, yet, firstly, secondly, thirdly …
This is your fifth and final paragraph. The conclusion is what the reader will read last and remember best. Therefore, it is important that it is well written. In the conclusion, you should summarise your main points and re-assert your main claim. The conclusion should wrap up all that is said before, without starting off on a new topic. Avoid repeating specific examples.
There are several ways to end an essay. You need to find a way to leave your reader with a sense of closure. The easiest way to do this is simply to repeat the main points of the body of your text in the conclusion, but try to do this in a way that sums up rather than repeats. Another way to do it is to answer a question that you posed in the introduction. You may also want to include a relevant quotation that throws light on your message.
A few notes before you hand in your essay
After you have finished, read through your essay with a critical eye. Does your thesis statement in the introduction match the discussion in the main body and the conclusive statements in the final paragraph? It is important that you build your text logically, so that each part of the essay supports, proves, and reflects your thesis.
You should also remember that a good writer of formal essays:
- does not use abbreviations or contractions.
- does not use first-person pronouns, such as 'I', 'me' and 'my'. It is better to make your statements more general, using 'it is commonly believed that', 'we tend to think', 'scientists argue that'…
- does not engage in personal stories. Stories about your own life experiences, or the experiences of your friends or families do not belong in academic writing.
- does not use a language which is too casual, such as sentences that begin with words like 'well', 'sure', 'now', 'yes', 'no' ...
- does not use slang. Words like 'gonna' and 'wanna' are not accepted in formal essays.
- does not start sentences with conjunctions: 'but', 'and', 'or', 'because'…”.
- uses linking words. This creates better logic and coherence in your text.
Below we have structured three short essays for you and given you the topic sentences for each paragraph. Choose one of them and write it as a full text. Add facts and reflections under each paragraph. Make sure there are good transitions between the paragraphs.
The importance of learning English
Introduction: the importance of learning English
Living in a multicultural world
International job market
A better travelling experience
The importance of a good education
Introduction: the importance of a good education
Competitive job market
Living in a digital world
Introduction: living in a digital world
Important for working life
Important in communication
Part of our everyday lives
Regler for bruk
- How to Write a Five-Paragraph Essay Du er her
- Writing Introduction Paragraphs
- Writing Body Paragraphs
- Writing Conclusion Paragraphs
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- Referencing Sources
- Quoting Sources
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- Short Films about Literary Analysis
- How to Analyse a Short Story
- Example of Short Story Analysis
- How to Analyse a Poem
- Common Poetic Devices
- Example of poetry analysis: An analysis of the poem "R & B" by Patience Agbabi
- How to Analyse a Film
- How to Write a Film Review
- Example of a Film Review
- How to Write a Newspaper Article
- How to Write a Letter to the Editor
- How to Make a Good Presentation
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Oppgaver og aktiviteter
- Tasks: Sample Five Paragraph Essay
- Tasks: Writing Introduction Paragraphs
- Tasks: Writing Body Paragraphs
- Tasks: Writing Conclusion Paragraphs
- Tasks: Using Linking Words In Your Writing
- Tasks: How to Make a Good Speech
- Tasks: Example of poetry analysis
- Listening Activity: How to Make a Mini-Presentation
How to write a perfect 5 Paragraph Essay
How to Write a 5 Paragraph Essay : A Complete Guide
Essay writing can be the bane of many a student’s life.
Gone are the days when many students tried writing in big letters to fill the allotted number of pages with minimal effort quickly.
Now, it’s all constant word count checks and taking a dozen words to say what could be said in three.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be like this. When students have a clear, set structure to follow, essay writing can be a much less painful experience. Indeed, it can even be enjoyable!
In this article, we’ll outline a clear template our students can follow to produce a well-organised essay on practically any topic effectively.
Let’s get started!
THE HAMBURGER ESSAY – THE STUDENT’S FRIEND
The common 5 paragraph essay structure is often referred to as the hamburger essay . And this is a memorable way to communicate the concept to your students.
The hamburger essay structure consists of five paragraphs or layers as follows:
Layer 1 – The Top Bun: The Introduction
The uppermost layer is the introductory paragraph which communicates to the reader the purpose of the essay.
Layers 2,3, & 4 – The Meat Patties: The Body Paragraphs
These are the meat patties of the essay and each paragraph makes an argument in support of the essay’s central contention as expressed in the introduction.
Layer 5 – The Conclusion: The Bottom Bun
The bottommost layer is the conclusion, where the arguments are summed up and the central contention of the essay is restated forcefully one last time. We have a complete guide to writing a conclusion here .
Soon, we’ll take a closer look at each of these parts in turn. But, there is more to an essay than just the writing of it. There are also the prewriting and post writing stages to consider. We will look at all these aspects in this article, but first, let’s examine what our students need to be doing before they even begin to write their essays.
A COMPLETE UNIT ON TEACHING PARAGRAPH WRITING IN 2023
This complete PARAGRAPH WRITING UNIT is designed to take students from zero to hero over FIVE STRATEGIC LESSONS to improve PARAGRAPH WRITING SKILLS through PROVEN TEACHING STRATEGIES.
THE PREWRITING STAGE – DEFINING THE THESIS STATEMENT, RESEARCH & PLANNING
The thesis statement.
Every essay needs a clear focus. This focus is usually defined in a thesis statement that presents the topic of the essay in a sentence or two. The thesis statement should also include the writer’s stance on that topic.
As this will help guide the direction of the essay, it is essential that our students define their thesis statement before they begin the writing process.
Sometimes during the process of writing, we find out what we think about a given topic. The writing process can act as a kind of reflection on the merits of the various arguments, before finally revealing to us our own opinion. This is writing as a method of discovery.
Usually, though, it is more efficient for students to decide on their opinions prior to beginning to write.
Defining their thesis statement early on not only helps guide the students writing, but helps ensure their research is focused and efficient at the crucial prewriting stage.
Research & Planning
As students begin their research and gather their evidence to support their thesis statement, they should also be encouraged to pay particular attention to the counterarguments they come across.
A well-written essay does not ignore opposing viewpoints, students should be taught to preempt counterarguments where possible so as to strengthen the power of their own arguments. Good research is essential for this.
Not so long ago, research meant hours in dusty libraries being constantly shushed, but with the advent of the internet, there is now a wealth of knowledge right at our fingertips (and the end of a good Wifi connection).
While this has made research a much more convenient process, students need to be reminded of the importance of seeking out reliable sources to support their opinions. In an era of ‘fake news’, this is more important now than ever.
As students gather the information and supporting evidence for their essay, they’ll need to organize it carefully. Graphic organizers are an effective way of doing this, either on a paper printout or by using a premade template on the computer.
It can also be helpful for students to sort their collected information according to where they intend to use it in the five-paragraph outline or layers mentioned above.
Finally, while good research, organization, and planning are essential for producing a well-written essay, it’s important that students are reminded that essay writing is also a creative act.
Students should maintain an open mind when it comes to the writing process. They should allow their thoughts and opinions the room to develop over the course of writing their essay. They should leave the door open for including new thoughts and ideas as the writing progresses.
The Writing Stage: Introduction, Body Paragraphs, & Conclusion
A good introduction paragraph serves a number of important functions. It:
- Grabs the reader’s attention and interest, known as the hook
- Orientates the reader to the essays central argument, the thesis statement
- Outlines briefly the arguments that will be explored in support of the thesis statement.
To become an effective writer, it is important that our students learn the importance of grabbing the reader’s attention, as well as keeping it. Opening with a ‘hook’ or a ‘grabber’ is a great way to achieve this.
There are a number of techniques students can use here. Let’s take a look at some of the more common ones.
- The Surprising Fact – this can intrigue the reader to want to find out more, especially if it challenges some of their existing assumptions on a topic.
- The Quotation – a carefully selected quotation can be a great way to secure the reader’s attention and there are many curated quotation collections freely available online to help get students started.
- The Joke – this opening should be used judiciously as for some topics it may not be an appropriate way to open. In the right context however, humor can be a great way to engage the reader from the outset.
- The Anecdote – anecdotes are a great way to personally connect with the essay’s topic. They are a helpful way of climbing down the ladder of abstraction when exploring more theoretical arguments. They assist the reader in relating universal themes to their own lives.
Practice Activity 1:
To encourage students to develop strong opening paragraphs in their essays, it can be helpful to isolate writing opening paragraphs.
In this activity, provide your students with a list of essay topics and challenge them to write four different opening paragraphs for their essay, one each for The Surprising Fact , The Quotation , The Joke , and The Anecdote as listed above.
When students have completed their four paragraphs, they can then share with each other in groups and discuss which worked best and why.
This activity will help students to remember the different types of opening and how they work. It will also give them a feel for which openings work best for different types of essays.
We’ve already discussed what a thesis statement is and what it is intended to achieve, but where does it fit into the overall shape of the introductory paragraph exactly?
While there are no hard and fast rules here, thesis statements work well towards the end of the introductory paragraph – especially as the paragraph’s final sentence.
Readers are often hardwired to look for the thesis statement there. It connects the arguments that follow in the body paragraphs to the preceding sentences and contextualizes the essay for the reader.
THE BODY PARAGRAPHS
Now we get to the ‘meat’ of our essay. Each of the body paragraphs will explore one of the arguments supporting the thesis statement as laid out in the introduction.
While we are focused on the 5 paragraph essay here, longer essays will usually be constructed in exactly the same manner, they’ll just include more body paragraphs to cover the extra level of detail.
Generally, each body paragraph will open by stating the argument, with subsequent sentences supporting that argument by providing evidence along with some further explanation. Finally, a statement or phrase will help transition to the next paragraph.
The PEEL Paragraph Writing Process
The acronym PEEL can be a very useful tool to help students to understand how to organize each of their body paragraphs.
P oint : start the paragraph by expressing the central argument
E vidence : support the central argument of the paragraph by providing evidence or reasons. Evidence may come in many forms including facts and statistics, quotations from a text or other authority, reference to historical events etc.
E xplanation : explain how the evidence provided supports the paragraph’s central argument.
L ink : provide a transition into the next paragraph by linking this argument and the central thesis to the next point to be made.
Practice Activity 2:
Just as students isolated the opening to their introductory paragraph for practice purposes, in this activity they’ll isolate a single argument on a chosen essay topic.
When they have chosen a topic and selected a single argument related to that topic, they can begin to write one body paragraph using the PEEL structure outlined above.
This activity works well when several students write on the same argument. When each has completed their paragraphs, they can then compare the results with each other.
It can be a fascinating experiment that allows the students to see just how diverse different treatments of the same argument using the same PEEL formula can be – there is freedom within the discipline of the structure!
The purpose of the conclusion is to close the circle of the essay. It is a chance for the writer to restate the thesis statement, summarize the main arguments, and tie up any loose ends as the writer drives home their point one last time.
At this stage of the game, no new arguments should be introduced. However, students should revisit the previous arguments made in the body paragraphs and it is acceptable to offer up a new insight or two on these.
The student should take care here to make sure they leave no doubt in the reader’s mind that the essay question is fully answered. One useful way of doing this is by incorporating words and phrases from the essay question into the conclusion itself.
To help students grasp the underlying structure of a concluding paragraph, the following sequential structure is useful to keep in mind:
- Starts with a closing phrase such as In conclusion , There is no doubt , Finally etc
- Restates the main thesis statement
- Summarizes the main point of each of the body paragraphs
- Leaves the reader with something to think about.
Practice Activity 3:
Again, here we will isolate the concluding paragraph for focused practice.
Students select a topic they know well, decide what they think about that topic, write down a few key arguments, and then begin writing a concluding paragraph to an essay on that topic.
Students should use the template above to structure that material.
You could also include an element of peer assessment here by having students swap their paragraphs with each other, before offering each other feedback.
The Post Writing Stage: Editing & Proofreading YOUR 5 paragraph ESSAY
The final stage of writing a five-paragraph essay is perhaps the least glamorous of an unglamorous process, but no less essential for it – the editing and proofreading.
Often, our students overlook this stage. After completing the process of research, planning, and writing their five-paragraph essay, they let themselves down at this final, crucial stage.
Frequently, students fail to adequately edit and proofread their work not just because of laziness, but because they are unsure of exactly what this process entails.
To avoid this, ensure students understand that editing and proofreading involve reading through and correcting mistakes in the following areas one after the other:
- Text Organisation: title, headings, layout etc
- Sentence Structure: coherence, grammar , sentence variety etc
- Word Choice: suitable word choices, avoid repetition etc
- Spelling and Punctuation: accuracy in both areas.
Practice Activity 4:
Once students have completed their essays, appoint each a partner to work with and each then edits and proofreads the other person’s work.
Sometimes students struggle to gain the necessary distance from their own work to adequately edit and proofread it, this exercise overcomes that issue while giving them an opportunity to gain some valuable editing and proofreading experience that will benefit them in future.
CLOSING THE CIRCLE
So, there you have it – how to write a five-paragraph essay from start to finish. As with anything, the more practice students get, the quicker they will improve.
But, bear in mind too that writing essays is hard work and you don’t want to put students off.
The best way to provide opportunities for students to develop the various skills related to essay writing is to isolate them in the manner apparent in the activities described above.
This way, students can soon sharpen up their skills, without learning to dread the word ‘essay’ itself!
Use our resources and tools to improve your student’s writing skills through proven teaching strategies.
Five Paragraph Essay exampleS (Student Writing Samples)
Below are a collection of student writing samples of 5 paragraph essays. Click on the image to enlarge and explore them in greater detail. Please take a moment to both read the 5 paragraph essay in detail but also the teacher and student guides which highlight some of the key elements of this structured model of essay writing here.
Please understand these student writing samples are not intended to be perfect examples for each age or grade level but a piece of writing for students and teachers to explore together to critically analyze to improve student writing skills and deepen their understanding of 5 paragraph essay writing.
We would recommend reading the example either a year above and below, as well as the grade you are currently working with to gain a broader appreciation of this text type.
5 PARAGRAPH ESSAY VIDEO TUTORIALS
The content for this page has been written by Shane Mac Donnchaidh. A former principal of an international school and English university lecturer with 15 years of teaching and administration experience. Shane’s latest Book, The Complete Guide to Nonfiction Writing , can be found here. Editing and support for this article have been provided by the literacyideas team.
A FULL-YEAR of NONFICTION WRITING RESOURCES .
Guide on How to Write a 5 Paragraph Essay Effortlessly
Defining What Is a 5 Paragraph Essay
Have you ever been assigned a five-paragraph essay and wondered what exactly it means? Don't worry; we all have been there. A five-paragraph essay is a standard academic writing format consisting of an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
In the introduction, you present your thesis statement, which is the main idea or argument you will discuss in your essay. The three body paragraphs present a separate supporting argument, while the conclusion summarizes the main points and restates the thesis differently.
While the five-paragraph essay is a tried and true format for many academic assignments, it's important to note that it's not the only way to write an essay. In fact, some educators argue that strict adherence to this format can stifle creativity and limit the development of more complex ideas.
However, mastering the five-paragraph essay is a valuable skill for any student, as it teaches the importance of structure and organization in writing. Also, it enables you to communicate your thoughts clearly and eloquently, which is crucial for effective communication in any area. So the next time you're faced with a five-paragraph essay assignment, embrace the challenge and use it as an opportunity to hone your writing skills.
And if you find it difficult to put your ideas into 5 paragraphs, ask our professional writing service - 'please write my essay ,' and consider it done.
How to Write a 5 Paragraph Essay: General Tips
If you are struggling with how to write a 5 paragraph essay, don't worry! It's a common format that many students learn in their academic careers. Here are some tips from our admission essay writing service to help you write a successful five paragraph essay example:
- Start with a strong thesis statement : Among the 5 parts of essay, the thesis statement can be the most important. It presents the major topic you will debate throughout your essay while being explicit and simple.
- Use topic sentences to introduce each paragraph : The major idea you will address in each of the three body paragraphs should be established in a concise subject sentence.
- Use evidence to support your arguments : The evidence you present in your body paragraphs should back up your thesis. This can include facts, statistics, or examples from your research or personal experience.
- Include transitions: Use transitional words and phrases to make the flow of your essay easier. Words like 'although,' 'in addition,' and 'on the other hand' are examples of these.
- Write a strong conclusion: In addition to restating your thesis statement in a new way, your conclusion should highlight the key ideas of your essay. You might also leave the reader with a closing idea or query to reflect on.
- Edit and proofread: When you've completed writing your essay, thoroughly revise and proofread it. Make sure your thoughts are brief and clear and proofread your writing for grammatical and spelling mistakes.
By following these tips, you can write strong and effective five paragraph essays examples that will impress your teacher or professor.
5 Paragraph Essay Format
Let's readdress the five-paragraph essay format and explain it in more detail. So, as already mentioned, it is a widely-used writing structure taught in many schools and universities. A five-paragraph essay comprises an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion, each playing a significant role in creating a well-structured and coherent essay.
The introduction serves as the opening paragraph of the essay and sets the tone for the entire piece. It should captivate the reader's attention, provide relevant background information, and include a clear and concise thesis statement that presents the primary argument of the essay. For example, if the essay topic is about the benefits of exercise, the introduction may look something like this:
'Regular exercise provides numerous health benefits, including increased energy levels, improved mental health, and reduced risk of chronic diseases.'
The body paragraphs are the meat of the essay and should provide evidence and examples to support the thesis statement. Each body paragraph should begin with a subject sentence that states the major idea of the paragraph. Then, the writer should provide evidence to support the topic sentence. This evidence can be in the form of statistics, facts, or examples. For instance, if the essay is discussing the health benefits of exercise, a body paragraph might look like this:
'One of the key benefits of exercise is improved mental health. Regular exercise has been demonstrated in studies to lessen depressive and anxious symptoms and enhance mood.'
The essay's final paragraph, the conclusion, should repeat the thesis statement and summarize the essay's important ideas. A concluding idea or query might be included to give the reader something to ponder. For example, a conclusion for an essay on the benefits of exercise might look like this:
'In conclusion, exercise provides numerous health benefits, from increased energy levels to reduced risk of chronic diseases. We may enhance both our physical and emotional health and enjoy happier, more satisfying lives by including exercise into our daily routines.'
Overall, the 5 paragraph essay format is useful for organizing thoughts and ideas clearly and concisely. By following this format, writers can present their arguments logically and effectively, which is easy for the reader to follow.
Types of 5 Paragraph Essay
There are several types of five-paragraph essays, each with a slightly different focus or purpose. Here are some of the most common types of five-paragraph essays:
- Narrative essay : A narrative essay tells a story or recounts a personal experience. It typically includes a clear introductory paragraph, body sections that provide details about the story, and a conclusion that wraps up the narrative.
- Descriptive essay: A descriptive essay uses sensory language to describe a person, place, or thing. It often includes a clear thesis statement that identifies the subject of the description and body paragraphs that provide specific details to support the thesis.
- Expository essay: An expository essay offers details or clarifies a subject. It usually starts with a concise introduction that introduces the subject, is followed by body paragraphs that provide evidence and examples to back up the thesis, and ends with a summary of the key points.
- Persuasive essay: A persuasive essay argues for a particular viewpoint or position. It has a thesis statement that is clear, body paragraphs that give evidence and arguments in favor of it, and a conclusion that summarizes the important ideas and restates the thesis.
- Compare and contrast essay: An essay that compares and contrasts two or more subjects and looks at their similarities and differences. It usually starts out simply by introducing the topics being contrasted or compared, followed by body paragraphs that go into more depth on the similarities and differences, and a concluding paragraph that restates the important points.
Each type of five-paragraph essay has its own unique characteristics and requirements. When unsure how to write five paragraph essay, writers can choose the most appropriate structure for their topic by understanding the differences between these types.
5 Paragraph Essay Example Topics
Here are some potential topics for a 5 paragraph essay example. These essay topics are just a starting point and can be expanded upon to fit a wide range of writing essays and prompts.
- The Impact of Social Media on Teenage Communication Skills.
- How Daily Exercise Benefits Mental and Physical Health.
- The Importance of Learning a Second Language.
- The Effects of Global Warming on Marine Life.
- The Role of Technology in Modern Education.
- The Influence of Music on Youth Culture.
- The Pros and Cons of Uniform Policies in Schools.
- The Significance of Historical Monuments in Cultural Identity.
- The Growing Importance of Cybersecurity.
- The Evolution of the American Dream.
- The Impact of Diet on Cognitive Functioning.
- The Role of Art in Society.
- The Future of Renewable Energy Sources.
- The Effects of Urbanization on Wildlife.
- The Importance of Financial Literacy for Young Adults.
- The Influence of Advertising on Consumer Choices.
- The Role of Books in the Digital Age.\
- The Benefits and Challenges of Space Exploration.
- The Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture.
- The Ethical Implications of Genetic Modification.
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General Grading Rubric for a 5 Paragraph Essay
The following is a general grading rubric that can be used to evaluate a five-paragraph essay:
- A thesis statement is clear and specific
- The main points are well-developed and supported by evidence
- Ideas are organized logically and coherently
- Evidence and examples are relevant and support the main points
- The essay demonstrates a strong understanding of the topic
- The introduction effectively introduces the topic and thesis statement
- Body paragraphs are well-structured and have clear topic sentences
- Transitions between paragraphs are smooth and effective
- The concluding sentence effectively summarizes the main points and restates the thesis statement
Language and Style (20%)
- Writing is clear, concise, and easy to understand
- Language is appropriate for the audience and purpose
- Vocabulary is varied and appropriate
- Grammar, spelling, and punctuation are correct
Critical Thinking (20%)
- Student demonstrate an understanding of the topic beyond surface-level knowledge
- Student present a unique perspective or argument
- Student show evidence of critical thinking and analysis
- Students write well-supported conclusions
Considering the above, the paper should demonstrate a thorough understanding of the topic, clear organization, strong essay writing skills, and critical thinking. By using this grading rubric, the teacher can evaluate the essay holistically and provide detailed feedback to the student on areas of strength and areas for improvement.
Five Paragraph Essay Examples
Wrapping up: things to remember.
In conclusion, writing a five paragraph essay example can seem daunting at first, but it doesn't have to be a difficult task. Following these simple steps and tips, you can break down the process into manageable parts and create a clear, concise, and well-organized essay.
Remember to start with a strong thesis statement, use topic sentences to guide your paragraphs, and provide evidence and analysis to support your ideas. Don't forget to revise and proofread your work to make sure it is error-free and coherent. With time and practice, you'll be able to write a 5 paragraph essay with ease and assurance. Whether you're writing for school, work, or personal projects, these skills will serve you well and help you to communicate your ideas effectively.
Meanwhile, you can save time and reduce the stress associated with academic assignments by trusting our research paper writing services to handle the writing for you. So go ahead, buy an essay , and see how easy it can be to meet all of your professors' complex requirements!
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The Ultimate Guide to the 5-Paragraph Essay
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- M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
- B.A., History, Armstrong State University
A five-paragraph essay is a prose composition that follows a prescribed format of an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph, and is typically taught during primary English education and applied on standardized testing throughout schooling.
Learning to write a high-quality five-paragraph essay is an essential skill for students in early English classes as it allows them to express certain ideas, claims, or concepts in an organized manner, complete with evidence that supports each of these notions. Later, though, students may decide to stray from the standard five-paragraph format and venture into writing an exploratory essay instead.
Still, teaching students to organize essays into the five-paragraph format is an easy way to introduce them to writing literary criticism, which will be tested time and again throughout their primary, secondary, and further education.
Writing a Good Introduction
The introduction is the first paragraph in your essay, and it should accomplish a few specific goals: capture the reader's interest, introduce the topic, and make a claim or express an opinion in a thesis statement.
It's a good idea to start your essay with a hook (fascinating statement) to pique the reader's interest, though this can also be accomplished by using descriptive words, an anecdote, an intriguing question, or an interesting fact. Students can practice with creative writing prompts to get some ideas for interesting ways to start an essay.
The next few sentences should explain your first statement, and prepare the reader for your thesis statement, which is typically the last sentence in the introduction. Your thesis sentence should provide your specific assertion and convey a clear point of view, which is typically divided into three distinct arguments that support this assertation, which will each serve as central themes for the body paragraphs.
Writing Body Paragraphs
The body of the essay will include three body paragraphs in a five-paragraph essay format, each limited to one main idea that supports your thesis.
To correctly write each of these three body paragraphs, you should state your supporting idea, your topic sentence, then back it up with two or three sentences of evidence. Use examples that validate the claim before concluding the paragraph and using transition words to lead to the paragraph that follows — meaning that all of your body paragraphs should follow the pattern of "statement, supporting ideas, transition statement."
Words to use as you transition from one paragraph to another include: moreover, in fact, on the whole, furthermore, as a result, simply put, for this reason, similarly, likewise, it follows that, naturally, by comparison, surely, and yet.
Writing a Conclusion
The final paragraph will summarize your main points and re-assert your main claim (from your thesis sentence). It should point out your main points, but should not repeat specific examples, and should, as always, leave a lasting impression on the reader.
The first sentence of the conclusion, therefore, should be used to restate the supporting claims argued in the body paragraphs as they relate to the thesis statement, then the next few sentences should be used to explain how the essay's main points can lead outward, perhaps to further thought on the topic. Ending the conclusion with a question, anecdote, or final pondering is a great way to leave a lasting impact.
Once you complete the first draft of your essay, it's a good idea to re-visit the thesis statement in your first paragraph. Read your essay to see if it flows well, and you might find that the supporting paragraphs are strong, but they don't address the exact focus of your thesis. Simply re-write your thesis sentence to fit your body and summary more exactly, and adjust the conclusion to wrap it all up nicely.
Practice Writing a Five-Paragraph Essay
Students can use the following steps to write a standard essay on any given topic. First, choose a topic, or ask your students to choose their topic, then allow them to form a basic five-paragraph by following these steps:
- Decide on your basic thesis , your idea of a topic to discuss.
- Decide on three pieces of supporting evidence you will use to prove your thesis.
- Write an introductory paragraph, including your thesis and evidence (in order of strength).
- Write your first body paragraph, starting with restating your thesis and focusing on your first piece of supporting evidence.
- End your first paragraph with a transitional sentence that leads to the next body paragraph.
- Write paragraph two of the body focussing on your second piece of evidence. Once again make the connection between your thesis and this piece of evidence.
- End your second paragraph with a transitional sentence that leads to paragraph number three.
- Repeat step 6 using your third piece of evidence.
- Begin your concluding paragraph by restating your thesis. Include the three points you've used to prove your thesis.
- End with a punch, a question, an anecdote, or an entertaining thought that will stay with the reader.
Once a student can master these 10 simple steps, writing a basic five-paragraph essay will be a piece of cake, so long as the student does so correctly and includes enough supporting information in each paragraph that all relate to the same centralized main idea, the thesis of the essay.
Limitations of the Five-Paragraph Essay
The five-paragraph essay is merely a starting point for students hoping to express their ideas in academic writing; there are some other forms and styles of writing that students should use to express their vocabulary in the written form.
According to Tory Young's "Studying English Literature: A Practical Guide":
"Although school students in the U.S. are examined on their ability to write a five-paragraph essay , its raison d'être is purportedly to give practice in basic writing skills that will lead to future success in more varied forms. Detractors feel, however, that writing to rule in this way is more likely to discourage imaginative writing and thinking than enable it. . . . The five-paragraph essay is less aware of its audience and sets out only to present information, an account or a kind of story rather than explicitly to persuade the reader."
Students should instead be asked to write other forms, such as journal entries, blog posts, reviews of goods or services, multi-paragraph research papers, and freeform expository writing around a central theme. Although five-paragraph essays are the golden rule when writing for standardized tests, experimentation with expression should be encouraged throughout primary schooling to bolster students' abilities to utilize the English language fully.
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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 519,033 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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