- Home & Garden
Master the Five-Paragraph Essay
The five-paragraph essay is one of the most common composition assignments out there, whether for high school or college students. It is a classic assignment because it presents an arena in which writers can demonstrate their command of language and punctuation, as well as their logic and rhetorical skills. These skills are useful not only for classroom assignments and college application essays, but even in the business world, as employees have to write memorandums and reports, which draw on the same skills.
Mastering the five-paragraph essay is doable, and here are some tips.
Components of a Good Essay
The five-paragraph essay lives up to its name, because is has five paragraphs, as follows: an introductory paragraph that includes a thesis, three body paragraphs, each which includes support and development, and one concluding paragraph.
Its structure sometimes generates other names for the same essay, including three-tier essay, one-three-one, or a hamburger essay. Whether you are writing a cause-and-effect essay, a persuasive essay, an argumentative essay or a compare-and-contrast essay, you should use this same structure and the following specifics.
Keys to Introductory Paragraphs
Any introductory paragraph contains from three to five sentences and sets up the tone and structure for the whole essay. The first sentence should be a so-called hook sentence and grabs the reader. Examples of hook sentences include a quote, a joke, a rhetorical question or a shocking fact. This is the sentence that will keep your readers reading. Draw them in.
What Makes a Thesis Statement
The last sentence should be your thesis statement, which is the argument you are going to make in the essay. It is the sentence that contains the main point of the essay, or what you are trying to prove. It should be your strongest claim in the whole essay, telling the reader what the paper is about. You should be able to look back at it to keep your argument focused. The other sentences in this paragraph should be general information that links the first sentence and the thesis.
Content of Supporting Paragraphs
Each of the next three paragraphs follows the same general structure of the introductory paragraph. That is, they have one introduction sentence, evidence and arguments in three to five sentences, and a conclusion. Each one of them should define and defend your thesis sentence in the introduction.
The first body paragraph should be dedicated to proving your most powerful point. The second body paragraph can contain your weakest point, because the third body paragraph can, and should, support another strong argument.
Concluding Paragraph Tips
Your concluding paragraph is important, and can be difficult. Ideally, you can begin by restating your thesis. Then you can recall or restate all three to five of your supporting arguments. You should summarize each main point. If you have made similar arguments multiple times, join those together in one sentence.
Essentially, in the concluding or fifth paragraph, you should restate what your preceding paragraphs were about and draw a conclusion. It should answer the question: So what? Even if the answer seems obvious to you, write it down so that your reader can continue to easily follow your thinking process, and hopefully, agree with you.
A Note on Compare and Contrast
Let’s look a little more closely at the compare-and-contrast essay, which is a very common assignment. It can be a confusing one due to the terms used. Comparing two items is to show how they are alike. Contrasting two items is to show how they are different. One way to approach this essay is to make a grid for yourself that compares or contrasts two items before you start writing. Then, write about those characteristics. Do not try to write about both. The name of the essay is actually misleading.
Keep these pointers in mind when you need to write a five-paragraph essay, and your end result will be clear in its argument, leading your reader to the right conclusion. Often, that conclusion is to agree with you, and who doesn’t like to be right?
MORE FROM LIFE123.COM
Find Study Materials for
Business studies, combined science, computer science, english literature, environmental science, human geography, macroeconomics, microeconomics.
- Social Studies
- Browse all subjects
- Exam Revision
- Career Advice for Students
- Student Life
- Study Guide
- University Advice
- Read our Magazine
Create Study Materials
Select your language.
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…
Explore our app and discover over 50 million learning materials for free.
5 Paragraph Essay
Want to get better grades, get free, full access to:.
- Study Planner
- Textbook solutions
- StudySmarter AI
- Textbook Solutions
- A Hook for an Essay
- Body Paragraph
- Essay Outline
- Language Used in Academic Writing
- MHRA Referencing
- Opinion vs Fact
- Works Cited
- Emotional Arguments in Essays
- Ethical Arguments in Essays
- Logical Arguments in Essays
- The Argument
- Writing an Argumentative Essay
- Image Caption
- Personal Blog
- Professional Blog
- Anaphoric Reference
- Cataphoric Reference
- Conversation Analysis
- Discourse Analysis
- Discourse Markers
- Endophoric Reference
- Exophoric Reference
- John Swales Discourse Communities
- Email Closings
- Email Introduction
- Email Salutation
- Email Signature
- Email Subject Lines
- Formal Email
- Informal Email
- Active Voice
- Adjective Phrase
- Adverb Phrase
- Adverbials For Time
- Adverbials of Frequency
- Auxilary Verbs
- Complex Sentence
- Compound Adjectives
- Compound Sentence
- Conditional Sentences
- Coordinating Conjunctions
- Copula Verbs
- Correlative Conjunctions
- Dangling Participle
- Demonstrative Pronouns
- Dependent Clause
- Descriptive Adjectives
- Finite Verbs
- First Conditional
- Functions of Language
- Future Progressive Tense
- Future Tense
- Generative Grammar
- Grammatical Mood
- Grammatical Voices
- Imperative Mood
- Imperative Verbs
- Indefinite Pronouns
- Independent Clause
- Indicative Mood
- Infinitive Mood
- Infinitive Phrases
- Interrogative Mood
- Irregular Verbs
- Linking Verb
- Misplaced Modifiers
- Modal Verbs
- Noun Phrase
- Objective Case
- Optative Mood
- Passive Voice
- Past Perfect Tense
- Perfect Aspect
- Personal Pronouns
- Possessive Adjectives
- Possessive Pronouns
- Potential Mood
- Prepositional Phrase
- Prepositions of Place
- Prepositions of Time
- Present Participle
- Present Perfect Progressive
- Present Perfect Tense
- Present Tense
- Progressive Aspect
- Proper Adjectives
- Reflexive Pronouns
- Relative Clause
- Relative Pronouns
- Second Conditional
- Sentence Functions
- Simple Future Tense
- Simple Sentence
- Subjunctive Mood
- Subordinating Conjunctions
- Superlative Adjectives
- Third Conditional
- Transitive and Intransitive Verbs
- Types of Phrases
- Types of Sentence
- Verb Phrase
- Vocative Case
- Zero Conditional
- Academic English
- Anglo Saxon Roots and Prefixes
- Bilingual Dictionaries
- English Dictionaries
- English Vocabulary
- Greek Roots, Suffixes and Prefixes
- Latin Roots, Suffixes and Prefixes
- Modern English
- Object category
- Regional Dialects
- Rhyming Dictionary
- Sentence Fragments
- Social Dialects
- Subject Predicate Relationship
- Subject Verb Agreement
- Word Pronunciation
- Essay Time Management
- How To Take a Position in an Essay
- Organize Your Prompt
- Proofread Essay
- Understanding the Prompt
- Analytical Essay
- Cause and Effect Essay
- Chat GPT Prompts For Literature Essays
- Claims and Evidence
- Descriptive Essay
- Expository Essay
- Narrative Essay
- Persuasive Essay
- The Best Chat GPT Prompts For Essay Writing
- Essay Sources and Presenting Research
- Essay Structure
- Essay Topic
- Point Evidence Explain
- Research Question
- Sources of Data Collection
- Transcribing Spoken Data
- African American English
- African Countries Speaking English
- American English Vs British English
- Australian English
- British Accents
- British Sign Language
- Communicative Language Teaching
- English in Eu
- Guided Discovery
- Indian English
- Lesson Plan
- Received Pronunciation
- Total Physical Response
- Advise vs Advice
- Affect or Effect
- Inverted commas
- Loosing or Losing
- Multimodal Texts
- Orthographic Features
- Practice or Practise
- Separate vs Seperate
- Typographical Features
- Comparative Method
- Conventions of Standard English
- Early Modern English
- Great Vowel Shift
- Historical Development
- Inflectional Morphemes
- Irish English
- King James Bible
- Language Family
- Language Isolate
- Middle English
- Middle English Examples
- Noah Webster Dictionary
- Old English Language
- Old English Texts
- Old English Translation
- Piers Plowman
- Proto Language
- Samuel Johnson Dictionary
- Scottish English
- Shakespearean English
- Welsh English
- Accent vs Dialect
- Code Switching
- Descriptivism vs Prescriptivism
- Dialect Levelling
- English as a lingua franca
- Kachru's 3 Concentric Circles
- Language Changes
- Pidgin and Creole
- Rhotic Accent
- Social Interaction
- Standard English
- Standardisation of English
- Strevens Model of English
- Technological Determinism
- Vernacular English
- World Englishes
- Language Stereotypes
- Language and Politics
- Language and Power
- Language and Technology
- Media Linguistics
- Michel Foucault Discourse Theory
- Norman Fairclough
- Behavioral Theory
- Cognitive Theory
- Critical Period
- Developmental Language Disorder
- Down Syndrome Language
- Functional Basis of Language
- Interactionist Theory
- Language Acquisition Device (LAD)
- Language Acquisition Support System
- Language Acquisition in Children
- Michael Halliday
- Multiword Stage
- One-Word stage
- Specific Language Impairments
- Theories of Language Acquisition
- Two-Word Stage
- Williams Syndrome
- Grammatical Voice
- Literary Context
- Literary Purpose
- Literary Representation
- Mode English Language
- Narrative Perspective
- Poetic Voice
- Accommodation Theory
- Bernstein Elaborated and Restricted Code
- Casual Register
- Concept of Face
- Consultative Register
- Deficit Approach
- Difference Approach
- Diversity Approach
- Dominance Approach
- Drew and Heritage Institutional Talk
- Eckert Jocks and Burnouts
- Formal Register
- Frozen Register
- Gary Ives Bradford Study
- Holmes Code Switching
- Intimate Register
- Labov- New York Department Store Study
- Language and Age
- Language and Class
- Language and Ethnicity
- Language and Gender
- Language and Identity
- Language and Occupation
- Marked and Unmarked Terms
- Neutral Register
- Peter Trudgill- Norwich Study
- Phatic Talk and Banter
- Register and Style
- Sinclair and Coulthard
- Social Network Theory
- Sociolect vs Idiolect
- Variety vs Standard English
- Connotative Meaning
- Denotative Meaning
- Figurative Language
- Fixed Expressions
- Formal Language
- Informal Language
- Irony English Language
- Language Structure
- Levels of Formality
- Lexical Ambiguity
- Literary Positioning
- Occupational Register
- Paradigmatic Relations
- Prototype Theory
- Rhetorical Figures
- Semantic Analysis
- Semantic Change
- Semantic Reclamation
- Syntagmatic Relations
- Text Structure
- 1984 Newspeak
- Analytical Techniques
- Applied Linguistics
- Computational Linguistics
- Corpus Linguistics
- Critical Theory
- Forensic Linguistics
- Language Comprehension
- Linguistic Determinism
- Logical Positivism
- Machine Translation
- Natural Language Processing
- Neural Networks
- Rhetorical Analysis
- Sapir Whorf Hypothesis
- Speech Recognition
- Active Listening Skills
- Address Counterclaims
- Group Discussion
- Presentation Skills
- Presentation Technology
- Agglutinating Languages
- Compound Words
- Derivational Morphemes
- Grammatical Morphemes
- Lexical Morphology
- Polysynthetic Languages
- Active Reading
- Process of Elimination
- Words in Context
- Click Consonants
- Fundamental Frequency
- International Phonetic Alphabet
- Manner of Articulation
- Nasal Sound
- Oral Cavity
- Phonetic Accommodation
- Phonetic Assimilation
- Place of Articulation
- Sound Spectrum
- Source Filter Theory
- Voice Articulation
- Vowel Chart
- Complementary Distribution
- Sound Symbolisms
- Communication Accommodation Theory
- Conversational Implicature
- Cooperative Principle
- Deictic centre
- Deictic expressions
- Figure of Speech
- Grice's Conversational Maxims
- Politeness Theory
- Semantics vs. Pragmatics
- Speech Acts
- Aggressive vs Friendly Tone
- Curious vs Encouraging Tone
- Feminine Rhyme
- Hypocritical vs Cooperative Tone
- Masculine Rhyme
- Monosyllabic Rhyme
- Optimistic vs Worried Tone
- Serious vs Humorous Tone
- Stress of a Word
- Surprised Tone
- Tone English Langugage
- Analyzing Informational Texts
- Comparing Texts
- Context Cues
- Creative Writing
- Digital Resources
- Ethical Issues In Data Collection
- Formulate Questions
- Internet Search Engines
- Literary Analysis
- Personal Writing
- Print Resources
- Research Process
- Research and Analysis
- Technical Writing
- Action Verbs
- Adjectival Clause
- Adverbial Clause
- Appositive Phrase
- Argument from Authority
- Auditory Description
- Basic Rhetorical Modes
- Begging the Question
- Building Credibility
- Causal Flaw
- Causal Relationships
- Cause and Effect Rhetorical Mode
- Central Idea
- Chronological Description
- Circular Reasoning
- Classical Appeals
- Close Reading
- Coherence Between Sentences
- Coherence within Paragraphs
- Coherences within Sentences
- Complex Rhetorical Modes
- Compound Complex Sentences
- Concrete Adjectives
- Concrete Nouns
- Consistent Voice
- Counter Argument
- Definition by Negation
- Description Rhetorical mode
- Direct Discourse
- Extended Metaphor
- False Connections
- False Dichotomy
- False Equivalence
- Faulty Analogy
- Faulty Causality
- Fear Arousing
- Gustatory Description
- Hasty Generalization
- Induction Rhetoric
- Levels of Coherence
- Line of Reasoning
- Missing the Point
- Modifiers that Qualify
- Modifiers that Specify
- Narration Rhetorical Mode
- Non-Testable Hypothesis
- Objective Description
- Olfactory Description
- Parenthetical Element
- Participial Phrase
- Personal Narrative
- Placement of Modifiers
- Post-Hoc Argument
- Process Analysis Rhetorical Mode
- Red Herring
- Reverse Causation
- Rhetorical Fallacy
- Rhetorical Modes
- Rhetorical Question
- Rhetorical Situation
- Scare Tactics
- Sentimental Appeals
- Situational Irony
- Slippery Slope
- Spatial Description
- Straw Man Argument
- Subject Consistency
- Subjective Description
- Tactile Description
- Tense Consistency
- Tone and Word Choice
- Twisting the Language Around
- Unstated Assumption
- Verbal Irony
- Visual Description
- Authorial Intent
- Authors Technique
- Language Choice
- Prompt Audience
- Prompt Purpose
- Rhetorical Strategies
- Understanding Your Audience
- Auditory Imagery
- Gustatory Imagery
- Olfactory Imagery
- Tactile Imagery
- Main Idea and Supporting Detail
- Statistical Evidence
- Communities of Practice
- Cultural Competence
- Gender Politics
- Intercultural Communication
- Research Methodology
- Object Subject Verb
- Subject Verb Object
- Syntactic Structures
- Universal Grammar
- Verb Subject Object
- Author Authority
- Direct Quote
- First Paragraph
- Historical Context
- Intended Audience
- Primary Source
- Second Paragraph
- Secondary Source
- Source Material
- Third Paragraph
- Character Analysis
- Citation Analysis
- Text Structure Analysis
- Vocabulary Assessment
Save the explanation now and read when you’ve got time to spare.
Lerne mit deinen Freunden und bleibe auf dem richtigen Kurs mit deinen persönlichen Lernstatistiken
Nie wieder prokastinieren mit unseren Lernerinnerungen.
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.
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 structure in an essay?
The structure of an essay is the arrangement of the essay's paragraphs. The structure organizes the essay into distinct parts to make it easy to read.
What does the basic structure of a 5-paragraph essay include?
What does an introduction include?
What does one use a hook for?
One uses a hook to capture the reader's attention.
What are some ideas for hooks?
an interesting question
What kind of background information can be included in an introduction?
names of texts and authors being analyzed or compared
What is a thesis statement ?
A thesis statement is a one-sentence summary of the main point of an essay. It tells the reader what the argument or idea is before going into detail.
True or false:
The first paragraph of an essay should include the most important point of the essay.
True! The first paragraph should start the essay off strong.
What should each body paragraph of a 5-paragraph cover?
a different aspect of the main idea
What should the second body paragraph of a 5-paragraph essay cover?
The second body paragraph should cover the second strongest argument or second most important point of the essay.
What should the third body paragraph of a 5-paragraph essay cover?
the least important idea of the essay
True or False:
Because the third body paragraph covers the least important idea of an essay, it's not really necessary.
False. The third body paragraph is a chance to reinforce the ideas of the first and second paragraphs by building on them.
What are the elements of a good conclusion?
A summary of the main points
What is the purpose of an essay?
The purpose of an essay is the effect a writer intends to have on the reader. It's the one thing the writer wants the reader to walk away from the essay feeling, thinking, or knowing.
When using an argument/persuasion outline, what should each body paragraph cover?
a different reason for the argument
A writer covers a different characteristic of a text in their body paragraphs. What type of outline are they using?
What does chronological mean?
Chronological means arranging events in the order in which they happened. Chronologies tell a story of what happened over time.
An intro paragraph is the first paragraph of an essay. It grabs the reader's attention, introduces the essay topic, and states the essay's _____.
What are some other words for intro paragraph?
What are the elements of an intro paragraph?
A hook is a sentence that _____ the reader's attention.
Where does the hook appear in an intro paragraph?
the first sentence
A writer starts an essay with the following hook: Could you imagine a world without television?
What type of hook is this an example of?
When sharing an important story for a hook, one must tell only stories that come from personal experience.
False. An important story can be a personal experience or a story from the news, popular culture, or any other source.
What is the purpose of using a shocking fact or statistic for a hook?
The purpose of using a shocking fact or statistic for a hook is to shock the reader so they want to learn more.
In an essay, the writer describes a moment where they were caught up in a state of flow. What type of hook is this an example of?
True or false:
A memorable quote should always come from someone famous.
False: A memorable quote can come from a person who is famous or not famous. The quote is what matters!
A strong statement is an effective hook whether the reader disagrees with the statement or not.
True! They might not agree with the statement, but they will want to see how the writer supports it.
How many sentences should one use for background information in an intro paragraph?
two to four
What is the thesis statement of an intro paragraph?
The thesis statement is one sentence that states the main idea of the essay. Think of it as the sentence that tells the reader what they are about to learn about the topic.
Where does the thesis statement appear in an intro paragraph?
The thesis statement appears at the end of the intro paragraph. It should be the last thing the reader sees before moving on to the body paragraphs.
The background information of an intro paragraph should connect to the thesis statement.
True! The two should make sense together.
What is an opinion?
Opinion is a personal conjecture.
Should you use an opinion to support your thesis?
Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards
Join the studysmarter app and learn efficiently with millions of flashcards and more.
Already have an account? Log in
Save explanations that you love in your personalised space, Access Anytime, Anywhere!
- Text Comparison
- International English
of the users don't pass the 5 Paragraph Essay quiz! Will you pass the quiz?
How would you like to learn this content?
Free english cheat sheet!
Everything you need to know on . A perfect summary so you can easily remember everything.
More explanations about 5 Paragraph Essay
Discover the right content for your subjects, engineering, no need to cheat if you have everything you need to succeed packed into one app.
Be perfectly prepared on time with an individual plan.
Test your knowledge with gamified quizzes.
Create and find flashcards in record time.
Create beautiful notes faster than ever before.
Have all your study materials in one place.
Upload unlimited documents and save them online.
Identify your study strength and weaknesses.
Set individual study goals and earn points reaching them.
Stop procrastinating with our study reminders.
Earn points, unlock badges and level up while studying.
Create flashcards in notes completely automatically.
Create the most beautiful study materials using our templates.
Join millions of people in learning anywhere, anytime - every day
Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.
This is still free to read, it's not a paywall.
You need to register to keep reading, start learning with studysmarter, the only learning app you need..
Create a free account to save this explanation.
Save explanations to your personalised space and access them anytime, anywhere!
StudySmarter bietet alles, was du für deinen Lernerfolg brauchst - in einer App!
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. Here is a link to a list of linking words that you can use: List of Commonly Used Linking Words
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
- What is a Reliable Source?
- Referencing Sources
- Quoting Sources
- A Teenager's Guide to the Bookshelf: Literary Analysis
- 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
- How to Make a Good Speech
- Creating Your Own Short Story
- Tips for the in-Depth Study Project
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
- EXPLORE Tech Help Pro About Us Random Article Quizzes Request a New Article Community Dashboard This Or That Game Popular Categories Arts and Entertainment Artwork Books Movies Computers and Electronics Computers Phone Skills Technology Hacks Health Men's Health Mental Health Women's Health Relationships Dating Love Relationship Issues Hobbies and Crafts Crafts Drawing Games Education & Communication Communication Skills Personal Development Studying Personal Care and Style Fashion Hair Care Personal Hygiene Youth Personal Care School Stuff Dating All Categories Arts and Entertainment Finance and Business Home and Garden Relationship Quizzes Cars & Other Vehicles Food and Entertaining Personal Care and Style Sports and Fitness Computers and Electronics Health Pets and Animals Travel Education & Communication Hobbies and Crafts Philosophy and Religion Work World Family Life Holidays and Traditions Relationships Youth
- EDIT Edit this Article
- PRO Courses Guides New Tech Help Pro Expert Videos About wikiHow Pro Upgrade Sign In
- Browse Articles
- Learn Something New
- Quizzes New
- This Or That Game New
- Train Your Brain
- Explore More
- Support wikiHow
- About wikiHow
- Log in / Sign up
- Education and Communications
- College University and Postgraduate
- Academic Writing
How to Write a Five Paragraph Essay
Last Updated: January 20, 2023 References Approved
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. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, several readers have written to tell us that this article was helpful to them, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 516,756 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.
Video . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.
- 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
You Might Also Like
- ↑ 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
- Send fan mail to authors
Reader Success Stories
Nov 3, 2017
Did this article help you?
Jul 20, 2020
Feb 16, 2017
Oct 6, 2016
Mar 24, 2017
- Do Not Sell or Share My Info
- Not Selling Info
Don’t miss out! Sign up for
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 benefits of regular exercise
- The impact of social media on relationships
- The advantages and disadvantages of online learning
- The importance of a healthy diet
- The effects of climate change on the planet
- The role of technology in modern society
- The impact of video games on children and teenagers
- The value of a college education
- The causes and effects of stress
- The role of art in society
- The effects of smoking on health
- The benefits of volunteering in the community
- The importance of time management skills
- The impact of music on mood and emotions
- The causes and effects of bullying in schools
- The significance of cultural diversity in society
- The role of sports in promoting physical and mental health
- The effects of sleep deprivation on the body and mind
- The importance of financial literacy skills
- The impact of travel on personal growth and development
Don't Let Essay Writing Stress You Out!
Order a high-quality, custom-written paper from our professional writing service and take the first step towards academic success!
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!
Ready to Take the Stress Out of Essay Writing?
Order your 5 paragraph essay today and enjoy a high-quality, custom-written paper delivered promptly
The Ultimate Guide to the 5-Paragraph Essay
PeopleImages / Getty Images
- 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.
- Write an Attention-Grabbing Opening Sentence for an Essay
- How To Write an Essay
- How to Write a Great Essay for the TOEFL or TOEIC
- How to Write and Format an MBA Essay
- How to Structure an Essay
- Paragraph Writing
- How to Help Your 4th Grader Write a Biography
- What Is Expository Writing?
- What an Essay Is and How to Write One
- Definition and Examples of Body Paragraphs in Composition
- 3 Changes That Will Take Your Essay From Good To Great
- An Introduction to Academic Writing
- Definition and Examples of Analysis in Composition
- Tips on How to Write an Argumentative Essay
- How to Write a Solid Thesis Statement
- The Introductory Paragraph: Start Your Paper Off Right
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.