What Is Five-Paragraph Essay and How to Write It?

What Is Five-Paragraph Essay and How to Write It?

A typical academic essay is usually made of five paragraphs only. As a rule, a student has to introduce the topic, state and support up to three arguments, and sum up the results in the last paragraph, which is a conclusion. This writing task is assigned to check how well a student interacts with the reader, defend the thesis sentence, conduct research, come up with arguments, and summarize the findings in one paragraph. This assignment improves reading, writing, and analytical skills a lot.

Five-paragraph essay is a standard example for most of the educational institutions like high schools and colleges. Its purpose is to point to the relevance of topic in every single paragraph with the help of good arguments.

All teachers know that many students might need these skills for each of the post-graduate standard tests: TOEFL, SAT, IELTS, and even ACT. The knowledge of writing basics is a supporting part of any admission process. If you have no idea how a good five-paragraph essay should be formatted, please have a look at different examples posted online for free.

Different Types of Five-Paragraph Essays

It is important to know each of the five types of papers before deciding on the sentence and paragraph structure. They are:

  1. Narrative
  2. Expository
  3. Persuasive
  4. Argumentative
  5. Cause and effect

Actually, we can point out more types like compare and contrast or character analysis essay. However, those five are the basic categories. Anyway, you need to make an outline and start memorizing how a five-paragraph essay should look like as it is the most common structure of any academic writing assignment, no matter whether we talk about your homework paper or test/examination.

Five paragraph format usually includes an introduction with the powerful thesis statement in the last sentence, 3-5 body paragraphs (usually, it's three paragraphs), and conclusion. Body paragraphs should begin with the sentence which contains a powerful argument:

  1. First paragraph: argument one
  2. Second paragraph: argument two
  3. Third paragraph: argument three

Each of the arguments serves as the supporting point for your thesis statement. There should be no less than three arguments in favor or against the chosen topic or research question. These arguments have to support your thesis statement. Without persuasive evidence, it is impossible to persuade the reader of the importance of your research question.

General Format and Structure of Your Paper

To make it short, the five-paragraph essay structure must look this way:

  1. Topic
  2. Argument
  3. Explanation
  4. Conclusion
  5. References

When it comes to in-text citations and bibliography, they are used in any five-paragraph essay to defend the primary ideas. All teachers want to see at least three credible sources in your paper. Sources help to defend your thesis statement as they usually refer to the researchers that have to prove author’s words. Make sure that the books, magazines, articles or other sources of your choice are no older than 5 years before including them in any paragraph of your essay.

In-depth research also helps to define the topic is your teachers do not assign you one. It is one of the most difficult parts as students often get stuck when deciding on their thesis sentence. Select your topic based on these parameters:

  1. How easy is it to find supporting points?
  2. How easy would it be to make powerful supporting arguments?
  3. Will your introduction paragraph be eye-catching for your reader?
  4. Would it be possible to include a strong thesis in the last sentence of the first paragraph?
  5. Is the subject interesting/relevant for your community? How the conclusion and forecasts may help?

Developing Each Part of Your Academic Paper

Once you have picked the topic to write about, develop an outline first. An outline figures as an action plan for your project so that you can keep in mind what each paragraph should include. Second, depending on the paper format (MLA, Chicago, etc.) write an abstract or your first paragraph which is an introduction. Writing an abstract is a requirement of the APA format. It’s a one-paragraph summary of the essay.

As for the introduction part, this first paragraph should include three important parts (sentences):

  1. Hook
  2. Trailer
  3. Thesis statement

The hook is about grabbing reader's attention with the single first sentence. Some good ideas for the introductory sentence may be a joke, shocking fact, or intriguing question on the chosen theme. On the whole, the entire paragraph is about forcing the reader to read the essay sentence-by-sentence. A trailer is like a movie trailer - outlines and explains what's coming next. Finally, state your thesis in the last sentence of your introduction paragraph.

Next, using transition words, move to the process of writing your second paragraph, which is actually the first paragraph of your essay body. Find all possible ideas on your research question. Pick the best parts to come up with at least three impressive arguments. You may want to include examples into each paragraph of the paper's body. They may also act as excellent supporting points for your thesis.

The last paragraph is the conclusion. Once again, write down some transition words to transfer from your body part to the last paragraph. A conclusion should restate thesis sentence. This time, you'll have to write down the conclusions grabbed from each body paragraph. Explain how they are all interrelated. Think about possible alternatives and offer predictions for the future.

Know the General Grading System!

Please find the information below to know the grading rubric for any academic five-paragraph paper.

It is important to know that specific schools, colleges, and universities might have their own grading rubrics. However, the five-point system is the most frequently met. There are five features used while grading your five-paragraph essay on any topic:

Focus. Were the supporting points strong enough to defend each argument and thesis statement? Was each goal from the outline met?

Organization. What about the essay structure? How well were the transition words between paragraphs used? Has the writer developed the proper outline? Did he keep to the specific outline?

Conventions. Were there any mistakes in the sentences (grammar/spelling/punctuation)? Was there any run on sentences?

Style. Were the students successful with their vocabulary in the five-paragraph essays? What about the level of creativity and plagiarism?

Content. Did the student manage to prove the argument and topic thesis properly? Was his conclusion logical?

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