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How To Write a 5 Paragraph Essay

Academic writing

Essay paper writing


It is a well-known fact that the five-paragraph essay format is extremely popular as there are too many people who do not want or do not have time to read more. “Spell it out in five paragraphs,” that is what a busy boss might ask you to do if he or she needs a brief or an office memo. Also, a 5-paragraph essay may be assigned to you at school or university, and it is likely to be required when applying to a certain academic institution.

What Is a 5 Paragraph Essay?

This type of paper is a typical task often assigned to students at different exams, tests, and even job interviews. Even more, such content it is common for web pages, online news, and various kinds of blogs as it is fast to read and can be used to deliver a message.

Once you get your first assignment, the first question you might have is, “How many words should a 5-paragraph essay be?” Actually, there are no strict limitations to the word count. It usually ranges from 500 to 800 words. Try to stay within these limits and make sure your paragraphs are of the same size approximately.

There is also no exact number of sentences. It can be 25, five sentences per paragraph or 35, with seven sentences per paragraph: it depends on the one’s writing skills and the task. Just remember that writing is an art rather than a craft, and you cannot always rely on the measurements, so it is better not to concentrate too much on the question “How long should a 5-paragraph essay be?”.

Do not lose heart if this assignment is new and difficult for you. You should consider writing a 5-paragraph essay as a useful creative task, and not as a burden. The skills you will acquire while working on the essay are very useful in life. With this much-longer-than-five-paragraph article, professional paper writers will give you some valuable tips and advice on how to learn the art of writing such essays quickly.

Basic Types of Five-Paragraph Essays

For academic essays, there are six basic types:

  • Persuasive essays are usually based on your opinion. Here, you have to convince your reader about your ideas and views with a clear argument.
  • Argumentative essays are designed to check your ability to think critically and analytically. Be sure to provide either positive or negative opinion on the issue.
  • Expository essays are the papers where you explain or describe a topic, providing more information and facts. They are often used as an exam task assignment.
  • Narrative essays are focused on a plot and arranged chronologically. Use them for story-telling, writing a synopsis, and so on.
  • Cause and Effect essays explore causal chains that are often (but not always) arranged in chronological order. They require clear and exhaustive explanations.
  • Compare and Contrast essays are written based on comparisons and analogies, where you need to highlight similarities and differences.

In general, you should be careful with combining different kinds of essays in one, especially with your first paper, and so it’s best to stick to the type of paper suggested by your professor.

Your Best 5-paragraph Essay Structure

Being limited to the given 5-paragraph essay format, one should use the following structure of the paper:

The Introduction

The introduction is usually 5-7 sentences long. Remember that your first sentence is the one that hooks your readers. You can tell a joke as well as refer to a real-life story or a striking fact. You can also start with a rhetoric question. Moreover, you may begin the essay with a good quote to further develop your narrative. Alternatively, an interesting statistic or a challenging question may be used.

The first sentence should give the reader a curiosity impulse and encourage them to read the essay through with due interest. In other words, your first sentence is the first chord to quieten the hall and to make the audience listen. Do not hesitate to briefly explain why you think the topic is important because you set the tone and the direction of your paper in the introduction.

After that, you may want to introduce your arguments. Three arguments you put in the introduction only mark the direction and give your reader an idea about your approach to the subject, your text structure, and the way you are going to take your reader through the topic. Remember that you should inform the reader what an essay is about in the introduction. The last sentence of the intro is where the thesis is stated; a thesis statement is the strongest point and the cornerstone to build the essay on.

The Main Body

In the main body, you get more specific, narrowing your outline to the arguments. It is strongly recommended that every separate paragraph of the essay is focused on a particular point or an argument to defend your thesis. You should try to write from five to seven sentences for each of the body paragraphs and structure them the following way:

  • introduction to open the argument – one sentence;
  • the argument or the evidence – three to five sentences;
  • the conclusion – wrapping up the argument or evidence above.

Do not forget to use your most persuasive argument or evidence in the first paragraph of the body of the essay. Your weakest argument should go in the second paragraph, and one more strong argument in the third one.

Do not cut your argument/evidence sentences too short. Feel free to present the main idea of every paragraph in this section of your essay in as many words as needed. You need to explain your point here. If you leave your arguments without adequately supporting them with explanations and evidence, your writing may leave an impression of a sweeping allegation. This could ruin your work as people do not like to read mere-assertion essays.

It happens quite often that while working on main body paragraphs, you find out that you have deviated from the thesis stated in the intro and started writing about something else. So be attentive and try not to stray from the subject.

The Conclusion

It’s a fact that readers tend to remember your conclusion much better than the previous parts of your essay. That is why you need to pay maximum attention to this section. First of all, do not start any new topic in the final part of the essay. You only need to wrap up all that was put in the previous paragraphs, summarizing your statements and arguments.

Secondly, it is not recommended to write a lengthy conclusion as the points you mention might become unclear when expressed in too many words. Finally, you have to avoid using citations in this part of your essay. The best way to structure your conclusion is the following:

  • restate your thesis;
  • present your arguments in a concise manner;
  • draw a conclusion.

How to Pick Your Best 5 paragraph Essay Topic?

There are many five-paragraph essay topics on the Internet. You can search the Web and find the best one matching your interests and knowledge. If you are given an option to come up with your own topic, make sure it would be interesting for you. Your paper will evoke reader’s curiosity and emotions in case you are genuinely passionate about the subject matter.

Such topics usually cover a variety of social issues, popular culture, high education, racial and gender problems, cultural diversity, morals and ethics, environmental issues, and other points in the focus of public attention.

General advice

five paragraph essay

Make sure all parts of your essay are logically connected. Do not mix apples and oranges even if you are well-versed in several issues. All you need is to use one thesis and support it with three arguments – that is what writing a five-paragraph essay is about.

Mind the logic and avoid deviations from your main thesis-argument line. Such differences might develop when you use extensive vocabulary. It is okay to enrich your writing with synonyms and more complicated grammar, but it should look natural. Do not use synonyms when it comes to the core terminology of your 5 paragraph essay topic. If you write about a spade, then call it with its name; otherwise, you risk to mislead your reader.

Get Organized

How to start a 5-paragraph essay? It might be a challenge for disorganized people to write in a properly structured way. A five-paragraph essay format leaves no place for confusing ideas. But do not despair if you think that you are not organized enough. Here are some recommendations to guide you in creating a well-written essay.

Read your assignment several times to make sure you understand what you are expected to do before you begin to write a "To Kill a Mockingbird" 5 paragraph essay. Underline the keywords in the assignment page as they might be helpful in giving the right image of your thesis and even in providing you with a workable idea for the arguments.

Follow the recommendations of the structure we have listed for you above. You may find it somewhat difficult if you have never written five-paragraph essays. It would be great to write one or two essays to practice this type of work. Pick up one five-paragraph essay topic you could easily find on the Internet, and go ahead with the structure and tips we have offered you. You could be favorably impressed with the result, as well as with how easy it was to work on this type of paper.

Make Sure Your Writing Is Good Enough

There are several simple tips to assist you in keeping up with the limitations and requirements of academic writing:

  • do not abbreviate and use contractions;
  • never use “I,” “me,” and “my” pronouns; instead, operate with “the data obtained indicates that,” “it is commonly believed that,” “the latter circumstance is known to” etc.;
  • avoid mentioning your personal experience and the observations made by your relatives and friends;
  • do not use slang; never begin your sentences with “well,” “no,” “yes”;

The Last Things To Do Before You Hand in Your Essay

Once you have finished your writing, put it aside for a day or two, and then come back to it with a fresh pair of eyes. Then look it through pretending you are the reader and ask yourself a couple of questions, starting with “is the hook in the intro good enough?” Check whether your thesis stated in the introduction is relevantly and logically supported in the main body of your essay.

Make sure your conclusive statement in the last paragraph works exactly the way it is supposed to. Check the final sentence. Does it sound like a good final chord to ding in your reader’s ears for some more time? If all the answers are yes, congratulations! Your paper is perfect, and you will surely get an excellent mark


Academic writing

Essay paper writing

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