How to Write a Five-Paragraph Essay, With Outlines and an Example
A five-paragraph essay is a simple format for writing a complete essay, fitting the minimal components of an essay into just five paragraphs. Although it doesn’t have much breadth for complexity, the five-paragraph essay format is useful for helping students and academics structure basic papers.
If you’re having trouble writing , you can use the five-paragraph essay format as a guide or template. Below we discuss the fundamentals of the five-paragraph essay, explaining how to write one and what to include.
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What is a five-paragraph essay?
The five-paragraph essay format is a guide that helps writers structure an essay. It consists of one introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs for support, and one concluding paragraph. Because of this structure, it has been nicknamed the “hamburger essay,” the “one-three-one essay,” and the “three-tier essay.”
You won’t find too many five-paragraph essay examples in literature, simply because the format is too short. The five-paragraph essay format is more popular for educational assignments, such as school papers or quick writing exercises. Think of it as a writing tool to guide structure rather than an independent genre of essay.
Part of the appeal of the five-paragraph essay format is that it can accommodate all types of essays . No matter your assignment, whether an argumentative essay or a compare-and-contrast essay , you can apply the structure of a five-paragraph essay to communicate clearly and logically, as long as your topic is simple enough to be covered in just five paragraphs .
How to start a five-paragraph essay
As with all essays, before you begin writing a five-paragraph essay, you first need to know your thesis, or main topic. Your thesis is the idea you will defend or expand upon, and ultimately what your entire essay is about, and the three paragraphs in the middle will support, prove, or elaborate on your thesis.
Naturally, you can’t begin writing until you know what you’re writing about. If your thesis is not provided in the assignment, choose one that has sufficient content for discussion, or at least enough to fill five paragraphs.
Writers typically explain the thesis in the thesis statement , a sentence in the first paragraph that tells the reader what the essay is about. You don’t need to write this first, but phrasing the topic as a single sentence can help you to understand it, focus it, and revise it if needed.
Once you’ve selected a topic, we recommend writing a quick essay outline so you know what information to include and in which paragraphs. Your five-paragraph essay outline is like a blueprint where you can perfect the order and structure of your essay beforehand to save time on editing later.
How to transition between paragraphs
One of the biggest challenges in essay writing is transitioning from one paragraph to another. Good writing is seamless and fluid, so if your paragraph transitions are jarring or abrupt, readers will get distracted from the flow and lose momentum or even interest.
The best way to move logically from one point to another is to create transition sentences using words or phrases like “however,” “similarly,” or “on the other hand.” Sometimes adding a single word to the beginning of a paragraph is enough to connect it to the preceding paragraph and keep the reader on track. You can find a full list of transition words and phrases here .
Five-paragraph essay format
If you’re writing your five-paragraph essay outline—or if you’re diving right into the first draft—it helps to know what information to include in each paragraph. Just like in all prose writing, the basic components of your essay are its paragraphs .
In five-paragraph essays, each paragraph has a unique role to play. Below we explain the goals for each specific paragraph and what to include in them.
The first paragraph is crucial. Not only does it set the tone of your entire essay, it also introduces the topic to the reader so they know what to expect. Luckily, many of the same suggestions for how to start an essay still apply to five-paragraph essays.
First and foremost, your introductory paragraph should contain your thesis statement. This single sentence clearly communicates what the entire essay is about, including your opinion or argument, if it’s warranted.
The thesis statement is often the first sentence, but feel free to move it back if you want to open with something more attention-grabbing, like a hook. In writing, a hook is something that attracts the reader’s interest, such as mystery, urgency, or good old-fashioned drama.
Your introductory paragraph is also a good spot to include any background context for your topic. You should save the most significant information for the body paragraphs, but you can use the introduction to give basic information that your readers might not know.
Finally, your introductory paragraph should touch on the individual points made in the subsequent paragraphs, similar to an outline. You don’t want to give too much away in the first paragraph, just a brief mention of what you’ll discuss. Save the details for the following paragraphs, where you’ll have room to elaborate.
The three body paragraphs are the “meat” of your essay, where you describe details, share evidence, explain your reasoning, and otherwise advance your thesis. Each paragraph should be a separate and independent topic that supports your thesis.
Start each paragraph with a topic sentence , which acts a bit like a thesis statement, except it describes the topic of only that paragraph. The topic sentence summarizes the point that the entire paragraph makes, but saves the details for the following sentences. Don’t be afraid to include a transition word or phrase in the topic sentence if the subject change from the previous paragraph is too drastic.
After the topic sentence, fill in the rest of the paragraph with the details. These could be persuasive arguments, empirical data, quotes from authoritative sources, or just logical reasoning. Be sure to avoid any sentences that are off-topic or tangential; five-paragraph essays are supposed to be concise, so include only the relevant details.
The final paragraph concludes the essay. You don’t want to add any new evidence or support in the last paragraph; instead, summarize the points from the previous paragraphs and tie them together. Here, the writer restates the thesis and reminds the reader of the points made in the three body paragraphs.
If the goal of your essay is to convince the reader to do something, like donate to a cause or change their behavior, the concluding paragraph can also include a call to action. A call to action is a statement or request that explains clearly what the writer wants the reader to do. For example, if your topic is preventing forest fires, your call to action might be: “Remember to obey safety laws when camping.”
The basic principles of how to write a conclusion for an essay apply to five-paragraph essays as well. For example, the final paragraph is a good time to explain why this topic matters or to add your own opinion. It also helps to end with a thought-provoking sentence, such as an open-ended question, to give your audience something to think about after reading.
Five-paragraph essay example
Here’s a five-paragraph essay example, so you can better understand how they work.
Capybaras make great pets, and the laws against owning them should be reconsidered. Capybaras are a dog-sized animal with coarse fur, native to eastern South America. They’re known across the internet as the friendliest animal on the planet, but there’s a lot of misinformation about them as pets. They’re considered an exotic animal, so a lot of legal restrictions prevent people from owning them as pets, but it’s time to reevaluate these laws.
For one thing, capybaras are rodents—the largest rodents in the world, actually—and plenty of rodents are already normalized as pets. Capybaras are closely related to guinea pigs and chinchillas, both of which are popular pets, and more distantly related to mice and rats, another common type of pet. In nature, most rodents (including capybaras) are social animals and live in groups, which makes them accustomed to life as a pet.
There are a lot of prevalent myths about capybaras that dissuade people from owning them, but most of these are unfounded. For example, people assume capybaras smell bad, but this is not true; their special fur actually resists odor. Another myth is that they’re messy, but in reality, capybaras don’t shed often and can even be litter-trained! One rumor based in truth is that they can be destructive and chew on their owners’ things, but so can dogs, and dogs are one of the most common pets we have.
The one reasonable criticism for keeping capybaras as pets is that they are high-maintenance. Capybaras require lots of space to run around and are prone to separation anxiety if owners are gone most of the day. Moreover, capybaras are semi-aquatic, so it’s best for them to have a pool to swim in. However difficult these special conditions are to meet, they’re all still doable; as with all pets, the owners should simply commit to these prerequisites before getting one.
All in all, the advantages of capybaras as pets outweigh the cons. As rodents, they’re social and trainable, and many of the deterrent myths about them are untrue. Even the extra maintenance they require is still manageable. If capybaras are illegal to own where you live, contact your local lawmakers and petition them to reconsider these laws. You’ll see first-hand just why the internet has fallen in love with this “friend-shaped” animal!
In this example, you’ll notice a lot of the points we discussed earlier.
The first sentence in the first paragraph is our thesis statement, which explains what this essay is about and the writer’s stance on the subject. Also in the first paragraph is the necessary background information for context, in this case a description of capybaras for readers who aren’t familiar with them.
Notice how each of the three body paragraphs focuses on its own particular topic. The first discusses how rodents in general make good pets, and the second dispels some common rumors about capybaras as pets. The third paragraph directly addresses criticism of the writer’s point of view, a common tactic used in argumentative and persuasive essays to strengthen the writer’s argument.
Last, the concluding paragraph reiterates the previous points and ties them together. Because the topic involves laws about keeping capybaras as pets, there’s a call to action about contacting lawmakers. The final sentence is written as a friendly send-off, leaving the reader at a high point.
Five-paragraph essay FAQ
What is a five-paragraph essay.
A five-paragraph essay is a basic form of essay that acts as a writing tool to teach structure. It’s common in schools for short assignments and writing practice.
How is it structured?
The five-paragraph essay structure consists of, in order: one introductory paragraph that introduces the main topic and states a thesis, three body paragraphs to support the thesis, and one concluding paragraph to wrap up the points made in the essay.
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.
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How to Write a 5 Paragraph Essay: General Tips
If you are struggling with how to write a 5 paragraph essay, don't worry! It's a common format that many students learn in their academic careers. Here are some tips from our admission essay writing service to help you write a successful five paragraph essay example:
- Start with a strong thesis statement : Among the 5 parts of essay, the thesis statement can be the most important. It presents the major topic you will debate throughout your essay while being explicit and simple.
- Use topic sentences to introduce each paragraph : The major idea you will address in each of the three body paragraphs should be established in a concise subject sentence.
- Use evidence to support your arguments : The evidence you present in your body paragraphs should back up your thesis. This can include facts, statistics, or examples from your research or personal experience.
- Include transitions: Use transitional words and phrases to make the flow of your essay easier. Words like 'although,' 'in addition,' and 'on the other hand' are examples of these.
- Write a strong conclusion: In addition to restating your thesis statement in a new way, your conclusion should highlight the key ideas of your essay. You might also leave the reader with a closing idea or query to reflect on.
- Edit and proofread: When you've completed writing your essay, thoroughly revise and proofread it. Make sure your thoughts are brief and clear and proofread your writing for grammatical and spelling mistakes.
By following these tips, you can write strong and effective five paragraph essays examples that will impress your teacher or professor.
5 Paragraph Essay Format
Let's readdress the five-paragraph essay format and explain it in more detail. So, as already mentioned, it is a widely-used writing structure taught in many schools and universities. A five-paragraph essay comprises an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion, each playing a significant role in creating a well-structured and coherent essay.
The introduction serves as the opening paragraph of the essay and sets the tone for the entire piece. It should captivate the reader's attention, provide relevant background information, and include a clear and concise thesis statement that presents the primary argument of the essay. For example, if the essay topic is about the benefits of exercise, the introduction may look something like this:
'Regular exercise provides numerous health benefits, including increased energy levels, improved mental health, and reduced risk of chronic diseases.'
The body paragraphs are the meat of the essay and should provide evidence and examples to support the thesis statement. Each body paragraph should begin with a subject sentence that states the major idea of the paragraph. Then, the writer should provide evidence to support the topic sentence. This evidence can be in the form of statistics, facts, or examples. For instance, if the essay is discussing the health benefits of exercise, a body paragraph might look like this:
'One of the key benefits of exercise is improved mental health. Regular exercise has been demonstrated in studies to lessen depressive and anxious symptoms and enhance mood.'
The essay's final paragraph, the conclusion, should repeat the thesis statement and summarize the essay's important ideas. A concluding idea or query might be included to give the reader something to ponder. For example, a conclusion for an essay on the benefits of exercise might look like this:
'In conclusion, exercise provides numerous health benefits, from increased energy levels to reduced risk of chronic diseases. We may enhance both our physical and emotional health and enjoy happier, more satisfying lives by including exercise into our daily routines.'
Overall, the 5 paragraph essay format is useful for organizing thoughts and ideas clearly and concisely. By following this format, writers can present their arguments logically and effectively, which is easy for the reader to follow.
Types of 5 Paragraph Essay
There are several types of five-paragraph essays, each with a slightly different focus or purpose. Here are some of the most common types of five-paragraph essays:
- Narrative essay : A narrative essay tells a story or recounts a personal experience. It typically includes a clear introductory paragraph, body sections that provide details about the story, and a conclusion that wraps up the narrative.
- Descriptive essay: A descriptive essay uses sensory language to describe a person, place, or thing. It often includes a clear thesis statement that identifies the subject of the description and body paragraphs that provide specific details to support the thesis.
- Expository essay: An expository essay offers details or clarifies a subject. It usually starts with a concise introduction that introduces the subject, is followed by body paragraphs that provide evidence and examples to back up the thesis, and ends with a summary of the key points.
- Persuasive essay: A persuasive essay argues for a particular viewpoint or position. It has a thesis statement that is clear, body paragraphs that give evidence and arguments in favor of it, and a conclusion that summarizes the important ideas and restates the thesis.
- Compare and contrast essay: An essay that compares and contrasts two or more subjects and looks at their similarities and differences. It usually starts out simply by introducing the topics being contrasted or compared, followed by body paragraphs that go into more depth on the similarities and differences, and a concluding paragraph that restates the important points.
Each type of five-paragraph essay has its own unique characteristics and requirements. When unsure how to write five paragraph essay, writers can choose the most appropriate structure for their topic by understanding the differences between these types.
5 Paragraph Essay Example Topics
Here are some potential topics for a 5 paragraph essay example. These essay topics are just a starting point and can be expanded upon to fit a wide range of writing essays and prompts.
- The Impact of Social Media on Teenage Communication Skills.
- How Daily Exercise Benefits Mental and Physical Health.
- The Importance of Learning a Second Language.
- The Effects of Global Warming on Marine Life.
- The Role of Technology in Modern Education.
- The Influence of Music on Youth Culture.
- The Pros and Cons of Uniform Policies in Schools.
- The Significance of Historical Monuments in Cultural Identity.
- The Growing Importance of Cybersecurity.
- The Evolution of the American Dream.
- The Impact of Diet on Cognitive Functioning.
- The Role of Art in Society.
- The Future of Renewable Energy Sources.
- The Effects of Urbanization on Wildlife.
- The Importance of Financial Literacy for Young Adults.
- The Influence of Advertising on Consumer Choices.
- The Role of Books in the Digital Age.\
- The Benefits and Challenges of Space Exploration.
- The Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture.
- The Ethical Implications of Genetic Modification.
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General Grading Rubric for a 5 Paragraph Essay
The following is a general grading rubric that can be used to evaluate a five-paragraph essay:
- A thesis statement is clear and specific
- The main points are well-developed and supported by evidence
- Ideas are organized logically and coherently
- Evidence and examples are relevant and support the main points
- The essay demonstrates a strong understanding of the topic
- The introduction effectively introduces the topic and thesis statement
- Body paragraphs are well-structured and have clear topic sentences
- Transitions between paragraphs are smooth and effective
- The concluding sentence effectively summarizes the main points and restates the thesis statement
Language and Style (20%)
- Writing is clear, concise, and easy to understand
- Language is appropriate for the audience and purpose
- Vocabulary is varied and appropriate
- Grammar, spelling, and punctuation are correct
Critical Thinking (20%)
- Student demonstrate an understanding of the topic beyond surface-level knowledge
- Student present a unique perspective or argument
- Student show evidence of critical thinking and analysis
- Students write well-supported conclusions
Considering the above, the paper should demonstrate a thorough understanding of the topic, clear organization, strong essay writing skills, and critical thinking. By using this grading rubric, the teacher can evaluate the essay holistically and provide detailed feedback to the student on areas of strength and areas for improvement.
Five Paragraph Essay Examples
Wrapping up: things to remember.
In conclusion, writing a five paragraph essay example can seem daunting at first, but it doesn't have to be a difficult task. Following these simple steps and tips, you can break down the process into manageable parts and create a clear, concise, and well-organized essay.
Remember to start with a strong thesis statement, use topic sentences to guide your paragraphs, and provide evidence and analysis to support your ideas. Don't forget to revise and proofread your work to make sure it is error-free and coherent. With time and practice, you'll be able to write a 5 paragraph essay with ease and assurance. Whether you're writing for school, work, or personal projects, these skills will serve you well and help you to communicate your ideas effectively.
Meanwhile, you can save time and reduce the stress associated with academic assignments by trusting our research paper writing services to handle the writing for you. So go ahead, buy an essay , and see how easy it can be to meet all of your professors' complex requirements!
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The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.
What is an expository essay?
The expository essay is a genre of essay that requires the student to investigate an idea, evaluate evidence, expound on the idea, and set forth an argument concerning that idea in a clear and concise manner. This can be accomplished through comparison and contrast, definition, example, the analysis of cause and effect, etc.
Please note : This genre is commonly assigned as a tool for classroom evaluation and is often found in various exam formats.
The structure of the expository essay is held together by the following.
- A clear, concise, and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay.
It is essential that this thesis statement be appropriately narrowed to follow the guidelines set forth in the assignment. If the student does not master this portion of the essay, it will be quite difficult to compose an effective or persuasive essay.
- Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion.
Transitions are the mortar that holds the foundation of the essay together. Without logical progression of thought, the reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument, and the structure will collapse.
- Body paragraphs that include evidential support.
Each paragraph should be limited to the exposition of one general idea. This will allow for clarity and direction throughout the essay. What is more, such conciseness creates an ease of readability for one’s audience. It is important to note that each paragraph in the body of the essay must have some logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph.
- Evidential support (whether factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal).
Often times, students are required to write expository essays with little or no preparation; therefore, such essays do not typically allow for a great deal of statistical or factual evidence.
- A bit of creativity!
Though creativity and artfulness are not always associated with essay writing, it is an art form nonetheless. Try not to get stuck on the formulaic nature of expository writing at the expense of writing something interesting. Remember, though you may not be crafting the next great novel, you are attempting to leave a lasting impression on the people evaluating your essay.
- A conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided.
It is at this point of the essay that students will inevitably begin to struggle. This is the portion of the essay that will leave the most immediate impression on the mind of the reader. Therefore, it must be effective and logical. Do not introduce any new information into the conclusion; rather, synthesize and come to a conclusion concerning the information presented in the body of the essay.
A complete argument
Perhaps it is helpful to think of an essay in terms of a conversation or debate with a classmate. If I were to discuss the cause of the Great Depression and its current effect on those who lived through the tumultuous time, there would be a beginning, middle, and end to the conversation. In fact, if I were to end the exposition in the middle of my second point, questions would arise concerning the current effects on those who lived through the Depression. Therefore, the expository essay must be complete, and logically so, leaving no doubt as to its intent or argument.
The five-paragraph Essay
A common method for writing an expository essay is the five-paragraph approach. This is, however, by no means the only formula for writing such essays. If it sounds straightforward, that is because it is; in fact, the method consists of:
- an introductory paragraph
- three evidentiary body paragraphs
- a conclusion
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Every essay is an opportunity to share an original idea on a subject about which you have some knowledge. Sometimes you only just gained that knowledge—as in a free response question paired with a reading segment during an exam—and other times you’ll be writing about a subject that you have studied for years and know like the back of your hand. In either case, writing a five-paragraph essay can serve as a useful tool for communicating your thoughts to an academic audience.
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- 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
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5 Paragraph Essay: What Is It?
A five-paragraph essay is a prose composition that follows the basic structure of five paragraphs. It includes an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Often critiqued for being too formulaic, the five-paragraph essay is an essential tool in every writer's toolkit and is especially handy on timed writing assignments and exams.
Why is this format best for writing timed essays? During an exam, you might be asked to write an essay, and you may have only just learned some of the details about the subject. You likely won’t have time to draft a uniquely formatted, in-depth analysis in the time you are given. That’s where the five-paragraph structure comes into play; you can use it as a vehicle to get your main idea across to the reader and not spend precious time on how to structure your essay.
This essay format can also be thought of as a building block for almost every type of essay you could write. It is built on a thesis statement and uses the main pieces of support, which are formatted into segments (or paragraphs), to uphold your thesis. This approach can be expanded based on however much support or analysis is appropriate for your essay.
The key principle of this familiar structure is to organize your perspective or claim in a way that is logical and easy for your reader to understand.
You can use the five-paragraph format for writing any of the five styles of essay: argumentative, descriptive, narrative, informative, and persuasive. Think of this approach as not merely an essay structure, but also a means to adapt your writing and strengthen your composition skills for any future assignment.
5 Paragraph Essay Structure
Sometimes the five-paragraph essay is referred to as the hamburger of essays. That’s not because it’s cheesy, but rather because of how it is built—like a hamburger with a beginning (bun), middle segmented into separate parts (hamburger patty, lettuce, condiments, etc.), and end (bun).
Below is the basic structure of a five-paragraph essay:
Body paragraph 1
Body paragraph 2
Body paragraph 3
Call to action
The paragraphs below break down each section to show how it functions within the whole essay.
The introduction serves several purposes, all of which are important and should not be forgotten or glossed-over. Remember, this is the "bun" to the hamburger and without it, the whole thing falls apart. The introduction starts with a statement to get your readers’ attention—this is called a hook .
A hook can take the form of a question, quote, statistic, or anecdote; it grabs your reader and pulls their interest into the topic.
Hook as a Question: Have you ever stood at the edge of the crashing waves in the ocean and wondered how far out it goes?
Hook as a Quote: Clarence Joshua Tuttle once said, “Why do we call this planet Earth, when it would more aptly be called Ocean?"
Hook as a Statistic: About 71% of the face of the earth is covered by water, and the oceans hold about 96.5% of earth’s water.
Hook as an Anecdote: As a child, I used to gaze at the line where the horizon met the sea and wonder how it could stretch on for infinity.
In addition to the hook catching your reader’s attention, your introduction should also contain background information on the topic to give your reader context.
Without some kind of explanation about the topic’s background, you risk your reader not having the full picture, or worse, not understanding what you’re talking about at all.
You don’t have to include too much background explanation for your five-paragraph essay. Usually a couple of sentences will suffice to give the necessary context.
Lastly, your introduction needs your thesis statement, which is arguably the most important part of the essay.
A thesis statement is a single sentence that explains your main argument for the entire essay. You don’t have to pack every point you’re going to make into the thesis, but your thesis should be a clarified version of the main point.
The vast majority of our planet is covered in water, so there needs to be more awareness about the impact of global warming on Earth's oceans and the wildlife therein.
The thesis should be stated near the end of the first paragraph. It should be supported by details and evidence in the following paragraphs.
3 Body Paragraphs
The body paragraphs are the meat of your five-paragraph essay (literally, remember the hamburger—the body paragraphs are the juicy middle). You can use more than three paragraphs if you have more points that need to be discussed, but typically no less than three.
You can consider each of your body paragraphs to be one piece of support for your thesis. The first sentence of each paragraph should be the topic sentence for that paragraph, and can act like a mini-thesis. It will state the main idea of that particular paragraph, and the rest of the paragraph will dive into further explanation by including examples and supporting details.
Your body paragraphs should look something like this:
Paragraph 1: First piece of support
Paragraph 2: Second piece of support
Paragraph 3: Third piece of support
Your five-paragraph essay should not end abruptly; it should include a short summary that will wrap up your argument and/or observation on the topic, just like the bottom bun of the hamburger. Provide a brief summary, and then remind your audience of your thesis statement.
By restating or rephrasing your thesis, you are reminding your audience that in the body of the essay you explained everything you said you would way back in your introduction.
The last thing your conclusion needs is something to bring the topic back into the reader’s world. Make them remember why it’s relevant. This could be a call to action, warning, provocative question, or something to evoke emotion in the reader.
Because of [insert main idea], you should take [X] action.
If you (or we) don’t do [X thing], [X consequence] will happen.
What do you think will happen if [X] continues (or ceases. Whatever is relevant to your main point.)?
Could be a quote or anything you think will stir the emotions of the reader on the subject.
How to Make a 5 Paragraph Essay Outline
With the basic structure of a five-paragraph essay in mind, you can begin the process of making an outline.
An outline is simply a plan for your essay, and it’s important to create one so you know how to organize your ideas. Without an outline, you’re likely to ramble or wander all over your topic without fully developing your main point.
Below are the essential steps to drafting an outline for your five paragraph essay.
The first thing you need to do is brainstorm the topic; look for associations you may already have and keep the assignment or prompt in the front of your mind.
How to brainstorm a topic: Brainstorming is a strategy for coming up with ideas and content for your essay. Brainstorming can be anything from creating word associations, to freewriting, to making lists, to drawing a venn diagram, or whatever makes sense for you so that you can break down the topic and pick out what you have to say.
Sort through whatever you come up with in the brainstorming process, and pick out something that you find important or something you can elaborate.
Next, you need to draft a thesis statement. As previously stated, your thesis is the guide for your essay—especially so in a five-paragraph essay—because your thesis introduces the ideas of your body paragraphs.
Take whatever piece of the puzzle you came up with after brainstorming, and work it into a single statement that makes a claim on the topic.
The thesis statement of your five-paragraph essay should contain a claim of some sort about the subject. It should an original thought, and not be a restating of known facts.
Now, apply the basic structure of a five-paragraph essay to your topic. An outline typically uses numbers as a way to organize the essay. Each point can be a key word or phrase; you don’t need to use whole sentences in an outline.
Organize the paragraphs by the main points that support your thesis, then include subpoints, or pieces of evidence, to explain the topic sentence of that paragraph.
5 Paragraph Essay Example: The Outline
Here’s an example of a five-paragraph essay outline:
Hook: Children are no longer growing up walking to the candy store around the corner or sharing root beer floats at the local diner with kids they’ve known their entire lives. They aren’t even growing up in an innocent world like when Super Mario Brothers was the most popular video game.
Background: The world has changed rapidly in the last fifty years.
Thesis: Because of violence in video games, movies, social media, and increased pressure from peers, being a parent today is much more difficult than it was a generation ago.
Topic sentence: The progression of technology has given children more entertainment, but it has also decreased their attention spans, making it much more difficult to keep them on task.
Supporting detail: Music, video games, and social media are all easily accessible on phones or computers.
Supporting detail: Research shows that excessive screen time for children can drastically affect their attention span and even brain development.
Topic sentence: Not only do parents have to be aware of the effects of constant screen usage, it means they must also be vigilant about their children being exposed to inappropriate material.
Supporting detail: In film
Supporting detail: On television
Supporting detail: Online
Topic sentence: Children are now often exposed to dangerous situations during their daily lives or via the media.
Supporting detail: Access to drugs & alcohol
Supporting detail: Violent crimes (school shootings, etc.)
Rephrased Thesis statement: Society and media have a huge impact on children’s lives and have worked together to make parenting extremely difficult, now more than ever.
Call to action: Because of these changes, it is up to parents to remain present so we can be aware of and sensitive to all these challenges facing our children.
Writing a 5 Paragraph Essay
With your outline in hand, it’s now time to write your five-paragraph essay! The beauty of this process is that your argument is now fully mapped out, and you know exactly what you need to say.
The first thing to do is nail down your thesis statement. Again, the body of your essay hinges on the main point contained in your essay, so you need to be certain of that before you proceed. Next, you can start to put together your body paragraphs.
5 Paragraph Essay Transitions
Be sure you include transitions between paragraphs, otherwise, your essay will feel very robotic and will not be enjoyable to read. Transitions help to show the relationship between thoughts as you move from one to another.
You can use simple transitions (i.e. first, next, and last); or use phrases to show similarity (i.e. also, in the same way, likewise, just as, etc.) and/ or differences (i.e. but, however, in spite of, etc.).
A Note on The Limits of the 5 Paragraph Essay
Remember, there is often more to your topic than can be explained in a five-paragraph essay. That’s why these essays are a great tool for exam essays; you simply won’t have the time to complete an exhaustive analysis, so the five-paragraph essay is the next best choice.
Keep this perspective in mind and remember that however brilliant your essay is, it is not the end-all-be-all on the subject. The five-paragraph essay is, however, an excellent vehicle you can use to explain your original thought on a subject in an organized manner.
5 Page Essay - Key takeaways
- A five paragraph-essay follows the basic structure of five paragraphs: an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
- Five-paragraph essays are a great tool for timed writing assignments and exams, but can also be used as a foundation for any type of essay.
- Start writing a five-paragraph essay by creating a thesis statement.
- Each body paragraph is one piece of support for the essay's thesis. They should each have a topic sentence, or main idea, that is in support of the overall thesis.
- The conclusion of a five-paragraph essay is important because it restates the thesis and then makes the subject personal to the reader.
Frequently Asked Questions about 5 Paragraph Essay
--> how do i write a 5 paragraph essay.
Write a 5 paragraph essay by following the basic structure: introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
--> How long is a 5 paragraph essay?
A 5 paragraph essay can be anywhere from one to one hundred pages; it all depends on how much you need to support your thesis statement.
--> How many words are in a 5 paragraph essay?
A 5 paragraph essay can contain as many words as necessary to fully support and explain your main point, or your thesis.
--> How many topic sentences are in a 5 paragraph essay?
Typically, a 5 paragraph essay will contain 4 topic sentences with one of them being the thesis statement, and the other 3 being the topic sentences of the body paragraphs.
--> What does a 5 paragraph essay look like?
A 5 paragraph essay can look very different from one essay to the next, however they will all follow the basic structure of the five paragraphs: introduction, (at least) 3 supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion.
Final 5 Paragraph Essay Quiz
5 paragraph essay quiz - teste dein wissen.
What is the definition of a five-paragraph essay?
A five-paragraph essay is a prose composition that follows the basic structure of five paragraphs that include an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
Why are five-paragraph essays a good choice for timed exam assignments?
During an exam, you likely won’t have time to draft a uniquely formatted, in-depth analysis in the time you are given.
True or false: Five-paragraph essays can also be used to write argumentative, descriptive, narrative, informative, and/ or persuasive essays.
Fill in the blank: The key principle of the five-paragraph structure is to ___________ your perspective or claim in a way that is logical and easy for your reader to understand.
Why is the five-paragraph essay often referred to as a "hamburger" essay style?
Because of how it is built; like a hamburger with a definite beginning (bun), middle segmented into separate parts (hamburger patty, lettuce, condiments, etc.), and end (bun).
Which paragraph in a five-paragraph essay contains the hook?
Which is arguably the most important part of a five-paragraph essay?
True or false: In a five-paragraph essay, you should always devote one entire paragraph to a background explanation of the topic.
In a five-paragraph essay, is it possible to use more than five paragraphs or less than five paragraphs?
Which of the following is not a strategy to concluding a five-paragraph essay?
_____________ is a plan for your essay, and it’s important to create one so you know how to organize your ideas.
What are some examples of brainstorming exercises?
Word association, freewriting, making lists
Why brainstorm your topic before you begin writing?
Brainstorming can give ideas about how the topic relates to you (the writer) and what you might have to say about it
Should you brainstorm before or after you create a thesis statement?
Which of the following is an example of a transition to show similarity?
Why are transitions necessary between ideas and paragraphs in a five-paragraph essay?
Transitions help to show the relationship between thoughts as you move from one to another.
What is an opinion?
Opinion is a personal conjecture.
Should you use an opinion to support your thesis?
"An opinion does not require verification."
True or false?
If something has failed to acquire verification, what is it?
"Humans will evolve into beings of pure energy." Is this an opinion or a potential fact?
An opinion. It cannot be verified, whereas potential facts are in the process of verification.
Fact is not ____. Fact is what is found out during the search for the truth.
Fact is what has continually withstood the test of _____.
Can a fact be arrived at logically?
Yes. Through the argumentation of a hypothesis.
If a conclusion has been arrived at practically through the experimentation of a hypothesis, is it a fact?
Yes, assuming there are no flaws with the experiment.
What is a potential fact?
Potential facts are in the process of being proven or disproven. The advanced study of quantum mechanics involves potential facts, for example.
If something is a conclusion, is it a fact or an opinion?
It could be either. Facts and opinions can both be conclusions of a kind.
Can facts evolve?
Yes, people are learning new things all the time. This should not be used an argument for conspiracies or pseudoscience, which have no basis in real learning or research.
Opinion is not concerned with _____, while facts are.
Is a subjective conclusion an opinion?
Yes. Subjective conclusions contain bias.
If a hypothesis has been tested repeatedly and the results are inconclusive, is taking a stance on it an opinion?
Yes. If a hypothesis has been repeatedly tested and the result consistently provides no answer, then to declare an answer is a matter of opinion.
If something is quantified, is it fact?
Yes. However, quantified results can lead to all kinds of conclusions, including incorrect ones if used fallaciously.
If many people have seen something, is it a fact?
Not necessarily. If something is clearly witnessed by multiple unbiased people, it is a fact.
In what ways should you be wary of what you see or read? You should be wary of what?
Be wary of unverified sources, unread context, generalization, sets of information, and all logical fallacies.
What is a hook for an essay?
A hook is an attention-grabbing opening sentence of an essay. The hook catches the reader's attention with an interesting question, statement, or quote.
What are the features of a good hook?
What is purpose in an essay?
Purpose in an essay is the effect the writer intends to have on the reader.
True or false:
A quote for a hook has to come from someone famous.
False. A good quote can come from anywhere.
What is a quote ?
A quote is a direct copy of someone else's words. As an essay hook, a quote is a memorable sentence or phrase that gets the reader interested in your subject.
When should one use a quote for a hook?
When the topic or argument makes them think of a quote
What are the different types of quotes one can use for a hook?
What is a rhetorical question ?
A rhetorical question is a question with no real answer. Rhetorical questions are used to get a reader thinking about a subject or experience.
A writer wants to get the reader thinking about their argument. What type of question can they use to encourage the reader to want to learn the answer?
a question answered in the essay
When writing a fact or statistic for a hook, it should be:
relevant to the topic
Where are some places one can look for stories to use as a hook?
If a story is too much for a hook, what else can a writer do to get the reader interested in an experience?
describe one scene from a story
Which type of hook is particularly effective for arguing a position or persuading?
a strong statement
True or false:
It's okay if the reader doesn't agree with a strong statement used for a hook.
True! Even if the reader doesn't agree with the statement, they will be interested in seeing how the writer supports that statement.
What are some ways to write a hook when you're stuck?
consider the purpose of the essay
What is APA format?
APA is the American Psychological Association's guide to formatting papers and citing sources.
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Expository Essay Guide
Expository Essay Examples
Last updated on: Nov 20, 2023
5+ Expository Essay Examples to Help you Get Started
By: Donna C.
Reviewed By: Jacklyn H.
Published on: Mar 22, 2023
Want to write an expository essay that will elevate your grades? Don't know what to do and what to avoid?
It can be hard to know where to start when you're writing an expository essay. Do you begin with the facts or with your own opinion? How do you structure your argument?
Let us guide you with expository essay examples!
On this Page
What is an Expository Essay?
An expository essay is a form of writing which examines and investigates a certain idea or concept in order to present evidence that supports the ideas.
It is used to evaluate the analytical skills of students in both middle school and high school.
Writing an expository essay often requires one to thoroughly research the topic, and use primary and secondary sources. Such writings are designed to explain facts, ideas, and concepts in an objective and informative manner.
This form of writing relies on presenting hard evidence in the form of statistical data, charts, graphs, and other visual presentations to support the information. By utilizing these methods of presentation, it becomes easier to explain the facts clearly.
Here is a complete guide that will help you learn more about writing an expository essay .
The expository essay examples will demonstrate how to write an expository essay without missing anything. These examples will help you in understanding the basics and once you are through them, you will be ready to write your essay in no time.
THE RISE OF TEENAGE GANGS AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
WAYS STUDENTS CAN SPEND THEIR LEISURE TIME
THE HISTORY OF CHESS
THE HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN FLAG
AN ANALYSIS OF CULTURAL DIVERSITY AND WHY DOES IT MATTER
WHY DO WE NEED EXCELLENT COMMUNICATION SKILLS
STEPHEN HAWKING - A LIFE HISTORY
WASTE MANAGEMENT FACTS AND FUTURE
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How to Write an Expository Essay Outline?
An expository essay outline is just like any other essay and because you have been writing essays since your school years, you will have no difficulties. However, the difficult part is to know the type of information that will go into each section.
We have divided and explained the entire process that is essential to write an expository essay successfully.
The Prewriting Phase
For an effective essay, you need to plan the entire essay before writing. Many students try to do the essay without planning and end up nowhere. Instead of just getting into the paper writing process, brainstorm and think about how you can present the ideas in a structured manner.
Make points of what you will add in each section.
Preparing the First Draft
After brainstorming and noting down every main detail and theme, prepare the first draft of the essay. Add what points you will add in each section. An expository essay structure has the following sections:
- Introduction: An introduction is the first section of an essay. It is a brief mention of the main points and themes of the essay. It includes the background of the main topic and some information about it. However, everything is added briefly.
- Thesis Statement: A well-defined but brief thesis statement will elevate your essay and inform the readers about the main theme of your essay. However, the thesis statement should be brief and should not present the whole theme of the essay.
- Body Paragraphs: Generally, these are three in number and present three main ideas. These paragraphs of the essay examine, analyze and present the main ideas along with the supporting evidence. Each sentence must begin with a topic sentence and expound on the main idea of that paragraph.
- Conclusion: It is the last encounter between you and the readers and this is why it must be strong and memorable. Restate your thesis statement and the overall essence of the essay. You can do it by mentioning the main points briefly or by just presenting the answer to the main essay question.
Revision is the most important part of the writing process. In this phase, you can revise, modify and restructure your essay and rectify it according to the guidelines and main essay question. Some of the things to consider while revising your essay are:
- Have you answered the main question properly and completely?
- Does your essay meet all the guidelines of the instructor?
- Have you added all the main ideas in the essay?
- Is there a proper transition between the sentences and paragraphs?
- Are all the paragraphs consistent and well-structured?
Answering these questions is a must and therefore, you should never miss this part.
After you are done, proofread the entire essay before submitting it. It may seem daunting and dull but, just like revision, proofreading is also important. Proofread the essay thoroughly and see if everything is in line. At this stage, you can still make the changes.
We hope that these tips will act as a writing guide for you and will help you in writing an excellent expository essay.
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What are the Other Types of Expository Essays?
This type of essay is further divided into the following types of expository writing. These are explained below
Descriptive Essay: This essay requires describing a place, person, or event in detail. It includes great sensory details and is written to persuade the reader to see the writer’s viewpoint.
Definition Essay: A definition essay describes a certain phrase or term in detail. The topics can be concrete or abstract in nature and include the explanation of both literal and contextual meanings of the chosen word.
Compare and Contrast: These essays explain two or more things by comparing and contrasting them. They highlight the main points and describe the chosen objects by elaborating their various elements and qualities.
Classification Essay: The writer breaks down the main essay topic and divides it into several classes and categories and explains them one by one.
Process Essay: The writer breaks down a process and explains it in detail. This could be a manufacturing process, a recipe, and even a writing process. It explains the how-to process and how to do it in detail.
Cause and Effect Essay: This essay describes the reasons behind a phenomenon or happening. It explains why something happens and what are the causes behind them. In short, a cause and effect essay explains the relationship between a certain event and its reasons.
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All in all, an expository essay is a very useful tool that helps students improve their writing skills. If you're still having trouble with your essay, don't hesitate to ask for help.
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Donna has garnered the best reviews and ratings for her work. She enjoys writing about a variety of topics but is particularly interested in social issues, current events, and human interest stories. She is a sought-after voice in the industry, known for her engaging, professional writing style.
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- Expository Essay - A Complete Guideline to Help You Write
- Expository Essay Topics Recommended by Experts
- How to Write an Expository Essay Outline - Complementary Template Added
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