The Ultimate Guide to the 5-Paragraph Essay

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  • M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
  • B.A., History, Armstrong State University

A five-paragraph essay is a prose composition that follows a prescribed format of an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph, and is typically taught during primary English education and applied on standardized testing throughout schooling.

Learning to write a high-quality five-paragraph essay is an essential skill for students in early English classes as it allows them to express certain ideas, claims, or concepts in an organized manner, complete with evidence that supports each of these notions. Later, though, students may decide to stray from the standard five-paragraph format and venture into writing an  exploratory essay  instead.

Still, teaching students to organize essays into the five-paragraph format is an easy way to introduce them to writing literary criticism, which will be tested time and again throughout their primary, secondary, and further education.

Writing a Good Introduction

The introduction is the first paragraph in your essay, and it should accomplish a few specific goals: capture the reader's interest, introduce the topic, and make a claim or express an opinion in a thesis statement.

It's a good idea to start your essay with a hook (fascinating statement) to pique the reader's interest, though this can also be accomplished by using descriptive words, an anecdote, an intriguing question, or an interesting fact. Students can practice with creative writing prompts to get some ideas for interesting ways to start an essay.

The next few sentences should explain your first statement, and prepare the reader for your thesis statement, which is typically the last sentence in the introduction. Your  thesis sentence  should provide your specific assertion and convey a clear point of view, which is typically divided into three distinct arguments that support this assertation, which will each serve as central themes for the body paragraphs.

Writing Body Paragraphs

The body of the essay will include three body paragraphs in a five-paragraph essay format, each limited to one main idea that supports your thesis.

To correctly write each of these three body paragraphs, you should state your supporting idea, your topic sentence, then back it up with two or three sentences of evidence. Use examples that validate the claim before concluding the paragraph and using transition words to lead to the paragraph that follows — meaning that all of your body paragraphs should follow the pattern of "statement, supporting ideas, transition statement."

Words to use as you transition from one paragraph to another include: moreover, in fact, on the whole, furthermore, as a result, simply put, for this reason, similarly, likewise, it follows that, naturally, by comparison, surely, and yet.

Writing a Conclusion

The final paragraph will summarize your main points and re-assert your main claim (from your thesis sentence). It should point out your main points, but should not repeat specific examples, and should, as always, leave a lasting impression on the reader.

The first sentence of the conclusion, therefore, should be used to restate the supporting claims argued in the body paragraphs as they relate to the thesis statement, then the next few sentences should be used to explain how the essay's main points can lead outward, perhaps to further thought on the topic. Ending the conclusion with a question, anecdote, or final pondering is a great way to leave a lasting impact.

Once you complete the first draft of your essay, it's a good idea to re-visit the thesis statement in your first paragraph. Read your essay to see if it flows well, and you might find that the supporting paragraphs are strong, but they don't address the exact focus of your thesis. Simply re-write your thesis sentence to fit your body and summary more exactly, and adjust the conclusion to wrap it all up nicely.

Practice Writing a Five-Paragraph Essay

Students can use the following steps to write a standard essay on any given topic. First, choose a topic, or ask your students to choose their topic, then allow them to form a basic five-paragraph by following these steps:

  • Decide on your  basic thesis , your idea of a topic to discuss.
  • Decide on three pieces of supporting evidence you will use to prove your thesis.
  • Write an introductory paragraph, including your thesis and evidence (in order of strength).
  • Write your first body paragraph, starting with restating your thesis and focusing on your first piece of supporting evidence.
  • End your first paragraph with a transitional sentence that leads to the next body paragraph.
  • Write paragraph two of the body focussing on your second piece of evidence. Once again make the connection between your thesis and this piece of evidence.
  • End your second paragraph with a transitional sentence that leads to paragraph number three.
  • Repeat step 6 using your third piece of evidence.
  • Begin your concluding paragraph by restating your thesis. Include the three points you've used to prove your thesis.
  • End with a punch, a question, an anecdote, or an entertaining thought that will stay with the reader.

Once a student can master these 10 simple steps, writing a basic five-paragraph essay will be a piece of cake, so long as the student does so correctly and includes enough supporting information in each paragraph that all relate to the same centralized main idea, the thesis of the essay.

Limitations of the Five-Paragraph Essay

The five-paragraph essay is merely a starting point for students hoping to express their ideas in academic writing; there are some other forms and styles of writing that students should use to express their vocabulary in the written form.

According to Tory Young's "Studying English Literature: A Practical Guide":

"Although school students in the U.S. are examined on their ability to write a  five-paragraph essay , its  raison d'être  is purportedly to give practice in basic writing skills that will lead to future success in more varied forms. Detractors feel, however, that writing to rule in this way is more likely to discourage imaginative writing and thinking than enable it. . . . The five-paragraph essay is less aware of its  audience  and sets out only to present information, an account or a kind of story rather than explicitly to persuade the reader."

Students should instead be asked to write other forms, such as journal entries, blog posts, reviews of goods or services, multi-paragraph research papers, and freeform expository writing around a central theme. Although five-paragraph essays are the golden rule when writing for standardized tests, experimentation with expression should be encouraged throughout primary schooling to bolster students' abilities to utilize the English language fully.

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How to Write a Five Paragraph Essay

Last Updated: January 20, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Jake Adams and by wikiHow staff writer, Danielle Blinka, MA, MPA . Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, a Santa Monica, California based online tutoring business offering learning resources and online tutors for academic subjects K-College, SAT & ACT prep, and college admissions applications. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients the very best online tutoring experience and access to a network of excellent undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges all over the nation. Jake holds a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University. There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 521,457 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

A draft of a hook for an essay written on a piece of paper.

  • 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.

Step 2 Include a sentence about your topic that provides more information.

  • 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.

Step 3 Write another sentence about your topic that leads to your thesis.

  • 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.

Step 4 Finish the introduction...

  • 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

Step 1 Arrange your points to sandwich your weakest.

  • You should include three body paragraphs, one for each supporting point.

Step 2 Begin each body paragraph with a topic sentence.

  • 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.

Step 3 Provide your evidence or examples.

  • 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.

Step 4 Add your own commentary.

  • 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.

Step 5 Conclude your paragraph by linking back to your thesis.

  • 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

Step 1 Restate your thesis.

  • 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.”

Step 2 Summarize how your points supported your thesis.

  • Use an authoritative tone as you restate your arguments so that your reader walks away knowing that you are correct.

Step 3 Avoid introducing new information.

  • 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

Step 1 Use spell check.

  • 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.”

Step 2 Proofread your essay.

  • 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.

Step 3 Revise your essay to improve the flow.

  • Combine choppy sentences.
  • Breakup long, convoluted sentences into shorter sentences.
  • Rewrite fragments and run-on sentences.

Step 4 Fix your formatting.

  • If you have cited sources, make sure that you include a reference page in the style chosen by your instructor.

do essay have 5 paragraphs

Expert Q&A

Jake Adams

  • 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

do essay have 5 paragraphs

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  • ↑ Jake Adams. Academic Tutor & Test Prep Specialist. Expert Interview. 20 May 2020.
  • ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/five-paragraph-essay/
  • ↑ https://www.jscc.edu/academics/programs/writing-center/writing-resources/five-paragraph-essay.html
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/college-writing/
  • ↑ https://www.bucks.edu/media/bcccmedialibrary/pdf/FiveParagraphEssayOutlineJuly08_000.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4789530/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/ending-essay-conclusions
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/proofreading/proofreading_suggestions.html
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/proofreading/steps_for_revising.html

About This Article

Jake Adams

To write a five paragraph essay, start with an introductory paragraph that includes a hook to capture your audience’s attention, and a thesis that explains the main point you’re trying to make. Then, use the next 3 paragraphs to explain 3 separate points that support your thesis. As you explain each point, use evidence from your research or examples in the text you’re discussing. Finally, conclude your essay with a paragraph summing up the points you’ve made and telling the reader how those points support your thesis. For tips on how to revise your essay to improve the flow and formatting, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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do essay have 5 paragraphs

Guide on How to Write a 5 Paragraph Essay Effortlessly

do essay have 5 paragraphs

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:

How to Write a 5 Paragraph Essay Effortlessly

  • 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:

How to Write a 5 Paragraph Essay Effortlessly

  • 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:

Content (40%)

  • 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

Organization (20%)

  • 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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This form of writing goes by different names. Maybe you've heard some of them before: "The Basic Essay," "The Academic Response Essay," "The 1-3-1 Essay." Regardless of what you've heard, the name you should remember is "The Easy Essay."

Once you are shown how this works--and it only takes a few minutes--you will have in your hands the secret to writing well on almost any academic assignment. Here is how it goes.

Secret #1—The Magic of Three

Three has always been a magic number for humans, from fairy tales like "The Three Little Pigs" to sayings like “third time’s a charm.” Three seems to be an ideal number for us--including the academic essay. So whenever you are given a topic to write about, a good place to begin is with a list of three. Here are some examples (three of them, of course):

Topic : What are the essential characteristics of a good parent? Think in threes and you might come up with:

  • unconditional love 

Certainly, there are more characteristics of good parents you could name, but for our essay, we will work in threes.

Here's a topic that deals with a controversial issue:

Topic : Should women in the military be given frontline combat duties?

  • The first reason that women should be assigned to combat is equality. 
  • The second reason is their great teamwork. 
  • The third reason is their courage.

As you see, regardless of the topic, we can list three points about it. And if you wonder about the repetition of words and structure when stating the three points, in this case, repetition is a good thing. Words that seem redundant when close together in an outline will be separated by the actual paragraphs of your essay. So in the essay instead of seeming redundant they will be welcome as signals to the reader of your essay’s main parts.

Finally, when the topic is an academic one, your first goal is the same: create a list of three.

Topic: Why do so many students fail to complete their college degree?

  • First, students often...
  • Second, many students cannot...
  • Finally, students find that...

Regardless of the reasons you might come up with to finish these sentences, the formula is still the same.

Secret #2: The Thesis Formula

Now with your list of three, you can write the sentence that every essay must have—the thesis, sometimes called the "controlling idea," "overall point," or "position statement." In other words, it is the main idea of the essay that you will try to support, illustrate, or corroborate.

Here’s a simple formula for a thesis: The topic + your position on the topic = your thesis.

Let’s apply this formula to one of our examples:

Topic: Essential characteristics of a good parent Your Position: patience, respect, love Thesis: The essential characteristics of a good parent are patience, respect, and love.

As you see, all we did was combine the topic with our position/opinion on it into a single sentence to produce the thesis: The essential characteristics of a good parent are patience, respect, and love.

In this case, we chose to list three main points as part of our thesis. Sometimes that’s a good strategy. However, you can summarize them if you wish, as in this example:

Topic: Women in combat duty in the military Your Position: They deserve it Thesis: Women deserve to be assigned combat duty in the military.

This type of thesis is shorter and easier to write because it provides the overall position or opinion without forcing you to list the support for it in the thesis, which can get awkward and take away from your strong position statement. The three reasons women deserve to be assigned combat duties--equality, teamwork, courage--will be the subjects of your three body paragraphs and do not need to be mentioned until the body paragraph in which they appear.

Secret #3: The 1-3-1 Outline

With your thesis and list of three main points, you can quickly draw a basic outline of the paragraphs of your essay. You’ll then see why this is often called the 1-3-1 essay.

  • Supporting Evidence for Claim 1    
  • Supporting Evidence for Claim 2
  • Supporting Evidence for Claim 3

The five-paragraph essay consists of one introduction paragraph (with the thesis at its end), three body paragraphs (each beginning with one of three main points) and one last paragraph—the conclusion. 1-3-1.

Once you have this outline, you have the basic template for most academic writing. Most of all, you have an organized way to approach virtually any topic you are assigned.

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Literacy Ideas

How to write a perfect 5 Paragraph Essay

5 paragraph essay | how to write a 5 paragraph essay | How to write a perfect 5 Paragraph Essay | literacyideas.com

  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!

Visual Writing Prompts

THE HAMBURGER ESSAY – THE STUDENT’S FRIEND

5 paragraph essay | Orange Illustrated Hamburger Graphic Organizer | How to write a perfect 5 Paragraph Essay | literacyideas.com

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

5 paragraph essay | paragraph writing unit | How to write a perfect 5 Paragraph Essay | literacyideas.com

This complete PARAGRAPH WRITING UNIT takes 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 

The introduction.

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.

5 paragraph essay | 1 PEEL PARAGRAPHS | How to write a perfect 5 Paragraph Essay | literacyideas.com

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 CONCLUSION

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!

5 paragraph essay | LITERACY IDEAS FRONT PAGE 1 | How to write a perfect 5 Paragraph Essay | literacyideas.com

Teaching Resources

Use our resources and tools to improve your student’s writing skills through proven teaching strategies.

5 paragraph essay | 5 paragraph essay organizer | How to write a perfect 5 Paragraph Essay | literacyideas.com

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 | 5 paragraph essay example year 4 1 1 | How to write a perfect 5 Paragraph Essay | literacyideas.com

5 PARAGRAPH ESSAY VIDEO TUTORIALS

5 paragraph essay | 3 | How to write a perfect 5 Paragraph Essay | literacyideas.com

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.

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  • How long is an essay? Guidelines for different types of essay

How Long is an Essay? Guidelines for Different Types of Essay

Published on January 28, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on July 23, 2023.

The length of an academic essay varies depending on your level and subject of study, departmental guidelines, and specific course requirements. In general, an essay is a shorter piece of writing than a research paper  or thesis .

In most cases, your assignment will include clear guidelines on the number of words or pages you are expected to write. Often this will be a range rather than an exact number (for example, 2500–3000 words, or 10–12 pages). If you’re not sure, always check with your instructor.

In this article you’ll find some general guidelines for the length of different types of essay. But keep in mind that quality is more important than quantity – focus on making a strong argument or analysis, not on hitting a specific word count.

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Table of contents

Essay length guidelines, how long is each part of an essay, using length as a guide to topic and complexity, can i go under the suggested length, can i go over the suggested length, other interesting articles, prevent plagiarism. run a free check..

In an academic essay, the main body should always take up the most space. This is where you make your arguments, give your evidence, and develop your ideas.

The introduction should be proportional to the essay’s length. In an essay under 3000 words, the introduction is usually just one paragraph. In longer and more complex essays, you might need to lay out the background and introduce your argument over two or three paragraphs.

The conclusion of an essay is often a single paragraph, even in longer essays. It doesn’t have to summarize every step of your essay, but should tie together your main points in a concise, convincing way.

The suggested word count doesn’t only tell you how long your essay should be – it also helps you work out how much information and complexity you can fit into the given space. This should guide the development of your thesis statement , which identifies the main topic of your essay and sets the boundaries of your overall argument.

A short essay will need a focused, specific topic and a clear, straightforward line of argument. A longer essay should still be focused, but it might call for a broader approach to the topic or a more complex, ambitious argument.

As you make an outline of your essay , make sure you have a clear idea of how much evidence, detail and argumentation will be needed to support your thesis. If you find that you don’t have enough ideas to fill out the word count, or that you need more space to make a convincing case, then consider revising your thesis to be more general or more specific.

The length of the essay also influences how much time you will need to spend on editing and proofreading .

You should always aim to meet the minimum length given in your assignment. If you are struggling to reach the word count:

  • Add more evidence and examples to each paragraph to clarify or strengthen your points.
  • Make sure you have fully explained or analyzed each example, and try to develop your points in more detail.
  • Address a different aspect of your topic in a new paragraph. This might involve revising your thesis statement to make a more ambitious argument.
  • Don’t use filler. Adding unnecessary words or complicated sentences will make your essay weaker and your argument less clear.
  • Don’t fixate on an exact number. Your marker probably won’t care about 50 or 100 words – it’s more important that your argument is convincing and adequately developed for an essay of the suggested length.

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In some cases, you are allowed to exceed the upper word limit by 10% – so for an assignment of 2500–3000 words, you could write an absolute maximum of 3300 words. However, the rules depend on your course and institution, so always check with your instructor if you’re unsure.

Only exceed the word count if it’s really necessary to complete your argument. Longer essays take longer to grade, so avoid annoying your marker with extra work! If you are struggling to edit down:

  • Check that every paragraph is relevant to your argument, and cut out irrelevant or out-of-place information.
  • Make sure each paragraph focuses on one point and doesn’t meander.
  • Cut out filler words and make sure each sentence is clear, concise, and related to the paragraph’s point.
  • Don’t cut anything that is necessary to the logic of your argument. If you remove a paragraph, make sure to revise your transitions and fit all your points together.
  • Don’t sacrifice the introduction or conclusion . These paragraphs are crucial to an effective essay –make sure you leave enough space to thoroughly introduce your topic and decisively wrap up your argument.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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  • Appeal to authority fallacy
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  • Sunk cost fallacy

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11 Rules for Essay Paragraph Structure (with Examples)

How do you structure a paragraph in an essay?

If you’re like the majority of my students, you might be getting your basic essay paragraph structure wrong and getting lower grades than you could!

In this article, I outline the 11 key steps to writing a perfect paragraph. But, this isn’t your normal ‘how to write an essay’ article. Rather, I’ll try to give you some insight into exactly what teachers look out for when they’re grading essays and figuring out what grade to give them.

You can navigate each issue below, or scroll down to read them all:

1. Paragraphs must be at least four sentences long 2. But, at most seven sentences long 3. Your paragraph must be Left-Aligned 4. You need a topic sentence 5 . Next, you need an explanation sentence 6. You need to include an example 7. You need to include citations 8. All paragraphs need to be relevant to the marking criteria 9. Only include one key idea per paragraph 10. Keep sentences short 11. Keep quotes short

Paragraph structure is one of the most important elements of getting essay writing right .

As I cover in my Ultimate Guide to Writing an Essay Plan , paragraphs are the heart and soul of your essay.

However, I find most of my students have either:

  • forgotten how to write paragraphs properly,
  • gotten lazy, or
  • never learned it in the first place!

Paragraphs in essay writing are different from paragraphs in other written genres .

In fact, the paragraphs that you are reading now would not help your grades in an essay.

That’s because I’m writing in journalistic style, where paragraph conventions are vastly different.

For those of you coming from journalism or creative writing, you might find you need to re-learn paragraph writing if you want to write well-structured essay paragraphs to get top grades.

Below are eleven reasons your paragraphs are losing marks, and what to do about it!

11 tips for perfect paragraphs

Essay Paragraph Structure Rules

1. your paragraphs must be at least 4 sentences long.

In journalism and blog writing, a one-sentence paragraph is great. It’s short, to-the-point, and helps guide your reader. For essay paragraph structure, one-sentence paragraphs suck.

A one-sentence essay paragraph sends an instant signal to your teacher that you don’t have much to say on an issue.

A short paragraph signifies that you know something – but not much about it. A one-sentence paragraph lacks detail, depth and insight.

Many students come to me and ask, “what does ‘add depth’ mean?” It’s one of the most common pieces of feedback you’ll see written on the margins of your essay.

Personally, I think ‘add depth’ is bad feedback because it’s a short and vague comment. But, here’s what it means: You’ve not explained your point enough!

If you’re writing one-, two- or three-sentence essay paragraphs, you’re costing yourself marks.

Always aim for at least four sentences per paragraph in your essays.

This doesn’t mean that you should add ‘fluff’ or ‘padding’ sentences.

Make sure you don’t:

a) repeat what you said in different words, or b) write something just because you need another sentence in there.

But, you need to do some research and find something insightful to add to that two-sentence paragraph if you want to ace your essay.

Check out Points 5 and 6 for some advice on what to add to that short paragraph to add ‘depth’ to your paragraph and start moving to the top of the class.

  • How to Make an Essay Longer
  • How to Make an Essay Shorter

2. Your Paragraphs must not be more than 7 Sentences Long

Okay, so I just told you to aim for at least four sentences per paragraph. So, what’s the longest your paragraph should be?

Seven sentences. That’s a maximum.

So, here’s the rule:

Between four and seven sentences is the sweet spot that you need to aim for in every single paragraph.

Here’s why your paragraphs shouldn’t be longer than seven sentences:

1. It shows you can organize your thoughts. You need to show your teacher that you’ve broken up your key ideas into manageable segments of text (see point 10)

2. It makes your work easier to read.   You need your writing to be easily readable to make it easy for your teacher to give you good grades. Make your essay easy to read and you’ll get higher marks every time.

One of the most important ways you can make your work easier to read is by writing paragraphs that are less than six sentences long.

3. It prevents teacher frustration. Teachers are just like you. When they see a big block of text their eyes glaze over. They get frustrated, lost, their mind wanders … and you lose marks.

To prevent teacher frustration, you need to ensure there’s plenty of white space in your essay. It’s about showing them that the piece is clearly structured into one key idea per ‘chunk’ of text.

Often, you might find that your writing contains tautologies and other turns of phrase that can be shortened for clarity.

3. Your Paragraph must be Left-Aligned

Turn off ‘Justified’ text and: Never. Turn. It. On. Again.

Justified text is where the words are stretched out to make the paragraph look like a square. It turns the writing into a block. Don’t do it. You will lose marks, I promise you! Win the psychological game with your teacher: left-align your text.

A good essay paragraph is never ‘justified’.

I’m going to repeat this, because it’s important: to prevent your essay from looking like a big block of muddy, hard-to-read text align your text to the left margin only.

You want white space on your page – and lots of it. White space helps your reader scan through your work. It also prevents it from looking like big blocks of text.

You want your reader reading vertically as much as possible: scanning, browsing, and quickly looking through for evidence you’ve engaged with the big ideas.

The justified text doesn’t help you do that. Justified text makes your writing look like a big, lumpy block of text that your reader doesn’t want to read.

What’s wrong with Center-Aligned Text?

While I’m at it, never, ever, center-align your text either. Center-aligned text is impossible to skim-read. Your teacher wants to be able to quickly scan down the left margin to get the headline information in your paragraph.

Not many people center-align text, but it’s worth repeating: never, ever center-align your essays.

an infographic showing that left-aligned paragraphs are easy to read. The infographic recommends using Control plus L on a PC keyboard or Command plus L on a Mac to left align a paragraph

Don’t annoy your reader. Left align your text.

4. Your paragraphs must have a Topic Sentence

The first sentence of an essay paragraph is called the topic sentence. This is one of the most important sentences in the correct essay paragraph structure style.

The topic sentence should convey exactly what key idea you’re going to cover in your paragraph.

Too often, students don’t let their reader know what the key idea of the paragraph is until several sentences in.

You must show what the paragraph is about in the first sentence.

You never, ever want to keep your reader in suspense. Essays are not like creative writing. Tell them straight away what the paragraph is about. In fact, if you can, do it in the first half of the first sentence .

I’ll remind you again: make it easy to grade your work. Your teacher is reading through your work trying to determine what grade to give you. They’re probably going to mark 20 assignments in one sitting. They have no interest in storytelling or creativity. They just want to know how much you know! State what the paragraph is about immediately and move on.

Suggested: Best Words to Start a Paragraph

Ideal Essay Paragraph Structure Example: Writing a Topic Sentence If your paragraph is about how climate change is endangering polar bears, say it immediately : “Climate change is endangering polar bears.” should be your first sentence in your paragraph. Take a look at first sentence of each of the four paragraphs above this one. You can see from the first sentence of each paragraph that the paragraphs discuss:

When editing your work, read each paragraph and try to distil what the one key idea is in your paragraph. Ensure that this key idea is mentioned in the first sentence .

(Note: if there’s more than one key idea in the paragraph, you may have a problem. See Point 9 below .)

The topic sentence is the most important sentence for getting your essay paragraph structure right. So, get your topic sentences right and you’re on the right track to a good essay paragraph.

5. You need an Explanation Sentence

All topic sentences need a follow-up explanation. The very first point on this page was that too often students write paragraphs that are too short. To add what is called ‘depth’ to a paragraph, you can come up with two types of follow-up sentences: explanations and examples.

Let’s take explanation sentences first.

Explanation sentences give additional detail. They often provide one of the following services:

Let’s go back to our example of a paragraph on Climate change endangering polar bears. If your topic sentence is “Climate change is endangering polar bears.”, then your follow-up explanation sentence is likely to explain how, why, where, or when. You could say:

Ideal Essay Paragraph Structure Example: Writing Explanation Sentences 1. How: “The warming atmosphere is melting the polar ice caps.” 2. Why: “The polar bears’ habitats are shrinking every single year.” 3. Where: “This is happening in the Antarctic ice caps near Greenland.” 4. When: “Scientists first noticed the ice caps were shrinking in 1978.”

You don’t have to provide all four of these options each time.

But, if you’re struggling to think of what to add to your paragraph to add depth, consider one of these four options for a good quality explanation sentence.

>>>RELATED ARTICLE: SHOULD YOU USE RHETORICAL QUESTIONS IN ESSAYS ?

6. Your need to Include an Example

Examples matter! They add detail. They also help to show that you genuinely understand the issue. They show that you don’t just understand a concept in the abstract; you also understand how things work in real life.

Example sentences have the added benefit of personalising an issue. For example, after saying “Polar bears’ habitats are shrinking”, you could note specific habitats, facts and figures, or even a specific story about a bear who was impacted.

Ideal Essay Paragraph Structure Example: Writing an ‘Example’ Sentence “For example, 770,000 square miles of Arctic Sea Ice has melted in the past four decades, leading Polar Bear populations to dwindle ( National Geographic, 2018 )

In fact, one of the most effective politicians of our times – Barrack Obama – was an expert at this technique. He would often provide examples of people who got sick because they didn’t have healthcare to sell Obamacare.

What effect did this have? It showed the real-world impact of his ideas. It humanised him, and got him elected president – twice!

Be like Obama. Provide examples. Often.

7. All Paragraphs need Citations

Provide a reference to an academic source in every single body paragraph in the essay. The only two paragraphs where you don’t need a reference is the introduction and conclusion .

Let me repeat: Paragraphs need at least one reference to a quality scholarly source .

Let me go even further:

Students who get the best marks provide two references to two different academic sources in every paragraph.

Two references in a paragraph show you’ve read widely, cross-checked your sources, and given the paragraph real thought.

It’s really important that these references link to academic sources, not random websites, blogs or YouTube videos. Check out our Seven Best types of Sources to Cite in Essays post to get advice on what sources to cite. Number 6 w ill surprise you!

Ideal Essay Paragraph Structure Example: In-Text Referencing in Paragraphs Usually, in-text referencing takes the format: (Author, YEAR), but check your school’s referencing formatting requirements carefully. The ‘Author’ section is the author’s last name only. Not their initials. Not their first name. Just their last name . My name is Chris Drew. First name Chris, last name Drew. If you were going to reference an academic article I wrote in 2019, you would reference it like this: (Drew, 2019).

Where do you place those two references?

Place the first reference at the end of the first half of the paragraph. Place the second reference at the end of the second half of the paragraph.

This spreads the references out and makes it look like all the points throughout the paragraph are backed up by your sources. The goal is to make it look like you’ve reference regularly when your teacher scans through your work.

Remember, teachers can look out for signposts that indicate you’ve followed academic conventions and mentioned the right key ideas.

Spreading your referencing through the paragraph helps to make it look like you’ve followed the academic convention of referencing sources regularly.

Here are some examples of how to reference twice in a paragraph:

  • If your paragraph was six sentences long, you would place your first reference at the end of the third sentence and your second reference at the end of the sixth sentence.
  • If your paragraph was five sentences long, I would recommend placing one at the end of the second sentence and one at the end of the fifth sentence.

You’ve just read one of the key secrets to winning top marks.

8. Every Paragraph must be relevant to the Marking Criteria

Every paragraph must win you marks. When you’re editing your work, check through the piece to see if every paragraph is relevant to the marking criteria.

For the British: In the British university system (I’m including Australia and New Zealand here – I’ve taught at universities in all three countries), you’ll usually have a ‘marking criteria’. It’s usually a list of between two and six key learning outcomes your teacher needs to use to come up with your score. Sometimes it’s called a:

  • Marking criteria
  • Marking rubric
  • (Key) learning outcome
  • Indicative content

Check your assignment guidance to see if this is present. If so, use this list of learning outcomes to guide what you write. If your paragraphs are irrelevant to these key points, delete the paragraph .

Paragraphs that don’t link to the marking criteria are pointless. They won’t win you marks.

For the Americans: If you don’t have a marking criteria / rubric / outcomes list, you’ll need to stick closely to the essay question or topic. This goes out to those of you in the North American system. North America (including USA and Canada here) is often less structured and the professor might just give you a topic to base your essay on.

If all you’ve got is the essay question / topic, go through each paragraph and make sure each paragraph is relevant to the topic.

For example, if your essay question / topic is on “The Effects of Climate Change on Polar Bears”,

  • Don’t talk about anything that doesn’t have some connection to climate change and polar bears;
  • Don’t talk about the environmental impact of oil spills in the Gulf of Carpentaria;
  • Don’t talk about black bear habitats in British Columbia.
  • Do talk about the effects of climate change on polar bears (and relevant related topics) in every single paragraph .

You may think ‘stay relevant’ is obvious advice, but at least 20% of all essays I mark go off on tangents and waste words.

Stay on topic in Every. Single. Paragraph. If you want to learn more about how to stay on topic, check out our essay planning guide .

9. Only have one Key Idea per Paragraph

One key idea for each paragraph. One key idea for each paragraph. One key idea for each paragraph.

Don’t forget!

Too often, a student starts a paragraph talking about one thing and ends it talking about something totally different. Don’t be that student.

To ensure you’re focussing on one key idea in your paragraph, make sure you know what that key idea is. It should be mentioned in your topic sentence (see Point 3 ). Every other sentence in the paragraph adds depth to that one key idea.

If you’ve got sentences in your paragraph that are not relevant to the key idea in the paragraph, they don’t fit. They belong in another paragraph.

Go through all your paragraphs when editing your work and check to see if you’ve veered away from your paragraph’s key idea. If so, you might have two or even three key ideas in the one paragraph.

You’re going to have to get those additional key ideas, rip them out, and give them paragraphs of their own.

If you have more than one key idea in a paragraph you will lose marks. I promise you that.

The paragraphs will be too hard to read, your reader will get bogged down reading rather than scanning, and you’ll have lost grades.

10. Keep Sentences Short

If a sentence is too long it gets confusing. When the sentence is confusing, your reader will stop reading your work. They will stop reading the paragraph and move to the next one. They’ll have given up on your paragraph.

Short, snappy sentences are best.

Shorter sentences are easier to read and they make more sense. Too often, students think they have to use big, long, academic words to get the best marks. Wrong. Aim for clarity in every sentence in the paragraph. Your teacher will thank you for it.

The students who get the best marks write clear, short sentences.

When editing your draft, go through your essay and see if you can shorten your longest five sentences.

(To learn more about how to write the best quality sentences, see our page on Seven ways to Write Amazing Sentences .)

11. Keep Quotes Short

Eighty percent of university teachers hate quotes. That’s not an official figure. It’s my guestimate based on my many interactions in faculty lounges. Twenty percent don’t mind them, but chances are your teacher is one of the eight out of ten who hate quotes.

Teachers tend to be turned off by quotes because it makes it look like you don’t know how to say something on your own words.

Now that I’ve warned you, here’s how to use quotes properly:

Ideal Essay Paragraph Structure Example: How To Use Quotes in University-Level Essay Paragraphs 1. Your quote should be less than one sentence long. 2. Your quote should be less than one sentence long. 3. You should never start a sentence with a quote. 4. You should never end a paragraph with a quote. 5 . You should never use more than five quotes per essay. 6. Your quote should never be longer than one line in a paragraph.

The minute your teacher sees that your quote takes up a large chunk of your paragraph, you’ll have lost marks.

Your teacher will circle the quote, write a snarky comment in the margin, and not even bother to give you points for the key idea in the paragraph.

Avoid quotes, but if you really want to use them, follow those five rules above.

I’ve also provided additional pages outlining Seven tips on how to use Quotes if you want to delve deeper into how, when and where to use quotes in essays. Be warned: quoting in essays is harder than you thought.

The basic essay paragraph structure formula includes: 4-6 sentence paragraphs; a clear topic sentence; useful explanations and examples; a focus on one key idea only; and references to two different academic sources.

Follow the advice above and you’ll be well on your way to getting top marks at university.

Writing essay paragraphs that are well structured takes time and practice. Don’t be too hard on yourself and keep on trying!

Below is a summary of our 11 key mistakes for structuring essay paragraphs and tips on how to avoid them.

I’ve also provided an easy-to-share infographic below that you can share on your favorite social networking site. Please share it if this article has helped you out!

11 Biggest Essay Paragraph Structure Mistakes you’re probably Making

1.  Your paragraphs are too short 2.  Your paragraphs are too long 3.  Your paragraph alignment is ‘Justified’ 4.  Your paragraphs are missing a topic sentence 5 .  Your paragraphs are missing an explanation sentence 6.  Your paragraphs are missing an example 7.  Your paragraphs are missing references 8.  Your paragraphs are not relevant to the marking criteria 9.  You’re trying to fit too many ideas into the one paragraph 10.  Your sentences are too long 11.  Your quotes are too long

Chris

Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 50 Durable Goods Examples
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 100 Consumer Goods Examples
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 30 Globalization Pros and Cons
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 17 Adversity Examples (And How to Overcome Them)

4 thoughts on “11 Rules for Essay Paragraph Structure (with Examples)”

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Hello there. I noticed that throughout this article on Essay Writing, you keep on saying that the teacher won’t have time to go through the entire essay. Don’t you think this is a bit discouraging that with all the hard work and time put into your writing, to know that the teacher will not read through the entire paper?

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Hi Clarence,

Thanks so much for your comment! I love to hear from readers on their thoughts.

Yes, I agree that it’s incredibly disheartening.

But, I also think students would appreciate hearing the truth.

Behind closed doors many / most university teachers are very open about the fact they ‘only have time to skim-read papers’. They regularly bring this up during heated faculty meetings about contract negotiations! I.e. in one university I worked at, we were allocated 45 minutes per 10,000 words – that’s just over 4 minutes per 1,000 word essay, and that’d include writing the feedback, too!

If students know the truth, they can better write their essays in a way that will get across the key points even from a ‘skim-read’.

I hope to write candidly on this website – i.e. some of this info will never be written on university blogs because universities want to hide these unfortunate truths from students.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Regards, Chris

' src=

This is wonderful and helpful, all I say is thank you very much. Because I learned a lot from this site, own by chris thank you Sir.

' src=

Thank you. This helped a lot.

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What Is A Five-Paragraph Essay & How Do You Write One?

  • What Is A Five-Paragraph Essay?
  • How To Write One
  • Essay Outline

If you’re a student in the US, there’s a good chance you’ll be asked to write a five-paragraph essay at some point in your academic career. In fact, you’ll probably be asked to write one several times in your academic career. By the time you graduate, you may have written these essays so many times that you groan at the mere mention of them. We can’t blame you for that, but there’s a reason why so many teachers require them.

The five-paragraph essay is a perfect introduction for learning how to research, structure, and write a succinct and effective essay. Once you master the style, you can move on and become an expert at so many other styles of writing. The five-paragraph essay is foundational, so if you’ve been assigned one, breathe easy. You’re doing important work, and this handy guide to writing a five-paragraph essay will help make the writing process a breeze.

What is a five-paragraph essay?

The five-paragraph essay is primarily used in academic writing, and it’s one of the first styles of essay most students are taught. Within the framework of the five-paragraph essay, students can practice persuasive writing, compare and contrast two ideas, or even write researched informative pieces.

If you’re like a lot of students, you might remember learning the five-paragraph essay using the “hamburger method.” With this method, the parts of the essay are listed just like a hamburger, with the introduction and conclusion acting as “buns” around the detail paragraph “toppings.” Now that we’ve stimulated your appetite right along with your writer’s brain, grab a snack and let’s break down the steps to writing a flawless five-paragraph essay.

How to write a five-paragraph essay

The good news about writing a five-paragraph essay is that it has an easy-to-follow format. It’s clear from the title alone that the process will involve writing five separate sections, each with its own guidelines and specifications. From there, the trick is infusing creativity and your own unique writing style into the essay format.

Before we get to that, let’s talk about the different parts of the typical five-paragraph essay.

1. The introduction

Every five-paragraph essay begins with a thesis statement and an introductory paragraph. The thesis statement is a single sentence that clearly summarizes what the essay will be about , including your opinion on it if you’re writing an argumentative or persuasive piece.

Once you have a clear thesis written, the rest of your introduction should include:

  • Basic context or information about your intended topic (if necessary).
  • A brief mention of the main points to be expanded on in the body of the essay.

Save the most significant information for the body paragraphs, but offer a preview of the points you intend to make in order to entice readers to read more. When put together, a strong introduction will look something like this:

There’s a lot of debate about which food category hot dogs fit into, but it’s clear from the evidence that a hot dog is a type of sandwich. Hot dogs are an incredibly popular food in America. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council estimates that we consume about 20 billion hot dogs a year. With that kind of devotion, it’s easy to see why people feel so passionate about which food category their beloved hot dogs fit into. But many experts, restaurateurs, and even the dictionary classify hot dogs as sandwiches, and it’s time to end this heated food debate once and for all.

Review the three main types of thesis statements here.

2. Three body paragraphs

The support for your thesis comes in the form of three separate body paragraphs. These paragraphs are where you include relevant details, expert quotes, citations from books or other resources, and any other information you need in order to convey your full argument or knowledge to the reader. Each of your body paragraphs should include the following:

  • A topic sentence that clearly defines what the paragraph is about.
  • Transition words (like first, lastly, additionally, however, etc.) to help guide the reader.
  • Details that specifically support and expand on the thesis.
  • Pertinent data, properly cited sources, quotes and/or relevant anecdotes.
  • At least five sentences, though higher level writing may call for more.

Remember that each body paragraph should focus on one main argument or supporting detail. Including three body paragraphs means you have three separate paragraphs to write about three separate supports for your thesis. Finally, make sure the information you include is relevant. These paragraphs should be succinct and informative and not include tangential information.

Here’s a sample body paragraph:

To begin, hot dogs fit the dictionary definition of the word sandwich. Sandwich is defined as “two or more slices of bread with a layer of meat, fish, cheese, and whatever other filling you’d like between them.” A hot dog is a grilled or steamed sausage, usually made of pork or beef, which qualifies as a layer of meat. They can also have toppings, such as condiments or cold vegetables, just like other kinds of sandwiches might. Hot dogs are served on buns, which are a type of split sandwich roll. In many delis, other types of sandwiches are served on split rolls. Since they are served on the same bread as many sandwiches, hot dogs are clearly a type of sandwich.

When it comes to research and citations, do your essay justice by reading this tips on how to avoid plagiarism.

A five-paragraph essay outline

Now that you know the parts of a five-paragraph essay, it might help to see them in action. Here’s an outline format you can use to plan your own essays, filled in with examples of a thesis statement, topic sentences for your body paragraphs, and the main parts of a strong conclusion.

Introduction

  • Thesis statement: There’s a lot of debate about which food category hot dogs fit into, but it’s clear from the evidence that a hot dog is a type of sandwich.

Body paragraph #1

  • Topic sentence: To begin, hot dogs fit the dictionary definition of the word sandwich.
  • Supporting detail: Sandwich is defined as “two or more slices of bread with a layer of meat, fish, cheese, and whatever other filling you’d like between them.”
  • Supporting detail: A hot dog is a grilled or steamed sausage, usually made of pork or beef, which qualifies as a layer of meat.
  • Supporting detail: Hot dog buns are split rolls, similar to the ones used for deli sandwiches.

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Body paragraph #2

  • Topic sentence: Secondly, hot dogs meet the legal definition of sandwiches in many places.
  • Supporting detail: Mark Wheeler, a food safety specialist with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), says the organization defines a sandwich as “a meat or poultry filling between two slices of bread, a bun, or a biscuit.”
  • Supporting detail: In New York state, tax law lists “hot dogs and sausages on buns” as types of sandwiches.
  • Supporting detail: Additionally, tax law in California clearly includes “hot dog and hamburger sandwiches” served from “sandwich stands or booths.”

Body paragraph #3

  • Topic sentence: Finally, most Americans agree that hot dogs are sandwiches.
  • Supporting detail: In a poll of 1,000 people conducted by RTA Outdoor Living, 56.8% of respondents agreed a hot dog is a sandwich.
  • Supporting detail: Many fast food chains that serve primarily burgers and sandwiches, like Five Guys burgers and Shake Shack, also sell hot dogs.
  • Supporting detail: Lexicographers at Dictionary.com have also declared that hot dogs officially meet the criteria to be included in the sandwich category. (Curious? Read the article here for this and other great food debates explained .)
  • Restatement of thesis: Hot dogs are a unique kind of food, but the evidence makes it clear that they are indeed a type of sandwich.

Refine your writing with this review on run-on sentences.

do essay have 5 paragraphs

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Structuring the Five-Paragraph Essay: Examples of Five-Paragraph Essays

  • Examples of Five-Paragraph Essays

Grammar Tips

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This  grammar  review site includes detailed terms, interactive exercises, handouts, PowerPoints, daily Twitter practice, videos, teacher resources, and more!

Sample of a Persuasive / Argumentative Five-Paragraph Essay

A cat is a man's best friend.

This model essay is a good example of an Argumentative (or Persuasive) Essay. 

  • A Cat is a A Man's Best Friend Compare & Contrast / Argument (Persuasive) Essay

SAMPLE PROCESS ESSAY

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

What this handout is about

This handout will help you understand how paragraphs are formed, how to develop stronger paragraphs, and how to completely and clearly express your ideas.

What is a paragraph?

Paragraphs are the building blocks of papers. Many students define paragraphs in terms of length: a paragraph is a group of at least five sentences, a paragraph is half a page long, etc. In reality, though, the unity and coherence of ideas among sentences is what constitutes a paragraph. A paragraph is defined as “a group of sentences or a single sentence that forms a unit” (Lunsford and Connors 116). Length and appearance do not determine whether a section in a paper is a paragraph. For instance, in some styles of writing, particularly journalistic styles, a paragraph can be just one sentence long. Ultimately, a paragraph is a sentence or group of sentences that support one main idea. In this handout, we will refer to this as the “controlling idea,” because it controls what happens in the rest of the paragraph.

How do I decide what to put in a paragraph?

Before you can begin to determine what the composition of a particular paragraph will be, you must first decide on an argument and a working thesis statement for your paper. What is the most important idea that you are trying to convey to your reader? The information in each paragraph must be related to that idea. In other words, your paragraphs should remind your reader that there is a recurrent relationship between your thesis and the information in each paragraph. A working thesis functions like a seed from which your paper, and your ideas, will grow. The whole process is an organic one—a natural progression from a seed to a full-blown paper where there are direct, familial relationships between all of the ideas in the paper.

The decision about what to put into your paragraphs begins with the germination of a seed of ideas; this “germination process” is better known as brainstorming . There are many techniques for brainstorming; whichever one you choose, this stage of paragraph development cannot be skipped. Building paragraphs can be like building a skyscraper: there must be a well-planned foundation that supports what you are building. Any cracks, inconsistencies, or other corruptions of the foundation can cause your whole paper to crumble.

So, let’s suppose that you have done some brainstorming to develop your thesis. What else should you keep in mind as you begin to create paragraphs? Every paragraph in a paper should be :

  • Unified : All of the sentences in a single paragraph should be related to a single controlling idea (often expressed in the topic sentence of the paragraph).
  • Clearly related to the thesis : The sentences should all refer to the central idea, or thesis, of the paper (Rosen and Behrens 119).
  • Coherent : The sentences should be arranged in a logical manner and should follow a definite plan for development (Rosen and Behrens 119).
  • Well-developed : Every idea discussed in the paragraph should be adequately explained and supported through evidence and details that work together to explain the paragraph’s controlling idea (Rosen and Behrens 119).

How do I organize a paragraph?

There are many different ways to organize a paragraph. The organization you choose will depend on the controlling idea of the paragraph. Below are a few possibilities for organization, with links to brief examples:

  • Narration : Tell a story. Go chronologically, from start to finish. ( See an example. )
  • Description : Provide specific details about what something looks, smells, tastes, sounds, or feels like. Organize spatially, in order of appearance, or by topic. ( See an example. )
  • Process : Explain how something works, step by step. Perhaps follow a sequence—first, second, third. ( See an example. )
  • Classification : Separate into groups or explain the various parts of a topic. ( See an example. )
  • Illustration : Give examples and explain how those examples support your point. (See an example in the 5-step process below.)

Illustration paragraph: a 5-step example

From the list above, let’s choose “illustration” as our rhetorical purpose. We’ll walk through a 5-step process for building a paragraph that illustrates a point in an argument. For each step there is an explanation and example. Our example paragraph will be about human misconceptions of piranhas.

Step 1. Decide on a controlling idea and create a topic sentence

Paragraph development begins with the formulation of the controlling idea. This idea directs the paragraph’s development. Often, the controlling idea of a paragraph will appear in the form of a topic sentence. In some cases, you may need more than one sentence to express a paragraph’s controlling idea.

Controlling idea and topic sentence — Despite the fact that piranhas are relatively harmless, many people continue to believe the pervasive myth that piranhas are dangerous to humans.

Step 2. Elaborate on the controlling idea

Paragraph development continues with an elaboration on the controlling idea, perhaps with an explanation, implication, or statement about significance. Our example offers a possible explanation for the pervasiveness of the myth.

Elaboration — This impression of piranhas is exacerbated by their mischaracterization in popular media.

Step 3. Give an example (or multiple examples)

Paragraph development progresses with an example (or more) that illustrates the claims made in the previous sentences.

Example — For example, the promotional poster for the 1978 horror film Piranha features an oversized piranha poised to bite the leg of an unsuspecting woman.

Step 4. Explain the example(s)

The next movement in paragraph development is an explanation of each example and its relevance to the topic sentence. The explanation should demonstrate the value of the example as evidence to support the major claim, or focus, in your paragraph.

Continue the pattern of giving examples and explaining them until all points/examples that the writer deems necessary have been made and explained. NONE of your examples should be left unexplained. You might be able to explain the relationship between the example and the topic sentence in the same sentence which introduced the example. More often, however, you will need to explain that relationship in a separate sentence.

Explanation for example — Such a terrifying representation easily captures the imagination and promotes unnecessary fear.

Notice that the example and explanation steps of this 5-step process (steps 3 and 4) can be repeated as needed. The idea is that you continue to use this pattern until you have completely developed the main idea of the paragraph.

Step 5. Complete the paragraph’s idea or transition into the next paragraph

The final movement in paragraph development involves tying up the loose ends of the paragraph. At this point, you can remind your reader about the relevance of the information to the larger paper, or you can make a concluding point for this example. You might, however, simply transition to the next paragraph.

Sentences for completing a paragraph — While the trope of the man-eating piranhas lends excitement to the adventure stories, it bears little resemblance to the real-life piranha. By paying more attention to fact than fiction, humans may finally be able to let go of this inaccurate belief.

Finished paragraph

Despite the fact that piranhas are relatively harmless, many people continue to believe the pervasive myth that piranhas are dangerous to humans. This impression of piranhas is exacerbated by their mischaracterization in popular media. For example, the promotional poster for the 1978 horror film Piranha features an oversized piranha poised to bite the leg of an unsuspecting woman. Such a terrifying representation easily captures the imagination and promotes unnecessary fear. While the trope of the man-eating piranhas lends excitement to the adventure stories, it bears little resemblance to the real-life piranha. By paying more attention to fact than fiction, humans may finally be able to let go of this inaccurate belief.

Troubleshooting paragraphs

Problem: the paragraph has no topic sentence.

Imagine each paragraph as a sandwich. The real content of the sandwich—the meat or other filling—is in the middle. It includes all the evidence you need to make the point. But it gets kind of messy to eat a sandwich without any bread. Your readers don’t know what to do with all the evidence you’ve given them. So, the top slice of bread (the first sentence of the paragraph) explains the topic (or controlling idea) of the paragraph. And, the bottom slice (the last sentence of the paragraph) tells the reader how the paragraph relates to the broader argument. In the original and revised paragraphs below, notice how a topic sentence expressing the controlling idea tells the reader the point of all the evidence.

Original paragraph

Piranhas rarely feed on large animals; they eat smaller fish and aquatic plants. When confronted with humans, piranhas’ first instinct is to flee, not attack. Their fear of humans makes sense. Far more piranhas are eaten by people than people are eaten by piranhas. If the fish are well-fed, they won’t bite humans.

Revised paragraph

Although most people consider piranhas to be quite dangerous, they are, for the most part, entirely harmless. Piranhas rarely feed on large animals; they eat smaller fish and aquatic plants. When confronted with humans, piranhas’ first instinct is to flee, not attack. Their fear of humans makes sense. Far more piranhas are eaten by people than people are eaten by piranhas. If the fish are well-fed, they won’t bite humans.

Once you have mastered the use of topic sentences, you may decide that the topic sentence for a particular paragraph really shouldn’t be the first sentence of the paragraph. This is fine—the topic sentence can actually go at the beginning, middle, or end of a paragraph; what’s important is that it is in there somewhere so that readers know what the main idea of the paragraph is and how it relates back to the thesis of your paper. Suppose that we wanted to start the piranha paragraph with a transition sentence—something that reminds the reader of what happened in the previous paragraph—rather than with the topic sentence. Let’s suppose that the previous paragraph was about all kinds of animals that people are afraid of, like sharks, snakes, and spiders. Our paragraph might look like this (the topic sentence is bold):

Like sharks, snakes, and spiders, piranhas are widely feared. Although most people consider piranhas to be quite dangerous, they are, for the most part, entirely harmless . Piranhas rarely feed on large animals; they eat smaller fish and aquatic plants. When confronted with humans, piranhas’ first instinct is to flee, not attack. Their fear of humans makes sense. Far more piranhas are eaten by people than people are eaten by piranhas. If the fish are well-fed, they won’t bite humans.

Problem: the paragraph has more than one controlling idea

If a paragraph has more than one main idea, consider eliminating sentences that relate to the second idea, or split the paragraph into two or more paragraphs, each with only one main idea. Watch our short video on reverse outlining to learn a quick way to test whether your paragraphs are unified. In the following paragraph, the final two sentences branch off into a different topic; so, the revised paragraph eliminates them and concludes with a sentence that reminds the reader of the paragraph’s main idea.

Although most people consider piranhas to be quite dangerous, they are, for the most part, entirely harmless. Piranhas rarely feed on large animals; they eat smaller fish and aquatic plants. When confronted with humans, piranhas’ first instinct is to flee, not attack. Their fear of humans makes sense. Far more piranhas are eaten by people than people are eaten by piranhas. A number of South American groups eat piranhas. They fry or grill the fish and then serve them with coconut milk or tucupi, a sauce made from fermented manioc juices.

Problem: transitions are needed within the paragraph

You are probably familiar with the idea that transitions may be needed between paragraphs or sections in a paper (see our handout on transitions ). Sometimes they are also helpful within the body of a single paragraph. Within a paragraph, transitions are often single words or short phrases that help to establish relationships between ideas and to create a logical progression of those ideas in a paragraph. This is especially likely to be true within paragraphs that discuss multiple examples. Let’s take a look at a version of our piranha paragraph that uses transitions to orient the reader:

Although most people consider piranhas to be quite dangerous, they are, except in two main situations, entirely harmless. Piranhas rarely feed on large animals; they eat smaller fish and aquatic plants. When confronted with humans, piranhas’ instinct is to flee, not attack. But there are two situations in which a piranha bite is likely. The first is when a frightened piranha is lifted out of the water—for example, if it has been caught in a fishing net. The second is when the water level in pools where piranhas are living falls too low. A large number of fish may be trapped in a single pool, and if they are hungry, they may attack anything that enters the water.

In this example, you can see how the phrases “the first” and “the second” help the reader follow the organization of the ideas in the paragraph.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Lunsford, Andrea. 2008. The St. Martin’s Handbook: Annotated Instructor’s Edition , 6th ed. New York: St. Martin’s.

Rosen, Leonard J., and Laurence Behrens. 2003. The Allyn & Bacon Handbook , 5th ed. New York: Longman.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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5 Paragraph Essay Introduction

The introduction is one of the most crucial parts of the 5 paragraph essay. This is where you are. Get the chance to hook the reader onto what you are saying. So you must pay the most attention to getting the reading hooked here.

Start by saying something intriguing that makes them want to keep going. This can be anything, maybe a piece of information they would find interesting. It can even be something like a question, the answer they will see once they read your essay.

Think of it this way- how many times have you continued to read an article that didn’t hook you when you started reading it? Rarely any, right? This is why you must get the reader thinking here so that they want to continue writing further.

Your introduction needs to introduce the topic in the best way that you can think of. It is more like a mini-outline for your essay. So you must ensure that the reader knows what will be discussed in the essay’s main body; it is in some way similar to a five paragraph outline , read here to learn more.

At the end of the introduction, you must add a transition that makes them want to go to the next part of the essay. Remember that writing is an art. As a student, you must show this art to the examiner in the first paragraph to make them want to keep going.

Using Strong Evidence in Your 5 Paragraph Essay

If you are wondering how to write a 5-paragraph essay , it is essential to use authentic information. It is important to add weight to what you are saying during the writing process so that the examiner trusts you. So how do you do that?

You first need to look for credible sources that give you the information you want. You should go for sources like Wikipedia that users can alter. It is always best to go for journal articles. The information you get there is always the best because it is peer-reviewed.

Apart from that, one other crucial thing you should be doing is cross-verify your information from different sources. This is very important. This helps you check the authenticity of the data. It also lets you be sure of the information you include in the essay.

Remember that the examiner does want to know your viewpoint, but at the end of the day, the information you base your work on truly adds to the essay’s main matter. You may also read what some good transition words to start a new paragraph are.

You must also cite your sources at the very end once done. It is best to know if you must use a specific referencing style. Once you know, you can use just that to make sure that the examiner can also refer back to those sources if they have to check the information you used for that.

Crafting a Compelling Body Paragraph for Your 5 Paragraph Essay

In the essay’s main body, you will discuss the crux of the essay. You will discuss the main parts you wish to shed light on. Remember that this is the main part you built up in the introduction. So you need to give this your best. In addition, you have to make sure you plan following what you had in mind to do a sound job on this.

Break the main body into three paragraphs and have a separate agenda in mind for each paragraph. Introduce a new idea, then describe it to the best of your abilities. Remember that your words should add value to the reader’s knowledge bank and develop five paragraph essay tips . That is when they will find the information you are giving worth reading.

The first paragraph of the main body should focus on a specific point you wish to pay attention to. You should start with a topic sentence, and then you should continue building on that. This paragraph can be anywhere between seven to nine sentences long .

It would help if you did the same thing for this body section’s second and third paragraphs. You should pay the most attention to this part of your essay. The five paragraph essay provides a comprehensive framework for organizing and developing your ideas in a structured manner. You have to do justice to this part as the main essence of the essay.

5 Paragraph Essay Conclusion

Once you have worked on the introduction and the main body, it is time to conclude the essay. This is where you are wrapping up. So you go back to the main points you made throughout the essay and worked towards ensuring that you summarize those points. To explain better, the reader should be able to know what you talked about in the whole essay when they read the conclusion.

Therefore, it is important to summarize the essay coherently, which is what the concluding paragraph allows you to do. Also, you can order an essay and get professional help from our writers.

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Remember that as part of being a student, this is something that you will be required to do throughout. With an understanding of the structure of the five-paragraph essay example , you will be better able to work on what you have decided. Remember that you must have ample know-how before starting to work on it.

Before you start, have a 5 paragraph essay format right ahead of you so that you know exactly what is expected of you and what you have to include in every paragraph. Still have doubts, you can order your 5 paragraph essay and get a reference example.

In conclusion, the five-paragraph essay structure is a helpful model for organizing an essay. It provides a clear and logical framework for presenting the main points of an argument and supporting them with specific examples.

Following this structure, writers can effectively communicate their ideas and persuade readers to take a particular course of action. Additionally, the five-paragraph structure can be modified and expanded to fit the needs of longer or more complex essays.

Overall, the five-paragraph essay is a valuable tool for organizing and presenting ideas clearly and concisely, so follow the five paragraph essay format while writing five-paragraph essays and get the highest grades.

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Laura Orta is an avid author on Writing Metier's blog. Before embarking on her writing career, she practiced media law in one of the local media. Aside from writing, she works as a private tutor to help students with their academic needs. Laura and her husband share their home near the ocean in northern Portugal with two extraordinary boys and a lifetime collection of books.

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Five paragraph essay outline and example 📚.

Five Paragraph Essay Outline and Example - Crafting a well-structured essay is essential for effective communication. One popular format is the five-paragraph essay.

Are you struggling to write a great 5 paragraph essay? In this article, we'll guide you through each step of the process, from introduction to conclusion, so that you can write a stellar 5 paragraph essay that impresses your teacher or professor.

How to Write a 5-Paragraph Essay?

How to Write a 5-Paragraph Essay: writing a five-paragraph essay may seem daunting, but it's a fundamental part of academic writing. Whether you're in high school or college, you'll likely encounter this type of essay throughout your academic career. The basic structure consists of an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. In this guide, we'll take you through each step of the process, from planning and outlining to writing and editing.

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Sometimes you have to spend money to make money.

A Washington, D.C. woman who saved a staggering $200,000 in the five years after she graduated from college says she may have sabotaged her long-term career prospects in the process.

In a candid essay about her extreme budgeting penned for Business Insider, Gwen Merz, now 33, said she missed out on invaluable social networking opportunities at the outset of her career by forgoing out-of-office events with her co-workers.

“I didn’t really realize the cost that I was incurring in my career, as I was not wanting to go out and do happy hour or go do lunch with my coworkers,” Merz — who works in IT — wrote, saying she didn’t want to spend money on food or drinks.

“That kind of off-site networking really is where a lot of connections get made,” she further explained. “They come in handy later when you’re like, ‘Hey, I’m up for this promotion. Would you put in a good word for me?’ If you don’t have that kind of connection, they’re like, ‘I don’t know about that.'”

In a candid essay about her extreme budgeting penned for Business Insider, Gwen Merz, now 33, said she missed out on invaluable social networking opportunities at the outset of her career by forgoing out-of-office events with her co-workers.

After graduating from college, Merz was motivated to join FIRE — an acronym that stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early. The movement encourages followers to save and invest huge percentages of their income so that they can retire decades ahead of schedule.

Merz made a starting salary of $65,000 and managed to stash away up to 75% of her take-home paycheck.

But in addition to stifling her social networking opportunities, extreme budgeting also adversely impacted her dating experiences and her living situation.

“I never really found a partner that had the same mindset when I was dating,” she confessed. “So that made being single really hard — by not wanting to spend any money on it, because it came off as cheap and controlling.”

“I had opinions on how my partners were spending their money, and people don’t really appreciate that,” Merz candidly added.

Additionally, the IT worker was living in a cramped studio apartment which took a toll on her overall wellbeing.

“I was miserable and so unhappy and so stressed out the entire time,” she wrote. “I was like, ‘This is not worth it. This will never be worth it to me.'”

After five years, Merz had accumulated $200,000 — but the budgeter was at breaking point.

I was like, “This is not worth it. This will never be worth it to me,” the D.C. resident called thinking.

After graduating from college, Merz was motivated to join FIRE — an acronym that stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early. The movement encourages followers to save and invest huge percentages of their income so that they can retire decades ahead of schedule.

In the six years since, Merz has relaxed her extreme savings measures, and now puts away 10% of her income into her 401(k).

While she won’t retire as early as she planned, the IT worker says she’s now found a job that she loves — and doesn’t mind forking out for a drink during happy hour to build connections.

“I have found a career and an employer that are a good fit for me, I’m taking more care to foster those kinds of connections and network because I will be here for longer,” she explained.

Merz is also in a relationship and is living in a space that’s larger (and a little more expensive) than the cramped studio.

In the six years since, Merz has relaxed her extreme savings measures, and now puts away 10% of her income into her 401(k).

Still, the recovered super-saver admits that the $200,000 nest egg is nice to have.

“It’s allowed me to take some more chances with my career, trying to find the right employer and the right niche for me. It’s okay if I have to move or if I take a little bit of hit on income because I have these savings and I have a buffer, so I’m not stuck,” she stated. “I don’t have any regrets.”

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In a candid essay about her extreme budgeting penned for Business Insider, Gwen Merz, now 33, said she missed out on invaluable social networking opportunities at the outset of her career by forgoing out-of-office events with her co-workers.

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What to Know About Indonesia’s Election

More than 100 million people are expected to vote. The country is a vibrant democracy, but some fear it risks sliding back toward a dark past.

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A woman holds a clipboard in a room full of identical white boxes, wrapped in plastic.

By Sui-Lee Wee

Reporting from Jakarta, Indonesia

The numbers are staggering.

More than 100 million people are expected to vote, many for the first time. They’ll do so in booths across thousands of islands and three time zones, hammering nails into ballots to mark their choices. And within hours, if history is any guide, the world will know the outcome of the biggest race of the day: the one for Indonesia’s presidency.

Indonesia, the world’s third-largest democracy, will hold its general election on Wednesday. Election Day is a national holiday, and on average, about 75 percent of eligible voters have turned out. In addition to the president, voters are choosing members of Parliament and local representatives.

This election season has raised fears that Indonesia, which was an authoritarian state not long ago, is in danger of sliding back toward its dark past. The potential ramifications extend far beyond the country’s borders. As one of the world’s biggest exporters of coal, nickel and palm oil, Indonesia has a large role to play in the climate change crisis.

And in the contest between the United States and China for influence in Asia, Indonesia is seen by U.S. officials as a “swing state.” Under President Joko Widodo, ties with China have deepened significantly, but he has also maintained strong defense relations with Washington.

Here’s what you need to know.

What is at stake?

The election is widely seen as a referendum on the legacy of Mr. Joko, who is stepping down after two five-year terms.

Often referred to as Jokowi, he remains extremely popular because he has transformed Indonesia into one of Southeast Asia’s biggest economic success stories. He ushered in a universal health care system, built more than 1,000 miles of roads and highways, and oversaw respectable economic growth of about 5 percent a year.

His supporters say his job is unfinished and that there are pressing issues, such as inequality and poverty, that still need to be addressed. Critics say democratic norms have eroded under Mr. Joko’s time in power and that he is now maneuvering to extend his influence even after he leaves office .

Mr. Joko appears to be backing Prabowo Subianto, a onetime rival who has been accused of human rights abuses, to become his successor, alarming even some of his supporters. The outcome of the election could determine the future of democracy in Indonesia, which has the world’s biggest Muslim population.

Who’s running for president?

For the first time in 15 years, voters will get to pick from three presidential candidates: Mr. Prabowo, the current defense minister; Anies Baswedan, the former governor of Jakarta; and Ganjar Pranowo, who ran Central Java.

Mr. Prabowo has touted himself as the continuity candidate, saying this month that Mr. Joko’s policies had been “very, very beneficial for all of the people.” But he is a polarizing choice.

To many Indonesians, Mr. Prabowo is associated with the dictator Suharto , who ruled with an iron fist over the country from the mid-1960s to the late 1990s. Mr. Prabowo was married to one of Suharto’s daughters and served as a general in his military, which was notorious for human rights violations. In 1998, Mr. Prabowo was discharged from the army for ordering the kidnappings of student activists.

But Mr. Prabowo has shored up support thanks to an image makeover and the implicit backing of Mr. Joko. Surveys show Mr. Prabowo with a wide lead in the polls, but it is less clear whether he will win enough votes across a broad base of provinces to land the presidency without having to go through a runoff election in June.

A large number of swing voters, by one count around 13 percent of the electorate, make the result hard to predict.

Mr. Ganjar of Central Java — the candidate fielded by Mr. Joko’s political party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle — has also promised to continue most of Mr. Joko’s policies, albeit with tweaks. He has been described as “Jokowi lite.” But analysts say he has struggled to define his message, and polls show his support topping off at around 20 percent.

Mr. Anies, the former Jakarta governor, is highly regarded in the capital for improving public transportation and managing the coronavirus pandemic, but his previous ties to radical Islamist preachers have raised concerns.

In recent weeks, though, Mr. Anies has drawn support from Gen Z voters and educated urbanites on a message of change, with some surveys showing he is slightly ahead of Mr. Ganjar. He has argued that a plan pushed by Mr. Joko to move the capital to another island would not lead to equitable development, and he has warned about the return of nepotism.

Why is the youth vote so important this time?

People under 40 account for more than half of all eligible voters, making them the biggest bloc in this election. Surveys have found that younger voters are concerned about the economy, education, employment and corruption.

To reach this cohort, the presidential hopefuls have turned to social media. Mr. Prabowo, the former general, has tried to rebrand himself as a gemoy, or cute, grandfather. TikTok has been flooded with videos of him dancing at rallies. This strategy has endeared him to some voters.

Many young people are unaware of the problematic aspects of Mr. Prabowo’s past, such as his role in the kidnapping of activists, because the history of Suharto-era human rights violations is not taught in schools.

Independent groups that run websites like “Bijak Memilih,” or Choose Wisely, are working to help younger voters by providing news and information. One reason they are doing so is some young voters have expressed skepticism about the independence of the country’s media outlets.

Mr. Anies is also using social media to drum up support, turning to an unlikely bloc: Indonesian K-pop fans. Many such supporters say they were taken by Mr. Anies after he emerged from a debate and did a TikTok livestream with his supporters, where, like a K-pop star, he answered questions about his love life and his favorite books.

What sets this election apart from others?

It is one of the world’s most complex single-day elections. About 205 million people are registered to vote in this sprawling archipelago of about 17,000 islands, roughly 7,000 of which are inhabited.

Six million election officials have begun fanning out across the country to ensure that as many people as possible get a chance to vote. Logistics are a headache in some places — requiring officials to travel on horseback or take boats or helicopters and trek for hours to deliver ballots to voters.

“It is a massive, colossal task,” said Yulianto Sudrajat, a member of Indonesia’s General Election Commission who is in charge of logistics.

Voters will mark their ballots by hammering nails into them, which election officials say is a fairer method than using a pen, since some Indonesians are unfamiliar with writing instruments. As the votes are counted, election officials hold the ballots up so people can see light shining through the holes.

In 2019, the process took such a toll that 894 election workers died, prompting the government to urge volunteers this time to undergo health screenings.

Although the official vote count takes weeks to confirm, the results are generally known by the end of the day, based on so-called quick counts, a kind of exit poll. After polling stations close at 1 p.m. Jakarta time, independent pollsters will tally ballots from a sampling of voting stations nationwide.

In previous elections, the quick counts — released by 5 p.m. — have accurately reflected the real results.

Rin Hindryati and Hasya Nindita contributed reporting.

Sui-Lee Wee is the Southeast Asia bureau chief for The Times, overseeing coverage of 11 countries in the region. More about Sui-Lee Wee

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The Loss of Things I Took for Granted

Ten years into my college teaching career, students stopped being able to read effectively..

Recent years have seen successive waves of book bans in Republican-controlled states, aimed at pulling any text with “woke” themes from classrooms and library shelves. Though the results sometimes seem farcical, as with the banning of Art Spiegelman’s Maus due to its inclusion of “cuss words” and explicit rodent nudity, the book-banning agenda is no laughing matter. Motivated by bigotry, it has already done demonstrable harm and promises to do more. But at the same time, the appropriate response is, in principle, simple. Named individuals have advanced explicit policies with clear goals and outcomes, and we can replace those individuals with people who want to reverse those policies. That is already beginning to happen in many places, and I hope those successes will continue until every banned book is restored.

If and when that happens, however, we will not be able to declare victory quite yet. Defeating the open conspiracy to deprive students of physical access to books will do little to counteract the more diffuse confluence of forces that are depriving students of the skills needed to meaningfully engage with those books in the first place. As a college educator, I am confronted daily with the results of that conspiracy-without-conspirators. I have been teaching in small liberal arts colleges for over 15 years now, and in the past five years, it’s as though someone flipped a switch. For most of my career, I assigned around 30 pages of reading per class meeting as a baseline expectation—sometimes scaling up for purely expository readings or pulling back for more difficult texts. (No human being can read 30 pages of Hegel in one sitting, for example.) Now students are intimidated by anything over 10 pages and seem to walk away from readings of as little as 20 pages with no real understanding. Even smart and motivated students struggle to do more with written texts than extract decontextualized take-aways. Considerable class time is taken up simply establishing what happened in a story or the basic steps of an argument—skills I used to be able to take for granted.

Since this development very directly affects my ability to do my job as I understand it, I talk about it a lot. And when I talk about it with nonacademics, certain predictable responses inevitably arise, all questioning the reality of the trend I describe. Hasn’t every generation felt that the younger cohort is going to hell in a handbasket? Haven’t professors always complained that educators at earlier levels are not adequately equipping their students? And haven’t students from time immemorial skipped the readings?

The response of my fellow academics, however, reassures me that I’m not simply indulging in intergenerational grousing. Anecdotally, I have literally never met a professor who did not share my experience. Professors are also discussing the issue in academic trade publications , from a variety of perspectives. What we almost all seem to agree on is that we are facing new obstacles in structuring and delivering our courses, requiring us to ratchet down expectations in the face of a ratcheting down of preparation. Yes, there were always students who skipped the readings, but we are in new territory when even highly motivated honors students struggle to grasp the basic argument of a 20-page article. Yes, professors never feel satisfied that high school teachers have done enough, but not every generation of professors has had to deal with the fallout of No Child Left Behind and Common Core. Finally, yes, every generation thinks the younger generation is failing to make the grade— except for the current cohort of professors, who are by and large more invested in their students’ success and mental health and more responsive to student needs than any group of educators in human history. We are not complaining about our students. We are complaining about what has been taken from them.

If we ask what has caused this change, there are some obvious culprits. The first is the same thing that has taken away almost everyone’s ability to focus—the ubiquitous smartphone. Even as a career academic who studies the Quran in Arabic for fun, I have noticed my reading endurance flagging. I once found myself boasting at a faculty meeting that I had read through my entire hourlong train ride without looking at my phone. My colleagues agreed this was a major feat, one they had not achieved recently. Even if I rarely attain that high level of focus, though, I am able to “turn it on” when demanded, for instance to plow through a big novel during a holiday break. That’s because I was able to develop and practice those skills of extended concentration and attentive reading before the intervention of the smartphone. For children who were raised with smartphones, by contrast, that foundation is missing. It is probably no coincidence that the iPhone itself, originally released in 2007, is approaching college age, meaning that professors are increasingly dealing with students who would have become addicted to the dopamine hit of the omnipresent screen long before they were introduced to the more subtle pleasures of the page.

The second go-to explanation is the massive disruption of school closures during COVID-19. There is still some debate about the necessity of those measures, but what is not up for debate any longer is the very real learning loss that students suffered at every level. The impact will inevitably continue to be felt for the next decade or more, until the last cohort affected by the mass “pivot to online” finally graduates. I doubt that the pandemic closures were the decisive factor in themselves, however. Not only did the marked decline in reading resilience start before the pandemic, but the students I am seeing would have already been in high school during the school closures. Hence they would be better equipped to get something out of the online format and, more importantly, their basic reading competence would have already been established.

Less discussed than these broader cultural trends over which educators have little control are the major changes in reading pedagogy that have occurred in recent decades—some motivated by the ever-increasing demand to “teach to the test” and some by fads coming out of schools of education. In the latter category is the widely discussed decline in phonics education in favor of the “balanced literacy” approach advocated by education expert Lucy Calkins (who has more recently come to accept the need for more phonics instruction). I started to see the results of this ill-advised change several years ago, when students abruptly stopped attempting to sound out unfamiliar words and instead paused until they recognized the whole word as a unit. (In a recent class session, a smart, capable student was caught short by the word circumstances when reading a text out loud.) The result of this vibes-based literacy is that students never attain genuine fluency in reading. Even aside from the impact of smartphones, their experience of reading is constantly interrupted by their intentionally cultivated inability to process unfamiliar words.

For all the flaws of the balanced literacy method, it was presumably implemented by people who thought it would help. It is hard to see a similar motivation in the growing trend toward assigning students only the kind of short passages that can be included in a standardized test. Due in part to changes driven by the infamous Common Core standards , teachers now have to fight to assign their students longer readings, much less entire books, because those activities won’t feed directly into students getting higher test scores, which leads to schools getting more funding. The emphasis on standardized tests was always a distraction at best, but we have reached the point where it is actively cannibalizing students’ educational experience—an outcome no one intended or planned, and for which there is no possible justification.

We can’t go back in time and do the pandemic differently at this point, nor is there any realistic path to putting the smartphone genie back in the bottle. (Though I will note that we as a society do at least attempt to keep other addictive products out of the hands of children.) But I have to think that we can, at the very least, stop actively preventing young people from developing the ability to follow extended narratives and arguments in the classroom. Regardless of their profession or ultimate educational level, they will need those skills. The world is a complicated place. People—their histories and identities, their institutions and work processes, their fears and desires—are simply too complex to be captured in a worksheet with a paragraph and some reading comprehension questions. Large-scale prose writing is the best medium we have for capturing that complexity, and the education system should not be in the business of keeping students from learning how to engage effectively with it.

This is a matter not of snobbery, but of basic justice. I recognize that not everyone centers their lives on books as much as a humanities professor does. I think they’re missing out, but they’re adults and they can choose how to spend their time. What’s happening with the current generation is not that they are simply choosing TikTok over Jane Austen. They are being deprived of the ability to choose—for no real reason or benefit. We can and must stop perpetrating this crime on our young people.

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  1. How to Write a Five-Paragraph Essay, With Examples

    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.

  2. The Ultimate Guide to the 5-Paragraph Essay

    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.

  3. How to Craft a Stellar 5-Paragraph Essay: A Step-by-Step Guide

    Research and Outline Gather information about your topic and decide on the three main points or arguments you want to make in the body of your essay. This gives you a direction. Create an essay outline to organize your thoughts and that will serve as the roadmap for your paper. List the points in order of least important to most important.

  4. How to Write a Five Paragraph Essay (with Pictures)

    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.

  5. 5 Paragraph Essay: Guide, Topics, Outline, Examples, Tips

    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.

  6. Five-paragraph essay

    The five-paragraph essay is a format of essay having five paragraphs: one introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs with support and development, and one concluding paragraph. Because of this structure, it is also known as a hamburger essay, one three one, or a three-tier essay . Overview

  7. Secrets of the Five-Paragraph Essay

    The five-paragraph essay consists of one introduction paragraph (with the thesis at its end), three body paragraphs (each beginning with one of three main points) and one last paragraph—the conclusion. 1-3-1. Once you have this outline, you have the basic template for most academic writing. Most of all, you have an organized way to approach ...

  8. How to write a perfect 5 Paragraph Essay

    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

  9. How to Write a Five-Paragraph Essay That Works

    Step 4: Create your essay outline. This step is so important to writing essays that I continue to use outlines to this day for articles and blog posts, which are usually a lot more complicated than five-paragraph essays. But for your five-paragraph essay, here's a good outline to complete: Introductory paragraph.

  10. How to Write a Five-Paragraph Essay (with Examples)

    Writing a five-paragraph essay Write the hook and thesis statement in the first paragraph. Write the conflict of the essay in the second paragraph. Write the supporting details of the conflict in the third paragraph. Write the weakest arguments in the fourth paragraph. Write the summary and call-to-action prompt in the fifth paragraph.

  11. How Long is an Essay? Guidelines for Different Types of Essay

    In general, an essay is a shorter piece of writing than a research paper or thesis. In most cases, your assignment will include clear guidelines on the number of words or pages you are expected to write. Often this will be a range rather than an exact number (for example, 2500-3000 words, or 10-12 pages).

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    The essay structure of this literary work is divided into 5 paragraphs that have their format and use within the essay. The five-paragraph essay outline is divided into the following segments ...

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    See, first, Writing Introductory Paragraphs for different ways of getting your reader involved in your essay. The introductory paragraph should also include the thesis statement, a kind of mini-outline for the paper: it tells the reader what the essay is about. The last sentence of this paragraph must also contain a transitional "hook" which ...

  15. 11 Rules for Essay Paragraph Structure (with Examples)

    1. Paragraphs must be at least four sentences long 2. But, at most seven sentences long 3. Your paragraph must be Left-Aligned 4. You need a topic sentence 5 . Next, you need an explanation sentence 6. You need to include an example 7. You need to include citations 8. All paragraphs need to be relevant to the marking criteria 9.

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    There's a reason the five-paragraph essay is popular: it's the foundation for learning how to organize research, and this guide will walk you through it.

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    Sample of a Persuasive / Argumentative Five-Paragraph Essay. A Cat is a Man's Best Friend. This model essay is a good example of an Argumentative (or Persuasive) Essay. A Cat is a A Man's Best Friend. Compare & Contrast / Argument (Persuasive) Essay. SAMPLE PROCESS ESSAY.

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  20. What Is a 5-Paragraph Essay?

    The five-paragraph essay format is a simple structure that helps the writer organize their thoughts into five paragraphs. Because of its structure, it's also known as a hamburger essay, one three one, or a three-tier essay. Table Of Contents The Five-Paragraph Essay Format Structure of a 5-Paragraph Essay Steps to Writing a Five-Paragraph Essay

  21. Beyond the Five-paragraph Essay

    ways to write essays that are longer than 5 paragraphs. While the length and the scope of the essay may be diff erent, the basic format is the same: 1. Your essay must still contain an intro, a body, and a conclusion 2. Your essay must still include a strong thesis statement 3. Your essay must still give examples to illustrate what you are ...

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    December 22nd, 2022 Writing Tips Table of contents 5 Paragraph Essay Introduction Using Strong Evidence in Your 5 Paragraph Essay Crafting a Compelling Body Paragraph for Your 5 Paragraph Essay 5 Paragraph Essay Conclusion Summary Free topic suggestions Throughout your student life, you are expected to write many essays.

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    People—their histories and identities, their institutions and work processes, their fears and desires—are simply too complex to be captured in a worksheet with a paragraph and some reading ...