Writing Basics: Creating A 5-Paragraph Essay

There are various forms in which an essay can be written, just like there are different graders, writing styles, professors, and subjects. For students who are looking to be successful with the assignments they are writing, following a few simple rules will ensure that you can make the best of it. Since there is not always a clear "right" or "wrong" answer, the process of simply choosing an argument and backing it up is what educators are looking for.

The basic five paragraph essay structure:

When the topic you have chosen to write about it very complicated, it is quite likely that you will need to add in extra paragraphs so that you are able to include all of the evidence and points that must be presented. Unless you are specifically told otherwise by your teacher, the following format should be used for your paper:

  • Introduction:
  • The most important part of an essay is the introduction. This is where you grab the attention of the audience with your opening sentence. This can be done with an anecdote, a quote, or just a generalization pertaining to the topic. Once you have clearly stated what your paper is about, and have written a few lines regarding the crux of the argument, you will need to write down your thesis statement. This statement should come right at the end of your introductory paragraph. Put in simple terms, the thesis statement is the tagline for your essay and the last sentence of your introduction.

  • Body: Paragraph one:
  • This paragraph should begin with a transitional sentence that leads the reader logically from your thesis statement right into the argument you are going to be presenting. Each paragraph should have its own argument and evidence contained within. The essay will be only become confusing if there are several themes contained inside one paragraph. The last line of the body should logically wrap up what you have presented in the preceding sentences.

  • Paragraph two:
  • The second section should be written exactly the same as the one before it. The first sentence should transition the reader logically from the conclusion of body paragraph one. Choose your second strongest argument to present and include a few sentences that explain your evidence. The last line will again be a concluding sentence to tie everything together.

  • Paragraph three:
  • Follow the same rules as for the previous two.

  • Conclusion:
  • The conclusion is used to wrap up the entire paper. It should be written using the belief that you have proven everything you set out to prove with your topic sentence, and showing confidence is encouraged. You need to use this paragraph to reiterate your thesis statement, give a summary of the main points you have chosen as evidence, and leave the reader feeling as if they have all of their questions answered. If the conclusion is not done properly it doesn't matter how well organized, researched, and written the paper is if they are left feeling confused, frustrated, and annoyed.

    Here is a basic "road map" of what your essay should look like:


    1. Opening
    2. Explanation of opening, leads into the thesis statement
    3. Thesis statement
      • Title
      • General argument
      • Three or more reasons why your argument is accurate and three pieces of evidence.

    Body Paragraph

    1. Opening sentence
    2. Explanation
    3. Evidence 1
    4. Explanation of evidence 1
    5. Concluding sentence

    Body Paragraph 2

    1. Transitional sentence
    2. Explanation
    3. Evidence 2
    4. Explanation of evidence 2
    5. Concluding sentence

    Body Paragraph 3

    1. Transitional sentence
    2. Explanation
    3. Evidence 3
    4. Explanation of evidence 3
    5. Concluding sentence


    • Wrap-up and reconfirm argument

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