How to Write a 5 Paragraph Essay: General Writer’s Guide

A 5-paragraph essay is the greatest portion of high school and college writing. Given a prompt to follow, students should prepare a composition made of five paragraphs. It is a standard structure. Learning how to write such type of essay guarantees success in such tests as IELTS, TOEFL, and SAT. All these tests have time limits, and that is why you should be armed to the teeth to catch up with your essay writing task.

In this post, we will provide a short yet useful guide to writing 5 paragraph essays. Keep on reading to practice for your future tests.

What Is a 5 Paragraph Essay? Definition and Types

To begin with, it is essential to define this type of writing. A five-paragraph essay (a.k.a. a hamburger essay, one-three-one, and a three-tier essay) is a format of an academic paper that consists of 5 paragraphs, the main goal of which is to support the thesis statement.

A 5-paragraph essay can be of different types:

  • Narrative (in the form of a story);
  • Expository (illustrates, interprets, or explicates something to make it clear for the audience);
  • Argumentative (explains the author’s position regarding some issue);
  • Persuasive (tries to convince the reader of the writer’s truth);
  • Compare & contrast (highlights the differences and similarities between subjects);
  • Cause & effect (lists the reasons for something to happen and its consequences).

Select one of these formats depending on your topic and purposes. The rest of the post explains how to write this assignment in details.

How to Write a Good 5 Paragraph Essay: Grading Rubric

The primary thing to keep in mind if you have to compose a 5-paragraph essay is a grading rubric. It may vary a bit depending on the institution and particular tutor, but the general rules still exist. If you wish to succeed with the final grade per course, make sure your essays stick to these requirements:

  • Focus: Did the student manage to prove the thesis statement and were all the goals met (questions answered)?
  • Structure: How does a paper flow? Are all sections logically connected with the help of relevant transition words?
  • Conventions: It’s about avoiding wordiness, making the text readable, and getting rid of any grammar/spelling/punctuation mistakes.
  • Style: Did the author involve professional vocabulary? As to the creative approach?
  • Content: Did the writer defend personal points of view correctly? Were the arguments persuasive and meaningful enough?

How to Start a 5 Paragraph Essay: Picking a Topic

It’s hard to imagine work on an essay without having a specific topic. If you have to write a five-paragraph essay for your test or in class, your instructor will most probably provide you with a particular question to observe and answer. However, in your homework essay prompt, you will rarely see a specific topic as teachers want to look at your approach to choosing one.

To start your 5-paragraph paper, select the topic based on the following tips:

  • Surf the web to get inspired and find some trendy ideas related to your subject;
  • Meet with your group mates and brainstorm the ideas;
  • Create a list of all possible topics;
  • Analyze the availability of trustworthy sources;
  • Decide which topic is the most appealing to you;
  • Evaluate personal knowledge of various issues;
  • Pick the one that you believe is the best.

In the end, ask your teacher to approve the topic. It will prevent you from wasting time writing a five-paragraph essay on the irrelevant idea.

The next stage is to discuss the 5 paragraph essay structure.

How to Structure a 5 Paragraph Essay: Complete Guide

As to the structure, you should come up with an outline for a five-paragraph essay. A classic five-paragraph essay consists of 5 parts:

  • An introduction (the opening)
  • Three main body paragraphs
  • A conclusion (the final section)

Also, an essay should always have a separate page with references if a student uses some external sources to prove a personal opinion. Use transitions as the glue between sections to hold them together.

Let’s look at how every part is developed.

Developing a 5 Paragraph Essay Introduction

Begin your paper with some general points like background information. If you wish to grab the reader’s attention from the opening line, you may involve so-called hook sentences like facts, jokes, or statistics. Quotes are also useful. The first sentences of your intro should lead to the specific statement of thesis (the central argument). Do not develop a thesis statement of more than two sentences. Explain why the offered question is vital to your community.

Working on a 5 Paragraph Essay Body

Every paragraph of the body section should focus on one major claim that aims to support the thesis statement. Every paragraph starts with a single-sentence claim (topic sentence), which is then supported by the credible, checked evidence collected from the external sources (books, newspapers, scholarly articles, websites, etc.) Include discussion and interpretation of your points along with the vivid examples. Add some details to make your writing sound more persuasive.

Please make sure to insert proper transition words or phrases to show the connection between all the paragraphs. Add transitions twice: at the beginning and the end of the paragraph.

Crafting a 5 Paragraph Essay Conclusion

Start writing the concluding part with a restated thesis statement. Make sure to rewrite instead of copy-pasting a thesis sentence from the opening paragraph. Come up with several sentences to emphasize the significance of the issue and your opinion. Think about how to impress the reader and make them keep researching. The closing part is the reverse of the opening – it’s that easy. End up your paper by offering ways to implement your solutions or some forecasts for the future.

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