How to Write a Five Paragraph Essay

Four Methods:Essay HelpThe IntroductionThe Body ParagraphsThe Conclusion & Clean Up

Being able to write a five-paragraph essay is an important skill that you will need in order to get you through your education. Here is a simple outline of how to write an effective essay to impress your teachers.

Essay Help

Essay Template

Sample Ozymandias Essay

Method 1
The Introduction

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    Set the tone and hook your audience in. The opening line of your introduction must immediately engage your audience. This opening line could be a generalization about life that pertains to your topic, a quotation, or a little anecdote. You want to lure in the reader to continue reading the rest of your essay, making it captivating and intriguing, yet accessible.
    • Whatever you do, don't announce your intentions. Saying, "In this paper, I am going to..." will automatically put your audience to sleep. The same goes for, "The Oxford New Dictionary defines...." Just avoid it.
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    After your hook you must introduce your topic! Say something about your topic in a few sentences. Define terms or give an example of your topic.
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    State your thesis. Alright, so you've grabbed your audience and they're hanging on your every word. Now you have to tell them what you're here for, what they're here for -- what the meat of your argument is. This is where your thesis comes in. It should be one sentence (at the very most two) that summarizes your argument and briefly states what the main text has in store.
    • Let's say you are writing an essay about the importance of seat belts. The introduction might start with some statistics about car accidents, plane crashes, and survival rates. It might also have an emotional appeal about someone who survived a terrible accident because they were wearing a seat belt. The thesis would succinctly advocate your position regarding the usage of seat belts, and each reason would be discussed, with evidence, in the main body of your essay.[1]
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    Transition into your paper. The last sentence of this paragraph (the introduction) must also contain a transition that moves the reader to the first paragraph of the body of your paper. The easiest way to do this is to make a confident assertion -- for example, after summing up the reasons to use seat belts, you'd include, "Wearing seat belts needs to be mandatory in all vehicles for all passengers -- and it needs to be made mandatory now."
    • Always stay in the active voice; it is much more powerful. A creative paper may have time for the passive voice, but this paper is most likely more academic and therefore should remain active.

Method 2
The Body Paragraphs

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    Start off with the strongest point. The first paragraph of the body of your essay needs to contain your strongest argument, hands down. Get to this argument automatically -- it should be in the first or second sentence. If there's an obvious starting point to your reasoning, use it. Though it's only listed here, each body paragraph should contain the following:
    • Introductory Sentence. This should include the theme of the paragraph and how that loops to the thesis statement.
    • Concrete Examples. These should be facts or evidence that comes straight from text like a quote or plot point. This should somehow prove the thesis. Each paragraph should have a minimum of 2-3 concrete examples.
    • Commentary. This should explain the concrete example, not summarize. Discuss what this fact shows about/means to the theme and/or thesis. What does it prove? Traditionally, each concrete example should have 2-3 sentences of commentary following it.
    • Conclusion Sentence. This should include the theme of the paragraph and how that proved the thesis statement. This is wrapping up the paragraph, not the paper.
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    Put your weakest point in the middle of your paper. You want to pad your poorest argument between other, sturdier arguments. The second paragraph is the place to do that.
    • Again, the topic sentence for this paragraph should be included first thing and should relate back to the thesis in the introductory paragraph. The last sentence in this paragraph should finish off the argument, naturally leading into the third paragraph of the body.
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    Vamp it back up in your third paragraph. Body paragraph three should follow the exact same rules as body paragraphs one and two and should contain the second strongest point.
    • Again, you must open this paragraph with your reasoning. Once you've established your third point, if at all possible, wrap up the evidence. The body of your work is done. Which brings us to...

Method 3
The Conclusion & Clean Up

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    Restate your thesis and summarize your points in the conclusion. Explain how your three supporting body paragraphs provide the evidence for the conclusion you've made. Tie up any loose ends from the introduction or body paragraphs, but be careful not to outwardly repeat what you've written. Be powerful and assertive -- this is the last thought you are leaving with your reader and, therefore, one of the few things they'll walk away with.
    • Summarize your argument with some degree of authority; this paragraph should leave your reader with no doubt as to your position or conclusion of logic.
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    Proofread your work. Walk away from your paper for a bit before you do this, though. Your eyes need the break before they can spot the less egregious of errors. Grab a Snickers, a glass of water, go on Facebook, and return. Then go over your paper with a mind for grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
    • Just worry about the small stuff now. Get the spellcheck out of the way, monitor for run-on sentences, and make sure it's all in the active voice.
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    Edit your essay for format and flow. This might be where having a friend comes in handy. Ask them to go over your work and spot any incongruities or places where they're left with questions. Often a new set of eyes will spot different things.
    • In addition to revising the bulk of your paper, remember to format it to your professor's liking! Have you got margins, headings, headers and footers, and font style as specified? No point in losing unnecessary marks!
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    Never end with, "in conclusion." It's overused and clichéd.


  • Never plagiarize (taking someone's work without giving them credit); it is illegal and your teacher will most likely give you a zero on your paper.
  • Try not to start your conclusion paragraph with "To conclude" or "In conclusion...."
  • Use a thesaurus to replace commonly used words with better and more descriptive words.
  • Make sure to connect paragraphs to each other with key words and/or sentences.

Things You'll Need

  • Pen or pencil
  • Paper or a computer
  • Sources
  • Thesaurus

Article Info

Categories: Essays