How to Write a 5-Paragraph Essay

The basis of any English class from Middle School through Undergraduate College English 101 Composition class is the understanding and ability to write a 5-paragraph essay. Many people believe this is an easy assignment, but in reality it is not as easy as it seems. A good essay slides-by and may get a good grade. But a GREAT essay, jumps out at the teacher and gets a GREAT grade.

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So how does a student write a GREAT essay? The first thing is to understand the necessity of each paragraph. The first paragraph introduces the topic of the essay. Paragraph 2, 3, and 4 gives the evidence to support the topic stated in paragraph 1. And the last paragraph pulls it all together and ends the essay with a Bang!

Paragraph 1 – Introduction: This should be 3 to 5 sentences and should open the discussion of the topic. Usually the last sentence of the introduction is the thesis statement which gives the reader the focus of the paper.

Paragraph 2 – Gives the first piece of evidence to support the thesis statement. This paragraph should be at least 5 to 8 sentences. The first sentence should give the evidence, and the remaining sentences should show how the evidence supports the thesis.

Paragraph 3 – Gives the second piece of evidence to support the thesis statement. This paragraph should be at least 5 to 8 sentences. The first sentence should give the evidence, and the remaining sentences should show how the evidence supports the thesis.

Paragraph 4 – Gives the third piece of evidence to support the thesis statement. This paragraph should be at least 5 to 8 sentences. The first sentence should give the evidence, and the remaining sentences should show how the evidence supports the thesis.

Paragraph 5 – Conclusion: This paragraph should be 5 to 6 sentences and should end the paragraph. This means that it should pull all the evidence together and show, in summary, how the evidence supports the thesis.

This is the basis for how to write a 5-paragraph essay. But to take it one step further and make a GREAT essay, one only needs to put this same formula to each of the middle paragraphs.

For example, paragraph 2 can be a mini essay. The First sentence of the paragraph introduces the evidence. Sentences 2 to 7 will each give support to the first sentence. The last sentence will conclude the paragraph pulling it all together.

So now that you have the skeleton to use, there is one last thing that I should mention. To write a GREAT 5-paragraph essay, START IN THE MIDDLE. That’s right! You know your focus, but you don’t need a thesis statement to start writing. Find the evidence of your focus and write about that first. That way, if something changes, the thesis statement is not set. Once the middle is written, write the introduction. Then write the conclusion.

Read through the essay and tweak it so that the flow does not feel choppy, but in essence, the product is done and it should be a GREAT Essay that was easy and fun.

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