The 5 paragraph essay is considered to be the standard essay writing assignment. It is used in most exams such as TOEFL, IELTS, and the SAT. Since most of these exams limit the student time-wise in the "Writing" section, students are trained to memorize this format. This allows the student to answer the exam prompt quickly and efficiently. The format’s plasticity allows students to experiment with various essay styles. Persuasive, Argumentative, Expository, Narrative and Cause and Effect can all adapt to this format. As a result, perfecting the 5 paragraph essay is a practice that often turns rookies into experienced essay writer.
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Good Example Topics
- Can one learn a life lesson from an experience that they didn't have? Can you learn from other people's mistakes?
- Is animal testing ethical?
- Should same-sex marriage be allowed?
- Should laws on gun-control be more strict?
- Should the death penalty be abolished completely?
- Should marijuana be legalized?
- Should education be free for all students?
The paper topics listed above are some of the most common topics students write essays about. Of course, they are not limited to only these. Before choosing a topic and start the writing process, students should look to come up with a catchy title. The reason for doing so is centered around grabbing the readers attention right from the get go.
This type of essay has a very specific outline; It starts with an Introduction, goes to Body Paragraph 1, Body Paragraph 2, Body Paragraph 3, and sums things up with a Conclusion. Each body paragraph serves a specific purpose, and the essay is in the form of a keyhole. This means that it starts out very BROAD, gets more NARROW and finishes out BROAD.
Introduction: 3-5 Sentences
- The introduction sets the structure for the rest of the essay, with the first sentence being the HOOK sentence.
- The Hook Sentence is kind of like the spark to a flame; It grabs the reader's attention.
- The Hook is usually either a rhetorical question or some life example or a stunning fact
This is a rhetorical question, meaning it does not need an answer because it is obvious.
Brief Introduction of Supporting Arguments (1-3)
Here you are taking your supporting arguments and briefly introducing them to the reader without revealing too much information.
Tip: Think of it as a trailer for a movie, like it should be exciting but can’t give away the “PLOT”.
- The most important part of your entire essay; .
- This statement will be the basis for the rest of your custom essay
- Since we are talking about nature preservation, an example of a good thesis would be:
- “The preservation of our planet is the most important aspect of keeping Mother Nature in check and avoiding draconian disasters.”
Quick Tip: if you find that your body paragraphs have nothing to do with your thesis, you can go back and change the thesis.
Body Paragraphs 1,2,3 (5-7 Sentences)
- This is the “meat” of your 5 paragraph essay, where you explain the side you are defending (Thesis Sentence)
- Structure of the body paragraphs is usually: Intro sentence (1), Supporting Argument
- Explanation (3-5), Concluding Sentence (1)
- Intro sentence should briefly bring out your argument without revealing too much information
- Supporting Argument and Explanation: This is taking the topic and going into detail, while still most importantly DEFENDING YOUR THESIS!
- The Concluding Sentence should be the opposite of the intro: instead of introducing your argument, you are briefly concluding your argument, transitioning into your next one.
THE FORMAT FOR ALL 3 BODY PARAGRAPHS IS THE SAME
- The arguments should go in this order:
- First body paragraph should be your second strongest argument
- Second body should be your weakest argument
- Third body should be your strongest argument
To give our readers a nice keyhole format visual, we have a picture of a standard Graphic Organizer below.
Conclusion (3-5 Sentences): This is the “mirror” of your intro
- Restating Your Thesis (Sentence 1): You take your main argument (thesis) and restate it in a conclusive way. You are paraphrasing it in an assertive manner to show that you have “proved your point.”
- Concluding your supporting arguments (1-3 Sentences): This is taking your supporting arguments (your body paragraphs) and rephrasing the main points you made in one sentence per paragraph.
- If some of your supporting arguments are similar then you can combine them into one sentence to keep the good structure.
- So for example,
Concluding Hook Sentence (Optional)
A good way to end an essay is something unexpected, to surprise the reader.
Create a second hook, but this time it should be a hook that SUMS things up in a few words, rhetorical questions are good for this.
This gives the 5 paragraph essay some spice at the end and makes the reader question your statement.
General Grading Rubric
Several schools and universities worldwide use several different types of rubrics, but one of the most standard rubric styles is the 5 point style, where it is broken down into 5 segments: Focus, Organization, Conventions, Style, and Content.
- Focus: Did the writer spends his time proving his thesis? Did he accomplish his goal?
- Organization: Was the essay fluid and were the transitions in between paragraphs smooth? Did the writer follow the proper outline and not diverge from the set structure?
- Conventions: Did the writer make many grammatical mistakes? Did they have run on sentences?
- Style: Did the writer use high-level vocabulary, were words rarely repeated, how creative were his sentence structures?
- Content: Did the writer properly prove his argument? Were his statements logical and factual? Did he create strong arguments?
Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Writers
Best Brian, fromEssayPro
A five paragraph essay is the first big writing assignment that your teacher will have you do in middle school! If you’re a beginner essayist, then my tip for you is to learn how to ensure that each paragraph has its own unique idea. Once you’ve mastered that, you can practice making your paragraphs flow into each other with transition sentences. Later on, in high school and college, this will be a very valuable skill to have. Connect your ideas together so your readers can follow along with ease. While writing, always keeps in mind what your next paragraph is about and try to lead up to it. In the first essays that you write, using words like “Firstly, Secondly, and In conclusion” is acceptable, but later on, you will need to find ways to separate your ideas without those linking words. Don’t make them a habit. Good luck with your writing!
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Body Paragraphs Exercise
Template for creating a body paragraph
The following template can be used for creating a body paragraph. Simply follow the formula and change the information to fit the topic you are writing about.
Write the thesis above the body paragraph. This will help you to ensure that everything in the body paragraph relates to the thesis.
Example thesis (taken from the thesis statement exercise page on this site): Because writing is a skill that is required in most classes, college students need to learn how to write well in order to succeed academically.
Sentence #1 – (topic sentence) – make one claim about the overall topic of the essay that relates to the thesis: Students who learn how to write well will earn better grades in most classes.
Sentence #2 – explain why the topic sentence is true, or develop it further: This is true because most instructors assign a variety of written assignments, and depending on the class, these written assignments often encompass a large percentage of a student’s final grade.
Sentence #3 – give an example of the claim made in the topic sentence (make a "for instance" statement): For instance, all college students seeking a degree will be required to take a composition class. In this class alone, students will write five different essays.
Sentence #4 – give another example of the claim to better support it: Furthermore, other classes, such as history, psychology, nursing, etc., also require students to write multiple essays.
Sentence #5 – support the claim with even more specific information (this is where integrating an outside source can be helpful): According to John Doe, a Professor of English at Aims Community College, the average undergraduate student will write twenty-five different essays while seeking a bachelor’s degree. This number increases dramatically for students who go on to seek a graduate degree(s).
Sentence #6 – write a sentence that wraps up the paragraph (an “in conclusion” sentence): Because all students, regardless of major, will be required to compose a large number of essays, it is important that they learn how to write well.
Now, simply put it all together and add transitions if needed.
Complete body paragraph: Students who learn how to write well will earn better grades in most classes. This is true because most instructors assign a variety of written assignments, and depending on the class, these written assignments often encompass a large percentage of a student’s final grade. For instance, all college students seeking a degree will be required to take a composition class. In this class alone, students will write five different essays. Furthermore, other classes, such as history, psychology, nursing, etc., also require students to write multiple essays. According to John Doe, a Professor of English at Aims Community College, the average undergraduate student will write twenty-five different essays while seeking a bachelor’s degree. This number increases dramatically for students who go on to seek a graduate degree(s). Because all students, regardless of major, will be required to compose a large number of essays, it is important that they learn how to write well.
Notice that in this example, some sentences are actually broken into two. Also, any sentence other than the topic sentence and concluding sentence can be repeated to provide more evidence for the reader. Remember, the more evidence that is provided in a body paragraph, the better. The key is to make a claim (topic sentence), support it with specific detail (give examples and provide specific information), and then conclude the paragraph by reinforcing the original claim (final sentence).