What Is a Five-Paragraph Essay?
A five-paragraph essay is the basic essay form, consisting of an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. If your assignment doesn’t tell you specifically how to write an essay you need to come up with, it is implied that you are expected to write a 5 paragraph essay. This staple essay is most often found in high-school and junior college years, and as an academic complexity of studies goes up, essay writing assignments get more sophisticated too.
Why are five paragraph essays important?
It has been conventionally agreed that a five paragraph essay is a basic essay format. Its simple structure allows students to practice effective and organized writing by following an invariant logical pattern, which eventually results in increased ability to explain a problem or a phenomenon. The ability to write logically following a set essay format will on later stages evolve in clear and logical research and academic writing. Therefore the skills for writing a five-paragraph essay are essential for your academic success.
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What is the basic essay structure?
Generally speaking, five paragraph essays have a fixed structure. As its name suggests, a five-paragraph essay will contain five logical sections: introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The introduction is always the opening paragraph in your essay and you will need to include such elements as the thesis statement and the three sub-topics which are called ‘body’ paragraphs. The last paragraph is the conclusion and you will have to sum up the ideas expressed in previous paragraphs.
A good introduction has the ultimate power in either grabbing the readers’ attention or losing it. With thousands of essays out there, your reader will make a reading decision by reading the first couple of sentences and skimming through the body of the paper. Consequently, writing a good, eye-catching introduction is of ultimate importance to an effective composition.
Tips for writing an effective essay introduction
Make a general statement and then narrow it down. Generally, the way of starting an essay is the least interesting for the reader; however, it’s a proven technique that is effective. This would be the most appropriate beginning for most academic essays that do not allow starting an essay otherwise.
Use a quote that is relevant to the topic. This is generally a good and a powerful beginning for an essay that is written during high school and early college years. A quote from someone who is respected in a society will add weight to your paper and will provoke readers’ interest in the paper. However, you should bear in mind that subsequent text needs to be straight to the point and support the initial claim.
Use a rhetoric question. A rhetoric question is, in essence, a disguised statement that requires no response; however, it will set your reader wondering about an issue. All you need to do is elaborate on the topic and provide convincing examples. Initial readers’ interest won’t last long if the text that follows doesn’t support the initial claim. Again, this type of starting your essay is not universally acceptable, and you will need to take into account the kind of essay you are working on and its purpose.
Start with an example: use statistics or another example relevant to the topic. This is the opposite of the technique that’s been mentioned first – in this case, you go from the specific to the general. Provide an example and try to establish a general pattern based on that example. Ideally, you would need several such examples to make a generalization, otherwise, you can make a false conclusion (this is called a sample, generally the more examples you have, the better the sampling, and the more accurate is the conclusion.
The list of good and catchy ways of introducing your thoughts in an essay isn’t limited to the ones mentioned above. You can you any of them or any combination thereof – anything that is interesting to the reader will work. Remember that your goal is to catch your reader’s attention and retain it during the next several paragraphs, which will convey the main points to your reader. Once you have started with a strong introduction, it is high time to write the body paragraphs themselves.
Writing body paragraphs can be quite a straightforward process if one bears in mind their basic structure. Most writing experts suggest that a typical body paragraph should take the following format:
Topic sentence. This is the first sentence that introduces the main idea of the paragraph. This idea is going to be further elaborated within the same paragraph.
Details or examples supporting the idea from the topic sentence. The topic sentence should be supported with some piece of evidence that would get your essay more ‘weight’ and will sound more convincing. In a case of an academic paper, you will need to mention the source of the information.
Comments/Analysis. Add two or more sentences with a commentary of the idea expressed in your main essay. If this is an essay that requires your evaluation, this can be your thoughts, ideas, impressions, judgments etc. If this is an academic essay, you will need to base your judgment on previous research to gain credibility.
Conclusion. Paragraph conclusion recaps the main paragraph idea. It also serves the purpose of connecting the previous paragraph with the next one.
Essay conclusion should be the logical finale of your writing. Once you are done writing your body paragraphs, look at the ideas expressed in the introduction and body paragraphs, you will need to restate each of them individually and then relate to the thesis statement. In this part of your essay, you will need to pay special attention to the initial requirement and see if it needs you to summarize your key elements or analyze them. Whenever you are required to do an analytical part, you are expected to dig in a bit deeper, not just merely restate the items mentioned previously.
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