How to Write a Good Five Paragraph Essay: Outline, Steps, Examples & Topics

Date: December 15, 2023

Learning to write a high-quality five paragraph essay is an essential skill for any student as it allows them to practice effective writing by following an invariant logical pattern, which eventually results in an increased ability to explain a problem or a phenomenon, fostering their academic success. In today’s guide, we’ll discuss the fundamentals, explore the structure and format and offer some of the most useful tips on starting a five paragraph essay in the most organised way, so you can master the art of writing a five paragraph essay quickly and effortlessly.

What Is Five Paragraph Essay?

A five paragraph essay is the basic essay form commonly used in academic and standardised testing settings to teach students how to organise their thoughts and present them clearly and concisely.

A standard five paragraph essay format is as follows:

  • 250-275 words/page.
  • Font 12p Times New Roman/Arial.
  • Single/double spacing.
  • MS Word file.
  • One-inch margin on top, bottom, left and right.
  • Bibliography on a separate page.

“But how many words for a 5 paragraph essay?” you might ask. Typically, five paragraphs are 500 to 1,000 words, with approximately 100-200 words per paragraph. Consequently, this will likely come out to 1 to 4 pages, depending on whether you use single or double spacing.

5 Paragraph Essay Structure

As the name suggests, a five paragraph essay will contain five logical sections: an introduction, three body paragraphs and a conclusion. Here’s a breakdown of its structure:

1. Introduction

  • The first paragraph introduces the topic and provides a thesis statement, which is a clear and concise summary of the essay’s main point or claim.
  • The introduction should grab the reader’s attention and set the tone for the entire essay.

2. Body paragraphs

  • Each body paragraph focuses on a specific point or evidence supporting the thesis statement.
  • The first sentence of each body paragraph is a topic sentence that introduces the paragraph’s key idea. This idea is going to be further elaborated within the same paragraph.
  • The following sentences provide supporting details or examples to strengthen the main idea and get your essay more ‘weight.’
  • Transitions between paragraphs help the essay flow smoothly and logically.

3. Conclusion

  • The concluding paragraph summarises the main points presented in the body paragraphs.
  • It restates the thesis statement in a different way and provides a sense of closure to the essay.
  • The conclusion may also suggest implications or applications of the thesis to encourage further thought.

While this outline is common to all five paragraph essays, it is always advisable to consult the assignment requirements before getting down to the actual writing.

Four Simple Steps to Creating a 5 Paragraph Essay

The steps below will help you come up with a winning five paragraph essay on the first try, so read on!

Step 1: Select a topic that is not too broad or limited. To organise and coordinate points to make an argument strong, it’s best to explore a narrow topic.

Step 2: Organise your essay using the basic five paragraph essay outline discussed above.

Step 3: Write your essay. Use transition phrases such as “first of all,” “secondly,” “next,” “on the flip side,” “in conclusion,” “finally,” et cetera to help the reader easily follow the argument or the claim that you are making in your response to a question or writing prompt.

Step 4: Proofread and reread your essay several times before submitting it. Always ensure it is free of grammatical errors, erroneous statements, incomplete sentences, and claims not supported by logical evidence.

Now that you know the fundamentals, let’s move on to the top tips for crafting a compelling introduction and conclusion for your essay and topics worth writing about this year.

How to Start a Five Paragraph Essay

Starting a five paragraph essay effectively is crucial to grab the reader’s attention and set the tone for the rest of the paper. Below, you’ll find several ways to do it.

1. Make a general statement and then narrow it down. Generally, this 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.

2. Use a quote that is relevant to the topic. This is a good and powerful beginning for an essay that is written during high school and early college years. A quote from someone respected in society will add weight to your paper and provoke readers’ interest. However, you should bear in mind that subsequent text needs to be straight to the point and support the initial claim.

3. Begin with a rhetorical question. A rhetorical question is, in essence, a statement requiring no response. However, it will make your reader wonder about an issue. All you need to do is elaborate on the topic and provide convincing examples. Note that this way of starting an essay is not set in stone, and you will need to consider the kind of essay you are working on and its purpose.

4. 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 establish a general pattern based on that example. Ideally, you would need several such examples to make a generalisation. Otherwise, you can make a false conclusion.

Remember that your introduction should be engaging and set the stage for the subsequent body paragraphs. Try to tailor it to fit your essay’s tone and purpose while keeping the reader’s interest in mind.

Top Ways for Concluding Your 5 Paragraph Essay

Your conclusion is the final impression your reader will have, so it should bring your essay to a satisfying end while reinforcing the main points. Here are some tips on how to close a five paragraph essay:

1. Restate your thesis differently. You can do it by simply summarising your essay’s arguments.

2. Offer a final insight or thought related to your topic. This can be a call to action, a prediction or a reflection on the broader implications of your thesis.

3. Connect to the introduction or hook. If you started with an anecdote, question or quote, refer to it to create a sense of closure.

4. End with a memorable statement. It can be a powerful quote, a thought-provoking question or a statement that resonates with the theme of your essay.

No matter how you choose to end your essay, make sure it is impactful and leaves the reader with something to think about, and everything will work out just fine.

Five Paragraph Essay Topics

If you weren’t given a specific topic for your five paragraph essay, these are ten potential ones to consider:

  1. Climate Change and its Impact on the Environment
  2. The Role of Technology in Education
  3. Social Media and Its Influence on Society and Individuals
  4. The Importance of Exercise and Healthy Lifestyle
  5. The Effects of Globalisation on Economies and Cultures
  6. The Significance of Literature in Today’s World
  7. The Impact of AI on the Job Market
  8. The Importance of Cultural Diversity
  9. The Pros and Cons of Space Exploration
  10. The Role of Government in Modern-Day Society

Five Paragraph Essay Samples

Here is a good 5 paragraph essay example you can use as a model when writing your own paper:

The Impact of Social Media on Society


Social media has become an important part of our daily lives, profoundly influencing the way we connect, communicate and perceive the world around us. While it offers unprecedented connectivity, its impact on society is a subject of intense debate. This essay will explore the positive and negative consequences of social media, examining its role in shaping relationships, disseminating information and affecting mental health.

Body paragraphs:

1. Positive Impacts of Social Media:

Social media serves as a powerful tool for connecting people across the globe. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram facilitate communication and help individuals maintain relationships regardless of geographical distance. Furthermore, social media enables the rapid spread of information, fostering awareness about social issues and promoting social activism.

2. Negative Impacts of Social Media:

On the flip side, the pervasive nature of social media has raised concerns related to privacy and its impact on mental health. The constant exposure to curated and often unrealistic representations of other people’s lives can lead to feelings of inadequacy and contribute to the rise of mental health issues, particularly among the younger generation.

3. The Role of Social Media in Disseminating Information:

Social media platforms have become the main sources of news for many individuals. While this allows for the rapid dissemination of information, it also raises questions about the reliability and accuracy of news shared on these platforms. The prevalence of misinformation and fake news poses a significant challenge to the credibility of information circulating on social media.


In conclusion, social media’s impact on society is complex and multifaceted. While it facilitates global connectivity and information sharing, it also poses challenges related to privacy, mental health and the spread of misinformation. As we navigate the digital age, it’s crucial to strike a balance between the benefits and drawbacks of social media, fostering a responsible and informed online community.

Still not sure how to write five paragraph essay and want a custom sample? Contact our Australian essay writing service today and let professionals custom-tailor a wholly original, Turnitin-safe paper to your needs and deadline. 100% satisfaction is guaranteed!

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