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How to Write a 5 Paragraph Essay

How to Write a 5 Paragraph Essay

The 5 paragraph essay is considered to be the standard essay writing assignment. When you learned how to write a 5 paragraph essay, you are prepared to tackle any another one. Keep reading the detailed guide from EssayPro team to perfect your writing skills to the level of an experienced essay writer.

Table of Contents

What Is a 5 Paragraph Essay?

The 5 paragraph essay format is the most common one a student can be faced with. The name caused by five paragraph structure: one introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs and a concluding one. Because of such a layer structure, you can also hear that type of essay called a hamburger essay, one three one, or a three-tier essay.


5 paragraph essay structure

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.

How many words is a 5 paragraph essay you may wonder? Typically, a five paragraph essay is 250 to 500 words long. The format’s plasticity allows students to experiment with various essay styles. Persuasive, Argumentative, Expository, Narrative, and Cause and Effect essays can all be written in this format.

Types of 5 Paragraph Essay on Standardized Tests

The most challenging assignment is the one written for a standardized test. The type of essay may define the topic and thesis. It means that some essays are better off with narrow and serious topics while the rest of the essays suit better if the student writes a creative story full of jokes. The various types of essays include:

  • Definition — add a personal interpretation of the term or phrase along with the official one paraphrased from the dictionary.
  • Descriptive — add as many details as possible to illustrate the research problem.
  • Narrative — tell a story with vivid examples.
  • Argumentative & persuasive — the difference between these academic projects is the writer has to mention and explain personal position towards the analyzed problem in argumentative essay while it is also important to defend the position and convince the readers of your truth when it comes to persuasive one.
  • Compare & contrast — show the differences & similarities between several subjects.
  • Cause & effect — explain the reasons for something to happen and the consequences of these actions.
  • Literary analysis — pick the specific literary text like a poem or essay and evaluate/criticize it.

While sometimes it is enough to answer a question, in other cases, a student has to conduct in-depth research and offer more solutions to the discussed problems.

Train hard at home mastering the art of academic writing. Remember that any essay you have to write for a standardized test is limited by time, so you will have to prepare an outline and write the text itself with the speed of light.

10 Good Example Topics

Look at these 10 ideas from different categories. Choose those you like or offer new approaches to discuss:

  • Can one learn a life lesson from an experience that they didn't have?
  • Wealthy nations should share goods with countries living in poverty
  • Should education be free for all students?
  • The discrimination of female employees at work.
  • Should the death penalty be abolished completely?
  • Separate classes for male and female students
  • The importance of investing money in space exploration
  • Living in the world without any rules
  • Should same-sex marriage be allowed?
  • The role of advanced technologies in education

The 5 paragraph essay topics listed above are some of the most common topics students write essays about. Before choosing a topic and starting the writing process, students should come up with a catchy title. The reason for doing so is centered around grabbing the reader’s attention right from the get-go. It may influence the final grade.

Do you need some help with your 5 paragraph essay? At our experienced academic writing service, every student can count on the support of professional tutors and editors.

The Outline

When writing a 5 paragraph essay, it is important to follow the structure. As it was said, a typical essay format starts with an introduction, goes to three Body paragraphs, 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 very broad, gets more narrow and finishes out broad.

Get more info about 5 paragraph essay outline

Introduction: 3-5 Sentences

So, how to write an introduction paragraph for an essay? To start impressively, think about a hook. A hook is a 1-2 sentence bang that makes the reader want to keep on reading the entire text: rhetorical question, literary quote, joke, anecdote, metaphor, simile, a famous person saying, fact, or statistic. It is essential to check the credibility of information twice.

  • 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

For Example:
If your essay is about the preservation of our environment, you could say something like: "Do we want to live on a planet where we are surrounded by desert and wasteland?". This is a rhetorical question, meaning it does not need an answer because it is obvious.

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.

Quick Tip: think of it as a trailer for a movie, like it should be exciting but can’t give away the “PLOT."

Preservation of our environment is one of the keys to keeping our planet in a healthy state.

Thesis Statement
Thesis Statement is an essential part of your entire essay; this is your argument. 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 argument.

Body Paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 (5-7 Sentences)

Let’s start answering the question “how to start a body paragraph”.Even though all body paragraphs are equally vital, keep in mind that the opening paragraph should be the strongest one. It may include the most potent argument. The writer should come up with the most vivid example, smartest illustration, and an obvious starting point — topic sentence. Do not forget to add the “reverse hook” sentence. Each argument of the body must relate to the thesis. Here are some other facts about the body:

  • This is the “meat” of your 5 paragraph essay, where you explain the side you are defending. In other words, it’s a 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

Deforestation and air pollution not only hurt the planet but reduces air quality and increases the likelihood of disease!

  • What about Supporting Argument and Explanation? This is taking the topic and going into detail, while still most importantly defending your thesis.

Greed and selfishness are big players that damage our environment with methods that kill our trees and worsen our air. Though short term it may be profitable for the few, long-term it is hazardous for all. In Beijing for example, the air quality is so weak that it is mandatory to wear masks just for its large population to walk around in the streets.

  • 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.

To conclude, the destruction of our natural resources and our air quality not only worsens the planet’s health, but humanity’s as well.

The format for all 3 body paragraphs is the same.

The arguments should go in this order:

  1. The 1st body paragraph should be your second strongest argument.
  2. The 2nd body should be your weakest argument.
  3. The 3rd body should be your most persuasive argument.

To give our readers an outline template, we have a picture of a standard Graphic Organizer below.

Basic 5-paragraph essay outline

5 paragraph essay outline template

The Role of Transition Words & Phrases

Between the paragraphs, a student should have transition words from different categories:

  • Agreement / Addition / Similarity
  • Opposition / Limitation / Contradiction
  • Cause / Condition / Purpose
  • Examples / Support / Emphasis
  • Effect / Consequence / Result
  • Conclusion / Summary / Restatement
  • Time / Chronology / Sequence
  • Space / Location / Place

Why do transition words matter? Could they be the reason for the better grade? Many students fail to include these essential building bridges between different paragraphs, and it makes the paper lose its sense. Inserting a transition is critical. Do it either at the end of the paragraph or the beginning of the upcoming one. Here are the questions you have to consider to choose the appropriate transition word out of the pool of choices:

  • Decide whether the 1st paragraph reveals a pro and the next one stands for a con.
  • Think about whether the 2nd paragraph share something of more significant importance.
  • Is there an earlier historical example to serve as evidence?
  • Is there another sort of consideration?

Conclusion (3-5 Sentences): The “Mirror” of Your Intro

The last paragraph of your paper must contain these elements:

  • An allusion to the pattern applied in the opening part.
  • A rewritten thesis statement with the help of original language and interpretation — do not merely copy-paste the thesis.
  • A summary of the three major points from the paper’s body.
  • A closing statement that alarms the reader that the discussion is about to be over.

Look at the detailed descriptions of the recommended steps in order to craft a good conclusion paragraph.

Restate Your Thesis (Sentence 1)
You take your main argument (thesis) and restate it conclusively. You are paraphrasing it assertively. Show that you have “proved your point.”

Concluding paragraph example:
The safety and survival of the Earth are incredibly dependent upon how we as people decide to treat it, and the more carefully we nourish the process, the more beneficial it will be for all.

Conclude 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. What if some of the supporting arguments are similar? Combine them into one sentence to keep the proper structure.

So for example, if one of your supporting arguments was about limiting the use of resources, you could say “Limiting the use of our natural resources and improving their efficiency are key steps in improving the health of our planet.”

Concluding Hook Sentence (Optional)
An excellent way to end an essay is something unexpected, to surprise the reader. Create a second hook. This time it should be a hook that sums things up in a few words, rhetorical questions are right for this.

Concluding paragraph example:
“The health of our planet is of great importance, and after all, we don’t want to live in a wasteland do we?”

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 five 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 readable; the transitions between paragraphs smooth; and did the writer follow the proper outline format 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 original were his sentence structures?
  • Content: Did the writer adequately prove his argument and were his statements logical, reliable, and factual?

Things to Remember

  • 5 paragraph essay include 1 introductory paragraph, 3 body paragraphs and 1 concluding.
  • Each body paragraph serves a specific purpose.
    The format for all 3 body paragraphs is the same.
  • Typical 5 paragraphs essay is up to 500 words long.
  • The most challenging assignment is the one written for a standardized test as there are several various types of essays and limitation in time.
  • Writing an essay outline helps to structurize thought and saves your time.

Five Paragraph Essay Example

5 paragraph essay example

5 paragraph essay example

5 paragraph essay example

5 paragraph essay example

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