5 Paragraph Essay: Classic Format, Modern Recommendations

5 Paragraph Essay: Classic Format, Modern Recommendations

The 5-paragraph structure is exactly what you need at the dawn of your essay writing career.

This classic format miraculously improves the logical structure of your papers and makes them easy to read and understand.

Suitable for different topics and subjects, 5 paragraph essays are undoubtedly among the greatest inventions of humanity. Read the tips and examples below to use this format with ease.

5 Paragraph Essay Structure

Planning the 5 paragraphs of your paper is pretty simple:

  1. Introduction;
  2. Main Body Paragraph 1:
    • Topic Sentence;
    • Supporting Claim 1;
    • Supporting Claim 2;
    • Supporting Claim 3;
    • Concluding Sentence and/or Transition to Paragraph 2.
  3. Main Body Paragraph 2; (structure similar to the Paragraph 1)
  4. Main Body Paragraph 3; (structure similar to the Paragraph 1)
  5. Conclusion.

5 Paragraph Essay: Explanations and Examples

Now let’s expand each of these sections and write a 5 paragraph paper step by step.

Introduction – should introduce readers to the subject matter, grab their attention and ask the main essay question. It should include a strong thesis statement, which expresses the author’s position in 1 – 2 sentences.

Things to avoid: apologizing (e.g. “In my humble opinion…”, “I am not certain, but I will try to explain…”), too broad statements (e.g. “Poetry plays an important role in our life…”), too obvious announcements (e.g. “The goal of this essay is to show…”)

A Good Example: Henry Adams said that teachers’ influence can be eternal, as there is no way of knowing where – or when – it will stop. Lessons learnt at school can influence students’ ways of thinking and even the outstanding discoveries that they might make in a remote future. Teachers should not be rated by their students’ standardized test scores, because these tests cannot adequately measure teachers’ contribution to students’ development.

Comments: The quotation in the opening sentence grabs readers’ attention and creates the tone for the whole paper. The following thesis statement clearly shows the author’s position and introudces the main arguments supporting it.

Main Body Paragraph 1 – should present in detail the first strong argument.

Things to avoid: Do not jump from one idea to another. Do not include any irrelevant materials that do not support your thesis statement.

A Good Example: Standardized tests measure mostly students’ short-term memory and cannot be used for evaluating students’ overall achievements and teachers’ effectiveness. Even though regular control of students’ progress can be a good motivating factor, standardized tests do not show the whole picture. Teaching strategies are only one of the influential factors affecting students’ learning outcomes. Other important factors include students’ individual cognitive abilities, background, health condition and even mood. Thus, the results of standardized tests reveal the impact of a wide range of underlying causes, and teachers’ efforts are only one of them.

Comments: The first statement is a topic sentence, which expresses the main idea of the entire paragraph. The author discusses a counterargument (that regular control of students’ progress can be a good motivating factor) and disapproves it. The concluding sentence echoes the topic sentence. Each and every sentence is related to the thesis statement of your five-paragraph essay.

Main Body Paragraph 2

Main Body Paragraph 3

Conclusion – should summarize the main arguments one more time and echo the thesis statement.

Things to avoid: Do not include any new information. Do not change your mind with respect to what you wrote in your thesis statement in the introduction.

A Good Example: Standardized tests are ineffective for measuring the input of educators in its broad sense. Students’ grades on tests depend upon a variety of objective and subjective factors. The imperfection of standardized tests does not allow to rate teachers by their students’ test scores.

Comments: The conclusion briefly summarizes what has already been said and does not include any new information. The last sentence echoes the thesis statement, actually repeating it in slightly different words.

5-Paragraph Essay Examples

In this section, we have collected samples of brief and succinct essays on different topics.

With these tips and tricks, examples and explanations, writing your 5 paragraph essays is easy. Do not hesitate to use this quick guide any time you are assigned a classic essay format and good luck with your 5 paragraph papers!

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