The Five-Paragraph EssayThe five-paragraph essay is used in all areas of academia and throughout the business world as well. In addition to improving your skills in written communication, the five-paragraph essay also helps to develop a system of organized thought. This system not only assists in scoring well on academic tests, but also is an asset throughout an individual's lifetime.
The five-paragraph essay is also called the "classic" essay and as such has a traditional structure. Although like other essays, the five-paragraph essay contains a title, introduction, body and conclusion, each paragraph also ends and/or begins with a transition that links one paragraph to the next.
Transitions create a bridge from one paragraph to the next. In addition, effective use of transitions adds continuity to your writing and cohesion to your essay as a whole.
The Body: Each of the three paragraphs of the body of a five-paragraph essay is devoted to examining one of the three points that support your thesis. In addition, the paragraph that supports each of your points has a specific position within the body.
In writing the body, begin each paragraph with a restatement of the supporting point and follow it with your evidence. Make sure your evidence is detailed and specific to the point it supports. Although each supporting point needs at least three pieces of evidentiary information to support it, use as much evidence as is necessary to make your viewpoint clear to your reader.
The body of your five-paragraph essay is the "meat" of your essay. The first bite needs to be very tasty!
Body Paragraph #1: Begin your first paragraph with a "reverse hook", a transition that alludes to your thesis as a whole. As in paragraph numbers two and three of the body, be sure to restate your point in the first or second sentence. Follow the restatement of your supporting point with your best evidence, your strongest point and/or most interesting example. End the first paragraph with a transitional word, phrase, or statement that progresses to your second paragraph.
Body Paragraph #2: Connect your bridge at both ends. Begin the second paragraph with a transition that alludes to the information in the body paragraph #1. State your second point in the first or second sentence of this paragraph. The supporting point and evidence presented in the second paragraph is the second most important evidence that supports your overall thesis. Conclude the second paragraph with a transition to the third.
Body Paragraph #3: The final paragraph of your essay body contains your weakest argument and evidence. Strengthen this paragraph by again beginning it with a transition that connects it to body paragraph #2 and your thesis as a whole. Use a transition at the end of this paragraph to connect the three points of the body in leading to the conclusion of your essay.
In retrospect, this final part of your essay should restate both your thesis and the points that support it in a way that unmistakably shows the reader how your reached the conclusions you've drawn.