The Five-Paragraph Essay

The 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.

Note About Transitions
A transition is a word, a phrase or a sentence that helps your reader understand your thought process and maintains your reader's interest from point to point in your essay.

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 Introduction: The first paragraph introduces your thesis/topic to your readers and directs them to the points you'll develop in the body of your essay. Carefully craft your first sentence to capture your reader's attention. Introduce your thesis and, in sequence, list your three supporting points. Like all parts of a five-paragraph essay, the sequence of supporting points follows a particular format.

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!

The Conclusion: Your essay conclusion is the fifth and final paragraph of your essay. Use it to strongly restate your thesis, now backing it up with your three supporting points (again in sequence) and important evidence your essay brought to light. In writing your conclusion, try to grasp the feelings you have evoked in your reader and end your essay by using those feelings to add the final "sway" to your argument.

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.

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