How to Write 5 Paragraph Essay: Structure and Tips

  • Writer: Harold Shewmaker
  • Date: September 22, 2022
How to Write 5 Paragraph Essay: Structure and Tips

A five-paragraph essay is not the most difficult form of essay you will need to write as a student. As a result, its application is often restricted to college use. Nonetheless, some students still spend a great time understanding how to write a five paragraph essay. In this article, we will discuss the guidelines and fundamentals of writing a 5 paragraph essay and how you can write one.


What is a five-paragraph essay?


Have you ever asked yourself, What is a 5 paragraph essay? A five-paragraph essay is an essay template that helps students structure a good paper. The structure consists of an opening paragraph followed by three supporting body paragraphs and a conclusion paragraph. This style of writing is also referred to as the hamburger essay, three-tier essay, or the one-three-one essay.


A five-paragraph essay provides clear outline students can use to express their opinions straightforwardly. As a result, it is more popular in educational assignments and exams like SAT, EILTS, and TOEFL.


The writing style is ideal for tests with time limits since students can easily memorize the format. Students can also order essay online quickly. A five-paragraph essay format is short and is often restricted to between 250-750 words. Students can also explore different styles, as you can apply the structure to all types of essays. This answers the question of how many words is a 5 paragraph essay.


Types of 5-Paragraph Essay


    • Argumentative essay: an argumentative essay examines a subject from a viewpoint and presents the benefits over another.


    • Definition essay: this one defines an idea, concept, or premise and adds a personal interpretation along with the official one.


    • Expository essay: this type is used to expose or reveal information that wasn’t obvious.


    • Persuasive essay: a persuasive one is structured to persuade a reader to believe or act in a particular way.


    • Descriptive essay: a descriptive paper uses lots of adjectives to encourage readers to feel, experience, and visualize a subject.


    • Other types of five paragraph essay examples include comparing and contrasting several subjects and the explanation of cause and effect. You can also use it to evaluate or criticize a literary text. Generally, a five-paragraph essay format can fit into all types of essays.


How to start a five-paragraph essay


The process for starting a 5-paragraph essay is the same for all essays. You must start with a clear understanding of the main topic or thesis and carry out comprehensive research to support your idea. The thesis is what the essay is about – the core idea you want to expand or defend.


Remember, a 5-paragraph essay consists of an introduction, supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion. The three supporting paragraphs will elaborate, support, and prove your thesis.


The first paragraph of your paper should explain the thesis and give the reader an idea of what your essay is about. After deciding on the topic, create an essay outline that will contain all the information you wish to include in your paragraphs. The outline of essay is like a blueprint that helps you figure out how to write a 5 paragraph essay ahead of time. This writing practice saves time and is generally a best practice in writing.


Choosing 5-Paragraph Essay Topic


Teachers often provide 5 paragraph essay topics or scope the of subjects. However, it is not uncommon for students to come up with their own topic. If you must choose from a list of topics, select the one that can support a thesis with three pieces of information in different paragraphs. For example, you might think that the United States will participate in the World Cup later this year. Can you identify three different ideas to support your claim?


Regardless of the topic you choose, you must be able to identify three reasons to back your thesis. After selecting the topic, carry out in-depth research and gather information relating to the topic. It is better to collect more information than you need or immerse yourself in hours of study. During this process, you will refine your thesis into a sentence that captures what your essay is about.


Avoid overused subjects when you are selecting the topic to ensure that your essay is not similar to someone else’s. An example of a bad topic is “should guns be banned?” Instead, “is it possible to decrease the number of guns without an outright ban?” The best topic is one you feel so excited thinking about and can argue with your friends for hours without getting tired. You can save yourself the stress by selecting write essays for me on a writing service website.


Thesis Statement


The thesis statement is the focal point of your paper. All essays, regardless of the type, need a focus. This focus is defined in the statement, and you should be able to present it in a sentence or two. It must highlight the points you will make from the essay body and the conclusion you will draw from these points.


The thesis statement does not necessarily have to be the first sentence in your paper. However, it must be in the introduction. The ideal place to put the statement is in the end or middle of the first paragraph of your essay introduction.


✏️A good thesis example:


Thousands of Americans take their time planning for their next camping trip. However, uncontrollable factors like equipment failures, wildlife encounters, and bad weather can make tent camping a frustrating experience.


This thesis statement example lists the three points we intend to elaborate on in the body. So, introduction, supporting paragraphs about the three points, and conclusion. Without help, you can already imagine the topic this essay is about.


5 Paragraph Essay Structure


    1. Opening paragraph: this will contain general information about the topic, including the thesis.


    1. The body: the body section is made up of three paragraphs. The first paragraph should contain a very strong point followed by a weak point in the second paragraph. Like the first, the last paragraph should also contain an equally strong or persuasive point.


    1. The concluding paragraph: this will wrap up the entire point you have discussed in the essay.


Remember we said that a 5-paragraph essay is also called a hamburger essay? One way to keep the structure in mind is to visualize a hamburger. Assume the top bun is the introduction and that the three supporting body paragraphs are your meat patties. Finally, the bottom bum is the conclusion.


This pretty much sums up information about a five-paragraph essay format. Let us examine them one after the other for a more comprehensive analysis.


Introductory paragraph


The introductory paragraph is the most vital part of the essay. It introduces the reader to the topic and sets the tone of what to expect. As a result, it must contain enough information to deliver an overview of the topic. Here are a few things you must do with your opening paragraph:


    • Make it attractiveYour introduction must grab the attention of the reader. To do this, we recommend you start with a provocative question, striking fact, or a bold statement. You are free to decide which way you want to go. However, the opening paragraph must be something memorable. The goal is to hook the reader with this part of your essay and convince them to keep reading.


    • State your thesisAfter grabbing your reader’s attention, the next thing is to state your thesis statement. Remember the introductory paragraph must contain your thesis. Whether you put it at the end or middle is entirely up to you. Use one or two sentences to summarize what the entire essay is about.


    • Touch vital pointsIn your opening part, touch on the individual points you will make in the paragraphs below. However, do it as you would a movie trailer. Don’t reveal too much, but enough to get people hooked and wanting to continue reading.


Body paragraphs


If your introduction is the trailer, the body section is the real movie. This is where you will elaborate on the few mentions you threw in the thesis. This paragraph will share your reason and evidence to support your claim.


Each paragraph should be an independent topic that will support your thesis. Therefore, start each paragraph with a fresh description of a single idea. After stating the topic sentence, you can proceed to fill the paragraph with helpful details. Remain objective and don’t include irrelevant details.


Here is an idea for the body section:


    • Use an introductory sentence.


    • Follow it with a supporting argument or explanation. You can use various evidence like statistics, quotes, examples, and facts to show why you feel the sentence is true.


    • Conclude the sentence.


Now, you have the first body part. Repeat the process for the other two body paragraphs.


Let’s use the example we stated earlier in our thesis. We wish to argue that equipment failures, wildlife encounters, and bad weather can make tent camping a frustrating experience.


Introduction – hook statement, background information, thesis. Use these tips for writing the body paragraph:


    • 1st paragraph (strongest argument) – topic sentence, claim, evidence, concluding statement


    • 2nd paragraph (weakest argument) – Topic sentence 2, claim 2, evidence, concluding statement.


    • 3rd paragraph (strong or persuasive argument) – Topic sentence 3, claim 3, evidence, general concluding statement.


Transitioning between paragraphs


One of the mistakes writers make is that they don’t use enough transition words or sentences in their essays. As a result, the text appears disconnected, whereas it is supposed to be fluid. The most appropriate way to move from an old point is to create transition sentences.


Transition sentences show the relationship between two or more ideas. They are like bridges that connect your ideas and are made up of words or phrases. Words you can include in each paragraph are: “finally,” “simultaneously,” “for example,” “to illustrate,” “In fact,” “likewise,” “similarly,” “nevertheless,” and “on the contrary,” “in contrast,” “on the other hand,” “furthermore,” “consequently,” “therefore,” etc. There are tons of transition phrases you can use, and it will help if you can check out tips for writing transition sentences.


Concluding paragraph


The concluding paragraph is the final part of a 5-paragraph essay writing. In this section, you don’t need any new evidence. Instead, you only need to summarize everything you have said in the body paragraphs and link it to the thesis statement you made in the opening paragraph.


An effective way to write a closing paragraph is the restatement of the thesis assertively. Then, support it with your arguments in a few sentences and end it with a clear and compelling hook.


Tips On How To Prepare A Successful Five-Paragraph Essay


    1. Make your essay easy to read. Don’t use long sentences or shift away from the point.


    1. Come up with a catchy title that will immediately grab the attention of your readers before you start writing.


    1. Write your thesis statement first before the body, as the bulk of your essay will revolve around the thesis.


    1. Create an outline to make your work easier. An essay outline will save your time and communicate the idea of what the entire essay should include when you are done.


    1. Take your time to check and revise your essay before submitting it. While reviewing, put yourself in the position of a reader and ask yourself questions that the readers may ask. For example, will this introduction grab my attention? Do the body paragraphs feel disconnected from each other, etc. If there is any inadequacy, implement changes until you are satisfied. Check out tips on how to write a college essay and use various resources to ensure the best result.


    1. Check your text organization, sentence structure, word choice, spelling, and punctuation for accuracy.


    1. Don’t edit your essay immediately after writing, as it is common to skip over mistakes. Instead, take some time off and come back to edit.


    1. Change your argument if you discover that the body paragraph does not align with your thesis.




A 5-paragraph essay structure consists of an opening paragraph, three supporting body paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph. That said, the format is the same regardless of the type of essay, and the word count ranges between 250-750 words. Because a 5-paragraph essay is straightforward, you don’t need advanced writing skills to craft one. Instead, start with an introduction that states your intent, support it with evidence, and wrap it up with style.

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