Writing a five paragraph essay doesn't require you to be the worlds most prolific author. You simply need to follow a relatively basic forumula and practice good organizational skills. This website will provide you with all the information and guidance you need to be able to churn out your own five paragraph essays in no time. With just a little bit of work, you will feel like you'll be able to write about anything, because you WILL be able to!
The five-paragraph essay is a commonly used measure of a students ability to write. This makes it essential for everyone to master this format to score well on the writing sections of standardized tests. A student is asked to develop specific organizational and thinking patterns in order to complete the timed essays that state and other standardized testing demands. The reason these tests ask for this format is because it is the basic foundation of most research based writing styles, such as term papers in college and even daily reports in the professional world. If a student proves proficient in the five paragraph essay, the people testing them know they are ready to learn the more advanced styles of writing. The purpose of this site is to help teachers guide their students to success in this style of writing. Now that you have a good understanding of what we're trying to accomplish and why, let's begin.
Structure of the Essay:
The five paragraph essay follows a simple yet rigid format that is displayed in the outline below. It is essentially an opening paragraph, three paragraphs describing different subtopics of the overall topic, and a closing paragraph.
General Topic Sentence - This introduces the topic, for this example we'll say the topic is the Revolutionary War.
- Subtopic One - This is where you describe how you'll break down the topic, for example this could talk about Englands rule over the Colonies.
- Subtopic Two - This one could bring up Pre-War events like the Boston Tea Party.
- Subtopic Three - This could talk about the War itself from beginning to end.
- Transition - These are sentences which help end one paragraph and ease the reader into the next one.
First Supporting Paragraph
Restate Subtopic One - This is where you go into further detail on the first subtopic you brought up. In our example it will go into detail on British rule over the Americas.
- First Supporting Detail or Example - Here you could write a few sentences about Jamestown, the First English Settlement
- Second Supporting Detail or Example - Here you could talk about the First Thirteen Colonies
- Third Supporting Detail or Example - Here you could talk about how these colonies differed from the States we know them as today.
Second Supporting Paragraph
Restate Subtopic Two - You guessed it, this is where you go into more detail about the Pre-War Events.
- First Supporting Detail or Example - Writing a number of facts about the Sons of Liberty is a Good Place to Start.
- Second Supporting Detail or Example - A discussion of the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party could work here.
- Third Supporting Detail or Example - Describing the Continental Congress and the signing of the Declaration of Independence would fit in here.
Third Supporting Paragraph
Restate Subtopic Three - Here comes the description of the war itself.
- First Supporting Detail or Example - The First Battles of Concord and Lexington could be written about here.
- Second Supporting Detail or Example - The Crossing of the Delaware fits in well here.
- Third Supporting Detail or Example - The siege of Yorktown which won the war for the Americans is a perfect end.
Closing or Summary Paragraph
Summary of main topic - These are self explanitory.
- Summary of Subtopic One
- Summary of Subtopic Two
- Summary of Subtopic Three
- A closing statement - This could be anything from your opinion on the topic to a famous quote about it, or even just added information, for example you could talk about the Treaty of Paris which is the agreement the Americans and British signed after the war. The Closing Statement is used just to give a fitting end to the essay.
As you can see it is a very simple format, but it makes things flow easily and because its so set in stone it is easy to remember. Reading a few examples is a good way to aid in understand what is expected in a good five paragraph essay. I have listed a few of these below, check them out then try and write one of your own. When you have finished writing, compare your essay to one of the examples to see how your writing stacks up. If it doesn't, then make the changes you feel are necessary. Needing to make changes isn't a bad thing, in fact being able to edit yourself is vital in becoming a better writer, so edit away!
A few Examples of 5 paragraph essays:
Written by Michael S. Atwood