Homework Center: How to Write a Five Paragraph Essay

Although not the only way to structure an essay, the 5 paragraph essay is a classic format and is easy to follow, especially for those who are new to the writing process. The structure of a five paragraph essay typically begins with an introduction, followed by three paragraphs that each deal with one main idea only. One idea per paragraph prevents too many ideas in one paragraph which can make an essay confusing to read. The last paragraph is a conclusion.

Here is a step-by-step process for how to write a perfect five paragraph essay:

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How to Write a Five Paragraph Essay

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This includes grammar, spelling, and proper citation style, but those are outside the scope of what I want to talk about. I instead refer to the particular structure and format of an essay, in particular the five paragraph essay, and I will explain this format as I understand it. The first paragraph of such an essay introduces the topic and speaks about it generally. Within the first paragraph is the thesis statement, which lays out plainly three specific subtopics that will be discussed. Following are three paragraphs, each of which starts with some transition phrase, perhaps as simple as “firstly ... secondly ... thirdly ...”. These paragraphs each elaborate on one of the three topics mentioned in the thesis statement, going into detail on each in turn. The fifth paragraph may be as simple as the first paragraph written in reverse order, first sentence last, but ideally it expands on the general topic of the essay and offers avenues for further thought, containing somewhere within it a rephrasing of the thesis statement.