Basic Essay Writing Instructions For College Students

The five paragraph essay. Although the bane of many students, it's actually an essential academic tool for composing persuasive papers that help teachers measure the writing capabilities of their students.

Many students are introduced to the five paragraph essay in grade school, but secondary and post-secondary school is when the five paragraph essay starts to become an essential component of the student's toolbox.

Writing The Five Paragraph Essay

Many students would admit their lack of interest in the five paragraph essay. But, like many essential tools, the key to using such tools starts with embracing it. So, let's start by showing some of the basics of this essential tool.

The five paragraph essay uses the classic structure of:

The Introduction

The Body

  • First Paragraph
  • Second Paragraph
  • Third Paragraph

The Conclusion

Simple, isn't it? But, before you head off to write your own five paragraph essay, let's take a look at that structure in more detail.

The Introduction

The introduction of a five paragraph essay sets the stage for the rest of the paper. It ultimately serves the purpose of 'hooking' or convincing the reader to continue reading the rest of the paper.

The introduction serves as a 'mini outline' of the rest of the paper. It should essentially tell what the essay will be about in a single paragraph. The last sentence should also lead into the first paragraph of the essay body, also known as a transitional hook.

The Body

The body is where all of the essay's questions are answered, constructed into three paragraphs:

First Paragraph

The first paragraph is about presenting the argument of the essay, starting from the first sentence.

The first or second sentence should continue from the introduction's last sentence, setting up the topic at hand. Then, the continuing sentences should expand upon that and lead into the last sentence, the transitional hook for the next paragraph.

Second Paragraph

The second paragraph should host the supporting argument, otherwise known as the second strongest argument.

The first sentence, much like the first paragraph, should present the main argument, and then segue into more information about the argument, before wrapping up the argument with the third paragraph's transitional hook.

Third Paragraph

The third paragraph explains and supports the third weakest argument or a follow up to the argument supported in the second paragraph. Much like the previous paragraphs, the third paragraph should start with a supporting hook, and then segue into the transitory hook for the conclusion.

The Conclusion

The conclusion of a five paragraph essay is pretty straightforward. It should be structured similarly to the introduction and contain a restatement of the essay's main thesis statement.

It also contains a summary of the body's main points and wraps everything up with a final statement that helps signify the end of the essay's main discussion.


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