Five-Paragraph Essay: Basic Recommendations for Writing

Among academic writing tasks, the five-paragraph essay is one of the simplest tasks. The main challenge here is a selection of topic. But for some students, it also can be different from formatting the text right or from conducting some research to provide the relevant info according to the essay topic

But you need to keep in mind that the main thing here is to arrange the sentences logically in every paragraph. You have only 5 paragraphs, but usually, they allow disclosing the topic completely. The subject of your essay can be selected from the teacher’s suggestions, online examples or your own preferences.

By the way, the examples, that are available online, can be not only the sources of inspiration but your templates as well. You can borrow the style, approach, topic, but you cannot copy the entire text as this is called plagiarism, which is forbidden. In academic writing, it is not accepted.

Five-Paragraph Essay: Basic Recommendations for Writing

Now you know the general facts about this type of writing. To start with, you should create an outline first to arrange a further writing process. As a rule, you will have to write an outline on your own, without any teacher’s help. Here’s an example for you:

  1. Abstract paragraph (in case you are writing in APA style). This part of the text should contain the main point of the essay (usually 3-5) and this paragraph should not be longer than 150-200 words.
  2. Introductory part. Make your first sentence catching to get the attention of the reader. Make a short outline of the further thoughts you are about to disclose in your essay. Point out the goals of your essay and the main statement you are about to prove. We advise mentioning your main thought, the theses in the last sentence of the introduction to make your reader intrigued and keep reading.
  3. This part will be the longest as this is where you put details and prove your points. You should provide here strong arguments to defend your point of view. We recommend conducting deep research before writing to get the cases of a decent level. Also, it would be wise to add at least one paragraph that will reveal the opposite point of view with proof why this point of view can or cannot exist. Considering that, your essay body may consist of three paragraphs to fit the 5-paragraph structure.
  4. It may be similar to abstract in length, but you should add here more than just a summary of the main points of your essay and the strongest arguments. You should rewrite the thesis of the paper and make some conclusions considering the presented info and thoughts. This can be some forecast, for instance. Or you may provide any other ideas that are appeared in your head after researching the topic.
  5. Depending on the chosen or required style, this part may be called “Reference page,” “Works Cited,” etc. But in any case, you should include here any sources of information you have used in your research, especially if you have cited any of them. Give credit to the books, articles, papers that have influenced your writing.

Here’s an explanation of why this type of essay is called a five-paragraph essay. This is one of the common tasks that you can find on English language exams, like SAT, TOEFL, and IELTS. The similar structure with 5 parts is also used for general admissions essay writing. If you want to get the highest grades on your exam, you should study various style requirements to make sure that your approach fits them in any aspect.

Also, keep in mind that you will have a restricted period of time for writing task. As a rule, you get no more than 50 minutes to complete the whole work. Your successful 5-paragraphs essay together with college admission can add more points to raise your chances for entering.

Here are 5 main styles that could be chosen for writing an essay:

  • Narrative;
  • Argumentative;
  • Expository;
  • Persuasive;
  • Cause & Effect.


Expository essays consist of 5 paragraphs and you need to conduct in-depth research to disclose the problem. You need to present examples and proofs that help to maintain the ideas of your essay, and you can find them in the relevant resources. You do not have to write your own opinion in this article. But you should provide a decent number of thoughts and arguments from the sources you have found.

Narrative essays with 5 paragraphs refer more to the creative side of the student. You should not write here exclusively informative content. You can share your thoughts, experience and other information that you can come up without any additional sources — this essay helps in developing the writing skills required for college applicants.

When you are assigned with argumentative or persuasive essays, you should know that they have a lot in common. First thing here is the 5-paragraph structure, for sure. But also the purpose of these essays is the same as you need to persuade the reader and provide strong arguments. When you have a 5-paragraph limit, you need to select arguments and thoughts carefully in order to provide the most relevant ones. Use trustworthy sources of information as well. Also keep in mind, that here you will have to follow the strict formatting requirements.

Cause and effect essay can also consist of 5 paragraphs. It presents the events in a way that affect each other. Shortly speaking, you should write here about how two events are related.

Ideas for Introductory Paragraph

You need to hook your reader from the first sentence, so we have prepared some ideas for a strong start for your intro:

  • add a quote;
  • set a scene;
  • cite words of well-known people;
  • tell a joke;
  • add a movie quote;
  • ask a rhetorical question;
  • ask a regular question;
  • add a piece of poetry;
  • use a metaphor;
  • tell your personal story in 1-2 sentences.

Or you can come up with your personal ideas.

Tips for Body Paragraphs and Conclusion in 5-Paragraph Essay

As soon as you have got the reader’s attention, you need to justify their time and provide an exciting and relevant body as well. Make sure that you can add to your essay strong arguments, relevant real-life examples, various points of views, etc. to disclose the topic and lead to the expected results.

Keep in mind using the transition words as they help to move from one point to another smoothly. Use words like “moreover,” “finally,” “so as” etc. to connect the thoughts in your essay.

The repetition of the theses will serve as a reminder to the readers why you are writing this essay. You can even try to end up with a provocative question or thought in order to leave a strong impression. Also, you can motivate readers to conduct a particular action like researching, debating and so on. The excellent choice of topic is defied when readers keep discussing it after reading the essay.

Formatting Tips for a Five-Paragraph Paper

Keep in mind that any essay should be formatted in a particular way. Check formatting matching along with grammar and plagiarism check.

You need to format the reference page correctly as well. Check whether you have added the following info:

  • the name of the author of the source;
  • the name of the source;
  • the publisher;
  • the date of publishing.

If you still not sure you can create a decent essay, ask for professional help. You can ask our expert to create a great essay to show you how things should be done.

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