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5 paragraph Essay Format

5 Paragraph Essay Format Outline

An essay is an extended piece of writing that presents and supports a thesis. It is a formal piece of writing that deals with a given subject. Essays are normally short and when writing one, you are making a case for the validity of a specific point of view, interpretation, analysis or a set of facts.

The following is an outline for a 5 paragraph essay:

5 Paragraph Essay Format Outline

Paragraph 1: Introduction

Your introduction paragraph should include the following elements:

  • Background information. It is necessary that you provide enough information to enable your reader understand your topic.
  • Thesis statement. Your thesis statement should indicate your essay’s topic, make your essay’s purpose clear and provide an overview of the three main supporting points in your essay. Your thesis statement should be your last sentence.
  • When writing in response to a text, your introduction should include the title, author and genre of the piece.  

Paragraph 2: First Body Paragraph

The first body paragraph should:

  • Begin with a topic sentence that identifies one main idea that you will discuss as support for the thesis statement.
  • Include supporting sentences. Use specific details, proved through closely related examples to explain the main ides. The paragraph should have at least five to eight sentences.
  • Include paragraph unity. This means that all ideas in a paragraph should be closely related to the topic sentence in order to further develop that topic sentence. All sentences in a single paragraph must be unified around a central point.

Paragraph 3: Second Body Paragraph.

This paragraph and any subsequent body paragraph should begin with a topic sentence that indicates that a new idea is being introduced. Ensure that there is coherence. That is the connection between paragraphs and ideas. This paragraph should include:

  • Transition words at the beginning of your body paragraph to move from one idea to the next within your essay.
  • Clear connections among the paragraphs

Paragraph 4: Third Body Paragraph

  • You should begin this paragraph with the final topic sentence that relates back to the remaining point mentioned in the thesis statement.
  • Prove this main idea with specific examples, details and relevant support.
  • Ensure that you maintain paragraph unity. Each sentence must relate to your topic sentence.

Paragraph 5: Conclusion

Your conclusion should revisit the overall purpose for writing and invite your readers to consider the implications of why your ideas are important. Ensure that you do not introduce new, unrelated ideas in the conclusion. The conclusion should:

  • Restate your thesis. If you choose to restate the thesis, do not repeat the same wording in your introduction or body paragraphs.
  • Summarize your major points.
  • Leave the reader with a final thought to think about.