How to write a 5 Paragraph Essay

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What is a 5 Paragraph Essay?

The basic format or structure of an essay is said to be the 5 paragraph essay also known as the standard essay assignment. This format is followed in most of the standardised exams such as TOEFL, IELTS, and the SAT
These tests most of the time limit the student time in the “Writing” section, so students are given practice in the format of the 5 paragraph essay. This way the student is able to answer 5 paragraph esay the exam prompt more quickly and efficiently. The 5 paragraph essay format is quite flexible and can be used for writing different essay types and styles such as the  PersuasiveNarrative, ArgumentativeExpository,  and Cause and Effect essays.

Good Example Topics of 5 paragraph essays

Some of the most commonly written 5 paragraph essays can be on the following topics

  • Can one learn a life lesson without having an experience of that? Can you learn from other people’s mistakes?
  • Is it ethical to continue testing on animals?
  • Should same-sex marriages be legalised?
  • Should more strict laws be implemented for gun-control?
  • Should the death penalty be continued or not?
  • Should marijuana be openly allowed?
  • Should free education be provided to all students?

These are not the only topics students write 5 paragraph essays about. There are many others as well.

Related: What Makes An Essay Writing Service The Best?

The 5 Paragraph Essay Outline

This type of essay has a very simple outline; It has an Introduction, and goes to Body Paragraph 1, Body Paragraph 2, Body Paragraph 3, and wraps up the discussion with a Conclusion. Each body paragraph contains a different idea and serves a specific purpose. It starts with a broader statement that is narrowed down in the body paragraphs with supporting evidence and is generalised in the end in broader sense.

Read more: Essay Outline


Introduction: 3-5 Sentences

  • The introduction introduces the topic and gives an outline of the rest of the essay with a hook statement in the beginning.
  • The Hook Sentence is a kind of a sentence that serves the function of a spark to a flame by grabbing the reader’s attention.
  • The Hook can usually be a fact, a rhetorical question or some kind of life example.
  • For Example: If you are writing an essay about preservation of our ecosystem, you could start saying like: “Do we really want our future planet to be surrounded by desert and wasteland?

This is a hook sentence which is in the form of a rhetorical question which does not need to be answered.

Brief Introduction of Supporting Arguments (1-3)

  • In this part of the essay you take your supporting arguments and briefly introduce them to the reader without giving too much information
  • Tip: take it as a preview in which you give an idea what you will be talking about in brief but do not tell what.
  • Example: Preservation of our environment is the key to keep our lives healthy.

Thesis Statement

  • The key to your entire essay is your Thesis Statement or your argument.
  • This statement will serve to be the starter for the rest of your essay
  • For example when talking about nature preservation your thesis could be:
  • “The most important aspect to keep Mother Nature in check and avoid any disastrous effects is by preserving our planet.”
  • Quick Tip: if you find that your body paragraphs and your thesis do not match and have nothing common in between, you can change the thesis and connect it with your body paragraphs.

Body Paragraphs 1,2,3 (5-7 Sentences)

  • This is the actual part of your essay, where you explain your Thesis Statement and support it with evidence.
  • The structure of the body paragraphs is very simple with an introductory sentence and a supporting Argument/ example.
  • Followed by 3-5 lines of explanation and finally a concluding Sentence.
  • The introductory sentence of a paragraph should briefly bring forth your argument and do not reveal too much information.
  • Example: Air pollution increases with Deforestation that hurts the planet by reducing air quality and increasing the likelihood of disease!
  • Supporting Argument and Explanation: This part takes the topic ahead by going into detail, and most importantly DEFENDING YOUR THESIS!
  • Example: Human beings themselves play a big part in damaging the environment with methods that kill trees and worsen the air. it may be profitable for the few in short term but in the long run it is hazardous for all. In Beijing for example, it is mandatory because of the excessive air pollution to wear masks for everyone walking around in the streets.
  • The Concluding Sentence is in a way the opposite of the introductory sentence in the sense that instead of introducing your argument, you briefly conclude it transitioning into your next paragraph.
  • Example: In short the destruction of our natural resources worsens the air quality affecting not only planet’s health, but humanity’s as well.

5 paragraph essay


Paragraph 1:

  • Introduce the topic
  • Introduce three supportive ideas to be discussed in three body paragraphs each.
  • Give a strong Thesis Statement

Paragraph 2:

  • Introduce your first supportive idea
  • Support your idea with three evidences

Follow this format

  1. Topic sentence

Evidence 1

Evidence 2

Evidence 3

  1. Concluding sentence

Paragraph 3:

  • Introduce your second supportive idea
  • Support your idea with three evidences

Follow this format

  1. Topic sentence

Evidence 1

Evidence 2

Evidence 3

  1. Concluding sentence

Paragraph 4:

  • Introduce your third supportive idea
  • Support your idea with three evidences

Follow this format

  1. Topic sentence

Evidence 1

Evidence 2

Evidence 3

  1. Concluding sentence

Paragraph 5:

Restate Thesis Statement. Remember not to repeat the Thesis Statement but restate it in different words.

Recapitulate the three ideas discussed in the previous body paragraphs.

Conclude your 5 paragraph essay with an overall concluding statement.


Conclusion of your 5 paragraph essay mirrors your introduction. It should include 3 – 5 sentences.

Sentence 1 should be a restatement of your thesis. Restate the Thesis Statement stated in your introduction in a conclusive way. It simply means to basically rephrase your thesis in an assertive way to show that you have proved your point in the body paragraphs.

  • Example: How we as people treat the Earth will decide the safety and survival of the Earth, and the more concerned we are in the whole process, the more beneficial it will be for us all.

Conclude your supporting arguments in 3 sentences by taking the supporting arguments of your body paragraphs. You can rephrase the main points of each paragraph in one sentence making it three sentences for three paragraphs.

For a good structure you can combine similar sentences.

Example, you can combine the two elements of the limited use as well as efficiency of natural resources given in your supporting arguments like “ By limiting the use and improving the efficiency of our natural resources we can for sure improve the health of our planet.”

Using a concluding hook sentence adds spice to your writing. It can be something unexpected to surprise and attract the reader. It should also sum up the whole argument in a few words. This hook  can either be a statement or a question.

Example: “Thus we need to take care of our planet after all we don’t want to live in a desert or a wasteland do we?”

General Grading Rubric

Different types of rubrics are used by different universities and institutions worldwide. The 5 point style is the most commonly used rubric style.

The 5 point rubric is broken down into 5 main segments:

Focus, Organization, Conventions, Style, and Content

  • Focus: Did the writer focus on his aim of proving his thesis?  Did he really accomplish this goal?
  • Organization: Was the essay smooth flowing with proper transitions in between paragraphs. Was
  • the outline proper and the structure properly followed?
  • Conventions: were there any grammatical mistakes? Were there any run on sentences? How simple were the sentences?
  • Style: was there any use of high-level vocabulary, or any repeated words? How much creative was the writer in his sentence structures?
  • Content: was the content apt and the argument satisfied? Were the statements factual and logical? Were the arguments strong enough to prove the point?

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How to Write an Essay Outline

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Another important step before starting to write your essay is to understand the essay outline or the structure of an essay outline. It is really important for effective writing as it gives your writing a smooth flow and enables the reader to understand your point of view easily.

Whatever the essay type; be it a narrative, persuasive, descriptive or an expository essay it is best to follow the general five paragraph essay structure. This will include an introductory paragraph that will introduce the topic in the form of a thesis statement and some argument or story, three body paragraphs that will defend the thesis statement or argument with supporting material such as examples or statistics and the last introductory paragraph that concludes the whole argument by stating its significance and giving your opinions or suggestions.

Let us discuss these parts of an essay outline in detail:


Your introduction will depend on the type of essay you are writing for instance if you are writing an informative or persuasive essay you will provide your readers some context through the background information about the topic. This will be an overview of the topic which you will gradually narrow down to the thesis statement of your essay.

You will have to prove this thesis statement in the later paragraphs therefore it should be based on some fact. Thus your thesis statement will serve different purposes depending on your choice of the essay type.

Body Paragraphs:

The same goes with the body paragraphs. These also provide content in different styles depending upon the type of essay you are writing. For instance in an informative or persuasive essay your body paragraphs will include information or facts and logic to support your thesis statement or persuade your readers.

But in an argumentative essay, body paragraphs will defend your thesis or point of view. In short, body paragraphs serve the purpose of proving the validity of your opinion with the support of the researched outside information.

In creative writing the body paragraphs will gradually move the story from its initial phase to the last moment going through different phases like falling action, rising action, climax and anticlimax or denouement. It does not clearly relate these to the thesis but the words and symbols make these narrative levels clear.


Conclusion is very crucial to any writing as it wraps up the whole argument and puts an end that satisfies the whole discussion. In a persuasive as well as expository essay it is better to restate the thesis using different words and thus finalize its validity. It proves you to be an apt writer as you explain the overall significance of your argument and validates the value of your side of the argument.

In creative writing, the information given in the body is explored. In other words you explain the significance of your written piece in your conclusion without directly stating it. This can be done by explaining the effect of the ending on certain characters. Thus readers can infer the theme portrayed by the writer.

Sample Essay Outline

  1. Topic
  2. Introduction
  1. Hook Statement/ thesis statement
  2. Background Information and Context;
  3. thesis statement/ hook statement
  1. Body Paragraph 1/2/3
  1. Topic Sentence (Shift of idea from the previous paragraph )
  2. Claim (argument put forward)
  3. Evidence (Information added from outside sources to support your point of view i.e. claim)
  4. Explanation ( explaining evidence to defend the claim )
  5. Concluding Sentence ( wrapping up of Argument in Paragraph )
  1. Conclusion
  1. Rephrasing thesis statement
  2. Restating Main Arguments (1,2,3)
  3. Overall Concluding Statement (giving Significance)

You can use this template for argumentative as well as persuasive essay as a reference.

Structure of a Personal Narrative Essay

  1. Topic
  1. Introduction
  1. Hook Statement (Intrigue the reader)
  2. Set Up The Scene/ Context by giving background information.
  3. thesis statement
  1. Body Paragraphs

Beginning Action → Rising Action → Falling Action (Paragraph 1→ 2 → 3)

  1. Use picaresque words
  2. Follow Linear Progression of events by displaying passage of time
  3. Use transition words to ensure a smooth flow of the events
  1. Conclusion
  1. Analyze and Reflect on the action.
  2. Explain the significance of the story’s theme!
  3. Relate back the theme to the real world?

For Narrative Writing all you need to do is keep the plot in motion and be very careful and particular in the intro and conclusion as not to lose the flow of the narrative!

Polishing Up!

Before you submit your essay, you need to polish it up and make it presentable. By following a few simple steps you can make your essay a perfect piece.

The Break Rule:

After you finish writing your essay, take a break to refresh yourself. Take a break for at least 24 hours and give time to refresh your brain. Proofreading and editing should not be done right away as writing is a mentally tiring task. So you need to enjoy and refresh your brain to complete the last step of proofreading and editing the essay.

Proofreading and Editing:

When you take at least a 24 hours break then go for the grammar and spelling check and correct any mistakes. This includes punctuation, use of contractions as well as sentence structure. Then you can further improve your essay by improving the vocabulary and removing phrases that are repetitive. The sentences you use should make a logical sense and flow smoothly. The essay should be a coherent whole. Use transition words to connect the different ideas and thoughts. Your essay should be simple, easy to read and understand.

Peer Editing:

Ask your peers to reread and edit the piece for you. This will confirm that your paper is a well written piece. The more people read your essay, the more confident you will be about the quality of your work making it comprehensible. This is the last step that completes your essay.

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