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Five Paragraph Essay Guidelines High School

It’s simple: if you want to join 40% of college freshmen who manage to perform at the expected entry-level during the 1st academic year, explore different essay examples and read valuable information from experts. A typical academic 5 paragraph essay includes five paragraphs. As a rule, a student has to introduce the topic, state and support up to three arguments, and sum up the results in the last paragraph, conclusion – a 5 paragraph essay outline explains every section in details.

Students fail to come up with a good five paragraph essay because the teachers sometimes do not provide necessary information and ignore the fact not all students are talented writers. Is there a way to overcome problems with homework assignments? The best option is to go online to hire professional academic authors & editors that are experienced in many different fields of study.

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What Is a 5 Paragraph Essay?

What is a 5 paragraph essay? A five paragraph essay is an ordinary academic task assigned by the school/college teacher in order to check the student’s skills, knowledge, and ambitions. It is an informative piece of writing with some descriptions of the chosen topic. This writing task is assigned to check how well a student interacts with the reader, defend the thesis sentence, conduct research, come up with arguments, and summarize the findings in one paragraph. This assignment improves reading, writing, and analytical skills a lot.

Five-paragraph essay is a standard example for the educational institutions like high schools and colleges. A student has to ensure the relevance of the topic. It is important to support the arguments in every single paragraph with the help of credible evidence.

Teachers know that many students might need these skills for the post-graduate standard tests: TOEFL, SAT, IELTS, and even ACT. The knowledge of writing basics is a supporting part of any admission process. If you have no idea how a good five-paragraph essay should be formatted, please have a look at different examples posted online for free.

Different Types of 5-Paragraph Essays

It is important to know each of the five types of papers before deciding on the sentence and paragraph structure. They are:

  1. Narrative
  2. Expository
  3. Persuasive
  4. Argumentative
  5. Cause and effect

Actually, we can point out more types like compare and contrast or character analysis essay. However, those five are the basic categories. Anyway, you need to make an outline and start memorizing how a five-paragraph essay should look like as it is the most common structure of any academic writing assignment, no matter whether we talk about your homework paper or test/examination.


How to Write a 5 Paragraph Essay: Easy Way!

It is time to find out how to write a 5 paragraph essay. Five paragraph format usually includes an introduction with the powerful thesis statement in the last sentence, 3-5 body paragraphs (usually, it's three paragraphs), and conclusion. Body paragraphs should begin with the sentence which contains a powerful argument:

  • First paragraph: argument one
  • Second paragraph: argument two
  • Third paragraph: argument three

Each of the arguments serves as the supporting point for your thesis statement. There should be no less than three arguments in favor or against the chosen topic or research question. These arguments have to support your thesis statement: without persuasive evidence, it is impossible to persuade the reader of the importance of your research question.

5 Paragraph Essay Outline: Step-by-Step Student Guide

Once you have picked the topic to write about, develop an outline first. An outline figures as an action plan for your project. It allows keeping in mind what each paragraph should include. Second, depending on the paper format (MLA, Chicago, etc.) write an abstract or your first paragraph which is an introduction. Writing an abstract is a requirement of the APA format. It’s a one-paragraph summary of the essay.

Do not ignore the important role of a 5 paragraph essay outline – it will serve as a perfect roadmap to a journey called academic paper writing. Take a closer look at each possible section.

  1. Introduction – Introduces the basic parts of the 5-paragraph essay. Begin with a broad sentence to reveal the main idea to the target audience to catch an eye (this initial sentence is called hook). Share the context of the topic; show its meaning to the audience. Stress the research problem and outcomes/interpret the key themes along with further development of the plot, and end the introduction with a powerful thesis statement.
  2. Topic sentence – It reveals the main idea of the specific paragraph and the way it relates to the thesis statement.
  3. Evidence – A few sentences that support the topic sentence. Choose them during the process of in-depth research to explain the topic and support every stated claim.
  4. Commentary – An author’s feedback that evaluates the selected evidence.
  5. Concluding sentence – The one which ties the paragraph’s main idea directly to the thesis statement.
  6. Repeat the steps mentioned above to create a couple of more body paragraphs.
  7. Conclusion – Review the major arguments. Reword the thesis statement, provide a summary of the body paragraphs one-by-one; add up to 2 sentences that motivate the reader to take specific actions regarding the discussed problem/conduct independent research to learn more.

Here is a shorter version of a 5 paragraph essay outline:

Go into the details below to understand how to write a 5 paragraph essay worth of teacher’s attention.

How to Write a 3 Paragraph Essay?

Do not waste too much time on learning how to write a 3 paragraph essay as this form of academic paper is not popular. To make it short, the three-paragraph essay structure must look the way below.

  • Introduction
  • Topic Sentence + Argument + Writer’s Explanation
  • Conclusion
  • References (a separate page in the end)

When it comes to in-text citations and bibliography, they are used in any academic essay to defend the primary ideas. All teachers want to see at least three credible sources in your paper. Sources help to defend your thesis statement as they usually refer to the researchers that have to prove author’s words. Make sure that the books, magazines, articles or other sources of your choice are no older than 5 years before including them in any paragraph of your essay.

No matter how many paragraphs a student plans to include. Introduction & conclusion look alike in any situation – take a look at their basics!

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Five Paragraph Essay Introduction

No matter whether you want to learn how to write a 3 paragraph essay of 5 paragraph paper, an introduction remains the same. The first paragraph should include three important parts (sentences):

  1. Hook
  2. Trailer
  3. Thesis statement

The hook is about grabbing reader's attention with the single first sentence. Some good ideas for the introductory sentence may be a joke, shocking fact, or intriguing question on the chosen theme. On the whole, the entire paragraph is about forcing the reader to read the essay sentence-by-sentence. A trailer is like a movie trailer - outlines and explains what's coming next. Finally, state your thesis in the last sentence of your introduction paragraph. We will discuss some of the introductory elements in more details.

The opening few sentences must make the reader realize why the proposed topic may play a significant role in his/her life. Example: A writer offers to discuss the way ordinary citizens can help to avoid corruption as it influences the income level of most of the population. It would be a smart step to start the paper with some impressive statistics. Play with real facts. Quote famous people to make the target audience understand why it is important to research the suggested problem and act.

Important: Professional Advice!

“After the hook sentence, share a background explaining why the problem matters. Recall the rent events in the world of politics/economics or social sphere to stress the increasing level of corruption in the society. End up with the strong thesis statement. It may sound like, “As the level of corruption in our country has increased by 15% during the last 3 months according to [source], a sharp need to regulate associated issues with the government’s support became obvious, and every citizen should contribute to it by reporting about any signs of corruption.”

Helen Teashort, academic counselor and professional writer at WriteMyPaper4Me

Five Paragraph Essay Conclusion

Before talking about the conclusion, it is necessary to have a look at the way body paragraphs are built. Using transition words, move to the process of writing your second paragraph, which is actually the first paragraph of your essay body. Find all possible ideas on your research question. Pick the best parts to come up with at least three impressive arguments. Include examples into each paragraph of the paper's body – the examples may also act as excellent supporting points for your thesis.

The last paragraph is the conclusion: write down some transition words to transfer from your body part to the last paragraph. A conclusion should restate thesis sentence. This time, you'll have to write down the conclusions grabbed from each body paragraph. Explain how they are all interrelated and think about possible alternatives and offer predictions for the future.


Know the General Grading System and Examine 5 Paragraph Essay Example

Please find the information below to know the grading rubric for any academic five-paragraph paper.

It is important to know that specific schools, colleges, and universities might have their own grading rubrics. However, the five-point system is the most frequently met. There are five features used while grading your five-paragraph essay on any topic:

  • Focus: Were the supporting points strong enough to defend each argument and thesis statement?
  • Organization. What about the essay structure: how well were the transition words between paragraphs used, has the writer developed the proper outline, and did he keep to the specific outline?
  • Conventions: Were there any mistakes in the sentences (grammar/spelling/punctuation)? Was there any run on sentences?
  • Style: Were the students successful with their vocabulary in the five-paragraph essays; what about the level of creativity and plagiarism?
  • Content: Did the student manage to prove the argument and topic thesis properly, logically, concisely, & meaningfully?

The best way to meet all of the criteria listed above is to download a free 5 paragraph essay example on a popular topic.


30 Excellent 5 Paragraph Essay Topics to Observe

In-depth research helps to define the topic if your teacher does not assign you one. It is one of the most difficult parts as students often get stuck when deciding on their thesis sentence. Select your topic based on these parameters:

  • How easy is it to find supporting points?
  • How easy would it be to make powerful supporting arguments?
  • Will your introduction paragraph be eye-catching for your reader?
  • Would it be possible to include a strong thesis in the last sentence of the first paragraph?
  • Is the subject interesting/relevant to your community? How the conclusion and forecasts may help?

The list of great 5 paragraph essay topics from the top college students and even professors will help to make a final decision regarding the main research problem.

5 Paragraph Essay Topics for Middle School

  1. Things to do to defend endangered species of animals/plants from continuous extinction
  2. School teachers should allow students to use their mobile devices for lessons
  3. School children are too young to put makeup
  4. Teachers must pass certain proficiency tests and share results with their students to prove they are competent in the particular field of study
  5. Fast-food companies are guilty of the increased level of obesity
  6. Soccer will not ever become popular enough in the United States
  7. Some of the prestigious sports celebrities justify the major number of cash that they are paid
  8. Textbooks are an old-fashioned way of learning; e-Books and mobile apps should be popularized
  9. Politicians are overpaid for doing nothing special
  10. Defining personal heroes/role models
  11. Spending a day with any person in the world: Who would it be? Why?
  12. How the educational semester has helped to improve knowledge of Math
  13. The importance of English language classes
  14. There is no way to force school students to wear uniform
  15. Having a higher education does not necessarily result in a successful job

5 Paragraph Essay Topics for High School

  1. Reasons why highly-paid jobs at top overseas organizations are likely to be filled by men
  2. Parallels between dictatorship and high school bullying
  3. Voting on a new subject: Which one to include in the curriculum?
  4. Are Hollywood actors overrated?
  5. Does the death penalty work in the United States?
  6. Teachers must give more freedom to their students
  7. Boys and girls should study in separate classes
  8. Nuclear weapon is a killing device
  9. The use of animals in scientific studies is immoral & unethical
  10. The right age for dating
  11. Use imagination to discuss which social norms and rules can be changed for a better or removed
  12. E-learning is getting more powerful than a traditional education
  13. Wealthy people should share their goods with poorer people
  14. Fashion is not important when it comes to defining personality
  15. High school grading system is not 100% accurate/fair

If you are still looking for the efficient academic writing help to develop a well-organized five-paragraph paper, know that you may order a full writing solution online without any obstacles or risks.

This post is written by NCTE member Kim Zarins. 

[Disclaimer: I don’t have a PhD in composition studies. My PhD is in English with a focus on medieval literature. Besides teaching college literature courses, I write creatively, and my debut young adult novel comes out in September. I am joining the debate on the five-paragraph essay in response to Kathleen Rowlands’ smart “Slay the Monster” journal article, because I think high school and college teachers can work together and set up our students for success—and the five-paragraph essay is setting them up for a really tough time in college. Students don’t find their voices this way and come to college hating how they sound in writing, particularly in the essay form.

As a high-school survivor of this form and now a teacher occasionally receiving it from students trying their best, I have to say I hate this abomination. I hate it so much, I decided to be naughty and condemn the five-paragraph essay in a five-paragraph essay. Here you go. Enjoy. Or not.]

From the dawn of time, or at least the dawn of the modern high school, the five-paragraph essay has been utilized in high school classrooms. Despite this long tradition, the five-paragraph essay is fatally flawed. It cheapens a student’s thesis, essay flow and structure, and voice.

First, the five-paragraph essay constricts an argument beyond usefulness or interest. In principle it reminds one of a three-partitioned dinner plate. The primary virtue of such dinner plates is that they are conveniently discarded after only one use, much like the essays themselves. The secondary virtue is to keep different foods from touching each other, like the three-body paragraphs. However, when eating from a partitioned plate, a diner might have a bite of burger, then a spoonful of baked beans, then back to the burger, and then the macaroni salad. The palate satisfies its complex needs for texture, taste, choice, and proportion. Not so for the consumers of the five-paragraph essay, who must move through Point 1, then Point 2, and then Point 3. No exceptions. It is arbitrary force-feeding to the point of indigestion. After the body paragraphs, and if readers have not already expired, they may read the Conclusion, which is actually a summary of the Introduction. There is no sense of building one’s argument or of proportion.

Second, critical thinking skills and the organization of the essay’s flow are impaired when a form must be plugged and filled with rows of stunted seeds that will never germinate. If we return to the partitioned-plate analogy, foods are separated, but in food, there is a play in blending flavors, pairing them so that the sum is greater than the individual parts. Also, there is typically dessert. Most people like dessert and anticipate it eagerly. In the five-paragraph essay there is no anticipation, only homogeneity, tedium, and death. Each bite is not food for thought but another dose of the same. It is like Miss Trunchbull in the Roald Dahl novel,  forcing the little boy to eat chocolate cake until he bursts—with the exception that no one on this planet would mistake the five-paragraph essay for chocolate cake. I only reference the scene’s reluctant, miserable consumption past all joy or desire.

Third, the five-paragraph form flattens a writer’s voice more than a bully’s fist flattens an otherwise perky, loveable face. Even the most gifted writer cannot sound witty in a five-paragraph essay, which makes one wonder why experts assign novice writers this task. High school students suffer to learn this form, only to be sternly reprimanded by college professors who insist that writers actually say something. Confidence is shattered, and students can’t articulate a position, having only the training of the five-paragraph essay dulling their critical reasoning skills. Moreover, unlike Midas whose touch turns everything to gold, everything the five-paragraph essay touches turns to lead. A five-paragraph essay is like a string of beads with no differentiation, such as a factory, rather than an individual, might produce.  No matter how wondrous the material, the writer of a five-paragraph essay will sound reductive, dry, and unimaginative. Reading over their own work, these writers will wonder why they ever bothered with the written word to begin with, when they sound so inhuman. A human’s voice is not slotted into bins of seven to eleven sentences apiece. A human voice meanders—but meaning guides the meandering. Voice leans and wends and backtracks. It does not scoop blobs of foodstuff in endless rows. If Oliver Twist were confronted with such blobs of written porridge, he would not ask for more.

In conclusion, the five-paragraph essay is an effective way to remove all color and joy from this earth. It would be better to eat a flavorless dinner from a partitioned plate than to read or write a five-paragraph essay. It would be better to cut one’s toenails, because at least the repetitive task of clipping toenails results in feet more comfortably suited to sneakers, allowing for greater movement in this world. The five-paragraph essay, by contrast, cuts all mirth and merit and motion from ideas until there is nothing to stand upon at all, leaving reader and writer alike flat on their faces. Such an essay form is the very three-partitioned tombstone of human reason and imagination.

Kim Zarins is a medievalist and an Associate Professor of English at the California State University at Sacramento. Her debut young adult novel, Sometimes We Tell the Truth (Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse, pub date Sept 6), retells Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales with modern American teens traveling to Washington D.C. Find her on Twitter @KimZarins.

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