Friday, June 12, 2009

Writing a Five-Paragraph Academic Essay the Simple Way

Writing a Five-Paragraph Academic Essay the Simple Way


The five paragraph essay follows a defined format: a one paragraph introduction with thesis statement; a three paragraph body; and a one paragraph conclusion. It is the key to all academic writing, and it is something you need to master before you can consider yourself a successful writer.

The first paragraph introduces us to the topic and includes a thesis that gives the three main supporting subtopics. The second through fourth paragraphs are all similar in format. They individually restate the subtopics, and are developed by giving supporting information. The fifth and last paragraph restates the thesis statement and reminds the reader of the three main supporting ideas that were developed. All of these paragraphs are important.

The introductory paragraph is where the writer introduces the reader to the topic. It is important to make this as clear and compelling as possible. This is where the writer grabs the reader's attention. It is important to note that all introduction paragraphs should end in a thesis statement. This is one sentence that contains your main idea and the organizational plan for your essay. It should be specific, and the best type of thesis statement states clearly three subtopics that the essay will develop in the subsequent body paragraphs.

Next, the body of the essay contains paragraphs two through four. They are all similarly constructed. Their topic sentences are restatements, often in original form, of the three supporting ideas presented in the thesis statement. The subtopic of each of the body paragraphs is again supported by four or more supporting sentences. These sentences cement, in the reader's mind, the relevancy and relationship of each of the subtopics to the thesis statement.

Finally, the fifth paragraph is the conclusion. It is often a good idea—though not always--to restate the thesis and three supporting ideas in an original and powerful manner as this is the last chance the writer has to convince the reader of the validity of the information presented. Because the purposes of the first and fifth paragraph are so similar, some writers construct them at the same time. They will edit them, as necessary, as they do with each and every part of the essay. Remember that paragraphs are made up of ideas that you choose and words that you control. Every word is important, and you should carefully consider each word. You can always change your ideas and words to fit any new thoughts you have. That is why writing is such a fluid, creative process.

It is important to reiterate that each of the paragraphs is joined together by a transition word, phrase or sentence. Transitions help the reader to follow the flow of the logic and sequencing. All of the essay types follow this basic transition format. To put it more visually, the structure looks like this:

Introductory Paragraph
General Topic Sentence
Background Information
Thesis Statement containing
Subtopic One
Subtopic Two
Subtopic Three
Transition
First Supporting Paragraph
Restate Subtopic One
First Supporting Detail or Example
Second Supporting Detail or Example
Third Supporting Detail or Example
Transition
Second Supporting Paragraph
Restate Subtopic Two
First Supporting Detail or Example
Second Supporting Detail or Example
Third Supporting Detail or Example
Transition
Third Supporting Paragraph
Restate Subtopic Three
First Supporting Detail or Example
Second Supporting Detail or Example
Third Supporting Detail or Example
Transition
Closing or Summary Paragraph
Synthesis of main topic
Synthesis of Subtopic One
Synthesis of Subtopic Two
Synthesis of Subtopic Three

There is more to understanding the structure than these simple basics. To find out more about the five paragraph essay, visit some of these sites (In order to view these sites, you might have to click on the Control Key at the same time you click the mouse button.)

The Five Paragraph Essay - basic structure with an example
Writing an Effective Essay - follow the basic steps
Essay Writing Tips - simple yet effective
Write the Introduction and Conclusion - This site provides the basics and is a good place to begin. There is also a sample essay.
Writing an Effective Essay - follow the basic steps
Find the Question - Be sure you understand the assignment
The Five Paragraph Essay Slide Show - all of the main points are covered in an interesting manner
The Five Paragraph Essay - Here is a sample to show you hot it all fits together.

2 comments:

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