5-Paragraph Essay

Look on this page for . . .
1. tips for writing powerful essays
2. an outline for writing a persuasive essay

3. some examples of  introductions and conclusions

Use this overview if you are new to writing essays: WRITING A LITERARY ESSAY

WRITING TIPS

IDEAS AND DETAILS
1. Make sure you have at least three reasons for your opinion.
2. Try to include real-life examples that you have experienced.
3. Include researched facts, if possible, and don’t forget to cite the sources of your information.

ORGANIZATION
1. Make sure you follow the correct format for the introduction and conclusion.
2. Make sure you have five paragraphs in total.
3. Make sure you have a topic sentence for each paragraph.

VOICE
1. Take a position and stick to it.
2. Try to sound like you really believe what you say.
3. Remember who your reader is: often an adult rather than another student.
4. Avoid using the word “you”.

WORD CHOICE
1. Use powerful verbs.
2. Use some descriptive adjectives.
3. Use some alliteration.
4. Try to use a figure of speech in each of the three middle paragraphs.
5. Avoid using the word “could”; try to use the word ‘can’, instead.

SENTENCE FLUENCY
1. Use transition words.  Find some HERE.
2. Use ‘Furthermore,’ or ‘In addition,’ at the beginning of sentences. Only use ‘also’ in the middle of a sentence.
3. Use a combination of long sentences and short sentences.
4. If you can, use the short sentences for especially strong opinions or for concluding sentences.
5. Use the long sentences when giving examples.

CONVENTIONS
1. Proofread.
2. Remember that “a lot” is two words.
3. Remember to use a comma when you start a sentence with most, but not all,  transition words. (E.g. “Moreover, P.E. helps build healthy bodies.”  “And that is why physical education is so important!”)
4. Remember to use a comma to separate different parts of a compound sentence.
5. Use a dictionary to be sure of your spelling.
6. Double-space your work.

WRITING A FORMAL ESSAY
Here is one way to organize a formal essay.

I. INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH
A. Catchy sentence to get reader’s attention.
B. First main idea to support thesis.
C. Second main idea to support thesis.
D. Third main idea to support thesis.
E. Thesis statement: what you are trying to prove.

II. FIRST MAIN IDEA
A. Topic sentence paraphrased from the introduction.
B. Supporting details in several sentences.
C. Transition sentence to logically lead to next paragraph.

III. SECOND MAIN IDEA
A. Topic sentence paraphrased from the introduction.
B. Supporting details in several sentences.
C. Transition sentence to logically lead to next paragraph.

IV. THIRD MAIN IDEA
A. Topic sentence paraphrased from the introduction.
B. Supporting details in several sentences.
C. Transition sentence to logically lead to next paragraph.

V. CONCLUSION PARAGRAPH
A. Thesis statement paraphrased from introduction.
B. Third main idea.
C. Second main idea.
D. First main idea.
E. Sensational sentence to stay in reader’s memory.

Note: You may have more than three main ideas.
If you have a large topic, each main idea might have more than one paragraph. In this case, you might like to have a little introductory paragraph for each main idea. You don’t need a concluding paragraph; instead, make extra sure you end each section with a transitional sentence so readers can tell where you are going.

SOME SIMPLE EXAMPLES

An introduction: “Friendships enrich life. Stories show this is true. Life shows this is true. I know this is true. Friends stand beside us and make life easier.”
A Conclusion: “Friends make our lives easier by standing up for us. I know this is true. Other people know this is true. Even stories show this is true.  Friendships enrich our lives.”

An Introduction: “This world is an amazing place. There are incredible plants and animals. There are amazing natural features. And there are fantastic tourist sites to visit.  Our world is truly tremendous.”
A Conclusion: “Our world is full of wonders.  There are exciting tourist sites. There are incredible natural features. There are astonishing plants and animals. We live in a wonderful world!”

[This page may be copied for use with students if the following credit is provided: ©2007 Sophie Rosen.]

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