Five Paragraph Essay

General Information

The 5-paragraph essay is one of the most commonly used writing assignments, as it’s required for the majority of popular exams, such as TOEFL, IELTS or the SAT.

Since in most exams of this sort you aren’t allowed to exceed the time limit when completing the “Writing” section, it would be wise to memorize the outline of the 5-paragraph essay. By doing so, you’ll be capable of finalizing this section fast and productively. The most notable advantage of this structure is the fact that it can be utilized in a vast array of papers, like Persuasive, Cause and Effect, Expository, Narrative or Argumentative essays.

Commonly Used Topics

Take a look at the following examples of the most commonly used topics when writing 5-paragraph essays:

  • Can people draw a life lesson from a situation they didn’t experience directly? Can one draw a life lesson from the mistakes committed by another person?
  • Are animal experiments moral or immoral?
  • Should same-sex couples be allowed to get married?
  • Should the state impose stricter firearm control regulations?
  • Is it ethical to preserve the capital punishment?
  • Is it alright to legalize cannabis?
  • Should education become gratuitous for all individuals?

Of course, there are also plenty of other topics on which you can write a 5-paragraph essay apart from these examples.

5-Paragraph Essay Outline

The outline of the 5-paragraph essay is a highly distinguishing one. It is made of the following parts: Introduction, Body Paragraph 1, Body Paragraph 2, Body Paragraph 3 and Conclusion. The 3 body paragraphs are different in terms of target. Furthermore, the outline of a

5-paragraph essay can be imagined as a keyhole, as it begins very WIDE, turns TIGHTER, and in the end become WIDE once again.

Introduction: about 3 to 5 sentences

The introduction establishes the structure of the whole paper. This section begins with the HOOK sentence.

  • The Hook Sentence aims to captivate the audience.
  • In most situations, the Hook Sentence is either rhetorical, or it includes a life example or an interesting statement.
  • As an example, if you want to write a 5-paragraph essay on the subject of environmental safety, you could devise the following sentence: “Is it acceptable to inhabit the world that is filled with inhospitable territories and garbage?”

The example illustrates a rhetorical question. Thus, no one seeks a response to this question, as the response is obvious.

Succinct Introduction of Arguments (1-3)

  • In this part, you are required to succinctly introduce your supportive arguments. Ideally, you should avoid disclosing too much!
  • Advice: This brief introduction can be imagined as a movie trailer. In other words, you need to be compelling while not disclosing the “STORY.”
  • For example: Environmental conservation is pivotal to ensuring that the Earth is in a good state.

Thesis Assertion

  • The thesis statement represents the most significant phase of your entire paper. Here is where your argument is introduced.
  • It constitutes the basis of your paper.
  • As we’re dealing with the topic of environmental preservation, this is how your thesis should look like: “The conservation of our environment is pivotal to reducing the risk of natural disasters.”
  • Advice: If you feel like the content of your body paragraphs is not adequately connected to the thesis, the best way to go about it is to adapt the thesis.

Body Paragraphs (5 to 7 Sentences)

  • The 3 body paragraphs constitute the “bulk” of your 5-paragraph essay. Here you are required to motivate your substantiated point of view (Thesis Assertion).
  • As a rule, these paragraphs include the following sections: Opening Phrase (1), Endorsing Argument/Reasoning (3-5), Conclusive Phrase (1).
  • In the Opening Phrase, you need to succinctly introduce your main argument. Avoid disclosing too many details.
  • For instance: “The destruction of our forests and the contamination of our air have an adverse impact on our environment and heighten the risk of disease!”
  • Endorsing Argument and Reasoning: Here you need to particularize your topic. Moreover, above all else, you need to continue to SUPPORT YOUR THESIS!
  • For example: Avarice and self-centeredness constitute substantial factors that exert a negative impact on our environment, as they are to blame for deforestation and air contamination. Although at first, a handful of individuals may profit from these activities, in the long run, such actions endanger the entire world. A very eloquent example is that of Beijing, a city in which the atmosphere is so polluted that the inhabitants are required to wear masks when strolling through the streets.
  • The Conclusive Phrase constitutes the contrary of the opening sentence. Here you need to succinctly conclude your argument before advancing to the ensuing one.
  • For example: “In conclusion, by inflicting damage on our genuine resources and our atmosphere, we do not only harm our environment but also humanity itself!”



Your arguments need to be introduced as follows:

  • Body paragraph 1: introduce your second most decisive argument
  • Body paragraph 2: introduce your frailest argument
  • Body paragraph 3: introduce your most decisive argument

To be more aware of the outline of this type of essay, pay attention to the table below:

Paragraph Ideas
1 Announce Subject

3 Endorsing Postulations (A, B, D)

Thesis Declaration

2 Announce and back up your first endorsing postulation by utilizing 3 proofs.

A.    Subject Phrase

1.     Proof

2.     Proof

3.     Proof

A.    Conclusive Phrase

3 Announce and back up your second endorsing postulation by utilizing 3 proofs.

A.    Subject Phrase

1.     Proof

2.     Proof

3.     Proof

A.    Conclusive Phrase

4 Announce and back up your third endorsing postulation by utilizing 3 proofs.

A.    Subject Phrase

1.     Proof

2.     Proof

3.     Proof

A.    Conclusive Phrase

5 Reaffirm Thesis Declaration

Summarize the 3 primary endorsing postulations (A, B, D)

Final Conclusive Phrase

Conclusion (3-5 Phrases): This section needs to be a reflection of the introduction

  • Reaffirm the Hypothesis (Phrase 1): You need to reaffirm your most important argument (thesis) in a categorical way. To prove the cogency of your point of view, you ought to rewrite it in a self-assured manner.
  • For example: The well-being of Terra depends on the way in which we decide to treat it and, the more cautious we behave, the more advantageous it will be for the entire humanity.
  • Devising conclusions for the endorsing arguments (1-3 Phrases): Here you need to rewrite your fundamental perspectives. Each paragraph must include only one concluding phrase.
  • If you notice that two or more of your endorsing arguments are almost identical, you should blend them into a unique sentence. By doing so, you’ll avoid ruining the outline.
  • For example, you wrote an argument in which you talked about keeping natural resource utilization to a minimum. In this situation, you could devise the following sentence: “Keeping the utilization of resources to a minimum and strengthening their effectiveness constitute pivotal phases in augmenting the well-being of Terra.”

Conclusive Hook Phrase (Optional)

When concluding any paper, it’s advisable to come up with something unforeseen, to take your readers by surprise. You could draft a second hook sentence, which briefly RECAPS your paper. A good idea would be to write it in the form of a rhetorical question.

For example: “The well-being of Terra is extremely significant and when push comes to shove, can we agree to live on a barren planet?”

By creating a conclusive hook, you will intrigue your reader, who will be reflected on your final idea.

Conventional Grading Criteria

When grading 5-paragraph essays, distinct schools and colleges from all across the world make use of various criteria. However, one of the most customary varieties of criteria is the 5-point type. When this style is applied, students are graded in conformity with the following criteria: Focus, Organization, Conventions, Style and Content.

  • Focus: Did the student put a lot of time and effort into demonstrating their thesis? Were they successful in their objectives?
  • Organization: Did the paper show fluidity? Did the writer make firm transitions from one paragraph to the next? Did they fully comply with the required outline?
  • Conventions: Were there a lot of grammar errors? Did the phrases have an adequate size?
  • Style: Was the lexicon adequate? Were some terms repeated too many times? Was the writer original?
  • Content: Did the student substantiate their argument adequately? Was the essay made of reasonable and well-documented assertions? Were the arguments powerful enough?

What Do I Do If I Don’t Feel Able to Write the Essay?

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