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Outlining A 5 Paragraph Essay

The 5 paragraph essay is considered to be the standard essay writing assignment. It is used in most exams such as TOEFL, IELTS, and the SAT. Since most of these exams limit the student time-wise in the "Writing" section, students are trained to memorize this format. This allows the student to answer the exam prompt quickly and efficiently. The format’s plasticity allows students to experiment with various essay styles. Persuasive, Argumentative, Expository, Narrative and Cause and Effect can all adapt to this format. As a result, perfecting the 5 paragraph essay is a practice that often turns rookies into experienced essay writer.


Table Of Contents



Good Example Topics

  • Can one learn a life lesson from an experience that they didn't have? Can you learn from other people's mistakes?
  • Is animal testing ethical?
  • Should same-sex marriage be allowed?
  • Should laws on gun-control be more strict?
  • Should the death penalty be abolished completely?
  • Should marijuana be legalized?
  • Should education be free for all students?

The paper topics listed above are some of the most common topics students write essays about. Of course, they are not limited to only these. Before choosing a topic and start the writing process, students should look to come up with a catchy title. The reason for doing so is centered around grabbing the readers attention right from the get go.

Outline

This type of essay has a very specific outline; It starts with an Introduction, goes to Body Paragraph 1, Body Paragraph 2, Body Paragraph 3, and sums things up with a Conclusion. Each body paragraph serves a specific purpose, and the essay is in the form of a keyhole. This means that it starts out very BROAD, gets more NARROW and finishes out BROAD.

Introduction: 3-5 Sentences

  • The introduction sets the structure for the rest of the essay, with the first sentence being the HOOK sentence.
  • The Hook Sentence is kind of like the spark to a flame; It grabs the reader's attention.
  • The Hook is usually either a rhetorical question or some life example or a stunning fact

This is a rhetorical question, meaning it does not need an answer because it is obvious.

Brief Introduction of Supporting Arguments (1-3)

Here you are taking your supporting arguments and briefly introducing them to the reader without revealing too much information.

Tip: Think of it as a trailer for a movie, like it should be exciting but can’t give away the “PLOT”.

Thesis Statement

  • The most important part of your entire essay; .
  • This statement will be the basis for the rest of your custom essay
  • Since we are talking about nature preservation, an example of a good thesis would be:
  • “The preservation of our planet is the most important aspect of keeping Mother Nature in check and avoiding draconian disasters.”

Quick Tip: if you find that your body paragraphs have nothing to do with your thesis, you can go back and change the thesis.

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

  • This is the “meat” of your 5 paragraph essay, where you explain the side you are defending (Thesis Sentence)
  • Structure of the body paragraphs is usually: Intro sentence (1), Supporting Argument
  • Explanation (3-5), Concluding Sentence (1)
  • Intro sentence should briefly bring out your argument without revealing too much information
  • Example:
  • Supporting Argument and Explanation: This is taking the topic and going into detail, while still most importantly DEFENDING YOUR THESIS!
  • Example:
  • The Concluding Sentence should be the opposite of the intro: instead of introducing your argument, you are briefly concluding your argument, transitioning into your next one.
  • Example:

THE FORMAT FOR ALL 3 BODY PARAGRAPHS IS THE SAME

KEY TIP:

  • The arguments should go in this order:
  • First body paragraph should be your second strongest argument
  • Second body should be your weakest argument
  • Third body should be your strongest argument

To give our readers a nice keyhole format visual, we have a picture of a standard Graphic Organizer below.

Conclusion (3-5 Sentences): This is the “mirror” of your intro

  • Restating Your Thesis (Sentence 1): You take your main argument (thesis) and restate it in a conclusive way. You are paraphrasing it in an assertive manner to show that you have “proved your point.”
  • Example:
  • Concluding your supporting arguments (1-3 Sentences): This is taking your supporting arguments (your body paragraphs) and rephrasing the main points you made in one sentence per paragraph.
  • If some of your supporting arguments are similar then you can combine them into one sentence to keep the good structure.
  • So for example,

Concluding Hook Sentence (Optional)

A good way to end an essay is something unexpected, to surprise the reader.
Create a second hook, but this time it should be a hook that SUMS things up in a few words, rhetorical questions are good for this.

This gives the 5 paragraph essay some spice at the end and makes the reader question your statement.

General Grading Rubric

Several schools and universities worldwide use several different types of rubrics, but one of the most standard rubric styles is the 5 point style, where it is broken down into 5 segments: Focus, Organization, Conventions, Style, and Content.

  • Focus: Did the writer spends his time proving his thesis? Did he accomplish his goal?
  • Organization: Was the essay fluid and were the transitions in between paragraphs smooth? Did the writer follow the proper outline and not diverge from the set structure?
  • Conventions: Did the writer make many grammatical mistakes? Did they have run on sentences?
  • Style: Did the writer use high-level vocabulary, were words rarely repeated, how creative were his sentence structures?
  • Content: Did the writer properly prove his argument? Were his statements logical and factual? Did he create strong arguments?

Example

Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Writers

Best Brian, fromEssayPro

A five paragraph essay is the first big writing assignment that your teacher will have you do in middle school! If you’re a beginner essayist, then my tip for you is to learn how to ensure that each paragraph has its own unique idea. Once you’ve mastered that, you can practice making your paragraphs flow into each other with transition sentences. Later on, in high school and college, this will be a very valuable skill to have. Connect your ideas together so your readers can follow along with ease. While writing, always keeps in mind what your next paragraph is about and try to lead up to it. In the first essays that you write, using words like “Firstly, Secondly, and In conclusion” is acceptable, but later on, you will need to find ways to separate your ideas without those linking words. Don’t make them a habit. Good luck with your writing!

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Five Paragraph Essay Outline

The Five-Paragraph Essay, one of the most frequently given assignments in higher education, is a fairly simple method of writing composition that most undergraduate students will have to produce many times throughout their academic careers. The purpose of the Five-Paragraph Essay is to serve as a way for students to demonstrate they have read, comprehended and can critically analyze material learned in the course in which the assignment has been given. They are to use this knowledge and skill-set to build an essay that ultimately makes a well-defended argument in the form of a Thesis; some instances may call for the student to only convey information on a given topic in response to a question, but most times an assignment asking for a Five-Paragraph Essay is wanting a student to make an argument and defend it in just five (sometimes more) paragraphs.

 

Unless a student is specifically directed to write essays that are much longer than five paragraphs, or, for example, if during an exam they are required to respond to a question in just one-paragraph answers, they usually are safe with writing a Five-Paragraph Essay.

 

Once the student first gets the Five-Paragraph Essay assignment, they are to brainstorm their initial response to the writing prompt or question – the one specified in their assignment. They are to then create an outline that they can use as a guide as they write the first draft of their paper.

 



Here is a cool piece of infographics that will help you better understand the writing process and manage the entire writing process:

Five-Paragraph Essay Outline Infographics

 



What follows (below) is the format for a detailed outline, one that most appropriately pertains to the five-paragraph essay assignment given in an English Composition or Humanities course:

 

Outlining the Essay’s Five Paragraphs One By One

 

Introductory Paragraph

A. Create a topic sentence that will ease the reader into the essay. The point of the topic sentence is to set establish and narrow the focus for the rest of the essay. 

B. Thesis Statement – the argument the essay will be making, from start to finish.

C. Three main points defending, supporting and substantiating the Thesis Statement. Each of the following body paragraphs will expound on these three main points, one by one.


First Body Paragraph

A. Transitional phrase – introduces the reader to the first point that will be expounded on that will serve to uphold the essay’s main argument – such as First of all, To start off, Firstly.

B. The first evidence that supports the argument, with a logical explanation as to why the point being made is important and relevant to the essay’s argument, and how it upholds the essay’s original Thesis Statement.


Second Body Paragraph

A. Transitional phrase – introduces the reader to the second point that will be expounded on that will serve to uphold the essay’s main argument – such as Next, Subsequently, Also, Secondly, Then.

B. The second evidence that supports the argument, with a logical explanation as to why the point being made is important and relevant to the essay’s argument, and how it upholds the essay’s original Thesis Statement.


Third Body Paragraph

A. Transitional phrase – introduces the reader to the third point that will be expounded on that will serve to uphold the essay’s main argument – such as Lastly, Thirdly, Also, Finally.

B. The last bit evidence that supports the argument, once again with a logical explanation as to why the point made is important and relevant to the essay’s argument, and how it ultimately upholds the essay’s original Thesis Statement.

 

Conclusion Paragraph

A. A conclusion on the essay’s thesis, the point it sought to make, the argument it attempted to defend, etc.

B. Restate the original thesis, as well as the main points that supported it and legitimized it.

 

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