The Ultimate Guide to the 5-Paragraph Essay



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The Ultimate Guide to the 5-Paragraph Essay

A five-paragraph essay is a composition that has a standard format: an introductory paragraph, three paragraphs of the main text, and a final paragraph. Students must complete such an assignment in the English language or exams at high school throughout the training.

Writing a high-quality 5 paragraph essay is an essential skill for first-grade English learners. It allows them to express specific ideas, statements, or concepts in an organized manner, backed up with evidence to support each of these concepts. Later, students may decide to abandon the standard five-paragraph format and risk writing a research essay instead.

However, teaching students to organize essays in a five-paragraph format is an easy way to introduce them to literary criticism that will be tested repeatedly throughout primary, secondary, and further education. Therefore, our guide on how to write an essay will be useful for every student.

Types of 5-Paragraph Essay

For standardized tests, students usually require to write a 5 paragraph essay. But before starting work, you must decide which type of essay to apply in the text. Check out the main types of essay:

  1. The opinion essay is about expressing your point of view. You can fully agree with a specific statement, partially, or express complete disagreement.
  2. The discussion essay gives you a topic to argue for. Write your own opinion, only when the teacher set such a task. Students use persuasive speech examples to avoid being mistaken in their statements.
  3. In an advantage and disadvantage essay, you need to describe the pros and cons of an idea or a phenomenon. In one paragraph, you indicate the pros, and in the other, the minuses, the order does not matter.
  4. In a cause and effect or solution essay, you need to indicate the causes and consequences of a particular problem, and sometimes suggest ways to solve it.
  5. The direct question essay requires the student to answer each of the questions in a separate paragraph using two arguments.
  6. Literary analysis is the characteristics of the work through the eyes of the student. Analysis has many components, so check out the literary analysis example for a better idea before you get started.


Imagine the situation: you thoroughly strained your thinking resources and came up with a snappy headline while writing a book. The person became interested, began to read the introduction, and did not like the first line. In this case, your efforts are in vain.

The same goes for the essay because the introduction plays just as important a role as the title. It stirs up interest and stimulates further reading. Design your introduction so that your text is read to the end.

You can start the text:

  • with a description of the problem;
  • with exciting news or an intriguing story;
  • from a review;
  • with a quote of a sage.

Your task is to leave only that information from which it will be clear what you want to convey to the reader.

Introductory Paragraph

The introductory paragraph sets the topic and tone of the article, so write your text in the same style. It should be clear and understandable. Anything that can wait until at least the second paragraph - unnecessary details and precise calculations - is excluded from the first paragraph.

We advise you not to start with numbers. It is also not customary to start a text with official titles or full names of institutions - this sets you in the formal mood, and the essay looks like a free expression of thought.

The main task of the first paragraph is intermediate, to link the heading with what will be described later in the main text. However, take some advice:

  • Don't repeat the heading in the first paragraph word for word.
  • Don't try to explain the title in more detail.
  • Remember - each phrase of the text should carry new information.


We have come to the central part of the article - to the body paragraphs of the paper. The main text reveals the content of the work. The text should be divided into three paragraphs. The optimal paragraph size is 4-5 sentences. Short and narrow sections are better absorbed. Several recommendations:

Write without "water" - in your own words, in specific and understandable sentences, do not use complex terminology. Water is useless content, and the best way to deal with it is with facts.

Write your text. Essay writers who express their own original opinions are of more interest than memorized, copied phrases.

Create visually engaging content. The text should be comfortable, pleasing to the eyes of the reader. Do not be lazy to format the text; focus on the main thing: use bold, italic - this will enhance your article's integrity and relevance.

Body — First paragraph

The first paragraph of the main text should contain the most persuasive argument. Highlight the most striking elements in the text - the most exciting episode, the most emotional moment, the most vivid metaphor. And build a comment around these elements of the text tells us why you think they are so important. The first sentence of this paragraph should include a "back hook" connecting to the transition hook at the end of the introductory parts. The last sentence should flow smoothly to the second paragraph.

Body - Second paragraph

Here you need to bring the opposite opinion and support it with arguments by inventing an opponent who disagrees with you. This task is relatively simple since you can always find one argument that is opposite to your point of view. The second paragraph is structured like this:

  1. Thesis.
    • There exists another point of view on this issue.
    • Nevertheless, one can consider this problem from another angle.
  2. First argument.
    • First of all,
    • The first thing to be considered is ...
  3. Second argument.
    • Another fact is that …
    • Besides,

Body - Third paragraph

In the last paragraph of the main body, you can indicate your disagreement with the opposite position. Explain the discrepancy between your point of view and the different, explain the reasons, and prove your opinion's correctness.

The student must refute all the arguments of the fictional opponent. We recommend that you emphasize these arguments, so you don't miss anything. In this paragraph, you can find one more argument confirming your point of view. Therefore, calculate your strength immediately. Use this outline:

  1. Thesis + the first counterargument.
    • Despite my respect for this opinion, I cannot share it because ... Nevertheless, I'm afraid I have to disagree with this statement, because ...
  2. Second counterargument.
    • Moreover, one should not ignore the fact that …
    • Finally,…


If an article entices the reader with a headline, and the main paragraphs are supposed to arouse interest, then the ending is the part where attention is re-focused. The reader has certain expectations for him since, in conclusion, they usually give:

  • The main conclusions of the article.
  • The final verdict on the topic.
  • Hints for further actions.

Therefore, the reader's perception sharpens, and this moment cannot ignore, especially when it comes to essay writing. The final is a high-quality and thoughtful ending, on which the further behavior of the reader depends. It is essential to consider two points:

  1. The ending is always built on the facts that became known to the reader from the article.
  2. A reasonable final not only repeats the main points of the text. It points out to the audience what is not too noticeable. It also tells the reader how to use the knowledge gained to get even more benefits.

Concluding paragraph

The final paragraph has the following rules:

  1. If the text talks about the benefits of a book, it should not end with conclusions about its importance, stick to a logical structure so that the professor understands you.
  2. Factual statements should be consistent throughout the article. This is the second quality of effective confinement.
  3. The third is its capacity. Sometimes authors either neglect it altogether or rush to the other extreme, creating a finale that is several times larger than some sections. It is necessary to stick to the "golden mean": do not repeat clear statements and draw a useful general final.
  4. And fourth, any paper is written for the reader, so every part of it, including the final, should have useful recommendations. How it can manifest itself: in tips, advice, calls to action, sometimes in warnings.
Originally published May 29, 2017, updated Jan 14, 2021

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