How to Write a Five Paragraph Essay

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How to Write a Five Paragraph Essay

  • By Cindy Newton

Texas Essential Knowledge Skills for Ninth Grade

  • §110.42. English I (One Credit).
  • (1)  Writing/purposes. The student writes in a variety of forms, including business, personal, literary, and persuasive texts, for various audiences and purposes. The student is expected to:
  • (A)  write in a variety of forms using effective word choice, structure, and sentence forms with emphasis on organizing logical arguments with clearly related definitions, theses, and evidence; write persuasively; write to report and describe; and write poems, plays, and stories;
  • (C)  organize ideas in writing to ensure coherence, logical progression, and support for ideas.

The Basic High School Essay

  • Introduction
  • Body Paragraph One
  • Body Paragraph Two
  • Body Paragraph Three
  • Conclusion


  • Begin with a generalized topic related to your main topic.
  • Paragraph should have at least three sentences addressing this general topic.
    • If the main topic is the unprecedented appeal of the Harry Potter books, you could begin with several general remarks about the fantasy genre.

Introduction (Cont.)

  • Start with an interesting statement that will grab the reader’s attention.
    • Avoid a boring line like -- In this essay I will explain why the Harry Potter series is so popular.
    • A more interesting sentence would be – Have you ever wanted to visit a place where people can fly, animals can talk, and dragons are a common sight? That world exists—in books.

Thesis Statement

  • Introduces the specific focus of the essay.
  • Should contain the names of the text and the author, as well as each point that will be proven in the paper.
  • It is the last sentence of the introductory paragraph.
    • The Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling use magic, likeable characters and the universal struggle between good and evil to successfully appeal to adolescents disinterested in reading.

The three body paragraphs will focus on the three topics introduced in the thesis.

  • The Harry Potter books by J. K.
  • Rowling use magic, likeable char-
  • acters and the universal struggle
  • between good and evil to
  • successfully appeal to adolescents
  • disinterested in reading.
  • Magic
  • Likeable Characters

Body Paragraphs

  • Opens with a topic sentence which states the point you are making in the paragraph, as well as the evidence you will present in support of your argument.
  • Paragraph should have at least three supporting sentences in addition to the topic and concluding sentences.
    • The magic used in the Harry Potter books creates a whimsical atmosphere that sets the stage for fantastic adventures for Harry and his friends. One such adventure is …

Body Paragraphs (Cont.)

  • Each of these sentences must connect back to the point of the topic sentence, as well as enhance it.
  • Do not let the supporting sentences veer off into new directions. Make sure each sentence either explains or supports the topic.


  • Recaps the entire essay.
  • Restates the thesis.
  • Briefly recounts the arguments made in the body paragraphs.
  • May introduce related conclusion reached by the arguments made in the paper.
    • If authors targeting the adolescent market would spend a little more time on character development, they could duplicate J. K. Rowling’s success.

Tips to Remember

  • Each sentence should have a purpose. Try not to ramble.
  • Make sure that the great topic that wows you during a brainstorming session is actually in line with the assignment.
  • Don’t be afraid to consult a thesaurus—too much repetition of a word can strike a sour note in your paper.



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