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Write a five paragraph essay

Updated on September 10, 2015
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Erin Shelby is passionate about living a lifestyle that aims for financial freedom. She writes about personal finance and other topics.

From start to finish, the five-paragraph format makes writing an essay easy.
From start to finish, the five-paragraph format makes writing an essay easy. | Source

If you need to know how to write an essay for a class, a scholarship application, or your job, the five-paragraph essay format can help. It’s easy to organize your thoughts if you’re using the five paragraph essay format. If you do this using index cards, your essay will nearly write itself. Here’s how to write a five-paragraph essay.

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What’s a Five-Paragraph Essay?

Knowing how to write an essay starts with understanding how it's made. An essay is like a sandwich. The five paragraph style has five sections: the introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs and a closing paragraph. The introductory and closing paragraphs are like the bread of the sandwich – they’re not as interesting as what’s on the inside of the sandwich. The body paragraphs are the inside part of the essay – like the meat or cheese of a sandwich - holding the most flavorful or interesting material that make the essay unique.


A five-paragraph essay is like a sandwich: the introduction and conclusion paragraphs are like the bread. The body paragraphs are like the inside of the sandwich- they contain the most interesting material that makes one essay different from another.
A five-paragraph essay is like a sandwich: the introduction and conclusion paragraphs are like the bread. The body paragraphs are like the inside of the sandwich- they contain the most interesting material that makes one essay different from another. | Source

Deciding on a Topic

Before you start writing, decide on a paper topic. For example, if you’ve been given an assignment to write about any environmental topic, you’ll need to make it more specific. To get started, brainstorm some ideas, so get out a piece of paper, and make a list. Your list might include recycling, solar power, solar panels, wind power, repurposing items, water conservation, bicycling, riding the bus and anything else that comes to mind.

How to Brainstorm

After brainstorming a list, you might decide that recycling is your favorite topic. Next, write down several things about recycling that you could talk about in your paper. These might include why people should recycle, why people don’t recycle, what recycling is or why it’s the best way for people to help the earth. When you have several ideas, choose three that you’ll discuss on paper for this essay.

Breaking Through Writer’s Block

If you get stuck, imagine that you’re having a conversation with a friend. If you get really, really stuck, try these ideas for breaking through writer’s block.

Creating Structure

Now, create a “topic sentence” for your paper that includes all three of these ideas. For example: people should recycle because it’s good for the earth, it’s easy and it costs nothing.

Do you see those three ideas- good for the earth, easy and costs nothing? Write each idea on a separate index card. For example, write “Recycling is easy” at the top of an index card, and expand on that idea on that card. Do the same thing for your other two ideas on the remaining two cards.

Opening and Closing

Next, get an index card and label it as the “Introduction”. This card will give a brief overview of your whole paper to the person reading it. Think of it as a sneak preview. There should be a few sentences in it showing what the paper will be about and it should include what the three main ideas – or “body” paragraphs are about.

Finally, get an index card and label it as the “Conclusion”. It will wrap up the ideas you talked about in the three most important paragraphs of your paper, or the “body” paragraphs. Go back to the ideas you presented in the “Introduction” paragraph. Present them again but in a different way.

Using spell check will catch some errors, but not all.
Using spell check will catch some errors, but not all. | Source

Double-Check

Before you type up your paper, make sure you’ve arranged your thoughts in this order:

Introduction

Body paragraph 1

Body paragraph 2

Body paragraph 3

Conclusion

Final Steps to Write a Paper

Before you submit your paper, use your computer’s spell check function. Read your paper aloud to find any mistakes your eyes couldn’t catch. If you have time, come back to your paper after a day or two to see if you can find any ways to improve your paper.

© 2013 erinshelby

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    • erinshelby profile image
      Author

      erinshelby 4 years ago from United States

      teaches12345, Thanks for the votes up. I believe this format really takes the mystery out of how to structure a paper.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Erin, this is a great artile on writing the standard essay. Very well done and easy to follow. You have my votes up on this one!

    • erinshelby profile image
      Author

      erinshelby 4 years ago from United States

      I'm glad this gave you some new information, duffsmom!

    • duffsmom profile image

      P. Thorpe Christiansen 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

      Great info. I had never heard of the 5 paragraph essay--until now. Thanks.