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Academic writing basics: what is a 5 paragraph essay

Essays are commonly assigned to people from elementary school all the way to PhD classes. Learning the process of creating one is extremely useful but occasionally that can be tough for some students. For this reason the following breakdown of a five paragraph essay is presented.


The introduction of an essay gives you a chance to explain what your essay is about. This is fairly straightforward and could easily be guessed by looking at the everyday meaning of the word “introduction”. Some introductions contain a central thesis statement that summarizes the purpose of the essay while others address that point completely throughout that first paragraph.


The second, third and fourth paragraphs of a 5 paragraph essay will be contained in the body. The body of an essay is the part where points are explored in detail. If you have evidence to support any of your points, this is the appropriate place to delve into them thoroughly. If your essay will end up having more or less paragraphs, that variation in length would be contained within this section as the introduction and conclusion must exist.


The conclusion of the essay is the place where you, the writer, wrap things up neatly for the reader. If you drew any conclusions from the points that were made earlier on in the essay, this is a great spot to explicitly state them. This is not, however, the place to include any new points that you happened to think up along the way. If a point is important enough then you should give it its own paragraph so that it can be properly addressed in full. If the point does not need to be dealt with in detail, perhaps it should not be mentioned at all and you should omit it entirely.

That in essence is how an essay is constructed. If you look at each of the paragraphs you may even notice that this article itself is an example of a five paragraph essay and you can use it to help you envision the format. There may be a few alterations that you make to general structure and you may find yourself needing an extra paragraph or two if you hit on an exciting topic that needs further exploration. That’s fine. The field of writing allows for variation and even welcomes it.