The five paragraph essay is a standard high school essay, one that is often hourglass in shape. That means it starts with a general idea, narrows down the focus in the center by discussing specific concepts or ideas, and then branches back to the general focus at the end.
With the five paragraph essay, you want your first paragraph to begin with a general sentence. You want it to end with your thesis statement. The thesis statement needs to contain the three points that will then constitute the three body paragraphs. The final paragraph is the conclusion, where you sum up everything that you have written.
The five paragraph essay is a great way to learn how to write academic papers. It is a simplified piece of writing that requires you to tell the reader what your idea is, and support that idea with evidence. The five paragraph essay is limited because of its length, and thereby forces you to really master the key concepts involved in organizing an essay. It is also perfect practice for when you have to write college admissions essays or writing tests that follow this format.
The five paragraph essay will focus on just the facts. It will focus on:
It is in college that you need to really focus on the “why” and the “how”. You can integrate myriad of facts that you have studied and memorized throughout the course of your high school education in the standard five paragraph essay. You can present something general, something vague, and then bring that generalization down to a point, the point that you want to make.
The thesis is often a “listing thesis”. This means that your thesis statement lists the things that you will show the reader in your essay. For example:
“I will show how the British lost their empire in India by examining politics, military technology, and religion”. You will then treat each paragraph as a separate entity. The first paragraph will cover politics. The second paragraph will focus on military technology. And the third paragraph will cover religion. Your conclusion will serve to summarize what you presented. It summarizes the three things that you covered in the body of your essay.
By mastering the five paragraph essay you can let your form control the content of your final paper.