The number of paragraphs in an academic essay varies. The average length of a paragraph is about 3-4 sentences.
The number of paragraphs in an essay also depends on the type of essay and what that specific essay is about. For example, a narrative essay has different structure than an expository essay. Also, the more formal the writing style (APA vs MLA) may determine how many paragraphs are in an essay.
A narrative essay is a story or account of events, real or imaginary. Typically, a narrative essay follows the chronology of events and places emphasis on the plot of the story rather than analysis. A narrative essay may be more personal and can include dialogue between characters if necessary to move the plot along. This type of essay can be used to describe a personal experience, character development through events, or history.
The structure of a narrative essay typically has three parts:
- Introduction paragraph– introducing the topic and summarizing the story. Read about how to start a narrative essay the best way.
- body paragraphs that detail specific events in chronological order with emphasis on describing what happens rather than analysis. The body of a narrative essay can have anywhere from 2-5 paragraphs.
- Conclusion paragraph which restates the topic, summarizes the events, and ends the essay. The conclusion for a narrative essay can be 1 to 2 paragraphs.
Expository essays are where writers explain or describe an issue, event, process, etc., to inform the reader about it. An expository essay provides information that clearly explains and describes a topic and may be persuasive. This essay is more scientific-based and uses facts to support the topic. The structure of an expository essay can vary but typically has at least three body paragraphs that focus on one main point with transition sentences connecting the points together. An expository essay also includes a conclusion paragraph that restates the thesis statement and reminds the reader of the main points covered.
The number of paragraphs in an essay is also determined by the purpose and/or point of view that you choose to write your paper from. For example, a persuasive essay might include several paragraphs that explain what makes good leadership qualities and another paragraph arguing against negative aspects of leaders. The supporting paragraphs in a persuasive essay may be different lengths based on the amount of evidence needed to make an argument.
The number of paragraphs are in your essay will depends on the length requirements for your essay writing assignment. For example, if you are writing a 500 word essay about what good leadership is, there might only be 2-3 body paragraphs because it’s short enough to not need more paragraphs. A 2,000 word essay on the causes of World War I has many more paragraphs to provide information and detail about each cause.
How Many Paragraphs Do I Need for My Essay?
Here are some conversions of word count for basic academic essays to paragraphs:
- A 100 words essay to 300 words essay will have a maximum of 3 paragraphs.
- A 500 words essay to 1000 words essay will have a minimum of 5 paragraphs.
- A 1,000 word paper to 1,500 words will have at least the same minimum amount of five paragraphs.
- A 2000 words essay to 7,000 words essay will have at least 20 paragraphs.
- A 6 page essay to a 12-page essay may use up to 24 paragraphs.
- An 8-page essay to an 15-page will require at least 36 paragraphs.
- A 20-page essay to a 25-page research paper may use as many as 40+ paragraphs.
Keep in mind that your thesis statement and at least three supporting points will be needed to write a good academic essay. So even if you choose to write an argumentative or persuasive essay, each paragraph must include at least three substantial supporting sentences.
These guidelines are useful for writing essays in school or university; however, there is no magic number for how many paragraphs an academic essay should be. Essays are usually classified as short, medium or long with no set guidelines for how many paragraphs they should have. Generally speaking however, the shorter the essay is, the fewer number of paragraphs it needs to convey its message. Similarly, longer essays need more paragraphs to make their points clear.
Now that you know how many words/sentences each paragraph should contain, you need to start planning your paper. A good essay is usually made up of:
- Introduction – where do I want my readers to finish?
- Body paragraphs – what points will I make and how will I prove them?
- Conclusion – what have I proven and what impact does that have on the audience?
Basic Essay Word to Paragraphs Conversions
In the table below, find the number words in an essay with the corresponding number of paragraphs.
|Number of Words||Number of Paragraphs|
|100 words essay||3 paragraphs|
|200 word essay||3 paragraphs|
|250 word essay||3 paragraphs|
|300 word essay||3 paragraphs|
|400 word essay||3 paragraphs|
|500 word essay||3 to 4 paragraphs|
|600 word essay||4 paragraphs|
|700 word essay||4 to 5 paragraphs|
|750 word essay||5 paragraphs|
|800 word essay||5 to 6 paragraphs|
|900 word essay||6 paragraphs|
|1000 word essay||6 to 7 paragraphs|
|1250 word essay||8 to 9 paragraphs|
|1500 word essay||10 paragraphs|
|1750 word essay||11 to 12 paragraphs|
|2000 word essay||13 to 14 paragraphs|
|2500 word essay||16 to 17 paragraphs|
|3000 word essay||20 paragraphs|
|4000 word essay||26 to 27 paragraphs|
|5000 word essay||33 to 34 paragraphs|
|6000 word essay||40 paragraphs|
|7000 word essay||46 to 37 paragraphs|
|7500 word essay||50 paragraphs|
|8000 word essay||53 to 54 paragraphs|
|9000 word essay||60 paragraphs|
|10000 word essay||66 to 67 paragraphs|
16 Rules for writing good paragraphs in an essay
Here are some rules for writing good paragraphs that will help you to support your central claim:
- Evidence – support with facts, examples, quotes and statistics.
- Content – use the right words to convey your meaning precisely.
- Sentences – make them clear, concise and interesting.
- Transition – link sentences together with good connecting words/phrases.
- Word choice – choose your words carefully to avoid ambiguity or wrong meaning.
- Pacing – keep the reader engaged by how you order your paragraphs.
- Length & structure – don’t ramble, don’t have too many paragraphs and keep each one short.
- Conclusions – start your conclusions with “in conclusion” or “therefore” to show the reader what you’ve proven. See essay conclusion examples to learn more.
- Punctuation – make sure you use correct punctuation at the end of sentences and in lists.
- Style – ensure your writing is clear, concise, precise and interesting.
- Grammar – make sure you know how to use all the grammar rules for correct sentence construction.
- Flow – keep your sentences flowing into one another for a smooth read.
- Spelling – remember to proofread your essay because nothing turns readers off more than bad spelling.
- Structure – have a clear essay structure to convey your message in the best possible way.
- Writing – always write as if you’re writing for an intelligent, interested audience.
- Revise & proofread – go back to your first draft and make sure everything is strong enough to convince your reader of the central claim.
20 Tips to writing paragraphs in an essay
Here are 20 Tips to writing good paragraphs in an essay. These tips apply to all types of essays and research papers.
- Paragraphs should support the main point of your essay.
- Each paragraph can focus on a single idea or detail but every paragraph must be relevant to the central claim and not wander off-topic.
- Every paragraph should convey one unified idea, even if it makes reference to several other supporting points.
- Paragraphs should follow a logical structure and not go off on tangents that disrupt the flow for the reader.
- Use shorter paragraphs when you need to convey simple information or examples and longer paragraphs when writing complex sentences with multiple clauses.
- Don’t use repetitive ideas in different paragraphs just because your essay is really long and needs more than five.
- Every paragraph should have a topic sentence that conveys its main point, supported with several specific details to convey the meaning accurately.
- Each detail you present needs to be relevant to your central claim or it can weaken your argument instead of strengthening it.
- Maintain a balance between specific points and general points to avoid overloading or underwhelming your reader.
- Keep paragraphs short by using simple sentences with only one clause per sentence.
- When including complex sentences, try cutting them up into several simpler sentences so your point is clear for everyone to understand easily.
- Connecting words are essential for helping readers understand how each part of your argument is related.
- Because every paragraph must support the central claim, don’t write too many or too few paragraphs for your essay.
- Make sure each paragraph has a transition in and out of it that shows how previous ideas connect to the next point and vice versa.
- Paragraphs should flow in a logical sequence to maintain reader engagement throughout the entire writing process.
- Paragraphs are all about organization and showing your reader what you’re trying to say by using the right words for impact.
- The conclusion paragraph comes last after paragraphs that show how each point contributes to proving your central claim.
- In the conclusion paragraph, summarize your main points and present a final thought to leave the reader with a strong finish.
- Conclusions should not introduce any new ideas or information but instead restate what you’ve already proven in your essay so the reader remembers it properly.
- End on a strong note by presenting a final thought that will be most relevant or important to your reader.
A Video on how to help you understand number of paragraphs to use when writing an essay.
How to determine the best number of paragraphs in an essay
Typically, the number of paragraphs in an essay is determined by the writing assignment. Some essays are only three paragraphs long while others are over twenty.
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There are various tools to help you determine how many paragraphs are in an essay. You can count how many sentences are in the document and divide that number by two, for example. If there are five sentences, there should be two paragraphs.
But this method is not always accurate because it is based on the number of sentences in an essay rather than words or characters.
The best way to determine the number of paragraphs in an essay is to read and follow the given assignment, such as three-five paragraphs. This may vary depending on your instructor’s preferences, but it will help you define how many sentences should be included in each paragraph, and therefore help you count the final number of paragraphs in your essay.
If you are writing a five-paragraph essay, the body of your paper should have one paragraph for each of the five required body paragraphs. For an essay that is only three paragraphs long, you would have one paragraph summarizing the topic and two paragraphs discussing your thesis.
As far as length goes, there are no specific rules for how many words or sentences should be included in each paragraph. But most essays paragraphs consist of anywhere from one to five (how to write a 5 paragraph essay).
In conclusion, the number of paragraphs in an essay will depend on its length and whether you are being asked to write a three-paragraph or 5 paragraph essay.
Are you struggling to determine your essay into sensible paragraphs? We can help you structure your essay, shorten an essay, and even revise an essay to the correct number of paragraphs based on your professor/teacher’s instructions.
What are your thoughts on how many paragraphs to include in your essay?
On average, an essay paragraph should have at least 5 sentences.
A 750 word essay should have 150 words per paragraph so that the total number of paragraphs to be 5.
A college essay should have a minimum of 3 paragraphs.