How To Write A Five - 5 Paragraph Essay - Tips On Structure, Format & Outline

A Simple 5 paragraph essay paper writing guide

High school and college students can attest that essay writing is part of their mandatory academic experiences. Therefore, one must possess adequate essay writing skills to maneuver through this stage. Five-paragraph essays may have been introduced in elementary school, in their most basic format. However, as students advance, they realize that content of the paragraphs changes with the type of essay. If you have adequately grasped the concept of five-paragraph essay writing, you can modify the content as deemed necessary. Essentially, you should not disregard the small details taught in your elementary English class.

What is a five-paragraph essay?

As the name suggests this essay is a piece of prose writing that is divided into five paragraphs. The first paragraph comprises the introduction while the subsequent three are the body paragraphs. The last paragraph represents, in most instances, a summary of the piece; that is the conclusion. Professors mostly use this format to test students’ knowledge regarding particular subjects within a limited time. The paragraphs range between five to seven sentences, implying that the essays are not overly long. We will identify the different types of essays that adopt this structure.

Types of five-paragraph essays that you can write about

The terminology “five-paragraph” represents the arrangement of a piece of writing. However, it does not tell the type of content that the writer will include in each paragraph. We can further classify the essays depending on the information they carry as follows;

  • 5 Paragraph Compare and contrast

While adopting the five-paragraph format, this essay shows the similarities and differences between various subjects or items.

  • 5 Paragraph Argumentative essay

In five paragraphs, the writer presents arguments regarding a particular subject. He/she further provides details about the side they are supporting. In the end, the writer mentions their point of view regarding the matter at hand. There is an introduction, two supporting arguments in each paragraph, a counterargument in the third, and then the conclusion.

  • 5 Paragraph Persuasive essay

Similar to the argumentative essay, this project tries to convince the reader to lean towards a certain direction. The reader uses three body paragraphs to convince the reader why their point of view is the most desirable. Its persuasive nature requires that the writers base their arguments on irrefutable evidence.

  • 5 Paragraph Narrative essays

This is probably the first type of essay that most learners write in their early stages. It involves telling a story within five paragraphs while giving relatable examples.

  • 5 Paragraph Definition essay

This type of essay also adopts the five-paragraph format in defining a particular topic. In addition to the dictionary meaning, the writers also tell what they understand of the words to be defined. They further use illustrations to explain the meaning.

  • 5 Paragraph Cause and effect essay

Yet another five-paragraph essay, this one explains the reason for things to happen and the aftermath. You must be careful with a 5 paragraph cause and effect essay as you need to keep the word count low while at the same time ensuring you discuss each cause and outline the effect.

  • 5 Paragraph Descriptive essay

As the name suggests, this essay intends to describe a given problem as per research. Therefore, the three body paragraphs should provide adequate details.

  • 5 Paragraph Literary analysis

This type of essay is common in literature classes in the evaluation of literary work. The writer analyses or critiques a poem, article or essay, among others.

Five paragraph essay structure and formatting guideline

Read on: How to buy lay essays online,best english essay writing services, and how to pay for essays online or proceed to learn how to begin writing an essay with 5 paragraphs for college or university. This guide can also be used in for high school students looking for the best high school assignment help services.  

Writing a flawless five-paragraph essay

While the content may differ, one requires a general guideline on how to go about this essay. The crucial point is to write an eye-catching introduction, a relevant body, and engrossing conclusion.

Writing the introduction - How to start a 5 paragraph essay paper

The introduction of your essay determines whether the reader will be interested in the rest of the piece. Therefore, the writer should craft it carefully to paint a positive picture of the entire essay. For literary analysis, mention the title, author and genre of your literary piece in this section. The introduction can be divided into three sections; the hook, background information and the thesis statement.

  • Hooks to use when writing a 5 paragraph college essay

The hook is the first sentence of your essay that uniquely introduces your essay. An attention-grabber piques the reader to stay hooked to the entire work. It can take various forms depending on the type of essay you are writing. The following are the statement that may comprise of your hook;

  • Rhetoric question
  • Joke
  • Quote
  • Anecdote
  • Stunning fact


  • Background information and introduction

Your introduction should be brief and give a sneak peek of the essay. Think of it as a trailer to an intriguing movie. The background briefly introduces what you intend to cover in your essay. Do not provide details at this point; you can mention the ideas you will discuss later.

  • Thesis statement

Being a single sentence that represents the entire essay, it should be brief and concise. It takes the last part of the introduction and you should base your body paragraphs on this statement.

Body paragraphs

After introducing your topic, it is time to give the details of each point you intend to cover. The body paragraphs are three, each representing a different point or argument. Begin each sentence of the paragraph with the main idea, followed by supporting evidence and a relevant example. Your paragraph should carry between five to eight sentences each. Ensure you use the appropriate transition phrases to start a new paragraph, depending on the type of essay. These transition words include; additionally, on the contrary, moreover, furthermore, likewise, by comparison, and similarly, among others. Ensure there is a natural flow of ideas to remain relevant to the defined thesis statement.

Conclusion – How to end a five-paragraph essay paper

In most essays, the writer summarizes the points discussed in the essay here. Make sure you know which types of essays allow you to introduce new information in the conclusion. However, most essays will only aim at emphasizing the thesis statement rather than bring new ideas on the table. You can also use this paragraph to tell the lesson you may have learned from the topic of discussion. End the essay in a manner that leaves the reader with some food for thought. It could be a question, anecdote or a strong statement.

Review your work and ask for help writing a 5 paragraph essay

A piece of writing is not complete until it has undergone proofreading. This stage of post-writing will ensure you identify any mistakes that could cost you greatly. Look out for spelling, grammatical and punctuation errors. Also, ensure there is a smooth flow of your work and proper in-text citations where necessary. Do not forget to reference your essay following the required citation style.

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