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Structuring the Five-Paragraph Essay: Home

A handy guide created by the Bronx Campus Writing Resource Center

"Five-Paragraph Essays"

This approach to writing an essay may seem formulaic or restrictive. 
However, if you are justing getting started writing academic papers or are out of practice, this technique will give you a good start!

Structuring the Five-Paragraph Essay

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Begins with a sentence that captures the reader’s attention

1) You may want to use an interesting example, a surprising statistic, or a challenging question.

B. Gives background information on the topic.

C. Includes the THESIS STATEMENT which:

1) States the main ideas of the essay and includes:

a. Topic

b. Viewpoint (what you plan to say about the topic)

2) Is more general than supporting data

3) May mention the main point of each of the body paragraphs

II. BODY PARAGRAPH #1

A. Begins with a topic sentence that:

1) States the main point of the paragraph

2) Relates to the THESIS STATEMENT

B. After the topic sentence, you need to fill the paragraph with well-organized details, facts, and examples.

C. Paragraph may end with a transition.

III. BODY PARAGRAPH #2

A. Begins with a topic sentence that:

1) States the main point of the paragraph

2) Relates to the THESIS STATEMENT

B. After the topic sentence, you need to fill the paragraph with well-organized details, facts, and examples.

C. Paragraph may end with a transition.

IV. BODY PARAGRAPH #3

A. Begins with a topic sentence that:

3) States the main point of the paragraph

4) Relates to the THESIS STATEMENT

B. After the topic sentence, you need to fill the paragraph with well-organized details, facts, and examples.

C. Paragraph may end with a transition.

V. CONCLUSION

A. Echoes the THESIS STATEMENT but does not repeat it.

B. Poses a question for the future, suggests some action to be taken, or warns of a consequence.

C. Includes a detail or example from the INTRODUCTION to “tie up” the essay.

D. Ends with a strong image – or a humorous or surprising statement.

Proofread with SWAPS

Proofreading with SWAPS

Sentence Structure:

  • Be sure that every sentence in paragraph supports topic sentence.
  • Avoid run-on sentences.
  • Avoid sentence fragments.

Word Usage:

  • Be sure you have used the correct words (homophones)
    eg: there/they’re/their or to/too/two
  • Avoid slang words
  • Avoid pronoun overuse

Agreement:

  • Be sure that subjects and verbs agree in number (singular/plural)
  • Keep verb tense consistent (present, past, future)

Punctuation:

  • Be sure all sentences have ending punctuation.
  • Use commas after items in lists except for the last item.
  • Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction.

Spelling & Capitalization:

  • Check for spelling errors
  • Begin each sentence with a capital.
  • Check homophones.
  • Capitalize proper nouns.
  • Be sure apostrophes are used in contractions and possessives

Downloadable Worksheet: Choosing and Narrowing Your Topic

Choosing or Narrowing Your Topc

What is a Thesis Statement?

The final sentence in your Introduction paragraph should be your Thesis Statement. 

Begin your paragraph with a single, clear and concise sentence stating the Topic of your essay; then, give your reader a roadmap for the main points you will use to support your thesis. Include the limits of your argument. End by summing up your essay’s main idea or argument with your Thesis Statement.

More help with Thesis Statements is available on this page from Rasmussen College Library

 

SAMPLE INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPHS with HIGHLIGHTED
THESIS STATEMENT

   

 All countries are unique. Obviously, countries are different from one another in location, size, language, government, climate, and lifestyle. Some countries, however, share some surprising similarities. In this case, Brazil and the United States come to mind. Some may think that these two nations have very little in common because they are in different hemispheres. On the contrary, the two countries share many similarities.

About this Guide:

This guide is based on a handout created by the Bronx Campus Student Success Center.