How To Write 5 Paragraph Essay - Basics

How To Write 5 Paragraph Essay - Basics

If you are the one who looks for improving your academic skills and writing compelling academic essays, you should pay attention to essay writing basics. Studying in college, the most popular task for the freshmen is completing 5 paragraph essays. Five-paragraph essays are universal academic papers that are comfortable in length and structure. For this reason, students usually get this type of assignment in different disciplines. To make sure you follow the grading rubric perfectly and understand the format of such a paper, read and learn our detailed guide with basic information on how to write a 5 paragraph essay fast and effectively. The following guidelines will strengthen your knowledge of the preliminary academic essay format. 



What is the 5 paragraph essay format? 

A five-paragraph essay is useful in situations when a student is just starting out and when their writing assignment is strictly timed. That is why, such a paper has a specific format and consists of five paragraphs; namely, an introduction, three main body paragraphs, and a conclusion. While the format mentioned above will help students write and organize their essays, some flexibility is also important. In terms of formatting, a 5 paragraph essay is usually followed by one of the primary academic styles of writing, like MLA, APA, Chicago. Depending on the assigned academic style, students should format the content of the paper, title an essay,  including title page, abstract, table of contents, research question, thesis statement, introduction, arguments, sub-headings, conclusion, appendix, and bibliography according to the requirements of the particular style. 

What are the parts of a 5 paragraph essay? 

The three common parts of the 5 paragraph essay are the introductory paragraph, main body, and concluding paragraph. The introduction of the paper is the first paragraph that serves several purposes. This part of the essay should get the reader's attention, provide the basic ideas that will be cover in the essay, and develop a thesis statement. The claim or thesis statement usually takes just one or two sentences that describe the topic, its focus, and the main points of the paper. The main body consists of three paragraphs, where each body paragraph starts with a transition continued with the topic sentence. At the same time, topic sentences should describe the main idea of the current paragraph to the audience. The rest of the main body paragraph is built on supporting sentences and explanations on how they support the thesis statement. Finally, these body sentences will explain to the reader both the topic sentence and its relation to the thesis statement. Conclusion is the last paragraph of a 5 paragraph essay, which brings the essay to a logical close. This part reminds the basic ideas presented throughout the paper and restates the thesis statement. It is important to remember that there should not be any new ideas represented in the conclusion, as it is the summation of the essay content. 

5 paragraph essay outline 

An essay outline is often used for demonstrating the content of long research papers. However, the content of the basic five-paragraph essay can also be outlined in the following way:

2. Body
  • First Paragraph (Point One)
  • Second Paragraph (Point Two) 
  • Third Paragraph (Point Three) 
3. Conclusion

How to start a 5 paragraph essay 

To organize a 5-paragraph essay properly, you should plan your writing beforehand. The best way to create a mindmap of your essay is to note your main points, arguments, and evidence beforehand.  

  1. Write topic sentences (three points).  These points should summarize your thesis and each point should start your main body paragraph. 
  2. Write arguments. Argumentation is used to tell how the topic sentence supports the thesis.
  3. Present evidence.  You should find out facts, examples, quotes, and statistics to support the arguments.

How to write a 5 paragraph essay in 3 steps

If you are looking for an efficient step-by-step approach for quick and quality essay writing, the following plan will help you. We have outlined the most important steps in writing a 5-paragraph essay that fully follows the grading rubric. 

1. Prewriting Stage

First of all, you should brainstorm a topic and decide on the basic thesis, the central idea of a chosen topic to discuss. Then, it is of vital importance to choose three pieces of supporting evidence that will prove the thesis statement.

2. Writing Stage

Start with writing an introductory paragraph, that involves a thesis statement and evidence ordered from the most strong to the weakest one. Then, move on with writing the body paragraphs focusing on pieces of supporting evidence. Each main body paragraph should have a transitional sentence that will connect it with the next body paragraph. Finally, begin your conclusion by restating the thesis statement, and follow it with three points discussed throughout the essay to prove the thesis. 

3. Post - writing Stage

After you have finished writing the content of your 5-paragraph paper, reread it several times to revise the errors. Make sure your sentences make sense and support the central claim/problem.

How long is a 5 paragraph essay 

There is no exact length required for the standard 5 paragraph essay. The absolute minimum length for a five-paragraph essay is one double-spaced page or 250 words in total typed in 12 points font. The optimal length for five paragraph essays varies between 500 to 800 words. It is enough to provide a well-written introductory paragraph, supporting paragraphs, and thoughtful conclusion.

Pro tips for an outstanding five-paragraph essay 

Sometimes, writing a five-paragraph essay occurs to be a rather complicated task for an average-skilled student. To ease the writing process and help you omit the possible pitfall of such an essay, we gathered the most powerful writing tips from our academic experts. Here are outlined the major ones:

  1. The order of arguments matters a lot. The first body paragraph should involve the most powerful point; the second one may be a weak point, but the last one should be the same strong argument as the first one. 
  2. Keep your conclusion paragraph up to 5 sentences in length
  3. Avoid citations in conclusion.
  4. Avoid new information in the closing paragraph. 
  5. Join similar points together in a single sentence.

5 paragraph essay sample 

Essay samples are among the most effective ways to get an idea of how a quality 5 paragraph essay should look like. Looking at the example of the essay, you can grab the idea of proper structuring, formatting, and organizing the order of the core points in the essay. Have a look at the example of 5 paragraph essay on the topic "The Hazards of Moviegoing."


After reading the guide on the basics of 5 paragraph essay writing, you have mastered the most crucial essay writing skills. In case you need any additional academic assistance to handle your college assignments don't hesitate to ask for such help from our professional writers