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5 Paragraph Essay Sample With An Outline

The 5 paragraph essay is considered to be the standard essay writing assignment. It is used in most exams such as TOEFL, IELTS, and the SAT. Since most of these exams limit the student time-wise in the "Writing" section, students are trained to memorize this format. This allows the student to answer the exam prompt quickly and efficiently. The format’s plasticity allows students to experiment with various essay styles. Persuasive, Argumentative, Expository, Narrative and Cause and Effect can all adapt to this format. As a result, perfecting the 5 paragraph essay is a practice that often turns rookies into experienced essay writer.


Table Of Contents



Good Example Topics

  • Can one learn a life lesson from an experience that they didn't have? Can you learn from other people's mistakes?
  • Is animal testing ethical?
  • Should same-sex marriage be allowed?
  • Should laws on gun-control be more strict?
  • Should the death penalty be abolished completely?
  • Should marijuana be legalized?
  • Should education be free for all students?

The paper topics listed above are some of the most common topics students write essays about. Of course, they are not limited to only these. Before choosing a topic and start the writing process, students should look to come up with a catchy title. The reason for doing so is centered around grabbing the readers attention right from the get go.

Outline

This type of essay has a very specific outline; It starts with an Introduction, goes to Body Paragraph 1, Body Paragraph 2, Body Paragraph 3, and sums things up with a Conclusion. Each body paragraph serves a specific purpose, and the essay is in the form of a keyhole. This means that it starts out very BROAD, gets more NARROW and finishes out BROAD.

Introduction: 3-5 Sentences

  • The introduction sets the structure for the rest of the essay, with the first sentence being the HOOK sentence.
  • The Hook Sentence is kind of like the spark to a flame; It grabs the reader's attention.
  • The Hook is usually either a rhetorical question or some life example or a stunning fact

This is a rhetorical question, meaning it does not need an answer because it is obvious.

Brief Introduction of Supporting Arguments (1-3)

Here you are taking your supporting arguments and briefly introducing them to the reader without revealing too much information.

Tip: Think of it as a trailer for a movie, like it should be exciting but can’t give away the “PLOT”.

Thesis Statement

  • The most important part of your entire essay; .
  • This statement will be the basis for the rest of your custom essay
  • Since we are talking about nature preservation, an example of a good thesis would be:
  • “The preservation of our planet is the most important aspect of keeping Mother Nature in check and avoiding draconian disasters.”

Quick Tip: if you find that your body paragraphs have nothing to do with your thesis, you can go back and change the thesis.

Body Paragraphs 1,2,3 (5-7 Sentences)

  • This is the “meat” of your 5 paragraph essay, where you explain the side you are defending (Thesis Sentence)
  • Structure of the body paragraphs is usually: Intro sentence (1), Supporting Argument
  • Explanation (3-5), Concluding Sentence (1)
  • Intro sentence should briefly bring out your argument without revealing too much information
  • Example:
  • Supporting Argument and Explanation: This is taking the topic and going into detail, while still most importantly DEFENDING YOUR THESIS!
  • Example:
  • The Concluding Sentence should be the opposite of the intro: instead of introducing your argument, you are briefly concluding your argument, transitioning into your next one.
  • Example:

THE FORMAT FOR ALL 3 BODY PARAGRAPHS IS THE SAME

KEY TIP:

  • The arguments should go in this order:
  • First body paragraph should be your second strongest argument
  • Second body should be your weakest argument
  • Third body should be your strongest argument

To give our readers a nice keyhole format visual, we have a picture of a standard Graphic Organizer below.

Conclusion (3-5 Sentences): This is the “mirror” of your intro

  • Restating Your Thesis (Sentence 1): You take your main argument (thesis) and restate it in a conclusive way. You are paraphrasing it in an assertive manner to show that you have “proved your point.”
  • Example:
  • Concluding your supporting arguments (1-3 Sentences): This is taking your supporting arguments (your body paragraphs) and rephrasing the main points you made in one sentence per paragraph.
  • If some of your supporting arguments are similar then you can combine them into one sentence to keep the good structure.
  • So for example,

Concluding Hook Sentence (Optional)

A good way to end an essay is something unexpected, to surprise the reader.
Create a second hook, but this time it should be a hook that SUMS things up in a few words, rhetorical questions are good for this.

This gives the 5 paragraph essay some spice at the end and makes the reader question your statement.

General Grading Rubric

Several schools and universities worldwide use several different types of rubrics, but one of the most standard rubric styles is the 5 point style, where it is broken down into 5 segments: Focus, Organization, Conventions, Style, and Content.

  • Focus: Did the writer spends his time proving his thesis? Did he accomplish his goal?
  • Organization: Was the essay fluid and were the transitions in between paragraphs smooth? Did the writer follow the proper outline and not diverge from the set structure?
  • Conventions: Did the writer make many grammatical mistakes? Did they have run on sentences?
  • Style: Did the writer use high-level vocabulary, were words rarely repeated, how creative were his sentence structures?
  • Content: Did the writer properly prove his argument? Were his statements logical and factual? Did he create strong arguments?

Example

Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Writers

Best Brian, fromEssayPro

A five paragraph essay is the first big writing assignment that your teacher will have you do in middle school! If you’re a beginner essayist, then my tip for you is to learn how to ensure that each paragraph has its own unique idea. Once you’ve mastered that, you can practice making your paragraphs flow into each other with transition sentences. Later on, in high school and college, this will be a very valuable skill to have. Connect your ideas together so your readers can follow along with ease. While writing, always keeps in mind what your next paragraph is about and try to lead up to it. In the first essays that you write, using words like “Firstly, Secondly, and In conclusion” is acceptable, but later on, you will need to find ways to separate your ideas without those linking words. Don’t make them a habit. Good luck with your writing!

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Have you ever made an awesome chocolate cake without looking at a recipe first? Unless you are an extremely talented baker, most likely the answer is “no.” Just one cup of flour too many and your chocolate dessert will be a chocolate mess!

The same goes for writing a 5-paragraph essay. If you are an extremely talented writer, you may be able to intuitively create a compelling essay with all the components needed to be both persuasive and easy to swallow…or follow.

However, if writing doesn’t come easily to you, you can benefit from creating a 5-paragraph essay outline before jumping into your writing assignment. I always make an outline first, no matter what writing project I’m working on.

There are endless, different ways to write a compelling essay. But, if your teacher is demanding that you sum up your argument in five succinct paragraphs, follow this easy tutorial on how to create a 5-paragraph essay outline.

Structure of the 5-Paragraph Essay Outline

The 5-paragraph essay is made of…you guessed it…five paragraphs. Each paragraph serves a specific purpose:

  • Paragraph 1: Amazing introduction (hook) and the all-important thesis statement
  • Paragraph 2: Argument A and supporting facts or quotes
  • Paragraph 3: Argument B and supporting facts or quotes
  • Paragraph 4: Argument C and supporting facts or quotes
  • Paragraph 5: Conclusion, made up of your restated thesis and the broader significance of your argument

Here’s how this outline would look if you sketched it out:

A Note on Formatting Your 5-Paragraph Essay Outline

Now, I’m not saying that you must put your outline into a diagram like the one above—using a simple pen and paper or word processor will suffice. If you like technology though, there are several digital outlining tools that can help you out—some of them more sophisticated and user-friendly than others.

It’s not really about making a perfect 5-paragraph essay outline, rather, it’s about developing an outline that makes the most sense to you. An outline ensures that you have the necessary components to write an awesome essay.

Without further delay, let’s jump into more detail about each of the outline components.

Step One: Identify Your Topic

First we need a topic. Typically, your instructor will give you a subject to write about, or at least parameters for a topic. Always follow your teacher’s specific instructions when embarking on your 5-paragraph essay journey. After all, you don’t want the wrath of your instructor to come down upon you for completely ignoring instructions.

For our sample topic, we’re going to use the following prompt:

What are the arguments for or against writing a 5-paragraph essay? Should teachers continue requesting this writing method from students?

Step Two: Take a Stance on Your Topic

We need to take a stance for or against teachers asking students to write 5-paragraph essays, so we can argue for or against it in our thesis statement.

Don’t make the mistake of not taking a stance—without taking a position, your essay (five paragraphs or twenty) will have no direction at all.

When deciding on your position, you have to choose one that can be backed with valid and supportable arguments, either from your research or from the course materials provided in your class.

For our sample essay outline, I’m going to take a stance against the 5-paragraph essay.

Step Three: Write a Clear Thesis Statement

Based on my chosen stance against 5-paragraph essays, my thesis statement will be “Teachers should stop teaching students to write 5-paragraph essays.”

Notice the word “should” in the thesis statement? More power can be added to your position by creating a statement about what should or shouldn’t be done. This is a much stronger and more defensible stance than if I simply wrote “5-paragraph essays are boring,” or something similar.

Step Four: Develop Three Arguments to Underscore Your Thesis

Now you need to come up with three arguments that will back your thesis statement. Here are mine:

The 5-paragraph essay is too basic.

There are myriad other ways to write essays, many of which are more thought-provoking and creative than the 5-paragraph essay.

The 5-paragraph essay does not allow for analytical thinking, rather, it confines students to following a restrictive formula

Step Five: Develop Three Supports for Each of Your Arguments

Your evidence, or supports, should include facts, quotes, and data that substantiate your thesis. This is a great place to include quotes directly from your research sources.

For example, to support argument A (“The 5-paragraph essay is too basic”), I might offer the following evidence:

Similarly, in regards to argument C (“The 5-paragraph essay does not allow for analytical thinking, rather, it confines students to following a restrictive formula”), I might support it with this quote:

  • Support 1C: According to an article in Education Week, “There is a consensus among college writing professors that ‘students are coming [to college] prepared to do five-paragraph themes and arguments but [are] radically unprepared in thinking analytically.’”

Remember, for the 5-paragraph essay structure, you typically need to come up with three supports for each of your three arguments. In our example, I only show three of the total nine supports needed to round out the argument.

Step Six: Develop Your Intro Hook

Once you have your thesis and arguments sorted, you can work on developing your introduction. (*Hint* it’s an exercise in futility to develop your introduction first, because you won’t really know what you’re introducing yet.)

Your intro should start with an interesting “hook” that will draw the reader into your paper.

For example, my hook could be, “English teachers across the nation have been teaching students to become ineffective writers.” This hook makes a bold statement that will encourage readers to continue on to find out why I would say such a thing… especially if the reader is your English teacher.

Step Seven: Develop Your Conclusion

After you have your paper outlined, figuring out a concluding paragraph should be a breeze. In a traditional 5-paragraph essay, the first step in writing your conclusion is to restate your thesis using different words.

For example, I might write, “The 5-paragraph essay is an outdated and useless writing tool that should be phased out of the classroom.”

To close out the paper, I would open a discussion on the broader significance of this argument. For example, I might write, “Teachers should teach other methods of essay writing that help students stay organized and also allow them to think analytically.”

What’s Next?

Now that you’ve established all the components of your 5-paragraph essay outline, you’ll need to actually sit down, avoid social media for a while (I know, it’s hard), and write your 5-paragraph essay. Believe me, it will be much easier to do now that your thoughts are organized and you have somewhere to start.

Ask any writer. There is nothing more frightening than the pure white of an empty page. An outline is a great remedy for this.

Oh, and a couple more things:

As you start writing, you’ll want to be sure to connect all the pieces of your essay together with strong transition sentences. Don’t just line up the notes from your outline and call it done.

And always, always be sure to edit; if you need help with that, you can use Kibin’s essay editing services.

Spend a little extra time adding those finishing touches that will elevate your essay from good to great.

How about you? Do you work from an outline? Or are you more accustomed to writing by the seat of your pants? Let us know in the comments.

Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.

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