5 Paragraph Essay How To Write An Introduction Essay

How is an essay like a cake?

Did you know that you can effectively unleash your creative capacity and astonish everyone with your talent by creating just 5 paragraphs? Writing a 5-paragraph essay can be easier and faster than baking a 5-layer cake if you know the secret ingredient. Keep reading to get to the essence of 5-PE mastery.

You may be wondering: “What does this kind of essay have in common with a 5-layer cake?”

In fact, both are well-structured. All their components are coherent and interrelated.

  • They start with a solid background (in the essay, an introduction = in the cake, a firm biscuit base).
  • They contain 3 middle layers (3 body paragraphs = 3 cheesecake layers).
  • They finish with a summary that wraps it all up (conclusion = berry jelly with fruits).

The 3 pillars of a consistent 5-paragraph essay

The 5-paragraph essay writing method helps inexperienced writers to state their ideas within the given topic in the most clear and logical way. Once you understand and get used to this writing formula, you’ll become more comfortable with it. The basic elements of a 5-paragraph essay are 3 pillars you will come to lean on.

So you’ve got a five-paragraph essay assignment.

What does 5 mean here? Why not 2 or 7?

In fact, it consists of 5 paragraphs, made up of 3 main parts:

  1. Introduction
  2. Body
  3. Conclusion

Here are the key insights to each component of a correctly structured essay:

Essay partGuidelines
Introduction
  • Sets the tone and grabs the reader’s attention. (Tip: Often the best way to start an essay is with a curious quote, short anecdote or challenging question)
  • Introduces the basic ideas of the essay
  • Provides the thesis statement (which is just 1 sentence but gives the topic, focus and 3 main points to build from)

 

Body
  • Consists of 3 supporting paragraphs
  • The best and the strongest argument should go first, while the final body paragraph gives the weakest point of the 3, providing for the hierarchical structure of the ideas that support the exposition
  •  Each body paragraph starts with a transition and focuses on a single point, idea, reason or example to support the thesis statement. (Tip: use linking words like “In fact”, “First”, “Further”, “Furthermore”, “Likewise”, “Similarly”, “Naturally”, “By comparison” etc.)
  • The first sentence of the paragraph states your topic sentence
  • The topic sentence explains what the paragraph is about (it’s like a mini version of a thesis statement)
  • The remainder of the paragraph is made of supporting sentences (at least 4 to each paragraph), addressing both the topic sentence and the thesis statement
  • Use appropriate details and examples to convey clear and convincing ideas

 

Conclusion
  • The final, summarizing part of all five-paragraph essays
  • Takes the reader back to the basic ideas of the essay and restates the thesis statement in an original way (do not copy and paste from the Introduction)
  • Shouldn’t give any new ideas but only summarize the essay content that has already been presented
  • Summarizes the argument under discussion, leaving the reader without any doubts or questions as to the author’s position
  • Should be strong and powerful – it’s the last thought you leave the reader with. In other words, this section represents your last chance to persuade the reader

 

Feature of the cake layers

Our “cake study comparison” reveals the following distinctive features of the cake layers:

  • Introduction: the solid biscuit base of the cheesecake sets the overall style of your culinary masterpiece. Its sweet and melting taste makes it the most promising part for the end-consumer.
  • Main body: 3 magnificent cheesecake layers, each one different in taste and color, each complementing the creamy flavor of the basic cheesecake part of the cake.
  • Conclusion: a berry jelly with fruits to conclude. Its sour-sweet taste complements the main body and contrasts with the cheesecake, contributing to the inimitable aftertaste.

As for the 5-paragraph essay conclusion, its “aftertaste” is exactly what will stay with your readers after they put down your paper. So carefully consider the structure of your essay to make sure all its parts are coherent and balanced.

Now you know about structure, which is the secret ingredient that makes your essay convincing and your cake delicious.

Create a refined essay with our writing hacks

Whatever project you have to complete ‒ creating a 5-paragraph essay or a 5-layer cake ‒ the perfectionist in you may not feel fully satisfied until your masterpiece is flawless.  Harness these useful tips if you need to create an engaging essay that your readers will enjoy reading and talking about.

  1. Organization
    • To make an effective start, you first need to get organized.
    • Analyze your task in detail.
    • Determine your purpose.
    • Think about your step-by-step plan.
  2. Outline
    • Don’t get lost in the detail. Before you set out with the actual writing, map it out. Otherwise, you may get lost.
    • Divide your future essay into sections; develop each piece separately and incrementally.
    • First figure out how to make an outstanding outline, and then you can go ahead and start your essay-building process.
  3. Writing style
    • Develop your unique writing style and stick to it.
    • Start strong by grabbing the reader’s attention. Aim to keep it until you reach your final point. Stay powerful and convincing.
    • Use active voice instead of passive whenever possible.
    • Don’t let your reader fall asleep: play with your English, vary sentence structures, avoid repetition, sharpen and diversify your vocabulary when you revise the text.
    • Brainstorm to search for the best ideas that support your case. Include only the arguments that are effective and that you have some knowledge of, otherwise you won’t do a good job of presenting them.
    • Writing introductory paragraphs on different topics can be very helpful. It will help set the tone for the paragraph, making it easier to write the supporting sentences. Moreover, seeing your pattern progress is always inspiring!
    • Supporting ideas, examples and other details should all be relevant to the subtopic. It will help you and the readers to stay focused.
  4. Specific writing tips
    • There are some other specific rules that you can use as a guide to creating an outstanding 5-paragraph essay.
    • Don’t use abbreviations and contractions.
    • Avoid casual language (it’s better not to begin sentences with “sure”, “well”, “yes” or “no”).
    • Don’t use slang (there’s a big difference between academic writing and a message to your friend).
    • Try not to begin your sentences with “There is/are”. For example, instead of “There is a need to edit the essay”, write “Essay editing is essential”.
    • Don’t begin sentences with conjunctions (“and”, “but”, “for”, “yet”, “so”, “or”, “nor”).
    • Avoid using phrases like “a lot”, “lots” and “lots of”. Think about replacing them with “many”, “most”, “much” or “often”.
    • Avoid using exclamation points; stay more or less neutral in your writing.
  5. Essay revision
  • Forget about your writing! Get some rest… and then read it again with fresh eyes. Polish and refine your essay as many times as you need to ‒ you won’t be sorry for spending time on it. Ask someone knowledgeable to review and criticize your essay as well – they may make suggestions that surprise you.
  • Check your writing for spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Make sure your ideas flow logically.
  • Avoid too much detail or wordiness.
  • Be concise, specific and brief, but do give details and examples.

Also, make sure to check out free handout about essay writing.

Draft an astonishing essay with a 5-minute outline

Humans crave order. Anything else can lead them astray. A 5-paragraph essay outline is essential for those who want to create their short essay in the most effective and timely way. An essay outline will streamline your writing; it will also make you focus on the main topic and on the subtopics exposed in each separate part of the paper.

Have a look at our 5-paragraph essay writing outline for “How to Make Lemonade When Life Gives You Lemons”, and use it as an essay sample whenever you need inspiration for the framework of your own essay. It will take you just 5 minutes, and it will considerably save time when it comes to your own essay writing.

How to Make Lemonade When Life Gives You Lemons

 

 

Paragraph #1. Introduction

 

Thesis statement

 

Create benefits from any problem life presents.

 

1.      Subtopic #1

 

Life problems are lessons to learn from.
1.      Subtopic #2

 

Life problems help one to develop a grateful spirit, which helps in personal growth.

 

2.      Subtopic #3

 

Life problems help one to develop healthy coping skills.

 

 

Body paragraph #2

 

1.      Topic sentence

(subtopic #1 from the Introduction)

 

Life problems are lessons to learn from.
2.      3 specific supports

 

1. Experience will make it easier to cope with future challenges.

2. Experience improves our personal qualities.

3. Perceiving a life challenge as a task to be overcome makes it easier to cope.

 

3.      Concluding sentence

 

We have to learn from our life lessons to avoid similar situations in the future.

 

 

Body paragraph #3

 

1.      Topic sentence

(subtopic 2 from the Introduction)

 

Life problems help one to develop a grateful spirit, which helps in personal growth.

 

2.      3 specific supports

 

1. There are benefits to life challenges: finding more happy moments in life, preventing loneliness, developing a better immune system.

2. Simple, minor things can make us feel happy.

3. Writing about challenges in a gratitude journal creates an opportunity to express gratitude.

 

3.      Concluding sentence

 

Raising a grateful spirit makes people feel happier and helps them to live their lives more consciously.

 

 

Body paragraph #4

 

1.      Topic sentence

(subtopic 3 from the Introduction)

 

Life problems are the best way to develop healthy coping skills.
2.      3 specific supports

 

1. Changing your attitude towards an issue can help you to fight stress.

2. Developing healthy coping skills can have a positive effect on personal growth.

3. Improving everyday habits to fall back on during upsetting times is key to a better quality of life.

 

3.      Concluding sentence

 

Stressful circumstances are an opportunity to concentrate on the things that will bring our lives back to balance.

 

 

Paragraph #5. Conclusion

 

1.      Topic sentence

(restating the thesis statement)

 

Whenever life decides to give us a sour lemon, we should turn it to our advantage.
2.      Support sentence #1 (subtopic #1)

 

It is a good opportunity to gain new experience of the lessons we have been taught.

 

3.      Support sentence #2 (subtopic #2)

 

Troubles in life are our chance to become grateful for whatever happens to us, thus to grow personally.

 

4.      Support sentence #3 (subtopic #3)

 

Finding ourselves under pressure can also become a trigger for considerable self-improvement in all spheres of our lives.

 

5.      Concluding sentence (repeating the main idea).

 

Life can be tough, but we can always change for the better.

Write a killer paper using our 5-paragraph essay example as a guideline

How to Make Lemonade When Life Gives You Lemons

1.      Introduction (thesis statement + 3 subtopics)
The popular saying “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade” is a great way to tell people to be optimistic and to gain advantage from the problems life presents. We can learn and grow from the problems that appear in our lives. Another positive side-effect of being thrown a lemon is that it’s an opportunity to develop a grateful spirit, which can bring personal growth. Moreover, learning how to cope with a particular problem helps to develop our healthy coping skills in general, like staying active, reading and cultivating positive friendships. Getting the most out of the issues we have to deal with is the best possible approach to difficult situations, which can often deliver opportunities for self-improvement.
2.      Main body (subtopic #1 + 3 specific supports)
Looking for a lesson in problems that arise is a great way to embrace life. We can always learn from any negative situations we encounter. This allows us to constructively cope with further challenges we will meet; we can apply the experience we gain this time around to problems we will face in the future. Learning new lessons also makes us stronger, wiser and more self-confident. Once a problem appears we should perceive it as just another assignment given to us; considering it a lesson will certainly make it easier to cope with. It is through stressful situations that we learn and grown, and our task is to learn to avoid future mistakes.
3.      Main body (subtopic #2 + 3 specific supports)
Facing a problem in life is likely to raise our grateful spirit, which is another important step in our personal growth. There are many benefits to being grateful, including appreciating the happy moments in life, feeling less lonely and developing a better immune system. Practicing sincere gratitude for everything that happens in our lives makes us notice and value aspects of our lives that are small but wonderful: a child’s laughter, a cup of hot tea, a hug from a loved one. A gratitude journal to keep track of the daily minor kindnesses shown to us by others takes this attitude one step further and can soothe us in difficult times. Raising a grateful spirit makes us happier and helps us to lead a more conscious life.
4.      Main body (subtopic #3 + 3 specific supports)
A problem tossed into our lives presents the best opportunity to develop our healthy coping skills. You may have already heard that often it’s our attitude to a challenging situation that matters more than the situation itself; that’s why being an optimist is the best way out. Positive reactions to stressful circumstances develop healthy coping skills we can use in the future: skills like making new friends, exercising regularly, reading, yoga and meditation. Improving our everyday habits during upsetting times can be a key to success and a better quality of life. When things are not going the way we expected, there comes a period when we have to concentrate on the things that will bring us back to balance.
5.      Conclusion (restated thesis statement + 3 subtopics)
Whenever life decides to give us a sour lemon, we should turn it to our sweet advantage. Difficult times present a good opportunity to gain new experience, which can reinforce the lessons and values we already have under our belts. Facing troubles in life represent a chance to express our gratitude for whatever happens to us and to take steps towards further personal growth. Finding ourselves under pressure can also become a trigger for considerable self-improvement in all spheres of our lives. Life can be tough, but we are always able to change for the better and not let stress weaken us. As American comedian and actor Ron White said: “If life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade... And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party”.

Getting an A+ grade for 5 paragraphs writing is easy!

You will soon discover that it’s not that difficult to learn how to write a 5-paragraph essay that will hit the spot and win you the highest grade. Our tips for writing a good essay can help you to communicate your ideas clearly and effectively.

Think about all the possible 5-paragraph essay topics and select the one that’s best for you – that’s the one that will make five-paragraph essay writing interesting for you!

Good luck with your writing!

A classic format for compositions is the five-paragraph essay. It is not the only format for writing an essay, of course, but it is a useful model for you to keep in mind, especially as you begin to develop your composition skills. The following material is adapted from a handout prepared by Harry Livermore for his high school English classes at Cook High School in Adel, Georgia. It is used here with his permission.

Introduction:

Introductory Paragraph

See, first, Writing Introductory Paragraphs for different ways of getting your reader involved in your essay. The introductory paragraph should also include the thesis statement, a kind of mini-outline for the paper: it tells the reader what the essay is about. The last sentence of this paragraph must also contain a transitional "hook" which moves the reader to the first paragraph of the body of the paper.

Body:

Body — First paragraph:

The first paragraph of the body should contain the strongest argument, most significant example, cleverest illustration, or an obvious beginning point. The first sentence of this paragraph should include the "reverse hook" which ties in with the transitional hook at the end of the introductory paragraph. The topic for this paragraph should be in the first or second sentence. This topic should relate to the thesis statement in the introductory paragraph. The last sentence in this paragraph should include a transitional hook to tie into the second paragraph of the body.

Body — Second paragraph:

The second paragraph of the body should contain the second strongest argument, second most significant example, second cleverest illustration, or an obvious follow up the first paragraph in the body. The first sentence of this paragraph should include the reverse hook which ties in with the transitional hook at the end of the first paragraph of the body. The topic for this paragraph should be in the first or second sentence. This topic should relate to the thesis statement in the introductory paragraph. The last sentence in this paragraph should include a transitional hook to tie into the third paragraph of the body.

Body — Third paragraph:

The third paragraph of the body should contain the weakest argument, weakest example, weakest illustration, or an obvious follow up to the second paragraph in the body. The first sentence of this paragraph should include the reverse hook which ties in with the transitional hook at the end of the second paragraph. The topic for this paragraph should be in the first or second sentence. This topic should relate to the thesis statement in the introductory paragraph. The last sentence in this paragraph should include a transitional concluding hook that signals the reader that this is the final major point being made in this paper. This hook also leads into the last, or concluding, paragraph.

Conclusion:

Concluding paragraph:

This paragraph should include the following:

  1. an allusion to the pattern used in the introductory paragraph,
  2. a restatement of the thesis statement, using some of the original language or language that "echoes" the original language. (The restatement, however, must not be a duplicate thesis statement.)
  3. a summary of the three main points from the body of the paper.
  4. a final statement that gives the reader signals that the discussion has come to an end. (This final statement may be a "call to action" in an persuasive paper.)

A Sample Paper

1Stephen King, creator of such stories as Carrie and Pet Sematary, stated that the Edgar Allan Poe stories he read as a child gave him the inspiration and instruction he needed to become the writer that he is. 2Poe, as does Stephen King, fills the reader's imagination with the images that he wishes the reader to see, hear, and feel. 3His use of vivid, concrete visual imagery to present both static and dynamic settings and to describe people is part of his technique. 4Poe's short story "The Tell-Tale Heart" is a story about a young man who kills an old man who cares for him, dismembers the corpse, then goes mad when he thinks he hears the old man's heart beating beneath the floor boards under his feet as he sits and discusses the old man's absence with the police. 5In "The Tell-Tale Heart," a careful reader can observe Poe's skillful manipulation of the senses. The introductory paragraph includes a paraphrase of something said by a famous person in order to get the reader's attention. The second sentence leads up to the thesis statement which is the third sentence. The thesis statement (sentence 3) presents topic of the paper to the reader and provides a mini- outline. The topic is Poe's use of visual imagery. The mini- outline tells the reader that this paper will present Poe's use of imagery in three places in his writing: (1) description of static setting; (2) description of dynamic setting; and (3) description of a person. The last sentence of the paragraph uses the words "manipulation" and "senses" as transitional hooks.
1The sense of sight, the primary sense, is particularly susceptible to manipulation. 2In "The Tell-Tale Heart," Poe uses the following image to describe a static scene: "His room was as black as pitch with the thick darkness . . ." Poe used the words "black," "pitch," and "thick darkness" not only to show the reader the condition of the old man's room, but also to make the reader feel the darkness." 3"Thick" is a word that is not usually associated with color (darkness), yet in using it, Poe stimulates the reader's sense of feeling as well as his sense of sight. In the first sentence of the second paragraph (first paragraph of the body) the words "sense" and "manipulation" are used to hook into the end of the introductory paragraph. The first part of the second sentence provides the topic for this paragraph--imagery in a static scene. Then a quotation from "The Tell-Tale Heart" is presented and briefly discussed. The last sentence of this paragraph uses the expressions "sense of feeling" and "sense of sight" as hooks for leading into the third paragraph.
1Further on in the story, Poe uses a couple of words that cross not only the sense of sight but also the sense of feeling to describe a dynamic scene. 2The youth in the story has been standing in the open doorway of the old man's room for a long time, waiting for just the right moment to reveal himself to the old man in order to frighten him. 3Poe writes: "So I opened it [the lantern opening]--you cannot imagine how stealthily, stealthily--until, at length, a single dim ray, like the thread of the spider, shot from out the crevice and fell full upon the vulture eye." 4By using the metaphor of the thread of the spider (which we all know is a creepy creature) and the word "shot," Poe almost makes the reader gasp, as surely did the old man whose one blind eye the young man describes as "the vulture eye." The first sentence of the third paragraph (second paragraph of the body) uses the words "sense of sight" and "sense of feeling" to hook back into the previous paragraph. Note that in the second paragraph "feeling" came first, and in this paragraph "sight" comes first. The first sentence also includes the topic for this paragraph--imagery in a dynamic scene. Again, a quotation is taken from the story, and it is briefly discussed. The last sentence uses the words "one blind eye" which was in the quotation. This expression provides the transitional hook for the last paragraph in the body of the paper.
1The reader does not know much about what the old man in this story looks like except that he has one blind eye. 2In the second paragraph of "The Tell-Tale Heart," Poe establishes the young man's obsession with that blind eye when he writes: "He had the eye of the vulture--a pale blue eye, with a film over it." 3This "vulture eye" is evoked over and over again in the story until the reader becomes as obsessed with it as does the young man. 4His use of the vivid, concrete word "vulture" establishes a specific image in the mind of the reader that is inescapable. In the first sentence of the fourth paragraph (third paragraph in the body), "one blind eye" is used that hooks into the previous paragraph. This first sentence also lets the reader know that this paragraph will deal with descriptions of people: ". . . what the old man looks like . . .." Once again Poe is quoted and discussed. The last sentence uses the word "image" which hooks into the last paragraph. (It is less important that this paragraph has a hook since the last paragraph is going to include a summary of the body of the paper.)
1"Thick darkness," "thread of the spider," and "vulture eye" are three images that Poe used in "The Tell-Tale Heart" to stimulate a reader's senses. 2Poe wanted the reader to see and feel real life. 3He used concrete imagery rather than vague abstract words to describe settings and people. 4If Edgar Allan Poe was one of Stephen King's teachers, then readers of King owe a debt of gratitude to that nineteenth-century creator of horror stories. The first sentence of the concluding paragraph uses the principal words from the quotations from each paragraph of the body of the paper. This summarizes those three paragraph. The second and third sentences provide observations which can also be considered a summary, not only of the content of the paper, but also offers personal opinion which was logically drawn as the result of this study. The last sentence returns to the Edgar Allan Poe-Stephen King relationship which began this paper. This sentence also provides a "wrap-up" and gives the paper a sense of finality.

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