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Write a Good Five Paragraph Essay

By Kellie Hayden

Writing a good essay is key to success in school -- period. However, some students never get the hang of it. Following this outline will help students write a great five paragraph essay and hopefully receive an A on their next assignment.

Five Paragraph Essay Outline

Has your teacher assigned a five paragraph essay? Use the outline below to format your paper.

Step 1 - Choose a Good Topic

When writing an essay, it is important to choose a topic that is not too broad. For example, do not write about football. Choose something more specific, like football drills, the greatest football team, football equipment, football practice, etc.

It is important that you can think of three main ideas that you want to discuss in the essay. If you cannot think of three specific ideas to discuss, then the topic is too narrow.

If your chosen topic is too narrow, choose a slightly broader topic so specific ideas or details can be listed. For example, if you planned to write about football field goals and couldn't list many details about it, choose something like scoring points in football.

Step 2 - Organize the Essay

Organizing an essay can be done in many forms. Some people like to use graphic organizers like a web. It looks like a spider web with circles connected. In the middle circle, write the main topic. Then make three "spokes" off of the main circle and make three more circles. These will be your body paragraphs' main ideas. Write the topics in those three circles. Then from those, add two to five more lines or "spokes" from those circles to become details you want to talk about in your essay.

Another way to organize an essay is to follow this basic outline form:


Thesis Statement (One sentence that tells the reader what the essay will discuss.)________________________________________________________________________________________________

Body Paragraph #1 main idea ________________________________________________________________

Detail #1_________________________________________________________________________________

Detail #2_________________________________________________________________________________

Detail #3_________________________________________________________________________________

Body Paragraph #2 main idea ________________________________________________________________

Detail #1_________________________________________________________________________________

Detail #2_________________________________________________________________________________

Detail #3_________________________________________________________________________________

Body Paragraph #3 main idea ________________________________________________________________

Detail #1_________________________________________________________________________________

Detail #2_________________________________________________________________________________

Detail #3_________________________________________________________________________________

Conclusion (Wrap up essay and leave reader with interesting thought.)_________________________________

For future reference, this basic outline can be used for many types of writing, such as a persuasive letter.

Step 3 - Writing the Essay

Once the outline is filled out, the essay is quite easy to write. Your ideas are organized. It is important to have good transition words between each main paragraph, such as first, second, third, also, furthermore, hence, etc. The five paragraph essay includes an introduction, three body paragraphs and a conclusion.

Another tip is not to start the essay with "my essay will be about" or "I am going to write about." These are boring and not interesting essay beginnings. Think about interesting facts about the topic or famous quotes about the topic to put in the introduction. Make sure to include a thesis statement to inform the reader about the essay's topic. The introduction can be the hardest part to write; however, it is very important that it is strong.

Another part of the essay that many students forget to write is the conclusion. An essay must have one that wraps up the essay. A good way to get the reader to remember your essay is to leave the reader with an interesting thought. Do not give any new information in this section.

It is important to write a rough draft to share with a friend or parent to edit. When editing, ask someone to check that you stayed on topic and used proper writing conventions, such as good spelling, usage, mechanics and grammar.

Last, you want to write a final copy. This should be error free. It can be written in pen or typed. Most teachers like a typed copy; however, neatly written essays in pen are acceptable as well. Teachers generally grade an essay on the following criteria: interesting content, organization and writing conventions.

Writing a good five paragraph essay can take some time. Do not wait until the last minute and make sure to have someone edit it before you turn in the final copy to your teacher.