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5-Paragraph Essay

A 5 paragraph essay is the simplest and most usual form of essay. The basic structure contains an introduction, three paragraphs forming the main body of the essay and a conclusion summarising the main thesis of the essay.

The introduction briefly states the thesis of the essay and the method to be used in the essay to examine and prove the thesis in such a way as to engage the reader’s attention. An introduction should be kept very brief and should not usually include quotations. It is a good idea to end the introduction with a sentence introducing the main point of the first paragraph in the main body as a ‘hook’ as this adds to the essay’s flow.

The first paragraph of the main body contains the point that the writer considers primary to the thesis. This should be stated strongly and with convincing supporting evidence. This paragraph should pick up the ‘hook’ which the introduction ended with to maintain the flow of the argument, and end with a similar ‘hook’ to lead into paragraph two. (The use of these hooks throughout enhances the overall cohesion.)

The second paragraph contains either the second strongest point or a follow-up to the point made in paragraph one, extending and enlarging it. It will again contain evidence to support points made and a ‘hook’ leading into the third paragraph.

The third paragraph follows the pattern established in paragraphs one and two i.e. point or continuation plus supplementary evidence. As in the previous paragraphs it will begin by picking up the ‘hook’ from paragraph two but the transitional ‘hook’ into the conclusion should flag to the reader the intention that this is drawing the argument to a close. It is always useful to give indication of summation in this way.

The conclusion is a summation of the thesis of the essay. Whilst no new evidence will be included at this stage, it is permissible to use quotation. The conclusion to the essay should restate the thesis, summarise the three main points and indicate the direction that further study might take. It is a good idea to end with a strong statement that leaves the reader with the impression that the essay has fulfilled the thesis within the limitation of the specific parameters and a sense of completion.

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