Write A Standard 5 Paragraph Essay

A five-paragraph essay requires you to get your thoughts in order.

Students from elementary school to college have all had to construct five-paragraph essays for writing assignments. This structure helps beginning language students develop their composition skills. The topic can be anything informative. As long as you follow the standard format, your essay should come across sounding polished and professional.


1. Choose your topic. Unless you are assigned a topic, be sure to pick something that interests you. You’ll find it is much easier to write an essay about a topic you know something about. That way you won’t have to engage in in-depth research.

2. Write a thesis statement. This should be the one sentence that sums up your paper in its entirety. If you want to write a paper about how birds migrate, your thesis statement might read, “Birds have internal navigation senses that assist them with their yearly migration.”

3. Begin your introduction. Try to find an unusual aspect about the topic or personal experience that draws readers in. Include an organizational statement. This tells your readers what the next three paragraphs of your five-paragraph essay are about. For example, you might write: “Birds use visual orientation, geographic landmarks and a variety of innate abilities to migrate annually.”

4. Begin the body of your paper. Make sure that you write your second, third and fourth paragraphs in direct conjunction with the topics listed in your organizational statement. If you start out talking about geographic landmarks yet your sample organizational statement lists that as the second topic, your essay is out of alignment and you’ll need to either alter your organizational statement or switch the order of your paragraphs. Begin the middle three paragraphs with topic sentences and then support those sentences with factual information.

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5. Sum it all up. The conclusion is the fifth and last paragraph in your five-paragraph essay. The conclusion will restate your thesis statement and wrap up your topic. Although you should never make the thesis statement either the first or last sentence in an introduction, it is perfectly acceptable to do that in the conclusion.

6. Proofread your essay. Make sure each of your paragraphs is five to seven sentences long and that your spelling and grammar are correct. Have a friend or family member look over your work, too.