5-Paragraph Essay Outline & Writing Guide

A five-paragraph essay is a writing assignment that involves the construction or defense of your position on an issue or topic. This type of essay requires you to develop arguments, make observations, and support your argument with evidence from texts or other sources. It is also important to structure your paragraphs carefully so that they clearly articulate your thoughts and ideas in the most effective way possible. 

Writing an essay is a skill that many students develop during their high school years. However, not all essays follow the same structure or go through the same process in writing. The five-paragraph essay is a great way to learn how to write an essay. This guide will teach you how to write a five paragraph essay.

What does 5 paragraphs look like?

The basic structure of a 5 paragraph essay is this:

  1. Introduction (1 paragraph)
  2. Body paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 (3 paragraphs total)
  3. Conclusion (1 paragraph)

How to start a 5 paragraph essay

The first step to writing this type of essay is to draft a 5 paragraph essay outline. This will help you identify the main ideas and how they relate to each other, which in turn will allow you to create a deeper understanding of your topic.

Begin with an introduction. You should start by writing an overview of your paper’s purpose, what it is about and why this is important. The introduction paragraph is a quick summary of the essay, followed by a one-sentence statement that explains what you are going to cover in each section. This should be written in just one sentence and should include the following:

  • A clear explanation of what the topic is
  • An explanation of why you chose this topic for your research paper
  • Your thesis statement
  • Your main point(s)

After the introduction, you can then proceed with the body paragraphs. Each paragraph should contain one main idea followed by supporting evidence. A good 5 paragraph essay format uses active voice verbs such as “argue” instead of passive ones like “was argued against.” You may also want to use transitions between each section for easy flow. The first body paragraph should contain its main point. 

The second body paragraph is where you expand on your second point/argument, and show how your thesis applies to real life. In the third body paragraph, you should further expand on your third point. Remember to include all of your evidence (or data) in each relevant paragraph.

The conclusion paragraph is the final section of your essay. It should include a summary of the main points and support them with quotes from the text. A good conclusion also restates the thesis statement, so you can use it as a jumping-off point for your final thoughts on writing.

To write a good conclusion, you will need to:

  • Summarize what was discussed in all body paragraphs (this simply means all points that were discussed)
  • Reiterate that one or more of those points were supported by evidence from the text.
  • Make an important point about how this applies to real life

Best tips on writing a five-paragraph essay

  1. Use an outline
  2. Make sure each paragraph is a complete thought and contains its independent idea
  3. Use transitions to connect ideas in your essay, such as using “and” or “but”
  4. Write in complete sentences, not fragments of sentences
  5. Each paragraph should have a topic sentence
  6. Each paragraph should have a supporting paragraph
  7. Each paragraph should have a concluding sentence
  8. Seek inspiration from other five paragraph essays examples similar to your topic


It is expected that this article has been helpful to you in understanding how to write a five-paragraph essay. Remember that the outline is not meant to be followed exactly, but rather as a starting point for your ideas and creativity. As with any writing task, if you feel stuck or confused about what to do next, go back over the notes from this article or check out a 5 paragraph essay example.

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