The five paragraph essay follows a defined format. The first paragraph introduces us to the thesis of the essay and directs us to the three main supporting subtopics. The second through fourth paragraphs are all similar in format. They individually restate the subtopics, and are developed by giving supporting information. The fifth and last paragraph restates the main thesis idea and reminds the reader of the three main supporting ideas that were developed. All of these paragraphs are important.
The introductory paragraph is the place in which the writer introduces the reader to the topic. It is important to make this a clear and limited statement. This is where the writer grabs the reader's attention. Because of its purpose, it is often the first sentence of the paragraph. It is followed by three subtopics that develop the thesis. Between this paragraph and all paragraphs of the essay, there needs to be some kind of a transition word, phrase, or sentence.
Next, the body of the essay contains paragraphs two through four. They are all similarly constructed. Their topic sentences are restatements, often in original form, of the three supporting ideas presented in the first paragraph. The subtopic of each of the body paragraphs is again supported by three or more supporting sentences. These cement, in the reader's mind, the relevancy and relationship of each of the subtopics to the thesis statement.
Finally, the fifth paragraph is the summary paragraph. It is important to restate the thesis and three supporting ideas in an original and powerful manner as this is the last chance the writer has to convince the reader of the validity of the information presented. Because the purposes of the first and fifth paragraph are so similar that some writers construct them at the same time. They will edit them, as necessary, as they do with each and every part of the essay.
It is important to reiterate that each of the paragraphs is joined together by a transition word, phrase or sentence. Transitions help the reader to follow the flow of the logic and sequencing. All of the essay types follow this basic transition format. However, there is more latitude with the narrative essay because of its nature.
To put it more visually, the structure model has been color coded and looks like this:
General Topic Sentence
First Supporting Paragraph
Restate Subtopic One
Second Supporting Paragraph
Restate Subtopic Two
Third Supporting Paragraph
Restate Subtopic Three
Closing or Summary Paragraph
Synthesis of main topic
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