The reason five paragraph essays are so great for developing writers is because of the high level of structure. You are told exactly what goes where and in which order to put it. As a student just beginning that structure is absolutely necessary. It is true that before you can break the rules you have to understand them well and that is what the five paragraph essay does – it gives a great foundation for the rules so that students become comfortable with the rules and feel confident in their writing.
Many students when transitioning from the 5 paragraph essay to the collegeessay express concern about what else to put in the introductory paragraph. Certainly, the five paragraph essay gives you a clear formula for whatelse to include in the introduction. However, to excel at collegewriting, students need to think about the function of the introductoryparagraph. Introductory pararaphs are designed to give readers apreview of the essay topic and introduce the writer's point of view onthe subject. You do not need to have one sentence in the introductionfor each paragraph in the paper. You simply need to give enough ofan overview of where you are going to give readers a sense of the overallarc of your argument. An introduction is kind of like a movie preview--ittells the reader enough that he or she knows what to expect, but it doesnot give a scene by scene breakdown of the movie.
The Five Paragraph Essay - Study Guides and Strategies
Many students learned in high school to write what is commonly knownas the five paragraph essay. This handout is designed to help yousee the weaknesses of that syle of essay and to help you learn to writesomething more complex that that formulaic essay. The Five ParagraphEssay consists of (surprise!) five paragraphs that follow a very structuredformat. The first paragraph contains a one sentence (or maybe a twosentence) thesis statement, which is followed by three sentences that brieflydescribe what will be discussed in the three body paragraphs. Thesethree sentences are sometimes referred to as the pathway, since they showwhere the paper will go. There may then be a transitional sentenceto the next paragraph, which discusses the topic of the first pathway sentence. The next two body paragraphs develop and detail the next two pathway sentences. The conclusion, the fifth paragraph, restates and summarizes the argumentsof the essay, sometimes beginning with the phrase, In conclusion.