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The Five Paragraph Essay

The Origins and "Rules" of the Five Paragraph Essay

Kathrine Borsuk

on 4 September 2015

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Transcript of The Five Paragraph Essay

Origins and "Rules" of the Five Paragraph Essay
The Five Paragraph Essay
required in many classes
considered "academic"
it's been around for a long time
parts of the Christian Bible appear to be written in this format
Ancient Middle Eastern poetry is in a five part format
Lots of politicians follow this format for speeches
Wait...what's a five paragraph essay?
it is direct and to the point
it is well organized
people expect it!
So why use it?
getting "stuck" in this format can limit creativity
Are there any negatives?
Start with a broad idea to warm your readers up
racism in The Other Wes Moore
racism in every day life
the diversity of characters in Romeo and Juliet
Shakespeare's impact on the world
Then, move to your thesis

1. a proposition stated or put forward for consideration, especially one to be discussed and proved or to be maintained against objections.

2. a subject for a composition or essay.
What's a thesis?
First, decide WHAT you want to prove...
We want to prove that porcupines make great pets.

Then, decide WHY you believe it's true...
Porcupines are surprisingly cuddly.
Porcupines offer great protection from robbers because of their quills.
Having a porcupine as a pet will make you unique so you will impress all of your friends.

After you have decided WHAT you want to prove and WHY you believe it's true, make the WHAT and WHY into one sentence
To the astonishment of many, porcupines actually make excellent pets because of their cuddliness, the protection that they offer, and their ability to impress your friends.
How do I make a thesis?
It structures the rest of your essay....

In your first paragraph, you will discuss the first WHY you presented in your thesis.

In your second paragraph, you will discuss the second WHY of your thesis.

In the third paragraph you will discuss the third WHY of your thesis.

Sometimes, this kind of structure is called "parallelism," because the thesis parallels the essay itself.
Generally, your thesis is the last sentence of your first paragraph because....
In all body paragraphs, your first sentence has two jobs...
help transition
introduce your topic

Going back to porcupines...
To the astonishment of many, porcupines actually make excellent pets because of their cuddliness, the protection that they offer, and their ability to impress your friends.
The first, second, and third BODY paragraphs...
After you introduce the topic, your job is to offer SPECIFIC examples.

Not so great: Porcupines have soft skin on their bellies so you can cuddle with them.

Awesome: In terms of area, exactly 8.9 inches of the average porcupine is covered by skin that is soft and comfortable to the touch, making porcupines excellent pets to cuddle.

Most body paragraphs have any where from 2 to 5 specific examples.
More about the body paragraphs...

1. to separate (a material or abstract entity) into constituent parts or elements; determine the elements or essential features of ( opposed to synthesize): to analyze an argument.

2. to examine critically, so as to bring out the essential elements or give the essence of: to analyze a poem.

3. to examine carefully and in detail so as to identify causes, key factors, possible results, etc.

sum·ma·ry: noun

1. a comprehensive and usually brief abstract, recapitulation, or compendium of previously stated facts or statements.
Analyze, don't summarize!
The concluding sentence has three jobs...
help wrap up or summarize your ideas from the paragraph
remind readers what the topic of the paragraph was
help transition
Even more about the body paragraphs...
Your conclusion paragraph usually goes in this order...
remind readers of your thesis
remind readers of your WHY
give them a "clincher"
The Conclusion Paragraph
List your strongest point last.

List your second strongest point first.

List your weakest point in the middle.
Order of the WHY in your thesis is important!
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