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Five Paragraph Essay
Transcript of Five Paragraph Essay
3 BODY PARAGRAPHS
The introduction (1) grabs the reader's attention, (2) sets the tone of the essay, (3) makes the central argumentative claim the essay is going to prove, and (4) provides a brief preview of the content so readers know where they are going.
Each body paragraph provides one part of the big picture. Together, these three paragraphs are the heart of the essay's argument. Each body paragraph provides (1) a claim, (2) evidence to support that claim, and (3) an explanation of just how the evidence proves the claim is true.
The conclusion (1) provides a sense of closure for readers and (2) gives readers an idea or question to ponder after they put the essay down.
The hook grabs the reader's attention.
The link connects the hook's subject matter to the subject matter of the thesis.
The thesis statement provides the central claim the essay is attempting to prove.
Think of your bridge as a road map that lets your
readers know where they are going.
Your bridge - or map - is simply a way to preview for your reader the topic of each individual body paragraph. Your bridge presents these topics in the same order your reader will encounter them in the essay itself.
It's just like directions from a gas station. "Go north for one mile, turn right at the Subway, and go another three miles until you see the red barn. You can't miss it." That's what your bridge does.
EXACT - Your thesis must be clear, concise and avoid vague language. Example: "Religion is bad." What does "bad" even mean? "Bad" how? The same goes for words like "nice," "good," and "interesting." These words are so vague they're almost meaningless.
The hook is also called the attention-getter or opener, and after reading it, readers should actually WANT to read your essay. They should NEED to see what else you have to say. If they don't, you've failed. It's called a 'hook', as in, "I'm a fish and I have this hook in my bottom lip and I can't get away and some guy is going to eat me tonight."
A claim provides the argument that will be proven in a body paragraph.
EVIDENCE IS YOUR PROOF THAT YOUR CLAIM IS CORRECT.
THE EXPLANATION IS AN ATTEMPT TO CONNECT THE EVIDENCE TO THE CLAIM.
THE CONCLUSION BRIEFLY SUMMARIZES THE IDEA PRESENTED IN THE THESIS.
THE CONCLUSION THEN ANSWERS THE QUESTION, "SO WHAT?"
WHAT IS A
Also known as topic sentences, claims behave like thesis statements. Claims must be L.A.M.E. - limited, arguable, meaningful, and exact.
It is the purpose of each body paragraph to prove its claim, and it is the purpose of each claim to give its body paragraph something TO prove.
The three claims of a five-paragraph essay must be organized in the same order as they are presented back in the bridge. Bridge point number two, for example, must be the subject of body paragraph number two.
The three claims from your three body paragraphs add up to prove your thesis.
The evidence of a body paragraph is factual information. Most often, evidence is presented as a cited quotation.
Presenting a claim and providing evidence isn't enough. You need to make sure your reader understands the connection between the two. You can't assume your reader understands the point you are trying to make. Your job is to make sure that connection is clear.
The conclusion does NOT repeat all of the ideas of the entire essay. All we need is a BRIEF review of the essay's main idea. This helps give your reader a sense of closure.
"So what?" is an important question. ""Why am I reading this essay?" your reader is asking. "Who cares? How does this affect me?" In other words, "So what?"
Well, your job here is to give your reader an answer to that question. How IS your essay going to impact your reader? How DOES your point of view about some short story or poem relate to the real world?
If you can answer "So what?" then you've given your reader a reason for caring about what you've written, something to ponder.
The INTRODUCTION consists of 4 parts:
Each BODY PARAGRAPH
consists of 3 parts:
The CONCLUSION consists of 2 parts:
The five-paragraph essay – also known as the three tier or hamburger essay - is a traditional essay format to help beginning writers.
TRANSITIONS ARE NEEDED TO CONNECT ONE BODY POINT TO THE NEXT.
Without a transition, the leap from one body paragraph to the next is awkward.
Avoid one word transitions, such as "first," "second," "third," "also," and "another."
Try crafting a full-sentence transition. The first half of the sentence should be about the previous paragraph, and the second half of the sentence should be about the following paragraph.
You need to connect
your body paragraphs with
Here are some strong thesis statements that are pretty L.A.M.E. (which is a good thing):
"Willy Loman's obsession with the past strips him of his free will."
"Hamlet's inability to kill Claudius stems from an ill-defined sense of self-purpose."
"Henry is a dynamic character whose view of war matures and changes throughout the novel."
Remember, if someone reads your hook and says, "Uh, no duh" or "Um, who cares?" then your hook is weak.
Examples of weak hooks:
"Everyone has goals."
"Throughout history, there have been wars."
"There has always been racism, and it is bad."
"In the world, people have many points of view."
"George is a character in Steinbeck's novel."
Ideas to make your hook more attention-grabbing:
a surprising fact or statistic
a provocative point of view, statement, or quotation
an interesting historic, political, or literary anecdote
a thought-provoking rhetorical question
Remember, it takes more than just a sentence or two to craft a good hook. Take a moment and do it right. Check out the hook in the sample essay...
Your hook grabs your reader's attention, and your link takes a few sentences to make sure your reader understands what the heck it has to do with your thesis. The link makes a connection between the two - like a link connecting two parts of a chain.
Welcome to the world of the
Don't rush through the explanation. This is the fun part. This is your words, your ideas. This is what people enjoy talking about most. This is the WHY. This is your own personal point of view.
For example, let's say we're writing an essay about super heroes, and we want to transition from a paragraph about Batman to a paragraph about Spider-Man. We might try this:
While Batman chooses to dress as a flying rodent,
Spider-Man prefers to dress as a pest of the
eight-legged arachnoid variety.
Transitions can come at the end of the previous paragraph or at the start of the next paragraph. The choice is yours. Also, note that you don't need to put a transition between the intro paragraph and the first body paragraph. The bridge already make that transition for us.
Look, there are many ways to conclude a five-paragraph essay. The "So what?" method is just one of them. It is an effective one, however. Instead of rushing through the conclusion, take your time and make it count. Use it to make a lasting impression.
The point of the essay
make a central claim (the thesis)
prove the claim is correct by supplying evidence
The five-paragraph essay creates a thoughtful, thorough, persuasive argument.
Your thesis statement is what you are trying to prove. If you prove your thesis, you succeed. If you don't prove it, you fail. Remember this trick: your thesis should be "L.A.M.E." - limited, arguable, meaningful, exact.
LIMITED- Your thesis cannot be too broad. Example: "Religion is helpful." To what degree? "Helpful" for whom? When? In what ways?
ARGUABLE - A reasonable person must be able to disagree with your thesis. Example:
"Huckleberry Finn lives in the South."
No kidding. It says so in the novel This isn't a thesis; it's a fact.
MEANINGFUL - Your thesis must be interesting. Granted, "interesting" is a relative term, so do your best.