How to Write Five Sentence Paragraphs and Five Paragraph Essays

The classic five sentence paragraph and the classic five paragraph essay are writing forms that can help an author organize their thoughts, write clearly, and present information in a way that is easy for a reader to comprehend.

Here is a tutorial:

Think of a topic.
Think about how to explain your topic in a few words.
Write that down as the title, you’ll need that later.
Examples: Why I Love My Kitties, Growing Luffas, Causal Factors in the Collapse of the Roman Empire.

Think of three things to say about your topic.
While you don’t have to write them down, it can be helpful to while first learning the form.

Examples: Physical characteristics, distraction, comfort, or planting, flowering, and harvesting.

The classic five sentence paragraph uses the following format:
1) Tell them what you are going to tell them.
2) Tell them.
3) Tell them.
4) Tell them.
5) Tell them what you told them.

Sentence 1 – Tell them what you are going to tell them.

Consider specifically what the three things you have to say about the topic have in common.
Since they are all on the same topic it shouldn’t be difficult, but it may be possible to be more specific.

Examples: I love my kitties, Luffas need a long growing season to go from seed to harvest.

Sentence 2 – Tell them.

Take the first of your list of three things you have to say about your topic, and make it into a sentence.

Example: I love the feel of their fur under my fingertips.

Sentence 3 – Tell them.

Take the second from your list of three things you have to say about your topic, and make it into a sentence.

Example: They lovingly interrupt my work and remind me of the pleasures of the here and now.

Sentence 4 – Tell them.

Take the third from your list of three things you have to say about your topic, and make it into a sentence.

Example: When I’m blue, they brighten my day and comfort me.

Sentence 5 – Tell them what you told them.

Write the conclusion.

Read the first four sentences that you just wrote. What should the read know from reading them? Write that as the last sentence to sum up what you’ve written.

Example: My kitties make my world a nicer place to live in.

Reread, and neaten up and adjust as needed.

Example:
I love my kitties. The feel of their fur under my fingertips is soothing. They lovingly interrupt my work and remind me of the pleasures of the here and now. When I’m blue, they brighten my day and comfort me. My kitties make my world a nicer place to be.

Practice with the form makes it easier, it isn’t a bad idea to pick a few random topics and try them out. Once you are comfortable with the five sentence paragraph, the next step is the five paragraph essay. The good news is using the five sentence paragraph as a foundation, the rest is mostly more of the same.

A classic five paragraph essay is made of five paragraphs in the following format.

1) Tell them what you are going to tell them.
2) Tell them.
3) Tell them.
4) Tell them.
5) Tell them what you told them.

Which should look familiar.

The 1st paragraph is the introduction.

The first sentence tells what the essay is going to be about. The second is the topic for the second paragraph, the third is the topic for the third paragraph, and the fourth for the fourth. The final sentence prepare the reader for the rest of the essay.

Paragraphs 2-4 are supporting paragraphs each making a point.

Paragraph 5 is the conclusion.

Essays can be grouped and combined this same way into longer papers or chapters. Some textbooks are written this way. Once the basics are understood, they can be applied in a variety of ways.

The number of paragraphs can be adjusted as needed. A compare and contrast may have only an introduction, two supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion. A process paper may have many supporting paragraphs. The introduction to an introduction might be kept brief for ease of reading. The form should be a helpful tool, not a rigid standard.

Writing is a skill that develops with practice, and it can be difficult to organize thoughts without that practice. My hope is that this article will help that practice go easier and remove some of the anxiety frequently involved in the process.

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