The Basic Outline of a 5 Paragraph Essay

The traditional 5 paragraph essay is not very popular among professional writers. However, teachers and professors often assign it to help students learn how to develop and structure their ideas and opinions in writing. In addition, this type of the essay can be used as a written response to a certain essay question given on an exam. A successful 5 paragraph essay outline should include the following essential components:

  • an introduction
  • three body paragraphs
  • a conclusion

Let us study each paragraph in detail and see how transitions bring them together.


To learn how to write a 5 paragraph essay, you should discover its basic elements and their role in the essay structure. The introduction paragraph has to discuss the topic in general, leading to the thesis statement. It is a common thing to start an essay with a claim or idea that immediately grabs the reader’s attention. The thesis is expressed in one or two sentences. It gives the reader the idea of what the main subject of discussion is and provides a brief description of the content of the body paragraphs.

For instance, if the 5 paragraph essay narrates about the importance of the car seatbelts, it would be useful to begin the introduction with specific data on car crashes and traffic-related death rates. You could provide an example of how a seatbelt helped someone to survive an accident. In this case, the thesis would explain the reasons for recommending seatbelts. The main body paragraphs will discuss these reasons one by one.

Three Main Body Paragraphs

According to 5 paragraph essay template, each paragraph of the main body concentrates on one reason, idea, or evidence to support the thesis. Each paragraph has a topic sentence that briefly describes the purpose of the paragraph and the needed amount of explanation or discussion to prove your point. To sound convincing and trustworthy, use as many related details and examples as possible.


This part of the 5 paragraph essay has to start with restating the main point of your writing. You have not simply to repeat the thesis in exact words but paraphrase it. You can also add some information that will highlight how important the topic of your discussion is. Unlike the introduction, the conclusion begins with specific statements and grows to generalization at the end.


The main body of a 5paragraph essay consists of three paragraphs connected to each other with transitions. You cannot just switch to a different idea with no transition. You should show how the previous paragraph is related to the next one, how their ideas constitute the main topic.

In 5 paragraph essay example, you can see that there is a transition between paragraphs. It is either inserted into the concluding sentence of the previous paragraph or the topic sentence of the next one. It can even combine both. It is beneficial to use phrases of comparison and contrast to link the paragraphs such as “on the other hand”, “more importantly”, etc. They will help to identify pros and cons of the discussed idea. There should also be a transition from your last paragraph to the conclusion. In this case, you can summarize the ideas from other paragraphs in your last one. You can focus on a few details or examples from the previous paragraphs and make a signal that you are about to conclude.

Basically, a 5paragraph essay is an easy way to structure your thoughts and ideas and present them to the reader in an appealing and comprehensive way. You should remember about the main purpose of your writing so that you can choose proper transitions that will lead the reader to where you need.