This is certainly a classic essay introduction that is five-paragraph.

This is certainly a classic essay introduction that is five-paragraph.

But Alex’s professor doesn’t like it. She underlines the first two sentences, and she writes, “This is just too general. Get to the point.” She underlines the 3rd and sentences that are fourth and she writes, “You’re just restating the question I asked. What’s your point?” She underlines the final sentence, and then writes within the margin, “What’s your thesis?” because the last sentence when you look at the paragraph only lists topics. It does not make a disagreement.

Is Alex’s professor just a grouch? Well, no—she is wanting to teach this student that college writing isn’t about following a formula (the model that is five-paragraph, it is about making a quarrel. Her first sentence is general, the way she learned a five-paragraph essay should start. But through the professor’s perspective, it’s far too general—so general, in reality, she didn’t ask students to define civil war that it’s completely outside of the assignment. The 3rd and fourth sentences say, in so many words, “I am comparing and contrasting the reasons why the North in addition to South fought the Civil War”—as the professor says, they simply restate the prompt, without giving just one hint about where this student’s paper is certainly going. The sentence that is final that should make a quarrel, only lists topics; it doesn’t pay to get essays written begin to explore how or why something happened.

You can guess what Alex will write next if you’ve seen a lot of five-paragraph essays. Her body that is first paragraph begin, “We can easily see a few of the different reasons why the North and South fought the Civil War by looking at the economy.” Exactly what will the professor say about this? She may ask, “What differences can we come across? What the main economy have you been speaing frankly about? How come the distinctions exist? What makes they important?” After three such body paragraphs, the student might write a conclusion that says much the same as her introduction, in slightly different words. Alex’s professor might already respond, “You’ve said this!”

What could Alex do differently? Let’s start over. This time around, Alex does not begin with a preconceived notion of how to prepare her essay. Rather than three “points,that she will brainstorm until she comes up with a main argument, or thesis, that answers the question “Why did the North and South fight the Civil War?” Then she will decide how to organize her draft by thinking about the argument’s parts and how they fit together” she decides.

After doing some brainstorming and reading the Writing Center’s handout on thesis statements, Alex thinks about a argument that is main or thesis statement:

    Both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against oppression and tyranny, but Northerners focused on the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their rights to property and self-government.

Then Alex writes her introduction. But alternatively of beginning with a statement that is general civil wars, she gives us the ideas we have to know to be able to understand most of the elements of her argument:

    The usa broke away from England in response to British tyranny and oppression, so opposition to tyranny and a belief in individual freedom and liberty were important values within the young republic. However in the nineteenth century, slavery made Northerners and Southerners see these values in completely different ways. By 1860, the conflict over these values broke out into a civil war that nearly tore the united states apart. Both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against tyranny and oppression, but Northerners focused on the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their rights to property and self-government in that war.

Every sentence in Alex’s introduction that is new your reader along the road to her thesis statement in an unbroken chain of ideas.

Now Alex turns to organization. You’ll find more about the thinking process she passes through inside our handout on organization, but here are the basics: first, she decides, she’ll write a paragraph that gives background; she’ll explain how opposition to tyranny and a belief in individual liberty came to be such important values in the United States. Then she’ll write another background paragraph for which she shows the way the conflict over slavery developed with time. Then she’ll have separate paragraphs about Northerners and Southerners, explaining in detail—and evidence that is giving claims about each group’s cause of likely to war.

Keep in mind that Alex now has four body paragraphs. She might have had three or two or seven; what’s important is her argument to tell her how many paragraphs she should have and how to fit them together that she allowed. Furthermore, her body paragraphs don’t all“points that are discuss” like “the economy” and “politics”—two of them give background, and the other two explain Northerners’ and Southerners’ views at length.

Finally, having followed her sketch outline and written her paper, Alex turns to writing a conclusion. From our handout on conclusions, she understands that a “that’s my story and I’m sticking to it” conclusion does not move her ideas forward. Using the strategies she finds within the handout, she decides that she will use her conclusion to spell out why the paper she’s just written really matters—perhaps by pointing out that the fissures inside our society that the Civil War opened are, in many cases, still causing trouble today.

Is it ever OK to create a essay that is five-paragraph?

Yes. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where somebody expects you to definitely seem sensible of a body that is large of on the spot and write a well-organized, persuasive essay—in fifty minutes or less? Seems like an essay exam situation, right? When time is short additionally the pressure is on, falling back regarding the good old fashioned essay that is five-paragraph save you time and give you confidence. A five-paragraph essay might also act as the framework for a speech that is short. Try not to fall under the trap, however, of creating a” that is“listing statement when your instructor expects a quarrel; when planning your body paragraphs, think of three components of a disagreement, as opposed to three “points” to go over. On the other side hand, most professors recognize the constraints of writing blue-book essays, and a “listing” thesis is probably much better than no thesis at all.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing the original version of this handout. This is not a comprehensive selection of resources regarding the handout’s topic, so we encourage one to do your own personal research to find the latest publications on this topic. Please don’t use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, you are using as it may not match the citation style. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial. We revise these pointers periodically and welcome feedback.