How To Write a Five Paragraph Essay

What do Mark Zuckerburg, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Warren Buffett have in common? They all attribute their success to their mastery of the form known as the “Five Paragraph Essay.”  Thomas Jefferson was once quoted as saying “If you must learn only one skill. Learn how to bolster an argument with three strong body paragraphs. Give me liberty or I am not Thomas Jefferson.” You understand the importance of the Five Paragraph Essay, but how do you write one?

  1. Choose a topic. Whether you are writing a FPE for fun, or as a homework assignment, your first responsibility is to know your topic.  Whether or not you have been given a prompt, choose a topic at random (this way it will be fresh and will have no chance of boring you.) An easy way to get a topic is to go to google.com and begin typing random letters into the search bar. The first auto-complete that catches your fancy will be your topic!
  2. Start with Wikipedia. Before you start writing, make sure to thoroughly research your topic. Wikipedia is the most trusted research tool in America for a reason. It has the added feature of allowing you to make corrections on topics when “you are pretty sure you read somewhere that Michael Jordan retired from the NBA at age 12.”
  3. Use your paragraphs wisely. Remember you only have 5 of them. Use at least your first 3 paragraphs to set up your idea and include any tangentially related poetry you may have stumbled on. A persuasive argument is built largely on rhetoric so you may need to use your 4th paragraph for further introduction.
  4. Finish Strong! Now that you have successfully set up the premise of your argument, drive it home with a conclusion that is as repetitive as possible. The key is to make sure that your reader understands that you believe “That effective parenting can be accomplished through dialogue and regular use of cheese and crackers”. Many essayists prefer to write an original 5th paragraph but it is perfectly acceptable to copy and paste one of your previous paragraphs.
Cow Tips!
*5 paragraphs is just a guideline. Usually one will suffice.
*Try using an acrostic to increase intellectual credibility.
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