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The Five Paragraph Essay

Length: Your essay should be a minimum of two complete double-spaced typed pages.

Format: All submissions must be typed in Times New Roman 12-point font. They should be double-spaced and have one-inch margins. All papers should conform to the MLA style of format. Visit the Purdue Online Writing Lab for examples.


  1. Before you begin writing, decide on the topic you would like to write about. Then, formulate the main point you would like to get across. This is your basic thesis.
  2. Before you begin writing, decide on three pieces of evidence/support you will use to prove your thesis.
  3. Write your introductory paragraph. Place your thesis, along with your three pieces of evidence in order of strength (least to most), at the end of this paragraph.
  4. Write the first body paragraph. You should begin by connecting back to your thesis, then focusing on the support of your first piece of evidence.
  5. End your first body paragraph with a transitional sentence that leads to the second body paragraph. 6. Repeat sets #5 & #6 for your second and third body paragraphs.
  6. Begin your concluding paragraph by reminding your reader of the thesis, perhaps including the three points you’ve used to prove your thesis. If it is not clear, tell the reader why your thesis matters.
  7. End your concluding paragraph with a statement of extension that will (hopefully) cause the reader to look beyond what you have written. Avoid including any new evidence in your last paragraph.


  • Avoid using a general “you” in your essay. As well, avoid using the universal “he” or “man” to represent all people. These words limit your audience by assuming a specific common background.
  • Keep in mind, you are writing for an academic audience. Therefore, your tone, writing style, language, and presentation should be professional. If you are having difficulty writing “academically,” feel free to set up an appointment to have me work with you on drafts of your papers before they are due.
  • Look at the examples of 3-pt enumeration essays online at The ATU Writer (on Blackboard).

Rubric: The grade breakdown for the final paper is as follows:

  • Strong Thesis (a strong argument that acts as a map for the paper & should include the three points you will expand upon in your paper): 25 points
  • Strong Claims at the Beginning of Each Paragraph (must tie to the main argument of the paper): 25 points
  • Strong Support for Every Claim Made: 25 points
  • Clear Writing (free from major grammatical errors—a few minor errors can be present): 20 points
  • 2 pages with proper MLA formatting: 5 points


Last Updated on March 8, 2020

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