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This handout will help you figure out what your college instructors expect if they offer you a writing assignment.

It will probably let you know how and exactly why to maneuver beyond the five-paragraph essays you learned to publish in senior school and start writing essays that are more analytical and much more flexible.

What is a five-paragraph essay?

Twelfth grade students in many cases are taught to create essays using some variation of the model that is five-paragraph. A essay that is five-paragraph hourglass-shaped: it begins with something general, narrows down in the middle to talk about specifics, and then branches out to more general comments at the end. In a classic five-paragraph essay, the very first paragraph starts with an over-all statement and ends with a thesis statement containing three “points”; each body paragraph discusses one of those “points” in turn; in addition to final paragraph sums up what the student has written.

Why do high schools teach the model that is five-paragraph?

The five-paragraph model is a great method to learn to write an essay that is academic. It’s a version that is simplified of writing that needs one to state a thought and support it with evidence. Setting a limit of five paragraphs narrows your options and forces you to definitely master the basic principles of organization. Furthermore—and for several twelfth grade teachers, this is basically the crucial issue—many mandatory end-of-grade writing tests and college admissions exams such as the SAT II writing test reward writers who follow the five-paragraph essay format.

Writing a five-paragraph essay is like riding a bicycle with training wheels; it’s a device that helps you learn. That doesn’t mean you really need to forever use it. Once you can write well without one, it is possible to cast it off and not look back.

The way in which college instructors teach is probably distinctive from that which you experienced in high school, and so is what they expect away from you.

While senior school courses tend to concentrate on the who, what, when, and where for the plain things you study—”just the facts”—college courses ask you to think about the how as well as the why. You certainly can do very well in senior high school by studying hard and memorizing a complete lot of facts. Although college instructors still expect one to understand the known facts, they really care about the manner in which you analyze and interpret those facts and just why you would imagine those facts matter. Once you understand what college instructors are searching for, you can observe a number of the explanations why five-paragraph essays don’t work so well for college writing:

  • Five-paragraph essays often do a job that is poor of up a framework, or context, that can help the reader understand what the author is wanting to say. Students learn in twelfth grade that their introduction should begin with something general. College instructors call these “dawn of the time” introductions. As an example, a student asked to go over the sources of the Hundred Years War might begin, “Since the dawn of the time, humankind happens to be plagued by war.” In a college course, the student would fare better with a far more concrete sentence directly associated with what he or she is likely to say within the rest of the paper—for example, a sentence such as “In the first 14th century, a civil war broke out in Flanders that could soon threaten Western Europe’s balance of power.” Before you turn in the final draft if you are accustomed to writing vague opening lines and need them to get started, go ahead and write them, but delete them. For more on this subject, see our handout on introductions.
  • Five-paragraph essays often lack a disagreement. Because college courses focus on analyzing and interpreting in place of on memorizing, college instructors expect writers not just to know the known facts but additionally to create a quarrel in regards to the facts. The best essays that are five-paragraph do this. However, the standard five-paragraph essay has a “listing” thesis, for example, “I will show how the Romans lost their empire in Britain and Gaul by examining military technology, religion, and politics,” in place of an argumentative one, for instance, “The Romans lost their empire in Britain and Gaul because their opponents’ military technology caught up along with their own in addition as religious upheaval and political conflict were weakening the feeling of common purpose in the home front.” To get more on this subject, see our handout on argument.
  • Five-paragraph essays are often repetitive. Writers who proceed with the five-paragraph model have a tendency to repeat sentences or phrases through the write my essay introduction in topic sentences for paragraphs, instead of writing topic sentences that tie their three “points” together into a argument that is coherent. Repetitive writing doesn’t make it possible to move a quarrel along, also it’s no fun to read.
  • Five-paragraph essays often lack “flow.” Five-paragraph essays often don’t make transitions that are smooth one thought to the following. The “listing” thesis statement encourages writers to deal with each paragraph as well as its main idea as a separate entity, as opposed to to attract connections between paragraphs and ideas in order to develop an argument.
  • Five-paragraph essays often have weak conclusions that merely summarize what’s gone before and don’t say anything interesting or new. Inside our handout on conclusions, we call these “that’s my story and I’m sticking to it” conclusions: they are doing absolutely nothing to engage readers and work out them glad they read the essay. A lot of us can remember an introduction and three body paragraphs without a repetitive summary at the final end to aid us out.
  • Five-paragraph essays don’t have any counterpart in the world that is real. Read your favorite newspaper or magazine; look through the readings your professors assign you; pay attention to political speeches or sermons. Is it possible to find something that looks or feels like a essay that is five-paragraph? One of several important skills that college can teach you, far above the subject question of any particular course, is just how to communicate persuasively in any situation that comes your path. The essay that is five-paragraph too rigid and simplified to fit most real-world situations.
  • Perhaps most important of all: in a essay that is five-paragraph form controls content, with regards to must be the other way around. Students start out with a strategy for organization, in addition they force their ideas to fit it. As you go along, their ideas that are perfectly good mangled or lost.

Let’s take an example according to our handout on thesis statements. Suppose you’re taking a United States History class, and you are asked by the professor to create a paper on this topic:

    Compare and contrast the factors why the North and South fought the Civil War.

Alex, preparing to write her first college history paper, decides to write a essay that is five-paragraph just like she learned in twelfth grade. She begins by thinking, “What are three points I’m able to speak about to compare the reasons the North and South fought the Civil War?” She does a little brainstorming, and she says, “Well, in class, my professor talked about the economy, politics, and slavery. I guess I’m able to do a paper about that.” So she writes her introduction:

    A civil war occurs when two sides in one single country become so angry at each other which they move to violence. The Civil War between North and South was a conflict that is major nearly tore apart the young United States. The North and South fought the Civil War for all reasons. In some instances, these reasons were the exact same, however in other cases they certainly were completely different. In this paper, I will compare and contrast these reasons by examining the economy, politics, and slavery.


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Contact Information

  • SIT Ibnu Sina Makassar | Jl. Cumi-cumi No. 27 - 29A | Makassar
  • No. Handphone :
  • TKIT : Ustadzah Linda (085242223670)
  • SDIT : Ustadzah Rahma (085242770820)
  • SMPIT : Ustadzah Asia (085255249795)
  • SMAIT : Ustadz Haerul (085242535492)
  • Email:
  • Website:

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