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How to Write a (BETTER) Five-Paragraph Essay

I know how they told you to write it. Now let me tell you how it's really done. Popular misconception is that because you read a paper from start to finish, that the best way to write it is from start to finish. This is, of course, nonsense. The best way to write a thesis paper is as follows.
 
  1. Write your conclusion first.
    That's right... the easiest way to write a 5-paragraph thesis paper is to start with your conclusions first. This is how we think, anyway. When we read about a subject,  we are thinking while we read, so that by the time we've finished reading, we already know what we think about it. Those are our conclusions about what we just read/watched/experienced. We're already there, so why not start there? When you start the conclusion you should say something specific about your topic. By then end of your conclusion, you should show how the specific nature of your topic says something large, say, about the nature of life itself.

  2. Write your thesis second.
    Once you know where you want to direct your reader, you can then easily create your thesis to point them in that direction, and find your three articles of evidence to support your claims. Don't work on any other part of the introduction yet, just the thesis. If you conclusion is about how Pugs are the best dog ever, then your thesis is going to claim that Pugs are the best dogs for reasons a, b, and c. If you want to claim in your conclusion that we should all be eating less sugar because of the health effects, your thesis should claim that sugar is bad for your health for reasons a,b, and c. This is why the conclusion is always first, and the thesis second.

  3. Write your support paragraphs next.
    Once you know your thesis, you know your three pieces that you'll want to draw on to support that thesis. When you know your three pieces of evidence, you know what your three body paragraphs are going to need to be about, and you know how to start the sentence of each of those paragraphs. Search through your source text/film to find quotes that illustrate the evidence you present. For the our examples, your first support paragraphs would start: "Pugs are the best dog because (a)..." and "Sugar is bad for our health because (a)" Support paragraph 2 presents thesis element b, and so on. 

  4. Write your introduction last.
    Just as the conclusion should go from the narrow illustration of the conclusion to a larger observation about life, the introduction should start with a grand assessment about life, and then draw down to the narrow focus of the thesis. Since the rest of the paper is already written, is is now easier to muse about the grans scale and how your paper fits into it. But the reader doesn't know that yet, so think of how you would tell someone you just met about what you just wrote. That then can guide how you introduce your your topic and connect to your thesis.

  5. Put everything in the right order, and read it through.
    Once everything is written and saved, then use the copy and paste functions to re-arrange the paragraphs into the proper order that a reader should encounter them: introduction first that ends in a 3-part thesis statement, evidence-supporting body paragraphs starting with a sole element of the 3-part thesis, and the conclusion that the thesis reaches with broader implications as your exit. Read through it to get a sense of its flow and polish it up wherever you need to.

  6. Write an Outline, based on the paper you just finished.
    (It's so much easier to make the map once you know how all the pieces fit!)
And there you are! The BETTER Five-Paragraph Essay that makes essay writing, easier, faster, and produces better results!

Comments

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