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Review of the Five Paragraph Essay

The five paragraph essay follows a defined format. The first paragraph introduces us to the
thesis of the essay and directs us to the three main supporting subtopics. The second through
fourth paragraphs are all similar in format. They individually restate the subtopics, and are
developed by giving supporting information. The fifth and last paragraph restates the main thesis
idea and reminds the reader of the three main supporting ideas that were developed. All of these
paragraphs are important.
The introductory paragraph is the place in which the writer introduces the reader to the topic.
It is important to make this a clear and limited statement. This is where the writer grabs the
reader's attention. Because of its purpose, it is often the first sentence of the paragraph. It is
followed by three subtopics that develop the thesis. Between this paragraph and all paragraphs of
the essay, there needs to be some kind of a transition word, phrase, or sentence.
Next, the body of the essay contains paragraphs two through four. They are all similarly
constructed. Their topic sentences are restatements, often in original form, of the three
supporting ideas presented in the first paragraph. The subtopic of each of the body paragraphs is
again supported by three or more supporting sentences. These cement, in the reader's mind, the
relevancy and relationship of each of the subtopics to the thesis statement.
Finally, the fifth paragraph is the summary paragraph. It is important to restate the thesis and
three supporting ideas in an original and powerful manner as this is the last chance the writer
has to convince the reader of the validity of the information presented. Because the purposes of
the first and fifth paragraph are so similar that some writers construct them at the same time.
They will edit them, as necessary, as they do with each and every part of the essay.
It is important to reiterate that each of the paragraphs is joined together by a transition word,
phrase or sentence. Transitions help the reader to follow the flow of the logic and sequencing. All
of the essay types follow this basic transition format. However, there is more latitude with the
narrative essay because of its nature.
To put it more visually, refer to the graphic organizer at the end of this packet.
Recipe for a Five Paragraph PERSUASIVE Essay
Persuasive writing attempts to convince the reader that the point of view or course of action
recommended by the writer is valid. To accomplish this, the writer must develop a limited topic
which is well defined and debatable, that is has more than one side. It is important that the
author understand other sides of the position so that the strongest information to counter the
others can be presented. In the essay, only one side of the issue is presented.
Like all kinds of five paragraph essays, there is a specific format to be followed.
• The topic sentence cannot be a fact as facts cannot be debated. It should be a statement of
position. That position must be clear and direct. This statement directs the readers to
follow along with your logic towards the specific stated conclusion that you want them to
support. Do not make it personal so do not use personal pronouns.
• Then, in the same introductory paragraph, state the three best reasons that you have to
support your position as the remainder of the opening paragraph. These reasons become
the topics of each of the three supporting paragraphs. Again, be sure they are able to be
supported with additional separate facts.
• In the body of the essay, the writer uses specific evidence, examples, and statistics and not
broad generalizations or personal opinions to persuade the reader that the stated position
is a valid one. Each topic sentence for the support paragraphs have been introduced in the
beginning paragraph. Each additional sentence must closely relate to the topic and the
sentence that came before it. This way, the logic of the argument is easy to follow.
• Be sure to use adequate transitions between paragraphs as they make it easy for the
reader to follow the logic of the presentation.
• As one closes the essay, it is most important to to clearly redefine the topic and restate the
most compelling evidence cited in original form. Remember, this is the last chance to
remind the reader and convince him/her to accept the writer's position.
• Do not introduce new material in the conclusion.
Persuasive Writing, Part 2 – The Argument
1. Choose your position. Which side of the issue or problem are you going to write about,
and what solution will you offer? Know the purpose of your essay.

2. Analyze your audience. Decide if your audience agrees with you, is neutral, or disagrees
with your position.

3. Research your topic. A persuasive essay must provide specific and convincing evidence.
Often it is necessary to go beyond your own knowledge and experience. You might need to
go to the library or interview people who are experts on your topic.

4. Structure your essay. Figure out what evidence you will include and in what order you
will present the evidence. Remember to consider your purpose, your audience, and you

The following criteria are essential to produce an effective argument:

· Be well informed about your topic. To add to your knowledge of a topic, read thoroughly
about it, using legitimate sources. Take notes.
· Test your thesis. Your thesis, i.e., argument, must have two sides. It must be debatable. If
you can write down a thesis statement directly opposing your own, you will ensure that
your own argument is debatable.
· Disprove the opposing argument. Understand the opposite viewpoint of your position
and then counter it by providing contrasting evidence or by finding mistakes and
inconsistencies in the logic of the opposing argument.
· Support your position with evidence. Remember that your evidence must appeal to
reason. The following are different ways to support your argument: Facts - A powerful
means of convincing, facts can come from your reading, observation, or personal

Note: Do not confuse facts with truths. A "truth" is an idea believed by many people, but
it cannot be proven.
Statistics - These can provide excellent support. Be sure your statistics come from
responsible sources. Always cite your sources.
Quotes - Direct quotes from leading experts that support your position are invaluable.
Examples - Examples enhance your meaning and make your ideas concrete. They are the
Sample Prompts

How Come You Won't Let Me Go?

You over hear your parents talking about the fact that they are going to one of your favorite places or or
a place that they know you always wanted to visit. Then you hear them discussing getting a babysitter
for you. You now know what they are not taking you.
Decide on a place to which you would love to go and be sure to include that in the opening sentence.
Think of reasons that your parents might not be taking you. Then persuade them that they should
include you. Be sure to give specifics and not just general statements. Remember that you want to
convince them to include you.

I Need a Raise in My Allowance

Many students get an allowance from their parents to help the child learn to be financially responsible.
However, sometimes that allowance does not meet the needs of the student, and the he or she has to go
and beg for more money from their parents. They never know if they will get the request or not.
Write a five-paragraph essay about why you need to have a raise in your allowance and how it would
be beneficial to you and to them if they granted this request.
Be sure to think about this as a parent. Write it as if the validity of your request would actually
convince them to reward this petition.

School Lunch Menu Needs Changing

Many students really do not like the contents of their school lunch. Parents pay for it because they feel
their child will get healthy food and it is convenient for them to provide it. Yet, many students throw
much of it out because they do not like the choices presented.
You are to write a five-paragraph essay suggesting specific menu changes, explaining the advantages of
changes plus the health and financial benefits of those changes.

Lengthening the School Day

The school board of your district is considering making the school day longer by adding an extra hour.
The purpose for lengthening the school day is provide more time for instruction and practice in the
existing school curricula. They believe that greater student achievement can be achieved by making the
school day longer. They point out that there are experts in the field of education who agree with them.
The school board is seeking input from all community members.
Better Place to Live: Small Towns or Big Cities?
Think about where people live. People live in small towns, large towns or even big cities. Some people
live on farms or in houses in the country. Think about where it is best to live and why. It could be
where you live now or a place that you have visited. The newspaper is sponsoring a contest for people
to write about their favorite place to live. They will print the paper which gives the best reasons.
Choose the one place where you would like to live and explain the reasons to persuade people that it is
the best place to live.
New School
Your city is going to have a new school within the next three or four years. You think there should be
some young people on the planning committee. Write an essay that supports your opinion.

Your local public library has come under criticism for allowing patrons under the age of 18 to check
out books considered unacceptable. The books are either explicit, describe graphic violence, or use
questionable language. What is your position on this issue? Write a letter to the editor of your local
newspaper stating your position and supporting it with three convincing reasons.

Too Much Homework

Some of the parents at your school have started a campaign to limit the homework that teachers can
assign to students. Teachers at your school have argued that the homework is necessary. What is your
position? Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper stating your position and supporting it
with three convincing arguments.

The mayor of your city is trying to decide if a 7:00p.m. curfew for children under the age of 16 is
needed. What do you think? Write a persuasive essay to the mayor (Gail Kelley) to convince her to
enact or not to enact, the curfew. Give at least three reasons to support your position.