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How to Write a 4-Paragraph Essay


Used at all levels of education, the four paragraph essay offers a basic format that enables writers to present information in a concise manner. A four paragraph essay is an acceptable format for many types of essays, including cause and effect and compare and contrast essays. The four-paragraph essay consists of an introduction, two body paragraphs and a conclusion. Each paragraph in the essay requires specific information in order for readers to follow a logical flow of information.

Write a paragraph to serve as an introduction for your essay. Begin the introduction with a "hook" that will make readers interested in your essay. The University of Maryland University College recommends using a surprising statement or statistic, quote, personal story or rhetorical question. Avoid the overused and unoriginal dictionary definition opening. After the opener, provide background information on the topic, which should tell readers the purpose of the essay.

Develop a clear, strong and concise thesis statement, which provides readers with a condensed version of the analysis or argument that you will discuss in the essay, advises the Indiana University website. Thesis statements are typically one or two sentences, located at the end of the introduction paragraph. A strong thesis statement avoids vague language and is specific and provocative.

Write a topic sentence or claim for the first body paragraph. The topic sentence announces the main focus of the paragraph by stating one of the arguments identified in the thesis statement, according to the University of Maryland University College website. Provide supporting sentences that offer evidence for your claim. End the paragraph with your own observation or analysis.

Write a topic sentence for the second body paragraph that states the second argument presented in your thesis statement. Follow the same format as the first body paragraph.

Rephrase your thesis statement in the concluding paragraph, stating how you have proven it through your supporting paragraphs. The University of Maryland University College website says the conclusion should have a summary of the essay's major arguments and an explanation on how they are connected. Also, explain why the topic of your essay is important and why it should matter to the readers.