When you first learn how to write an essay, you are usually taught how to write the five-paragraph essay. As you develop as a writer and move on to higher grades, you'll write longer and more complex essays that will have more than five paragraphs. Yet no matter how many paragraphs your essay includes, it still needs to perform the same function: present a compelling argument in favor of or against a certain position.
The first part of your essay will be the introduction and it should begin by telling the reader specifically what topic your essay is addressing. Near the end of your introduction should be your thesis statement, which is a clear and concise statement that presents your argument. The last sentence of the introduction should be a transitional sentence that relates to the first body paragraph of the essay.
First Body Paragraph
The second part of the essay should be the first body paragraph, and it should present the strongest point that proves your thesis statement. The first sentence in this paragraph should tie into the transitional sentence in the introduction. Subsequent sentences should describe specific examples that relate to the point you are arguing in the paragraph. Like the last sentence in the introduction, the last sentence in this paragraph should be transitional and lead into the argument you will present in the next body paragraph.
Second Body Paragraph
The third part of the five-paragraph essay should present the second most compelling argument in support of your thesis. The first sentence should tie into the transitional sentence in the first body paragraph and you should clearly state the argument you are presenting in this paragraph near the beginning of the paragraph. Use examples to support this argument in subsequent sentences and end the paragraph with a transitional sentence into your third and final body paragraph.
Third Body Paragraph
The final body paragraph is the fourth part of the five-paragraph essay, and this section should present your weakest argument in support of your thesis statement. Although this may be your weakest argument, do not suggest this in the essay or overcompensate by providing too many examples; structure it in the same way you did the previous two body paragraphs. End the third body paragraph with a concluding statement that makes it obvious to the reader that this is the final major point you will make.
The final part of the five-paragraph essay is the conclusion. This paragraph should restate the thesis statement, but the restatement must not be a duplicate of the thesis statement itself. The conclusion should also summarize the three major points you addressed in each body paragraph. The final sentence of the conclusion should be a clear signal that the essay has ended; it may also include an application to your argument or something that the reader can think about after he has finished reading the essay.