A multiparagraph essay bears a strong resemblance to other essay formats when considering content and general structure. However, this type of essay typically contains five paragraphs, but it can have more than five when necessary. Content of the essay will vary depending on the ideas the writer wants to share, and the essay may have a formal or informal style to the writing itself. Understanding the structure of the five paragraph essay will help writers organize ideas and research.
As with any essay, the first paragraph needs to introduce the topic. The first sentence should grab attention by giving some general information. The next few sentences will have more concrete information on the topic, and then the writer will provide a thesis statement. This sentence states the main idea or point of the essay.
The body of an essay helps prove or establish the idea stated in the thesis statement. In a multiparagraph essay, the body should contain at least three paragraphs, and each one should include a topic sentence that connects the paragraph to the main idea of the essay. After the topic sentence, the writer will expand on the details of the topic sentence to share information and ideas that will help establish the validity of the thesis statement.
In a traditional multiparagraph essay, the last paragraph is the fifth. If the writer requires additional paragraphs in the body of the essay, the conclusion may come later. No matter where it falls, the last paragraph will connect all the dots for the reader. The writer will revisit the thesis statement and show how the information in the body of the essay proves the thesis. Ideally, the final sentence should leave a lasting impression, making the reader think more about the topic of the essay.
For essays that require research, the writer will need to include a bibliography to show the books, articles or other research material referenced. If the writer cited any of these sources in the essay, she will need a page to show the works cited. These elements appear on separate pages at the end of the essay and help establish any facts or statements made in the essay. This element gives the writer’s opinion credibility.