How to Structure a Five Paragraph Analysis Essay

An analysis essay takes a subject and looks into the dynamics of that subject very carefully. You are meant to pick apart your subject to explain to your readers how or why your subject works. While the five-paragraph structure can be applied to almost any form of an essay, its particular structure is comprised of an introduction, three body paragraphs and a conclusion. The standard five-paragraph essay format is a typical requirement in high school, though this format is a useful springboard in developing higher level essays as well.

Structuring Your Essay

Analyze your subject to see how it works. This seems like the most obvious of steps, but it really is the most essential to starting your paper. Look at your subject critically and ask yourself what your opinion is of the subject and why. Use various pre-writing techniques and research your subject online to get yourself started.

Write a thesis statement. Your thesis statement is one sentence that states your opinion and briefly explains why you think and feel what you do about your subject. The thesis statement is going to be what your entire essay revolves around and explains, so you need to make sure it is clearly written somewhere in your introduction.

Complete your introduction with generalizations. Depending on where your thesis statement is placed in the introduction, the rest of that paragraph can either build up to your thesis (if it is at the end of the paragraph) or explain your thesis further (if it is at the beginning of the paragraph).

Write your body paragraphs with specific details. Each of your three body paragraphs should contain a specific example or aspect of the subject to explain the reasoning behind your thesis statement. In an analysis essay, the body paragraphs would focus on examining specific features of the subject to examine how the subject operates.

Write your conclusion. The last paragraph of your essay should tie your whole argument together, showing how your three body paragraphs prove the same point. After giving different examples in the body paragraphs, you need to remind your reader what the point of your essay was. You may reword your thesis statement in an effort to explain the point of your paper as a whole.


Since using a five paragraph format only allows you to use three body paragraphs to explain your analysis, it is important to narrow down your points to the most vital. Brainstorming on different ideas, prior to writing your essay, will help you decide which details are better to focus on in your essay.

Your analysis essay is intended to metaphorically dissect your subject through a discussion, which requires constant focus. Be sure your point is clearly stated in your thesis and that your body paragraphs represent your thesis. Otherwise your readers could be confused with the point of your entire essay.

Things You'll Need

  • Pen
  • Paper
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