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This might be a vintage essay introduction that is five-paragraph.

But Alex’s professor doesn’t want it. She underlines the first two sentences, and she writes, “This is too general. Arrive at the true point.” She underlines the third and sentences that are fourth and she writes, “You’re just restating the question I inquired. What’s your point?” She underlines the final sentence, after which writes into the margin, “What’s your thesis?” because the last sentence when you look at the paragraph only lists topics. It does not make an argument.

Is Alex’s professor just a grouch? Well, no—she is trying to teach this student that college writing isn’t about following a formula (the model that is five-paragraph, it is about making a quarrel. Her first sentence is general, the way she learned a essay that is five-paragraph start. But from the professor’s perspective, it’s far too general—so general, in reality, that it’s completely not in the assignment: she didn’t ask students to define civil war. The next and fourth sentences say, in so many words, “I am comparing and contrasting the reasons why the North as well as the South fought the Civil War”—as the professor says, they simply restate the prompt, without giving an individual hint about where this student’s paper is going. The sentence that is final that should make a quarrel, only lists topics; it does not start to explore how or why something happened.

In the event that you’ve seen lots of five-paragraph essays, you can easily do you know what Alex will write next. Her body that is first paragraph begin, “We can see some of the different main reasons why the North and South fought the Civil War by studying the economy.” What will the professor say about that? She may ask, “What differences can we see? What area of the economy will you be referring to? How come the distinctions exist? Exactly why are they important?” After three such body paragraphs, the student might write a conclusion that says much exactly the same thing as her introduction, in slightly different words. Alex’s professor might already respond, “You’ve said this!”

What could Alex do differently? Let’s start over. This time, Alex doesn’t start out with a notion that is preconceived of to organize her essay. In place of three “points,” she decides that she will brainstorm until she pops up with a main argument, or thesis, that answers the question “Why did the North and South fight the Civil War?” Then she will determine how to organize her draft by thinking about the argument’s parts and exactly how they fit together.

After doing a bit of brainstorming and reading the Writing Center’s handout on thesis statements, Alex thinks about a main argument, or thesis statement:

Then Alex writes her introduction. But rather of beginning with a statement that is general civil wars, she gives us the ideas we have to know in order to understand all the areas of her argument:

Every sentence in Alex’s introduction that is new your reader down the road to her thesis statement in an unbroken chain of ideas.

Now Alex turns to organization. You’ll find more about the thinking process she goes through within our handout on organization, but here you will find the basics: first, she decides, she’ll write a paragraph that gives background; she’ll explain how opposition to tyranny and a belief in individual liberty had become such values that are important the usa. Then she’ll write another background paragraph in which she shows the way the conflict over slavery developed in the long run. Then she’ll have separate paragraphs about Northerners and Southerners, explaining in detail—and evidence that is giving claims about each group’s reasons behind going to war.

Note that Alex now has four body paragraphs. She might have had three or two or seven; what’s important is that she allowed her argument to tell her what number of paragraphs she should have and just how to suit them together. Furthermore, her body paragraphs don’t all discuss “points,” like “the economy” and “politics”—two of them give background, plus the other two explain Northerners’ and Southerners’ views in detail.

Finally, having followed her sketch outline and written her paper, Alex turns to writing a conclusion. From our handout on conclusions, she knows that a “that’s my story and I’m adhering to it” conclusion doesn’t move her ideas forward. Using the strategies she finds in the handout, she decides that she can use her conclusion to explain why the paper she’s just written really matters—perhaps by pointing out that the fissures inside our society that the Civil War opened are, most of the time, still causing trouble today.

Will it be ever OK to create a essay that is five-paragraph?

Yes. Have you ever found yourself in times where somebody expects one to sound right of a body that is large of at that moment and write a well-organized, persuasive essay—in fifty minutes or less? Feels like an essay exam situation, right? When time is short additionally the pressure is on, falling back in the good old five-paragraph essay can save you some time offer you confidence. A five-paragraph essay may additionally act as the framework for a speech that is short. Do not get into the trap, however, of creating a” that is“listing statement when your instructor expects an argument; when making plans for your body paragraphs, think of three components of an argument, in place of three “points” to discuss. On the other hand, most professors recognize the constraints of writing essays that are blue-book and a “listing” thesis is probably much better than no thesis after all.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing the version that is original of handout. This is not a list that is comprehensive of on the handout’s topic, therefore we encourage one to do your personal research to find the latest publications about this topic. Please don’t use this list as a model for the format of your reference list, as it might not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial. We revise these pointers periodically and welcome feedback.