This can be a classic essay introduction that is five-paragraph.

But Alex’s professor doesn’t want it. She underlines the initial 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 very last sentence within the paragraph only lists topics. It does not make an argument.

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

In the event that you’ve seen a lot of five-paragraph essays, you can do you know what Alex will write next. Her first body paragraph will begin, “We can see a number of the different factors why the North and South fought the Civil War by studying the economy.” Exactly what will the professor say about that? She might ask, “What differences can we see? What area of the economy have you been speaking about? Why do the differences exist? Exactly why are they important?” The student might write a conclusion that says much the same thing as her introduction, in slightly different words after three such body paragraphs. Alex’s professor might respond, “You’ve already said this!”

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

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

    Both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against oppression and tyranny, but Northerners dedicated to the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their rights to property and self-government.

Then Alex writes her introduction. But instead of beginning with a general statement about civil wars, she gives us the ideas we have to know to be able to understand all of the parts of her argument:

    The usa broke far from England in response to British tyranny and oppression, so opposition to tyranny and a belief in individual freedom and liberty were important values within the republic that is young. However in the nineteenth century, slavery made Northerners and Southerners see these values in very different ways. By 1860, the conflict of these values broke out into a war that is civil nearly tore the united states apart. Both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against tyranny and oppression, but Northerners focused on the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their rights to property and self-government in that war.

Every sentence in Alex’s new introduction leads your reader along the path to her thesis statement in an unbroken chain of ideas.

Now Alex turns to organization. You’ll find more about the thinking process she passes through in our handout on organization, but here are 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 came into existence such important values in the United States. Then she’ll write another background paragraph by which she shows how the conflict over slavery developed in the long run. Then she’ll have separate paragraphs about Northerners and Southerners, explaining in detail—and giving evidence for—her claims about each group’s reasons behind likely to war.

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

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. Applying the strategies she finds within the handout, she decides that she can use her conclusion to spell out why the paper she’s just written really matters—perhaps by pointing out that the fissures in our society that the Civil War opened are, quite often, still causing trouble today.

Could it be ever OK to publish a essay that is five-paragraph?

Yes. Have you ever found yourself in times where somebody expects you to definitely make sense of a large body of data on the spot and write a well-organized, persuasive essay—in fifty minutes or less? Sounds like an essay exam situation, right? When time is short and the pressure is on, falling back in the good old fashioned essay that is five-paragraph help save you some time give you confidence. A five-paragraph essay may also act as the framework for a speech that is short. Try not to belong to the trap, however, of creating a “listing” thesis statement when your instructor expects a disagreement; when planning your body paragraphs, think of three components of a disagreement, as opposed to three “points” to go over. 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 from the handout’s topic, and now we encourage one to do your own research to find the latest publications with this topic. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your personal reference list, as do my homework it can not match the citation style you will be using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial. We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.