Essay Help

Essay Help

The five paragraph essay is the most essential academic writing skill you'll need to know. It can be easily adapted to fit almost ANY prompt or test essay question. Learn it!

       USE the ESSAY RUBRIC to help you:  

Essay Rubric.docx

The Five-Paragraph Essay

The five-paragraph essay has three parts: an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.


Introduction paragraph:

Hook, TAG, Thesis

Hook--Come up with something interesting and catchy to start your essay. Something that will "hook" attention. Think about the overall topic of your essay--what is this paper ABOUT? Make your hook relate to your topic. Some tricks: Use a question, an anecdote (a 1-2 sentence story), a famous quote, a shocking statement, a strong description, a statistic, or something funny.


TAG -- This stands for title, author, genre. Mention the title of the literature you're writing about, give the author's name, and say which genre it is (novel, play, poem, movie, speech, essay, short story, etc.) You can put these in any order, but write a sentence that flows nicely.


Thesis--This is the main point of your essay. It is sometimes your answer to the prompt or question you've been given; it is sometimes your opinion or theory about the topic you're covering in your essay. What have you been asked to write about? Your answer to this is your thesis statement. If you haven't been given a specific prompt, here are some good suggestions: identify a theme from the literature; make a statement about a character; identify why an author uses specific literary devices; write about the tone of the literary piece; or write about a pattern you noticed in the literature.


Body Paragraphs: Point, Support, Explanation

Do this three times with three different points.

Point--This is also known as the topic sentence of the paragraph. What will this paragraph be about? You need to break your thesis into three sub-categories for your three body paragraphs. In your point sentence, introduce which of the three parts you will discuss in this paragraph.


Support--Give an example from the literature, also known as--a direct quote. Be sure it is an example of the topic you are writing about in this paragraph, and that it ties to your thesis statement. For example: If you are saying that the tone of the poem is one of confusion, write about a literary device that illustrates confusion, such as repetition or onomatopoeia. Or: If you are saying that the theme from the short story is that family has a bond which goes beyond that of friendship, choose a quote that shows a character's development as s/he comes to realize this.



Explanation--Explain HOW your example supports your thesis, and tie it back to your thesis. Again, if you are saying that the author creates a tone of confusion through repetition, explain how. For example: "The use of repetition in this poem creates a sense of urgency which leads to the feeling of panic or confusion." Or: If you are saying that the theme is that family bonds surpass friendship bonds, explain how the character develops through and beyond friendship and into a deeper connection with family.



Conclusion Paragraph: Re-state Thesis,Opinions, Tie back to Hook

Re-state Thesis--Re-state the thesis in different words. Remember, your thesis was the last sentence of your introduction paragraph. Sometimes, a nice trick is to flip the sentence by taking the last half and moving it to the first half of the sentence. Example: If your thesis is, "Family has a bond that goes beyond that of friendship", you might flip it to say "The bonds of friendship will never be a strong as that of family." If that doesn't work, consider using synonyms. For example: If your thesis is "Generosity is its own reward", consider changing it to "The act of giving creates its own benefits."

Opinions--Give any opinions about your thesis. This is where you get to say what YOU think about the topics you've covered in this essay. Stay on topic! Don't give your personal opinion about the book or poem. (Never say, "I liked this book/I didn't like this book." Sorry to be so blunt, but...nobody cares.) Give your thoughts about the topics or ideas you've covered in your essay. Keep it in third person, and apply it to the real world. Why does any of this matter? How does it apply to society? What can we all learn from this literature? Why should anybody care about what you've just said?


Tie Back to Hook--A nice trick is to make a statement that ties back to your hook at the very beginning of the essay without restating your hook word-for-word.  Come back to the idea you started, and finish it. This creates a nice feeling of closure.​


And Finally...Don't forget to Proofread.


This CHECKLIST may help you:

_____ My paper has my name on it.

_____ My paper has 5 paragraphs that are each INDENTED.

_____ ALL of my sentences start with a capital letter.

_____ALL of my sentences end with correct punctuation.

_____I have spell-checked this paper to ensure all my words are spelled correctly.

_____I have used quotes and evidence from the text to support my claims.

_____I have cited each source with proper author and page number of each quote.

_____I have clicked on the essay rubric to help me understand how my paper will be graded and I am certain my paper is my very best work!