Basic Essay Structure: the House not the Home!

This week we’ll be talking about basic Essay Structure.

A five paragraph essay is one simple way to organize your writing when you are in a hurry. Here are the basics.

Essay structure: the house, not the home.

A house is a building made out of building materials such as brick or wood. A narrative—a story—is a piece of writing built from the telling of a series of events, typically told from beginning to end in a way that is interesting and highlights characters (real or imaginary) and the problems they face. An essay is a piece of writing organized by ideas. In an essay, writers typically make a claim and then use evidence, such as reasons or examples, to support that claim.

The five paragraph essay is one simple structure you can use to build a solid essay. The 5PE is not the only structure you can use. It’s not even always the best. But it is one way to help you organize your ideas.

These are the parts of a 5PE: (This could be more effectively done if there were a graphic component to it)

Paragraph One: Introduction

  • Gets the reader’s attention.
  • Introduces the topic.
  • May introduce or briefly state the three main reasons to come.
  • Includes a thesis, claim, or promise statement.

Body Paragraph Two: Point #1

  • Transition and statement of the first reason or example in support of the thesis.
  • Elaboration, proof or evidence for the first reason or example in support of the thesis.

 

Body Paragraph Three: Point #2

  • Transition and statement of the second reason or example in support of the thesis.
  • Elaboration, proof or evidence for the second reason or example in support of the thesis.

Body Paragraph Three: Point #3

  • Transition and statement of the third reason or example in support of the thesis.
  • Elaboration, proof or evidence for the second reason or example in support of the thesis.

Paragraph Five: Conclusion

  • Pulls it all together, but doesn’t introduce any new reasons.
  • Revisits/restates/hammers home the thesis, claim, or promise statement.

We’ll look at a couple of example essays today, and highlight some of the major parts:

  • The claim or thesis.
  • Reasons or points that support the claim.
  • Evidence/reason/proof that back up the reasons.
  • Restatement of these claim or the thesis.

You will probably also notice a lot of other essay elements; feel free to highlight them as well. The examples we used can be found (with special highlighting you didn’t see) here (Cats are Great) and here (Hazards of Moviegoing).

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