How to Write a 5 Paragraph Essay

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I. How to Recognize Plagiarism1
Overview
In order to avoid plagiarism, you must give credit when

You use another person's ideas, opinions, or theories.
You use facts, statistics, graphics, drawings, music, etc., or any other type of information that does not comprise common knowledge.
You use quotations from another person's spoken or written word. You paraphrase another person's spoken or written word.

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Begin the writing process by stating your ideas; then go back to the author's origina l work. Use quotation marks and credit the source (author) when you copy exact wording. Use your own words (paraphrase) instead of copying directly when possible. Even when you paraphrase another author's writings, you must give credit to that author. If the form of citation and reference are not correct, the attribution to the original author is likely to be incomplete. Therefore, improper use of style can result in plagiarism. Get a style manual and use it.

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II. Formula for an Essay
Basically, the writing expected of students in college is of one type that can be used for all disciplines. This handout generally focuses on the basic, "formulaic" nature of the college level essay and its components.

THIS IS THE PROCESS & ITS PRODUCTS:
1. BRAINSTORM:

Write down whatever comes to mind about the
topic.

2. A.A.: AUDIENCE ATTRACTOR:

This is the first sentence of the opening paragraph
which catches the reader's attention, an attentiongetting sentence.

3. BACKGROUND SENTENCES:

These are the sentences that provide background
information about the subject and act to narrow
the focus, thereby introducing the thesis.

4. THESIS:

This is the sentence that expresses the main idea
of the paper.
**A thesis may change as the essay matures.**

5. PROOF SENTENCES (2-3 sentences): Proof sentences support and prove the validity of the thesis. (It helps to use a
proof sentence as the opening sentence in
each body paragraph. In each paragraph,
a minimum of four sentences should be
written supporting the topic sentence.)
EXAMPLE:
SAMPLE TOPIC:

The value of a college education.

BRAINSTORMING:
better job

enrichment
more pay

wider outlook

AUDIENCE ATTRACTOR:

higher self-esteem

People all over the world yearn for an education.

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BACKGROUND:
1. In the past, many individuals did not have access to an education. 2. History reveals many were forced to perform low-income, manual labor while others reaped the benefits of life.

THESIS:

Today, a person needs a college education in order to be financially successful in a technologically advanced world.

PROOF/SUPPORT SENTENCES:

The writer may compose 2-3 proof sentences
depending on whether the essay is to be 4 or 5
paragraphs. The model used here includes 2
proof sentences for a 4 paragraph essay.

1. Education is a prerequisite for certain high-paying jobs. 2. In addition, advanced technology, like computers, makes college level training essential.

NOTE:

Thesis and proof/support sentences can be combined into a single thesis statement which advances the main idea and sketches the arrangement of the proof/support of that thesis. EXAMPLE: Today, a person needs a college education even to start certain high-paying jobs and to be able to use advanced technology in the workplace.

OPENING PARAGRAPH:
A.A.: People all over the world yearn for an education. BACKGROUND: In the past, many individuals did not have access to an education. History reveals many were forced to perform low-income, manual labor while others reaped the benefits of life. THESIS: Today, a person needs a college education in order to be financially successful in a technologically advanced world. PROOF (SUPPORT) SENTENCES: Education is a prerequisite for certain high-paying jobs. In addition, advanced technology, like computers, makes college level training essential.

**PROOF SENTENCES CAN BE PLACED BEFORE OR AFTER THE THESIS.**

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