Students of writing will benefit from learning how to write a cohesive essay in five paragraphs. It’s a skill that will come in handy and help you to tackle essays in a systematic fashion, virtually eliminating writer’s block.
The most important paragraph in your five paragraph essay is the first one. This is the place to grab the interest of your reader with clear, concise, powerful phrasing. The first paragraph introduces your topic using a topic sentence. It’s followed by a few sentences of detail about the topic, its history, or your point of view (if applicable). The first paragraph also provides the place to deliver an opinion or compelling statement that gives your reader a reason to go on to paragraph 2.
In the second paragraph you’ll want to quickly reward the reader by providing the most interesting statement of your entire essay. For example, in an essay about police negligence in small town crime cases, you might lead off your second paragraph with a shocking statistic. For example: “Crime statistics show that when a murder is committed in a small town, if the killer is not caught within 24 hours, there’s a 90 percent chance the killer will never be caught.” The source for your bold statement or facts that support it follow in well crafted sentences that complete your second paragraph.
The third paragraph of your essay is a place to offer “the other side” of the story. In the example we’ve been using here, the third paragraph might discuss the benefits of working a crime scene in a small town. In this case, a sentence that offers an opposing viewpoint might lead this paragraph, as in “Working in law enforcement’s favor is the awareness level of the citizens of a small town.” Your third paragraph broadens the topic and shows that you have considered both sides of an issue.
The fourth paragraph is the...