This handout will assist you to determine what your college instructors expect if they provide you with a writing assignment.

This handout will assist you to determine what your college instructors expect if they provide you with a writing assignment.

it's going to let you know how and why to go beyond the five-paragraph essays you learned to create in twelfth grade and start writing essays that are more analytical and more flexible.

What exactly is a five-paragraph essay?

Twelfth grade students tend to be taught to create essays with a couple variation associated with the model that is five-paragraph. A five-paragraph essay is hourglass-shaped: it starts with something general, narrows down in the middle to go over specifics, and then branches out to more general comments at the conclusion. In a vintage five-paragraph essay, the initial paragraph starts with a broad statement and ends with a thesis statement containing three “points”; each body paragraph discusses one of those “points” in turn; therefore the final paragraph sums up what the student has written.

How come high schools teach the model that is five-paragraph?

The five-paragraph model is a great solution to learn how to write an academic essay. It’s a simplified type of academic writing that requires you to definitely state a thought and support it with evidence. Setting a limit of five paragraphs narrows your options and forces you to definitely master the basics of organization. Furthermore—and for all high school teachers, this is actually the crucial issue—many mandatory end-of-grade writing tests and college admissions exams like the SAT II writing test reward writers who stick to the essay format that is five-paragraph.

Writing a five-paragraph essay is like riding a bicycle with training wheels; it is a device that will help you learn. That doesn’t mean you should forever use it. As soon as you can write well you can cast it off and never look back without it.

The way in which college instructors teach might be distinct from what you experienced in high school, and so is exactly what they expect from you.

While senior school courses have a tendency to concentrate on the who, what, when, and where regarding the things you study—”just the important points”—college courses request you to think about the how as well as the why. You can certainly do very well in high school by studying hard and memorizing a lot of facts. Although college instructors still expect you to understand the facts, they really care about the method that you analyze and interpret those facts and just why you think those facts matter. Once you know what college instructors are seeking, you can observe a number of the reasoned explanations why essays that are five-paragraph work very well for college writing:

  • Five-paragraph essays often do a poor job of setting up a framework, or context, that helps the reader understand what the author is trying to state. Students learn in high school that their introduction should begin with something general. College instructors call these “dawn of the time” introductions. As an example, a student asked to go over the causes of the 100 years War might begin, “Since the dawn of the time, humankind happens to be plagued by war.” The student would fare better with a far more concrete sentence directly related to what he or she is planning to say when you look at the other countries in the paper—for example, a sentence such as “In the first 14th century, a civil war broke out in Flanders that will soon threaten Western Europe’s balance of power. in a college course” Before you turn in the final draft if you are accustomed to writing vague opening lines and need them to get started, go ahead and write them, but delete them. For more on this subject, see our handout on introductions.
  • Five-paragraph essays often lack a disagreement. Because college courses focus on analyzing and interpreting in the place of on memorizing, college instructors expect writers not only to understand the facts but also to create a disagreement about the facts. The greatest essays that are five-paragraph try this. However, the conventional essay that is five-paragraph a “listing” thesis, for example, “I will show how the Romans lost their empire in Britain and Gaul by examining military technology, religion, and politics,” rather than an argumentative one, for example, “The Romans lost their empire in Britain and Gaul because their opponents’ military technology swept up along with their own as well as religious upheaval and political conflict were weakening the feeling of common purpose regarding the home front.” For more with this subject, see our handout on argument.
  • Five-paragraph essays tend to be repetitive. Writers who follow the five-paragraph model tend to repeat sentences or phrases through the introduction in topic sentences for paragraphs, in place of writing topic sentences that tie their three “points” together into a argument that is coherent. Repetitive writing does help to move n’t a quarrel along, plus it’s no fun to read through.
  • Five-paragraph essays often lack “flow.” Five-paragraph essays often don’t make transitions that are smooth one considered to the second. The “listing” thesis statement encourages writers to deal with each paragraph as well as its main idea as a entity that is separate instead of to attract connections between paragraphs and ideas in order to develop a quarrel.
  • Five-paragraph essays often have weak conclusions that merely summarize what’s gone before and don’t say anything interesting or new. In our handout on conclusions, these“that’s are called by us my story and I’m adhering to it” conclusions: they do absolutely nothing to engage readers and make them glad they read the essay. A lot of us can remember an introduction and three body paragraphs without a repetitive summary in the final end to help us out.
  • Five-paragraph essays don’t have any counterpart when you look at the world that is real. Read your favorite newspaper or magazine; look over the readings your professors assign you; pay attention to political speeches or sermons. Could you find anything that looks or seems like a essay that is five-paragraph? Among the important skills that college can show you, far beyond the subject question of any particular course, is how to communicate persuasively in every situation which comes your path. The essay that is five-paragraph too rigid and simplified to suit most real-world situations.
  • Perhaps most crucial of most: in a essay that is five-paragraph form controls content, with regards to ought to be the other way around. Students start with a plan for organization, in addition they force their ideas to fit it. On the way, their perfectly good ideas get mangled or lost.

Let’s take an example according to our handout on thesis statements. Suppose you’re taking a United States History class, and the professor asks you to publish a paper on this topic:

    Compare and contrast the good explanations why the North and South fought the Civil War.

Alex, getting ready to write her first college history paper, decides to write a essay that is five-paragraph just like she learned in senior school. She begins by thinking, “What are three points I am able to speak about to compare the good reasons the North and South fought the Civil War?” She does a brainstorming that is little and she says, “Well, in class, my professor talked about the economy, politics, and slavery. I suppose a paper can be done by me about that.” So she is written by her introduction:

    A war that is civil when two sides in a single country become so angry at each other which they move to violence. The Civil War between North and South was a conflict that is major nearly tore apart the young United States. The North and South fought the Civil War for all reasons. These reasons were the same, but in other cases they were very different in some cases. In this paper, i shall compare and contrast these good reasons by examining the economy, politics, and slavery.

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