Developing a Standard Essay
Everyone in college has had to write at least one essay in his or her academic career. However, not everyone knows how to build an essay. The most basic essay is the five-paragraph form, which consists of an introduction, three body paragraphs, and the conclusion. However, the form can be adapted to a longer or shorter paper. The standard, solid essay is five paragraphs, but there will be times when a nine-paragraph essay is needed. This form works for any length of paper a student might need to write. You can think of this essay form as a cheeseburger. The introduction and conclusion are the buns that hold the delicious burger together. They look relatively the same, but the top bun always has a bit of a dome shape, which is more welcoming, the introduction, than the flat bottom bun, the conclusion. However, the flatness of the bottom offers stability. The body paragraphs are the meat and the meat is what everyone wants. It’s the main point of a cheeseburger. It holds all the protein. However, a cheeseburger’s patty is bland without the condiments. The supporting facts within the body paragraphs are the condiments. They add flavor and credibility to the burger, making the consumer understand that it really is a great burger. That’s how the five-paragraph essay is built. It’s sequential, and if you have great supporting details and facts, then it is fun for the reader to read.
The Body Paragraph
A rule of thumb when starting the five-paragraph essay is to always start with the body paragraphs. The writer needs to prepare the meat before he has to worry about the buns and condiments. Some people are taught to start with the introduction, but the method in this post bends this rule. The body paragraphs hold a main point, which was highlighted in the introduction, but is then elaborated on within the designated body paragraph. Not writing the introduction first allows the body paragraph’s main point to change if needed, restricting the writer less while crafting the three paragraphs. Starting with the body paragraphs can also reduce writer’s block. This is because the body paragraphs are where all of the main points are explained in detail, allowing the building blocks of an introduction to be formed in the process.
Within each body paragraph there are supporting details that bring credibility to the main points. The supporting details can take the form of quotes and paraphrased information. Interviews from a specialist, or a quote out of a medical journal are both great supporting details that can bring credibility to a paper. Examples, such as real life examples that back up your main point, can also be used. However, like a cheeseburger, too many condiments can ruin a perfectly good burger. In the essay, too many supporting details can be bad. It can bog down the reader and the main point can be lost. Keep in mind that quotes backing up your claims can be essential, but you are the writer and the reader wants to read your words, not a bunch of someone else’s quotes.
The introduction is the first paragraph the reader comes across. The first sentence of an introduction is the “hook,” or a “hand-shake” to the reader. It makes them want to read on and devour the delicious cheeseburger written before them. Some teachers like the “hook” to take the form of a question or a quick background story. It really depends on the type of essay you are writing on which “hook” to use. Also, an introduction holds a thesis statement, which is talked about in a previous blog post. However, the introduction is only the top bun of the cheeseburger. It’s just full of carbs. An introduction’s function is to briefly introduce all of the main topics to the reader so that they know exactly what to expect within the reading. A good technique when crafting the introduction is to take a highlighter and highlight every main point sentence in each body paragraph. The highlighted main points are exactly what needs to be in the introduction. This is also true for the conclusion.
The conclusion is quick and easy, but is needed to complete the paper, just like the bottom bun of the burger. It keeps all of the yummy food from falling out. In the conclusion, all of the main points need to be briefly touched on. By doing this, it reminds the reader of what they just read so that everything is reinforced. However, the main issue writer’s should avoid is adding new information to the conclusion. In a standard conclusion, new information is bad. There are techniques that involve bringing up new information within a conclusion, but for the standard five-paragraph essay, no new information in a conclusion is widely accepted.
The Perfect CheeseburgerNow you have the recipe for the perfect five-paragraph essay. However, just because you have the recipe doesn’t mean your paper will turn out perfect every time! Come to the WRIT Center to get help with any part of the writing process. You can get help with brainstorming, outlining, rough draft development, and proofreading for your paper. Not only that, but the WRIT Center is a FREE service. Come visit us any time!