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

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

It will probably let you know how and exactly why to maneuver beyond the essays that are five-paragraph learned to create in high school and start writing essays that are more analytical and much more flexible.

What exactly is a essay that is five-paragraph?

Senior school students are often taught to publish essays using some variation regarding the model that is five-paragraph. A essay that is five-paragraph hourglass-shaped: it starts with something general, narrows down in the centre to discuss specifics, and then branches out to more general comments by the end. In a classic five-paragraph essay, the very first paragraph starts with a broad statement and ends with a thesis statement containing three “points”; each body paragraph discusses some of those “points” in turn; while the final paragraph sums up what the student has written.

Why do high schools teach the model that is five-paragraph?

The five-paragraph model is a good way to learn to write an essay that is academic. It’s a simplified version of academic writing that requires you to state a thought and support it with evidence. Setting a limit of five paragraphs narrows your choices and forces you to master the fundamentals of organization. Furthermore—and for several senior school teachers, here is the crucial issue—many mandatory end-of-grade writing tests and college admissions exams like the SAT II writing test reward writers who follow the five-paragraph essay format.

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

The way college instructors teach might be not the same as that which you experienced in senior high school, and thus is really what they expect from you.

While twelfth grade courses have a tendency to concentrate on the who, what, when, and where of the things you study—”just the important points”—college courses request you to look at the how as well as the why. Can help you very well in senior high school by studying hard and memorizing a complete lot of facts. Although college instructors still expect you to definitely know the facts, they really worry about the manner in which you analyze and interpret those facts and why you would imagine those facts matter. Once you know what college instructors are seeking, you can view a number of the reasons why essays that are five-paragraph work so well for college writing:

  • Five-paragraph essays often do a poor job of setting up a framework, or context, that will help the reader understand what the author is attempting to say. Students learn in senior high school that their introduction has to start with something general. College instructors call these “dawn of time” introductions. As an example, a student asked to talk about the sources of the Hundred Years War might begin, “Since the dawn of time, humankind happens to be suffering from war.” In a college course, the student would fare better with a more concrete sentence directly linked to what she or he is planning to say within the rest of the paper—for example, a sentence such as “In the early 14th century, a civil war broke out in Flanders that will soon threaten Western Europe’s balance of power.” 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 with this subject, see our handout on introductions.
  • Five-paragraph essays often lack a quarrel. Because college courses concentrate on analyzing and interpreting in place of on memorizing, college instructors expect writers not just to know the known facts but additionally which will make an argument in regards to the facts. The best essays that are five-paragraph repeat this. However, the typical five-paragraph essay has a “listing” thesis, as an example, “I will show the way the Romans lost their empire in Britain and Gaul by examining military technology, religion, and politics,” as opposed to an argumentative one, for example, “The Romans lost their empire in Britain and Gaul because their opponents’ military technology caught up making use of their own at precisely the same time as religious upheaval and political conflict were weakening the feeling of common purpose on the home front.” For more on this subject, see our handout on argument.
  • Five-paragraph essays are often repetitive. Writers who proceed with the five-paragraph model have a tendency to repeat sentences or phrases from the introduction in topic sentences for paragraphs, as opposed to writing topic sentences that tie their three “points” together into a coherent argument. Repetitive writing doesn’t examine this link right now assist to move a disagreement along, and it’s no fun to learn.
  • Five-paragraph essays often lack “flow.” Five-paragraph essays often don’t make smooth transitions from one thought to the following. The “listing” thesis statement encourages writers to deal with each paragraph and its main idea as a entity that is separate as opposed to to attract connections between paragraphs and ideas so that you can 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. Inside our handout on conclusions, we call these “that’s my story and I’m adhering to it” conclusions: they are doing nothing to engage readers and make them glad they read the essay. Many of us can remember an introduction and three body paragraphs without a repetitive summary at the end to greatly help us out.
  • Five-paragraph essays don’t have any counterpart in the real life. Read your favorite newspaper or magazine; look through the readings your professors assign you; pay attention to political speeches or sermons. Is it possible to find anything that looks or seems like a essay that is five-paragraph? One of many important skills that college can teach you, above and beyond the niche case of any particular course, is how to communicate persuasively in almost any situation which comes your path. The five-paragraph essay is 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, when it should be the other way around. Students begin with an idea for organization, and so they force their tips to fit it. Along the way, their ideas that are perfectly good 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 with this topic:

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

Alex, getting ready to write her first college history paper, chooses to write a essay that is five-paragraph exactly like she learned in high school. She begins by thinking, “What are three points I can speak about to compare the reasons the North and South fought the Civil War?” She does a little brainstorming, and she says, “Well, in class, my professor talked about the economy, politics, and slavery. I suppose I’m able to do a paper 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 and every other that they turn to violence. The Civil War between North and South was a major conflict that nearly tore apart the young United States. The North and South fought the Civil War for many reasons. These reasons were the same, but in other cases they were very different in some cases. In this paper, I will compare and contrast these good reasons by examining the economy, politics, and slavery.