To organize an essay, break it down into four or five easy to read paragraphs. Each paragraph will serve a function in the essay of imparting specific information. By breaking an essay down into five paragraphs, the essayist is able to focus on each individual paragraph and impart the most useful information in that paragraph. When writers who are still learning composition skills allow themselves an unlimited number of paragraphs, the essay may not be as tight; the essayist will jump back and forth between different ideas and provide unnecessary information that distracts from the essay theme.
The essay will have three sections:
- Introductory paragraph
- Body (2-3 paragraphs)
- Conclusion paragraph
- Introductory Paragraph
Use the first paragraph to hook the reader and introduce the essay topic. This paragraph gives a brief view of what the essayist will discuss in the body of the essay, and declares the essayist position on the subject. Make sure to include a strong thesis statement in the first paragraph, as well. Typically, the thesis statement is at the end of the introductory paragraph but it can be in the middle, as well.
This is the meat and potatoes of the essay. The paragraphs in the body back up and provide supporting evidence for the thesis statement. Lay out the body paragraphs in the same order as the pertinent points given in the introductory paragraph.
The first paragraph has a clear relation to the thesis statement and contains the strongest argument. The end of the first paragraph relates to the topic of the second paragraph; providing a transition to the second paragraph allows the essay to flow seamlessly.
The body paragraphs continue in this manner: The second paragraph has the second strongest argument, the end of the paragraph relates to the third paragraph and so on. If the body requires more than three paragraphs, the essayist should review the information to determine whether it is all relevant. In some instances, combining related information from two or more paragraphs will make the argument stronger and reduce redundancy.
The conclusion paragraph summarizes the points brought up in the body and restates the thesis statement. Do not repeat the thesis statement word for word in the conclusion; rather use similar language to remind the reader of the original thesis statement.
Use the conclusion to emphasize the importance of the essay and to explain the potential consequences or the significance of the points discussed.
Finally, end the conclusion with a definitive statement to signal the reader that the essay is complete.