This handout shall assist you to figure out what your college instructors expect if they offer you a writing assignment.

This handout shall assist you to figure out what your college instructors expect if they offer you a writing assignment.

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

What is a five-paragraph essay?

Senior school students tend to be taught to create essays using some variation associated with five-paragraph model. A essay that is five-paragraph hourglass-shaped: it begins with something general, narrows down in the middle to go over specifics, and then branches out to more general comments by the end. In a classic five-paragraph essay, the initial 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; as well as the final paragraph sums up what the student has written.

How come high schools teach the five-paragraph model?

The five-paragraph model is an excellent method to learn how to write an essay that is academic. It’s a simplified type of academic writing that requires you to state an idea and support it with evidence. Setting a limit of five paragraphs narrows your options and forces one to master the basic principles of organization. Furthermore—and for many twelfth grade 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 proceed with the five-paragraph essay format.

Writing a essay that is five-paragraph like riding a bicycle with training wheels; it is a device that can help you learn. That doesn’t mean you need to forever use it. Once you can write well without one, you are able to cast it off and never look back.

Just how college instructors teach might be distinctive from that which you experienced in high school, and thus is really what they expect from you.

While senior school courses tend to focus on the who, what, when, and where associated with the plain things you study—”just the facts”—college courses request you to think about the how and the why. Can help you very well in twelfth grade by studying hard and memorizing a lot of facts. Although college instructors still expect one to understand the known facts, they really care about the method that you analyze and interpret those facts and exactly why you might think those facts matter. Once you know what college instructors are searching for, you can observe a number of the main reasons why essays that are five-paragraph work very well for college writing:

  • Five-paragraph essays often do a job that is poor of up a framework, or context, that helps the reader understand what the author is trying to state. Students learn in twelfth grade that their introduction should begin with something general. College instructors call these “dawn of time” introductions. As an example, a student asked to go over the causes of the Hundred Years War might begin, “Since the dawn of time, humankind happens to be plagued by war.” In a college course, the student would fare better with a far more concrete sentence directly associated with what he or she is likely to say in the rest of the paper—for example, a sentence such as “In the early 14th century, a civil war broke out in Flanders that could soon threaten Western Europe’s balance of power.” if you should be familiar with writing vague opening lines and need them to get going, go right ahead and write them, but delete them before you turn within the final draft. For more on this subject, see our handout on introductions.
  • Five-paragraph essays often lack an argument. Because college courses concentrate on analyzing and interpreting as opposed to on memorizing, college instructors expect writers not only to understand the known facts but additionally to make a disagreement in regards to the facts. The best essays that are five-paragraph do that. However, the conventional five-paragraph essay has 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,” in the place of 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 at the same time as religious upheaval and political conflict were weakening the sense of common purpose from the home front.” To get more on this subject, see our handout on argument.
  • Five-paragraph essays are often repetitive. Writers who proceed with the five-paragraph model tend to repeat sentences or phrases from 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 doesn’t make it possible to move a disagreement along, plus it’s no fun to see.
  • 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 take care of each paragraph and its particular main idea as a entity that is separate instead of to draw connections between paragraphs and ideas to be able to develop a disagreement.
  • Five-paragraph essays often have weak conclusions that merely summarize what’s gone before and don’t say anything interesting or new. Within our handout on conclusions, we call these “that’s my story and I’m adhering to it” conclusions: they do absolutely nothing to engage readers while making them glad they read the essay. Most of us can remember an introduction and three body paragraphs without a repetitive summary during the final end to aid us out.
  • Five-paragraph essays don’t have any counterpart within the world that is real. Read your favorite newspaper or magazine; look through the readings your professors assign you; listen to political speeches or sermons. Are you able to find something that looks or sounds like a five-paragraph essay? One of the important skills that college can teach you, above and beyond the niche case of any course that is particular is how to communicate persuasively in just about any situation that comes your path. The essay that is five-paragraph too rigid and simplified to suit most real-world situations.
  • Perhaps most significant of all: in a essay that is five-paragraph form controls content, with regards to must be the other way around. Students start with a strategy for organization, and additionally they force their suggestions to fit it. On the way, their ideas that are perfectly good mangled or lost.

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

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

Alex, preparing to write her first college history paper, chooses to write a essay that is five-paragraph the same as she learned in high school. She begins by thinking, “What are three points I am able to talk about to compare the 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 in regards to the economy, politics, and slavery. I guess I am able to do a paper about this.” So she writes her introduction:

    A civil war occurs when two sides in one single country become so angry at each and every other that they move to violence. The Civil War between North and South was a conflict that is write my custom essay major nearly tore apart the young United States. The North and South fought the Civil War for all reasons. In some instances, these reasons were the same, however in other cases they were very different. In this paper, i am going to compare and contrast these reasons by examining the economy, politics, and slavery.

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