How to Write an Essay/Five Point Essay

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The Five point (also known as five paragraph) essay is simply that—an, essay which completes its goal (defending its thesis) in five points. It is one of the easiest essays to utilize, though quite difficult to master, and so appears often in timed writing assignments. An essay may serve any of several functions—from conveying a general thought to elucidating on a particular topic—however, it should always move the reader in some way, particularly in persuasive essays.

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Start the introductory paragraph off broad. Be creative here. Get the reader interested. Quotes work well, be sure not to be cliché however, as the reader will become disinterested if they feel they already know the topic well enough. Different essays will require different sorts of introductory paragraphs, but most of the time, have a general statement, list your key points, then your thesis statement. Your thesis will almost always comes at the end of your introductory paragraph, and some people will tell you that it always should. In general, one may visualize a basic introductory paragraph as an upside down triangle, moving from the most general topic (the inverted base), to the pointed thesis at the bottom.

Summarize Argument[edit | edit source]

You should sum up all the arguments you have given

Argue Your Position[edit | edit source]

Make good arguments. Don't make bad arguments. Make attractive arguments. There are two routes to persuasion - the direct and peripheral route. The direct route uses concrete ideas. That is: X is true because of A, B, and C. A, B, and C should be logical and convincing. You should cite your sources. Go check out the APA style guide and the MLA style guide to see how you should format your reference list. The peripheral route relies on cues outside of one's conscious awareness to make an argument. The peripheral route relies on emotion to get the point across. Psychology has done research that shows attractive people have an easier time persuading others of their viewpoints, so make your essay attractive. Make your final product look professional, and make your writing to the point and verbose, but do not be overly wordy.

Other perspectives talk of logos, pathos, and ethos with respect to arguing your position. Logos is the logical aspects to an argument. Pathos the term for an argument based on emotion. Ethos is an argument based on trust. You want to establish trust with your reader. You want to make logical arguments that make sense, and you want to make the person reading your argument feel a certain way.

For example, an argument based on logic would be, we should abolish the death penalty because it will save money and lives. An argument based on ethos would be: I'm an expert on the death penalty, I have a PhD. in economics from Stanford, and after studying the topic for many years we have found that by abolishing the death penalty we could save 14 million a year due to fewer legal costs. An argument based on pathos would be, we should have the death penalty because of the evil acts people have committed, or my husband was brutally murdered and wouldn't you want justice for someone if they murdered your spouse?

Use good logic, establish trust, and make your arguments feel good and look pretty. Also, write more succinctly and cleanly than the preceding three paragraphs. Don't use apostrophes, or the words: good, or pretty.

Counter Argument And Response[edit | edit source]

In this paragraph bring up a counter argument to your position. Then invalidate this argument.

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

In your concluding paragraph, start specific and end broad. Use the first sentence to reiterate your thesis in some way. Next you could summarize your arguments using different wording. Vary the depth of what you write depending on the length of the essay. For a long essay you could be more specific and flowery, for a short essay, be to the point. Maybe you could add a little something to bolster or reinforce your arguments, but don't bring up material that diverges too radically from what you just wrote. If you do, you run the risk of confusing the reader, or seeming too diffuse in your writing. After this, you could write about the broad implications of what you just wrote about. Finally you could cap it off by quite briefly reiterating your argument and making a general statement or quote that will make your reader think and then you are done.