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Planning a Five Paragraph Essay

You are going to write an essay in which you try to persuade your audience that vegetarianism is better than meat-eating. (Perhaps you do not feel this way in reality, but please adopt this point of view just for writing practice!) You are going to get a lot of help with ideas and organisation.

1. Organise the following jumbled sentences to form the first paragraph.

Follow the THESIS + Supporting Points pattern.

  1. Thirdly, most of the meat we eat comes from factory farmed animals which are kept in unnatural and even cruel conditions.
  2. There are three main reasons why I think people should become vegetarians.
  3. Secondly, a meat-based diet is high in fats and cholesterol whereas a vegetarian diet offers plenty of minerals, vitamins, protein and roughage.
  4. Firstly, meat eating is wasteful since it takes a lot of crops to produce a fairly small quantity of meat.

2. Take the three supporting points (SP) and rewrite them slightly so that they can be used as TOPIC SENTENCES in Paragraphs 2, 3 and 4. For example, Paragraph 2 (SP1): Meat eating is an inefficient use of resources when so many people in the world are hungry.

3. You need supporting points for each of your topic sentences. Look at the following notes and arrange them under your three topics/paragraphs. (Beware: three of the notes are weak ideas and should be thrown out!)

4. Write Paragraphs 1-4 in your exercise book. N.B. When you write Paragraphs 2-4, you must write complete sentences – not just notes! In addition, you should use linking words where appropriate – Firstly, Also, In addition, For example, … whereas …, Finally etc.

5. Write a conclusion. Remember that this should restate your main points but change the wording. One option is present the points "in a backwards direction":

SP3 >> SP2 >> SP1 >> THESIS.

(This has the advantage that you finish on a strong note, repeating your main idea, the thesis.)


Your Own Essay

Now think of your own topic for another five-paragraph essay. Plan the essay first. Start with a bold, clearly stated THESIS. Follow this with strong Supporting Points (SP) that can be expanded in paragraphs 2, 3 and 4. Start each of those paragraphs with a TOPIC SENTENCE that re-states the "SP" in slightly different words. Support each topic sentence with a few examples or details. Write a concluding paragraph that re-states the first paragraph in different words. End on a strong note!

Possible topics include:

Plan >>> Write >>> Review (share?) >>> Rewrite >>> Edit …


Frankie Meehan