Example Standard Essay Format

How Many Paragraphs Should a Standard Essay Have?

There are a number of different types of essays that require different things from students. Argumentative essays, term papers, article reviews, personal essay and more can be made much easier when they are structured within one of the standard organizational forms. It’s recommended that a standard essay have five paragraphs: an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Here is how to properly structure a five-paragraph essay for a standard essay:


A great introduction is key for setting up the content of your standard essay. Before your reader even gets to your thesis statement, he or she expects to have an idea of what you will be discussing – your topic. Use your intro to provide a sneak peak of your major points as well as any questions you have and will attempt to answer. You will end your essay with a concise and well-written thesis statement that succinctly states the argument you will be making throughout. This is the most important part of your intro and entire paper, so be sure you re-write it until you say exactly what you intend.

Three Body Paragraphs:

Your three body paragraphs make up the core of your standard essay. Each body paragraph should be structured the same: a topic sentence, 2 – 3 sentences of supporting evidence, and a final transition sentence to move you on to the next paragraph.

Your topic sentence should concisely state what it is you will be talking about in each paragraph and should be related to your thesis statement. The following sentences should introduce your best pieces of evidence supporting your thesis and be related to the overall topic of the paragraph. Finally, wrap up the entire paragraph with a single transition sentence that lets the reader know you have concluded and are guiding them to your next topic.


Many people believe that conclusions can make or break an entire essay. This is because it is the last thing your reader will remember. It should restate your main points as well as show how they are related to one another and how they work to prove your thesis statement.

Most importantly, a conclusion should leave your reader with a sense of closure. He or she shouldn’t have any questions about what was just read. In order to leave a lasting impression you should consider asking a compelling question, a statement that brings the reader back to the beginning of your essay, or even a challenge for your reader to act on something. Whatever you choose make sure you end with a bang.

Dear writer!

Please review this guideline for a five-paragraph standard essay.

Please note: this is an essay template only. As a writer, you should primarily follow customers' instructions and their requirements regarding essay length and number of words and overall structure.

Keep in mind: An essay is a short piece of writing that discusses, describes or analyzes one topic. It can range in length from one paragraph to more than twenty. It can be about anything, and be written in almost any style. It can be serious or funny, straight-forward or symbolic. It can describe personal opinions, or just report information.

Basic elements of an essay:

1. Introduction (Introductory Paragraph).

2. Body.

3. Conclusion.

Your essay should start with an introductory paragraph.  There are actually many different ways to begin an essay; therefore, the format of the introductory paragraph is flexible. Often, essays begin with a General Introductory Statement.  This statement could be an anecdote, description, striking statistic, a fact that will lead to your thesis, etc. Beginning this way, you will use the first few sentences to prepare, or "lay the groundwork" for your thesis, and use the last sentence of the first paragraph to present your thesis.  However, your thesis statement can be anywhere in your introduction.  In a longer essay, you can even wait to present your thesis until the second paragraph or later.  Also for a longer essay, you should begin to introduce a few supporting ideas in the first couple of paragraphs.  These supporting ideas should be the topics that you will discuss in full in your body paragraphs.  For a short essay, presenting supporting ideas during the introduction is optional.

Your second paragraph generally begins the body of the paper.  (For a longer paper, the body of the paper may not begin until the third paragraph or later).  This paragraph should begin with a topic sentence that introduces the first supporting idea (the support for your thesis).  You should use the middle of the paragraph to discuss your support, give examples, and analyze the significance of these examples.  Your last sentence of the body paragraph could be used to draw a conclusion for that supporting idea, or to transition into the next paragraph.

Your next two body paragraphs should follow the same format as your first body paragraph.  They should each have a separate topic sentence and supporting ideas, but the three paragraphs should work together to prove your thesis.  If you are writing a longer paper, you will have more than three body paragraphs, but they should all follow this format.

The form of your Conclusion, like your introduction, is flexible.  One good way to conclude a paper is to begin the last paragraph with a statement that reflects on what has been stated and proved, without repeating it exactly.  Then you should briefly restate your key points to gently remind the reader how well you proved your thesis.  Your conclusion should end with a statement or idea that leaves a strong impression and provokes further thought.

(This guideline is largely based on "English Works! at Gallaudet University").


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