How to Write A Five-Paragraph Essay Step-by-step instructions for planning, outlining, and writing a five-paragraph essay. When it comes to a successful essay, the most crucial step is the planning.
History[ edit ] The oldest classical Greek and Latin writing had little or no space between words and could be written in boustrophedon alternating directions.
Over time, text direction left to right became standardized, and word dividers and terminal punctuation became common. The first way to divide sentences into groups was the original paragraphos, similar to an underscore at the beginning of the new group.
The hedera leaf e. Indented paragraphs demonstrated in the US Constitution In ancient manuscripts, another means to divide sentences into paragraphs was a line break newline followed by an initial at the beginning of the next paragraph.
An initial is an oversized capital letter, sometimes outdented beyond the margin of the text.
This style can be seen, for example, in the original Old English manuscript of Beowulf. Outdenting is still used in English typography, though not commonly.
This style can be seen in the handwritten United States Constitution from For additional ornamentation, a hedera leaf or other symbol can be added to the inter-paragraph whitespace, or put in the indentation space.
A second common modern English style is to use no indenting, but add vertical white space to create "block paragraphs. This style is very common in electronic formats, such as on the World Wide Web and email. Typographical considerations[ edit ] Widows and orphans occur when the first line of a paragraph is the last line in a column or page, or when the last line of a paragraph is the first line of a new column or page.
Professionally printed material in English typically does not indent the first paragraph, but indents those that follow. For example, Robert Bringhurst states that we should "Set opening paragraphs flush left.
The function of a paragraph is to mark a pause, setting the paragraph apart from what precedes it. If a paragraph is preceded by a title or subhead, the indent is superfluous and can therefore be omitted.
Newline In word processing and desktop publishinga hard return or paragraph break indicates a new paragraph, to be distinguished from the soft return at the end of a line internal to a paragraph. This distinction allows word wrap to automatically re-flow text as it is edited, without losing paragraph breaks.
The software may apply vertical whitespace or indenting at paragraph breaks, depending on the selected style. How such documents are actually stored depends on the file format. In plaintext files, there are two common formats. Pre-formatted text will have a newline at the end of every physical line, and two newlines at the end of a paragraph, creating a blank line.
An alternative is to only put newlines at the end of each paragraph, and leave word wrapping up to the application that displays or processes the text. A line break that is inserted manually, and preserved when re-flowing, may still be distinct from a paragraph break, although this is typically not done in prose.
Newline Paragraphs are commonly numbered using the decimal system, where in books the integral part of the decimal represents the number of the chapter and the fractional parts are arranged in each chapter in order of magnitude.
Whittaker and Watson attribute this system of numbering to Giuseppe Peano on their "Contents" page, although this attribution does not seem to be widely credited elsewhere. Section typography Many published books use a device to separate certain paragraphs further when there is a change of scene or time.
This extra space, especially when co-occurring at a page or section break, may contain an asteriskthree asterisks, a special stylistic dingbator a special symbol known as an asterism. Purpose and style advice[ edit ] A common English usage misconception is that a paragraph has three to five sentences; single-word paragraphs can be seen in some professional writing, and journalists often use single-sentence paragraphs.
Forms generally vary among types of writing. For example, newspapers, scientific journals, and fictional essays have somewhat different conventions for the placement of paragraph breaks.
English students are sometimes taught that a paragraph should have a topic sentence or "main idea", preferably first, and multiple "supporting" or "detail" sentences which explain or supply evidence. One technique of this type, intended for essay writing, is known as the Schaffer paragraph. For example, the following excerpt from Dr.
Samuel Johnson 's Lives of the English Poets, the first sentence is the main idea:transitions are phrases or words used to connect one idea to the next transitions are used by the author to help the reader progress from one significant idea to the next transitions also show the relationship within a paragraph (or within a sentence) between the main idea and the support the author.
The first paragraph serves as kind of a funnel opening to the essay which draws and invites readers into the discussion, which is then focused by the thesis statement before the work of the essay . How to Start a Compare and Contrast Essay.
Compare and contrast essays are often assigned to students because they promote critical thinking, analytical reasoning and organized writing. A compare and contrast essay should look at a subject.
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Inspired by the life of St Joseph, the school promotes a culture of faith, justice and service. How to Start a Compare and Contrast Essay. In this Article: Sample Outline Brainstorming Your Topic Creating an Outline Writing an Introduction Community Q&A Compare and contrast essays are often assigned to students because they promote critical thinking, analytical reasoning and organized writing.