What are the five parts of an essay?

Sep 24, 2020

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Essays are a very popular form of academic papers. Everyone must have heard about them and have written essays during high school or college years. However, the popularity of essays does not positively correlate with how well people can actually write them. In other words, many still struggle with writing essays even as seniors in humanity studies and social sciences.

In order to learn how to write a good essay, you need to understand its main building blocks of the structure. Most methodologies define the three key parts in essay structure: introduction, main body, and conclusion. However, often you may hear about five parts of an essay. So what are they?

From an organizational perspective, the five parts do not make a drastic difference from the three parts. The key structural elements still remain, however the main part, the body, gets further divided into sub-parts, which are often organized as dedicated paragraphs. Let us explore in detail the five parts of an essay.

  • The introduction. This part is very important. It holds the potential to grab your reader’s attention and make him/her continue reading hungrily for further details of your story. Whether this potential is realized or not depends only on you. Make sure your introduction contains your main thesis statement. Make it simple and clear. The idea is that your reader should have a clear picture of what your essay is going to be about by just taking a glance at the introduction.
  • The first paragraph of the body. The body should contain the key arguments for your main thesis statement. In the very first body paragraph, you need to open your thesis statement by making the first, or the most valuable argument in support of the statement.  It is important to ensure an easy transition between the main body arguments (paragraphs), for instance, by using transition phrases and words.
  • The second paragraph of the body. This part should contain your second argument in support of the thesis statement. This will signal to the reader that you approach your statement in a thoughtful and knowledgeable manner. It is a good idea to use strong examples in this paragraph. 
  • The third paragraph of the body. You should not reserve this place for your weakest point in support of the thesis statement as many experts advise. Because this is the last part of the essay’s body structure and you do not want to lose your reader’s attention here. Make it short, but strong. Leave some space and trumps before the conclusion.
  • Conclusion. Despite what its name suggests you should not summarize (conclude) every single point of your essay here. Instead, try to make a single most important point here from your entire essay. The effect you should be striving to achieve in conclusion is to leave your readers with something to reflect about, give them food for further thoughts.      

Developing good essay writing skills will not only translate into high academic grades but will also be helpful in your life after academia. This is because in essence essay writing is in many ways similar to story-telling. You need to tell your story, whether a story that actually happened to you or, metaphorically speaking, a story of your mind traveling across a topic or a concept, notion, statement, phenomenon, etc. Story-telling is a very helpful technique in various aspects of life, including your personal growth and business career. If you can convince and engage people by your stories, then you can also lead people, as often times good leaders are also excellent at telling stories. And a key success factor of every story is how well it flows. The same thing in essay writing is called structure and this is why knowing how to build your essay structure is so important.

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