Five Paragraph Essay Outline

Five Paragraph Essay Outline

A five paragraph essay outline can be defined as a formal system that is used to think about as well as to organize an essay that has five paragraphs. A five paragraph essay is an essay format which comprises of five paragraphs. The five paragraphs are the introductory paragraph, 3 body paragraphs which have the essay development details and supporting evidence and a final concluding paragraph. This is also is also called a one three one essay, a three-tier essay or a hamburger essay. While writing a five paragraphs essay, it is highly advisable that you develop an outline that you can work with. A good outline of a five paragraphs essay should include all vital components to make the final essay awesome.

Importance of a five paragraph essay outline

When you outline a five paragraphs essay before you start writing it, you are able to organize your thoughts and ideas so that they can flow easily and smoothly in the essay with a purpose sense. Basically, a five paragraphs essay is seen as the basic structure of an essay. It indicates all the components that should be included in a well-written essay. It is important to note that although the main purpose of an outline is to keep you focused on the structure of your essay, it should not make you rigid.

Although an outline has a rigid format, you should be flexible when you start writing the essay. If you are writing on a topic that you are not conversant with, your essay might take a different direction. In that case, you can add new or more sections in the essay outline. Such reorganization of an outline is allowed. However, the outline should keep you focused on your topic and organized. This is why you need an outline that you can preview once you have written your essay and re-read your essay to ensure that it depicts proper organization as indicated in the outline.

How to write a five paragraph essay outline

Identify the topic of your essay

You need a topic on which to write an essay. Typically, instructors provide a topic or subject on which to write. The subject may provide the parameters of an essay. It is important that you adhere to the provided instructions while selecting a topic for your essay. If no topic has been provided, read the essay prompt or question carefully then formulate a topic for your essay.

Come up with titles for each paragraph of your essay

Space the titles of the paragraphs of the essay under the topic of your essay section, which in this case is the body section, to ensure that there is space for writing underneath notes. Basically, the titles of the sections of your essay should be the “The Introduction,” “Body Paragraph 1,” “Body Paragraph 2,” “Body Paragraph 3”and“The Conclusion”

Declare your stance on the topic

You should declare your stance on the topic of your essay. If you do not take a stance, you will write an essay that does not have a direction. The stance that you take indicates the direction of your essay. Make sure that the position that you have taken can be supported with supportable and valid arguments from research or your course materials that were given by the instructor.

Create a thesis statement

Come up with a thesis statement on the basis of the position that you take in step 2. A thesis statement should be a sentence or two summarizing the essay that you intend to write, the position that you will take and if possible providing a roadmap for the readers. Make sure that your thesis statement is defensible, strong, narrow and focused.


“Standard materialism has been rebranded by eco-consumerism movement with environmental ethics’ façade.”

Develop three main points to use as the topic sentences for each body paragraph.

Each main idea should be expressed with the topic sentence of each body paragraph under the title of each paragraph of the body section. In this section, make sure that each paragraph of the body section builds on the paragraph that precedes it.


Paragraph 1: Eco-consumerism has had a significant rise over the last decade.

Paragraph 2: How companies market products has been changed by eco-consumerism.

Paragraph 3: Eco-consumerism’s profitability is a key motivator of business practices that are eco-friendly than the genuine environmental concerns.

List supporting information

The information that you intend to include in the essay as your supporting evidence should come under each main idea in the body section. List them under the titles of the body paragraphs. To make the structure clear, use bullet points or letters. You can include details like examples that you intend to use in supporting the topic sentences of your body paragraphs, the scholarly literature that your essay draws from, quotes that support your argument and other information that will enable you to build a strong argument.

Develop the conclusion

List the larger implication of your essay under the conclusion title. You can restate your thesis statement or write a statement that indicates why your essay deserves attention or why it matters. You can also include a question that your essay may have brought up or suggest further exploration of the topic of your essay.

Develop a hook

After composing the introduction and sorting out your arguments as well as the conclusion, develop a hook that will go into the introduction section. Although this will go into the introduction of the essay, you should write it last because you know what you are hooking the readers to.

Summary of a five paragraph essay outline

An outline of a five paragraph essay can be summarized as follows:


  1. Introduction (One paragraph)
  2. Hook: This should capture reader’s attention while setting a tone for the essay.
  3. Thesis statement: This should state what your essay is all about and how you will develop your argument.
  4. Body ( Three paragraphs)
  1. Topic sentence: This should start the body paragraph and tell readers about the content of the paragraph. It should help in maintaining the momentum of the essay and keep the readers focused. Each topic sentence should state a point that supports the main argument as expressed by the thesis statement.
  2. Evidence: This is the evidence that supports the main idea stated through the topic sentence. If you do not provide evidence, your essay is not worth reading. Therefore, provide evidence under a topic sentence of each body paragraph.
  3. Rebuttal or opposition: This is important when writing a persuasive essay. Anticipate opposing arguments and refute them carefully. Avoid building a case for the opposition.
  4. Smooth transition: Include a sentence that ends the body paragraph while linking to the next body paragraph smoothly.

Repeat this for the second and the third body paragraphs then link readers with a smooth transition to the conclusion.

  • Conclusion (One paragraph)
  1. Summarize the first, the second and the third main ideas or supporting points.
  2. Reiterate the stated thesis statement. Make sure that you have restated the same thesis statement differently.
  3. Make your conclusion more than a mere summary. Reaffirm your ideas’ validity while bringing out the defense of the thesis statement of your essay. Since this is the last chance of communicating with the readers, make a strong closing statement and answer the “so what?” question.
  4. Make a call to action or an emotional appeal. This is very important for a persuasive essay. End the essay with a statement that readers will always remember.

Hints and reminders on how to write a five paragraph essay outline

  • Start by dividing the outline of your five paragraph essay into five sections with a title for each section.
  • Include the most important or the strongest supporting idea in the first body paragraph of the outline.
  • Ensure that under each title of the body paragraphs, you have included relevant supporting material in form of quotes and examples depending on the kind of an essay that you are writing.
  • Think of your essay’s introduction and its conclusion as the bookends that hold your essay together. Include a hook that will push readers into reading the essay in the introduction. End with a conclusion that pulls ideas tight while showing readers how you have developed your argument.
  • If you will submit your outline for marking, revise it very carefully before you hand it in to ensure that it is free of grammatical and spelling mistakes. Also use the recommended style; that is, topic outline or sentence outline.
  • Use a five paragraph essay outline sample as your writing guide. Click here for a sample outline.

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