There are usually five paragraphs in a high-school and college essay.
A high-school or a college essay requires maximum attention from the student. It is not just about this one grade you will soon forget about. Usually, your final grades depend a great deal on how good you are at writing essays. Although many students somewhat underestimate writing essays, this is one of the most effective exercises you get assigned at high school and college. Just like any other academic paper, an essay is not just a stream of consciousness or an exercise in freewriting. It needs to be written in strict accordance with the structure, which, in turn, suggests paragraphs.
The notion of a paragraph: It is essential to understand what a paragraph is, as you can't merely space your text several times to have a proper essay. A paragraph can have a single sentence (which rarely happens in the case of essay writing) or several sentences. The main point of a paragraph is to enclose one idea. Additionally, a paragraph serves as a text unit helping to categorize the smaller units.
As a rule, an essay comprises an introduction, the main body, and a conclusion. This helps you to arrange the information systematically. You usually give the general context in the introduction. The main body reveals the subject-matter of your essay. The conclusion is a summarized scope of your paper, which may also provide some ideas for the further discussion.
The conventional structure of an essay enterprises five paragraphs. The introduction and the conclusion have one paragraph each, while the main body has three. Although this format works for the majority of essays, it is not obligatory for you to follow it in all the cases. The exceptions are usually predetermined by how deep your research is.
The initial point in writing an excellent essay is understanding the topic because both format and content depend on it. Another important aspect is the type of an essay. It may seem that there are plenty of those and that it is hard to switch if you are used to writing a particular type. On the one hand, it is true, because different types suggest different ways of arranging the information. On the other, if you pay your closest attention to these types once, you will have no difficulty with writing them in the future.
As we have already mentioned, the format consisting of the introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion is the most suitable for an essay. Each of these elements has a fixed number of paragraphs. Unfortunately, the introduction is often neglected by many students, because it doesn't contain any research. However, if you want your essay to secure you an excellent grade, you should be very attentive when you write your introduction. It may be considered a defining moment for the reader to understand whether he or she is going to read the whole essay. Besides, the introduction includes essential background information for your reader to comprehend your topic. Don't let your introduction give too much away. A thesis statement and some additional information are more than enough for a high-school or college essay. In most cases, the introduction doesn't exceed a single paragraph, but there can be exceptions to this rule.
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After you've made your readers interested by your introduction, you can continue with the main body of your essay. No introduction or conclusion can save your essay if you fail to convey your idea in the body paragraphs. There are usually three of them. You have to put a topic sentence at the beginning of each body paragraph, following it with some supporting arguments. The stronger your arguments are, the earlier they have to appear in your text. Put your thoughts briefly and systematically. The conclusion is the way to summarize the subject matter and your findings. You are also to restate your thesis. In some cases, the conclusion opens some perspective for the further research.