A five-paragraph or a five-paragraph or a five-part argumentative essay teaches students how to present their claims clearly and confidently, while backing their views with solid evidence from literary texts and credible research materials. The five parts include ​a strong introductory paragraph with a clear thesis, three body paragraphs substantiated with detailed evidence, and a compelling conclusion.​ Students should also use transitional words and phrases to guide readers through their arguments.

Essay writing can be challenge as it is, and the added job of persuading your reader to understand, and even agree with, your point of view can make the task all the more intimidating. Let this article act as a roadmap for how you can write a successful five-part argumentative paper.

A Well-Structured Thesis

Write an introductory paragraph that introduces your argument and explains why readers should be interested in your topic.​ A five-part argumentative essay is relatively short, so you must get to the point quickly and gain your readers' interest right from the start. ​Include a concise, well-constructed thesis statement in your introductory paragraph that explains what you'll be arguing.​ A thesis statement is often the last sentence in an introduction. If you're arguing about a literary work, include the title and author in your introduction. When arguing a theory or an issue, incorporate background information and explain its relevance. This first part of your essay lays the groundwork for the rest of the essay; if you have a solid introduction, the rest of your writing process will go much smoother.

Supporting Body Paragraphs

Develop​ ​three distinct, yet unified, body paragraphs​ ​to support the claims in your thesis.​ For example, if you're arguing that standardized tests don't accurately represent a student's academic strengths or problem-solving capabilities, one body paragraph might discuss the shortcomings of ACT and SAT tests, another might explain why some academic skills and abilities aren't represented by standardized tests and a third why some students struggle to perform well on timed tests, despite their knowledge and understanding of the material. Create a topic sentence that clearly explains the objective for each body paragraph. Use specific examples from reliable resources, such as academic journals, peer reviews and professional commentaries, to back your views.


Remember:​ with every piece of evidence in an essay comes the responsibility of giving credit where credit is due; at the end of your argumentative essay, you will have a list of references in which you will cite the sources that gave you all of your information. In the actual body of the essay, you can cite your sources at the end of a sentence with in-text citations.

You also need to ​address counterarguments​ in the body of your essay -- always treating opposing viewpoints with courtesy and respect -- and explain how those counterclaims don't hold up. Showing that you understand and acknowledge opposing arguments increases your own credibility and makes your rebuttal much stronger; a good argumentative essay uses lots of critical thinking and shows that you have considered the main points of both arguments before coming to your own conclusions.

Your Persuasive Conclusion

Create a compelling conclusion that brings your argument to a close.​ ​Don't introduce new information in your conclusion.​ Explain how your evidence clearly supports your arguments and why your thesis is well-founded, logical and credible. The conclusion will leave readers with a lasting impression of your essay. Challenge readers to consider your viewpoints, using passionate, persuasive language to make your closing remarks.

Transitional Phrases

Incorporate transitional words and phrases throughout your paper to unify your five paragraphs. Otherwise, your paper will seem short, abrupt and choppy. Opt for transitional words and phrases, such as ​"similarly," "on the same note," "in agreement with," "contrarily," "in support of," "to back the argument," "equally important," "nevertheless," "with this in mind," "provided that," "for example," "all things considered" and "given these points"​ to add continuity, flow and readability to your argumentative essay.

Argumentative writing requires you to address opposing points of view and give concise reasons as to why your argument is the strongest. In a persuasive essay, the type of language you use as well as the reliability of your sources will impact the likelihood that your reader will be swayed by your arguments. Once you have mastered this essay format, you will become much better at developing clear and impactful arguments.

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