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Five Paragraph Essay Planning & Writing Tips


A five paragraph essay is a unique type of essay that is written in a five-paragraph format. This essay is widely-used in academic and non-academic context. This form of essay writing is particularly applicable for topics that involve process analysis, cause and effect studies or comparisons.

This form of essay writing is suitable for rather wordy topics. Therefore, it can be written into the following ways:

Compare & Contrast

You can use a five-paragraph format to compare two similar objects. In this context, you can discuss the similarities and differences between two items.

Suggestion: A compare and contract essay can describe the similarities that item A shares with item B or explain the differences that set the item A apart from item B.
Example: Discuss the similarities and differences of the ‘Aristocracy’ with ‘Democracy’.


As the name suggests, it explains a topic in step-by-step process. In this type of paper, you can show a phenomenon or result in distinct steps.

Suggestion: A five paragraph paper can explore a process where you will describe a scientific phenomenon or event.

Example: Define the different phenomenon that comprises the ‘Water Cycle’.

Causes & Effects

A five paragraph piece can also describe the causes of an event and its effects. Your essay can explore the causes behind an event and how it produced the results.

Suggestion: A five paragraph essay can focus on the results of a historical event and how it was caused by series of events.

Example: Research into the causes and effects of World War II.

Important Tips!

  • This type of essay is a tricky paper that involves volume of information. Therefore, you must outline the ideas and structure before attempting this complex paper.
  • Use the most appropriate format for a topic. Write down your points in terms of chronology, hierarchy, steps or significance.
  • Focus on a single idea or step in a paragraph. Use relevant headings and subheadings for each paragraph.
  • It will take longer time and efforts to edit a five paragraph paper.
  • Use suitable connecting words for making transitions between the paragraphs. Your essay should sound coherent even if you read it from the middle of your body.

Five-Paragraph Essay Examples

  • Positive/Negative influence of present advertising on youth
  • Many believe that obesity is epidemic. Do you agree or not?
  • Life in a rural area as compared to urban
  • Give a recount of any past event and also explain why you cherish it
  • Global warming has a negative effect on climate
  • UFOs, myth or reality?
  • Use of animals in lab research
  • Role of women in politics
  • Reasons why most students drop out of college intentionally
  • Pearl Harbour
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