essay writing ideas

Working on a Three-Paragraph Essay

The three-paragraph essay is a writing assignment one usually receives in high school to learn elements such as format and structure. You normally won’t see this in college writing or in professional writing, but it’s still a very important assignment that helps establish some of the foundation you will need as your writing improves and assignments become more challenging. Here are five steps to writing the three-paragraph essay:

Imagine your structure

Imagine your paper as it should look. Three paragraphs: three sections. You start with an introduction then present your argument in the middle section, which should be the largest section, and you close your argument with a conclusion. You may find it helpful to draw a chart and fill in all the information you will use. This too will be the basis for your outline.

Choose a topic and thesis

If your topic is cats, then decide what it is you want to show your readers about cats. Are they the best pet in the world? Why? Asking yourself the “what” and “why” will help you develop your thesis statement, which is a clear and single statement that says what it is your three-paragraph essay is all about.

Write an outline

Download some samples of outlines or ask your teacher for one. It’s good to use roman numerals to structure your essay, but you may find letters or numbers to suit you. Beginning with the intro, write a couple of sentences of what you want in your background and finish this section with your thesis statement. The next level of your outline will list your major argument followed by each piece of evidence in the order you want to present them. Finally, your conclusion will restate your thesis and your pieces of evidence in support of it.

Start Writing

Use your outline to guide your writing. Start with your introduction paragraph, which should be about 5 – 7 sentences long including your thesis statement. Your middle paragraph will be your main argument, usually no more than 5 – 7 sentences and 3 pieces of evidence. Try writing your draft without stopping. You want to get down all of your ideas as cleanly as possible. You will have time to review and revise in the next step. Your conclusion will restate your argument in different words, showing your readers how you have achieved what you set out to prove.

Revise, Edit and Proofread

Be sure you take these last and important tasks very seriously. Set your essay aside for at least 15 minutes and come back to it with intent of reorganizing it so that your argument is more effective. When editing and proofreading make sure you are aware of spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes. Eliminating these common errors will always earn you a better grade than you expected.