How to compose a three-paragraph essay

Just starting college and need to improve your essay writing? There are many different types of essay you can choose from, but one popular type is the three-paragraph essay.

A three-paragraph essay is probably the simplest form of essay to master. However, we suggest you do not use this method if you have a long essay of more than 5,000 words.

But if you need to write a smaller essay of around 1,000 words, this structure can be helpful in outlining your research matter.

Sometimes too much-researched material can overwhelm you. So, if you are a novice essay writer, you can benefit from understanding how to master a three-paragraph essay. Let’s learn more.

What is a three-paragraph essay?

Obviously, as the name suggests, a three-paragraph essay is an essay that consists of just three sections. These are:

  • The introduction
  • The body
  • The conclusion

You don’t need to literally stick to just three paragraphs. If you have several hundred words, this would make your essay difficult to read. However, you should stick to just three sections.

What should be in each section of a three-paragraph essay?

Depending on the subject you are writing about, your introduction will begin with giving an overview of the topic you are writing about, or question your essay will answer. Then, there will be a detailed elaboration of your subject in the subheadings further in your essay body. Finally, your conclusion is where you give your own thoughts regarding the subject matter.

This essay will not require you to go into branch research, where you have the main body, and also add other external information. You will be able to filter and condense the matter into the smaller section.

Try to identify and include only the most important information, as in a three-paragraph essay you cannot add too much detail. That said, it is important to ensure that whatever you are adding is correct and provides enough data for the reader to understand.

Let’s look at each section in more depth.

Your essay introduction

While there is no specific word limit to the introductory paragraph, it shouldn’t be too long as it can test your reader’s patience.

No matter how good your introduction is, it will not include too many interesting facts as you will add them later in the body of your essay. Instead, your introduction will generally include a brief definition of your subject and everything you will cover later.

According to experts, the three must-have paragraphs in your introduction are.

  1. Thesis statement
  2. Background pointers
  3. Something to hook the audience

A thesis statement is the objective you are planning to cover, aka the situation you will be giving your opinion on. For example, Personality development: nature versus nurture. You need to give a short description of the subject and why it is of importance.

Background pointers will include the history and reasoning for selecting this topic, what others have to say about the matter and how it has impacted people/the world.

A hook is the most important of your introduction because it will interest the reader your ensure that they will want to find out more about what you have to say and keep reading.

Your body

The body is essentially the most important part of your essay. This is because no matter how good your introduction and conclusion are, they are just a good start and end – it is the middle, your body, where you really flesh out your argument or perspective, and where readers will find information they are interested in, and can possibly even change their perspective or opinion.

If your reader doesn’t find anything interesting to read, they will be very disappointed after a good introduction. To help you, here are some elements your body could include:

  • Facts
  • Quotes
  • Statistics
  • Personal arguments
  • Case studies

Let’s look at each one in turn:

  • Facts, as you know, are raw information that you have researched on the subject. Add a good bibliography later to support these statements. This will reassure your reader of your thorough research.
  • Quotations can balance out your writing and add context and colour to your facts. They can also help to challenge or support your perspective. Do not forget to attribute all quotes to their authors.
  • Statistics are necessary for any good essay, especially if you are writing your finance homework. Giving any reader a quantitative overview of the subject views the matter helps them form an opinion.
  • Any essay is incomplete without a personal argument. Especially a three-paragraph essay because it is already a small essay without much in-depth analysis.
  • And finally, case studies are interesting as they are little stories that hook your audience, and can help to prove your argument.

The conclusion

Your three-paragraph essay should always end with a strong conclusion. Before we talk about the important aspects of a conclusion, here are some common mistakes that people often make:

  • They rest on the laurels of a good body and forget that a conclusion is just as important.
  • They leave it to the very last minute, and then rush it, making a poor job of their conclusion. Yes, your conclusion may come last, but you should always have time to edit and make it better.
  • Their conclusion is just a brief version of what they have written already. Your conclusion has to have some personal thoughts and actually have a point to make.

Now here are some of the important elements of the conclusion.

  • A synopsis
  • A detailed overview of your thoughts
  • The changes and further developments you are predicting regarding this subject matter

A synopsis is a summary of everything you have touched upon in your three-paragraphs. So try to condense it into one paragraph. And yes, that is a challenge!

You also need to include your final thoughts and opinions, as well as arguments and the limitations you think the subject has. And finally you can end with a small section that will have your further thoughts to conclude the matter.

How to choose a three-paragraph essay topic

When you are choosing a three-paragraph essay topic, opt for something which is pretty straightforward, such as a historical fact, social issue, or psychological argument. You need a topic that will provide you with enough information for the body, but not too much so that you get distracted.

When you get into the groove of writing your essay, you will want to add more facts to make it sound more interesting. However, this is where the challenge lies. What are you going to filter out, and what will be in your paper?

Make sure you weigh out the pros and cons careful before making your choice. Choosing the right topic will make it much easier to produce an essay without too much stress, and that your reader will enjoy.