But Alex’s professor doesn’t want it. She underlines the first two sentences, and she writes, “This is just too general. Arrive at the true point.” She underlines the third and sentences that are fourth and she writes, “You’re just restating the question I inquired. What’s your point?” She underlines the sentence that is final after which writes into the margin, “What’s your thesis?” because the last sentence in the paragraph only lists topics. It does not make a disagreement.
Is Alex’s professor just a grouch? Well, no—she is wanting to teach this student that college writing isn’t about following a formula (the five-paragraph model), it’s about making a quarrel. Her first sentence is general, just how she learned a five-paragraph essay should start. But through the professor’s perspective, it’s much too general—so general, in reality, that it’s completely not in the assignment: she didn’t ask students to define civil war. The next and fourth sentences say, in so many words, “I am comparing and contrasting the reasons why the North in addition to South fought the Civil War”—as the professor says, they simply restate the prompt, without giving a single hint about where this student’s paper is going. The sentence that is final which should make a quarrel, only lists topics; it doesn’t begin to explore how or why something happened.
In the event that you’ve seen plenty of five-paragraph essays, you can you know what Alex will write next. Her body that is first paragraph begin, “We can easily see a number of the different explanations why the North and South fought the Civil War by looking at the economy.” Exactly what will the professor say about that? She may ask, “What differences can we see? What an element of the economy are you currently speaking about? How come the differences exist? Why are they important?” After three such body paragraphs, the student might write a conclusion that says much a similar thing as her introduction, in slightly different words. Alex’s professor might already respond, “You’ve said this!”
What could Alex do differently? Let’s start over. This time, Alex does not start with a preconceived notion of how to prepare her essay. In place of three “points,that she will brainstorm until she comes up with write your paper for you a main argument, or thesis, that answers the question “Why did the North and South fight the Civil War?” Then she will decide how to organize her draft by thinking about the argument’s parts and how they fit together” she decides.
After doing some brainstorming and reading the Writing Center’s handout on thesis statements, Alex thinks of a argument that is main or thesis statement:
- Both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against oppression and tyranny, but Northerners focused on the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their rights to property and self-government.
Then Alex writes her introduction. But instead of starting with a general statement about civil wars, she gives us the ideas we need to know in order to understand all the elements of her argument:
- The usa broke away from England in response to British tyranny and oppression, so opposition to tyranny and a belief in individual freedom and liberty were important values into the young republic. But in the century that is nineteenth slavery made Northerners and Southerners see these values in very different ways. By 1860, the conflict over these values broke out into a war that is civil nearly tore the nation apart. Both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against tyranny and oppression, but Northerners focused on the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their rights to property and self-government in that war.
Every sentence in Alex’s new introduction leads the reader along the road to her thesis statement in an unbroken chain of ideas.
Now Alex turns to organization. You’ll find more about the thinking process she passes through in our handout on organization, but here you will find the basics: first, she decides, she’ll write a paragraph that gives background; she’ll explain how opposition to tyranny and a belief in individual liberty had become such important values in the usa. Then she’ll write another background paragraph in which she shows the way the conflict over slavery developed over time. Then she’ll have separate paragraphs about Northerners and Southerners, explaining in detail—and evidence that is giving claims about each group’s cause of likely to war.
Keep in mind that Alex now has four body paragraphs. She could have had three or two or seven; what’s important is that she allowed her argument to tell her what number of paragraphs she must have and just how to match them together. Furthermore, her body paragraphs don’t all“points that are discuss” like “the economy” and “politics”—two of them give background, as well as the other two explain Northerners’ and Southerners’ views in more detail.
Finally, having followed her sketch outline and written her paper, Alex turns to writing a conclusion. From our handout on conclusions, she knows that a “that’s my story and I’m adhering to it” conclusion does not forward move her ideas. Using the strategies she finds into the handout, she decides that she can use her conclusion to explain why the paper she’s just written really matters—perhaps by pointing out that the fissures in our society that the Civil War opened are, most of the time, still causing trouble today.
Could it be ever OK to create a essay that is five-paragraph?
Yes. Have you ever found yourself in times where somebody expects you to seem sensible of a body that is large of on the spot and write a well-organized, persuasive essay—in fifty minutes or less? Feels like an essay exam situation, right? When time is short as well as the pressure is on, falling back on the good old five-paragraph essay can help save you time and offer you confidence. A five-paragraph essay may additionally work as the framework for a short speech. Do not fall into the trap, however, of creating a “listing” thesis statement when your instructor expects an argument; when planning your body paragraphs, think of three components of a quarrel, instead of three “points” to discuss. On the other side hand, most professors recognize the constraints of writing blue-book essays, and a “listing” thesis is probably a lot better than no thesis after all.
We consulted these works while writing the version that is original of handout. This isn’t a list that is comprehensive of on the handout’s topic, and now we encourage you to definitely do your very own research to get the latest publications with this topic. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your personal reference list, you are using as it may not match the citation style. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial. We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.