Sally Baggett holds a master’s in literature. She enjoys inspiring students, cooking with her family, and helping others achieve their dreams.
Just like there is more than one way to skin a cat (or so they say), there is more than one way to write an essay. One is not required to produce a perfectly formatted five-paragraph essay every time one composes a piece of writing. There is another type of essay you can write that may just be simpler than the traditional style: the three-paragraph essay. This type of essay might be beneficial for beginning writers as it offers the organizational structure of a longer essay without requiring the length. It also offers a challenge to more advanced writers to condense their points.
The Parts of the Essay and Its Benefits
As with most essays, the three-paragraph essay has three parts: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Yet with this type of essay–unlike its five-paragraph counterpart–each one of these sections has only one paragraph. The three-paragraph essay, therefore, might be ideal for young writers or those who are currently mastering the English language.
Another benefit to the three-paragraph essay could be that it requires you to condense your supporting points into just one, which can be a good exercise. If you had to choose only one point to convince a reader to agree with you, what would it be?
After performing some light prewriting, such as brainstorming or writing an outline, students can move right into composing the essay. While this process is similar across the board for writing academic papers, the three-paragraph essay is unique in that the body will take up less space in the finished product.
An outline for this essay might look like this:
- Introduction Paragraph
- Background Points
- Thesis Statement
- Body Paragraph
- Topic Sentence
- Supporting fact 1
- Supporting fact 2
- Transition Sentence
- Topic Sentence
- Conclusion Paragraph
- Re-statement of Thesis
- Summary of Main Point
- Challenge to the Reader
Paragraph One: Introduction
As with most formal essays, the three-paragraph essay begins with an introduction paragraph. Such paragraphs must, obviously, introduce the reader to your idea and, in most cases, convince the reader that this essay is worth reading. To craft a strong introduction, be sure to open with a solid hook. You want to draw in readers so they are compelled to engage with your writing.
A hook can be something compelling such as a question, a powerful quote, or an interesting fact. Introduction paragraphs also usually contain background information that assists the reader in understanding your topic, perhaps defining it or explaining an important part. Finally, you want to include a thesis statement. Even though your essay only has three paragraphs, there still needs to be a purpose to the writing.
You could structure your introduction paragraph according to this outline:
- Introduction Paragraph
- Hook: Is there no solution for dumping waste in the ocean?
- Background Points
- Explain why trash is dumped in the ocean
- Statistics about dumping trash in the ocean
- Thesis Statement: Dumping waste in the ocean is a problem because it spells disaster for the ecosystem, leading to problems on land.
This structure is not mandatory, though it might be useful in the long run for organizing your thoughts.
Paragraph Two: Body
The second paragraph, as we have discussed, is the one and only body paragraph. This paragraph bears the burden of communicating support for the thesis statement all on its own. As such, it may take more than one rough draft to get this paragraph to communicate everything you want it to.
Your body paragraph needs to underscore the thesis statement. Create a topic sentence for this body paragraph that communicates this and also transitions from the introduction into the body. For example, your body paragraph topic sentence based on the outline above could be:
One of those problems might play itself out as food scarcity where humans live.
This topic sentence reiterates the thesis and moves the reader into a body paragraph that contains a supporting point: that damage to the ocean’s ecosystem could lead to food scarcity. Within the body paragraph, you can quote different sources that support this point.
Again, this paragraph does not have room to contain everything that a full five-paragraph essay might. But that doesn’t mean you can’t fit in some strong evidence to convince your reader to see your perspective, such as is accomplished through quotes and analysis. Don’t forget to end with a strong transition sentence to move the reader seamlessly into the conclusion.
Paragraph Three: Conclusion
The final paragraph in an essay is usually the conclusion. The three-paragraph essay is no exception. In this essay, the conclusion can be just as long as the other two paragraphs, and it can drive home the point made in the thesis statement and body paragraph. As with most conclusion paragraphs, this paragraph ought to restate the thesis in different words. It should then summarize what was stated in the body paragraph before challenging the reader in some way, whether in thought or action.
Editing Before Turning It In
One thing to be sure of in this type of essay (as in any other) is to polish it. Make it flow well. In other words, revise it!
Before beginning the revision process, take a break from your writing so that you can look at it with fresh eyes. Once you start revising, hunt not only for grammar and punctuation errors but for ways to make the writing flow better. Take a look at the sentences at the beginning and end of each paragraph. Do these sentences contain transition words? Do these paragraphs link to each other? Transition words or phrases like “Likewise,” “In spite of,” or “In addition to” can ensure that your paragraphs are coherent. There are also other services that will automatically proofread you paper.
If you used any sources (i.e. websites, books, videos, etc.) to help support your points and write your paper, you need to cite them! Most teachers will ask you to create a bibliography in MLA format. Others may have you one in APA format, or create references in Chicago style. Ask your teacher for guidance on what citation style they prefer.
Don’t forget that you aren’t limited to using this type of essay for just persuasion. You can also use it to relate a narrative tale, using the three parts as the beginning, middle, and end of a story. You can use this to craft an informative essay. See if other types of essays–such as a process analysis or an evaluation–will fit inside the three-paragraph essay format.
In many ways, the three-paragraph essay is similar to the five-paragraph essay. They both make a solid point using an introduction, body, and conclusion. This simpler essay only requires that you condense your points into one body paragraph, perhaps only one supporting point, before reaching a conclusion. Again, this can make a good exercise for beginning English writers, but can also make a challenge for a more advanced writer to select their strongest supporting points.
3 Types of Essays Are Models for Professional Writing FormsBy Mark Nichol
The three types of essay most commonly assigned in school — the narrative essay, the persuasive essay, and the expository essay — conveniently correspond to those writing forms most frequently published online and in print. Your experience with these prose forms is ideal preparation for writing for publication.
1. The Narrative Essay
This form, employed when reporting about an event or an incident, describing an experience, or telling a story, is the basic mode in journalistic writing.
Practice in relating what happened when you witnessed an occurrence, or writing about what you were told by someone who witnessed it, is good training for becoming a newspaper reporter. Writing your recollections of something that happened to you is the basis of travel writing and similar content.
Meanwhile, effective storytelling is an essential skill for feature writing, which — as opposed to reporting, which is event driven — focuses on a person, a place, or a thing, such as a company or an organization. (Travel writing, actually, is a hybrid of all three forms of essay writing.) Many magazine articles, for example, and a number of nonfiction books, are basically profiles of one of these types of entities, and fiction writing, of course, is a form of narrative, albeit one that is invented or based on a real-life subject.
2. The Persuasive Essay
In this type of essay, the writer attempts to convince readers to agree with an opinion. In a traditional persuasive essay, the writer states the essay’s topic and organizational scheme clearly and concisely, then emphasizes and clarifies the topic’s significance by briefly mentioning the current event or recent publication, for example, that prompted the writer to discuss the topic. The rest of the piece consists of the writer’s argument in favor or in criticism of a position.
This persuasion can take the form of a scholarly critique or a review of a creative effort such as a live or recorded performance (for example, a music album) or a work in some medium (a film, for instance). In either case, the writer begins with a thesis, or statement to be proven, summarizes the position (or the plot or theme of a work of art), and provides further detail as necessary to amplify the essay’s points.
An essential component of a formal persuasive essay is a balanced discussion of an opposing viewpoint, while an informal review might include a mention of what an artist was attempting to accomplish by performing or creating and, for the sake of courtesy, could refer to how the artist succeeded in part even if the reviewer believes that the work is ultimately unsatisfactory.
Persuasive essays, like narrative essays, can be submitted for publication. Guest editorials in newspapers and magazines, reviews in the art sections of periodicals or on entertainment-oriented Web sites, or position statements for nonprofit organizations or political lobbying groups are all forms of persuasive writing that publishers of this content will pay for.
3. The Expository Essay
Expository writing can take the form of a how-to manual or other form of instruction, an explanation of a natural or technological process (an outline of the evaporation cycle, for example, or how to rebuild a car engine), a comparison of two similar subjects — though this form overlaps with the persuasive essay — or a discursion on a historical event or on future possibilities.
This last variation also has elements in common with narrative or persuasive writing, and in a sense, none of these types of writing is entirely exclusive. Therefore, if you, like almost all current or former students, have had experience with these forms of essay writing, you’ve already been trained (and, hopefully, coached) in how to write professionally.
And if you already do so, be confident that you can easily apply your skill in one form to taking on another: If you write position papers, you have no excuse not to move into instructional writing, if that’s what you want to do. Similarly, if you make a living explaining things in writing, don’t hesitate to explore fiction or nonfiction narrative writing if it appeals to you.Recommended for you: « Aren’t You Blogging Yet? »
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5 Responses to “3 Types of Essays Are Models for Professional Writing Forms”
- Urikee Tjazapi (Namibia)
I find the persuasive Essay more inetesting then the other two , cause they are not convincing the reader, people have became so scientific that anything they read or hear must be persuasive to thier ears. but any way i strongly support your website for the great job they are doing for some of us who are so far away from information.
- Rejetta McDaniel
I really appriciate this website. i have learned some ensitefull writing information. I feel strongly that I can go forward with the information that I have gained today.
- Francisco Fernandes (Angola)
I’ve been learning so much from you. Many people who got some skills like mechanics are ileterate people, essencially in my continente, so that they would provide expository essays to drivers. Sorry!… In my country capital city you find full of broken cars.
- Terry A McNeil
May I add that a combination of essay types may also be a possible structure as well.
Thanks for the great information on essays. I like narrative essays because you’re telling a story. It seems more fun to write than the other two types of essays.