The Five-Paragraph Essay

The Seven-Paragraph Essay
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The Seven-Paragraph Essay
• Is a basic essay format which every student
should know
• Has several formally-designated parts
• May be subjective or objective in nature
• Has a clear, single focus on an idea or
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The Seven Paragraph Structure
• First: Thesis statement and backgrounding
• Second &Third: Points to support thesis, and supporting
• Fourth: Strong point to support thesis and supporting
• Fifth & Sixth: Points which seem like a rebuttal of the
thesis are presented, then refuted. Each has a topic
sentence and supporting information, with a commentary
which acts as a refutation and turns the points into support
for the overall thesis of the essay.
• Seventh: Summary and concluding statement(s).
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The Seven-Paragraph Essay
Subjective Essay:
• Focuses on a personal idea
or reaction and offers
• Is author-driven; author
appears as “I”
• May be personal and
intense in style
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Objective Essay:
• Focuses on an idea or
concept and offers support
• Is not author-driven but is
idea-driven (the author
does not appear as “I”)
• Uses formal academic
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Subjective Writing
• Use the subjective style to show, inform,
demonstrate, convince, compare, share or
• You may reveal yourself in the author
position with phrases such as “ I
believe”...” or “I have always enjoyed …”
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Objective Writing
• Shares and supports an idea or point of view
• Is formal and closely follows academic
writing conventions
• Is written in an objective (3rd Person) style,
wherein the author does not reveal her/him
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The Thesis Statement
• Every 7-paragraph essay has a central thesis
statement which is to be investigated and
finally supported or refuted
• The thesis statement is usually found in the
first paragraph
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Thesis Statement
• The thesis statement must be written clearly. Do
not make the reader guess about the point of the
• The statement is phrased in the positive
(affirmative): “Coffee is a beneficial drink”,
NOT “Coffee is bad for you”.
• If the thesis may be negated with an unambiguous
example or condition, it is disproven.
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Supporting Paragraphs
• The second, third and fourth paragraphs are
usually arranged in order of ascending strength
• The fifth and sixth paragraphs present points
which would seem to negate (deny) the thesis, but
the author (that’s you) skillfully turns the points
into support for the thesis
• Each paragraph has a topic sentence and support
information, plus transitional devices
• Each paragraph is written in proper sentences
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Negation Of Your Central Thesis
• A thesis is almost always phrased in the positive
• A single exception disproves the thesis. For
example, if you claim “Canadian Art is not
collectable” in your thesis, it only takes one
person collecting Canadian art to disprove it.
• The fifth and sixth paragraphs negate, but then are
themselves negated, creating thesis support
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Concluding a Seven-paragraph essay
• Conclusions may be stated in the positive or
negative. The thesis may be proven or disproven,
supported or not. Be honest and clear. If there is
still room for debate, admit it.
• The final paragraph may contain a brief summary
of the thesis and supporting information
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Presenting Your Essay
• Add a title AFTER the
essay is written (let the
title emerge from the
content, not the other way
• Type it onto a good word
processor and do spelling
and grammar checks
• Double-check that every
requirement of the
assignor has been met
• Read it out loud to
someone else to ensure the
essay does what you want
it to do
• Make necessary changes
• Do a title page and turn in
your work
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The End
Return to the top
Return to paragraph divisions
Return to thesis statement
Return to final check information
• The End.
Transitional Devices
• These are ways to gently tie one idea or paragraph to another in
• If one paragraph in an essay on agriculture ends with the idea that the
use of horses declines where there are tropical diseases, the next
paragraph needs to start with something like “Disease is not the only
disincentive to tropical agriculture…”.
• In an essay on race relations in present-day Toronto, the support for one
paragraph might mention the difficulty of many black youth who are
constantly checked by police whilst driving. This has lead to the
facetious charge of D.W.B. (driving while black). The next paragraph
might begin with a mention that other groups might be similarly
targeted, such as young Hispanic males or any vehicle with more than
four youth in it at night.
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Negating Paragraphs
• These paragraphs present information
opposing the thesis. The opposition has
• Each point is then refuted by showing how
it is not valid; thus the support of the central
thesis is not weakened
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Negating Examples
• In an essay on speeding and public danger, the
point may be raised that almost everybody speeds
at least some of the time. This defense of
speeding may be refuted by presenting facts such
as the increased danger to everyone on the road by
the selfish use of the accelerator, lane-changing
and tailgating in traffic -- supported by accident
and insurance statistics
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Negation (continued)
• An essay on Canadian culture may posit that there is
no such thing, and use the support of historical
immigration patterns which have created a bland
cultural polyglot. This argument may be refuted by
pointing out the valuing of individual cultures through
such policies as Heritage Language instruction in
schools and Saturday classes. The power of a blend of
distinct ingredients does not always become a vanilla
milkshake but may become a ratatouille, with many
separate parts which together make up a strong whole.
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The End
Thank you. I hope this presentation
has been useful