Essay Format Help?

I have to write a literary essay in January for my diploma.

I was wondering, lets say I get my topic and I can only think up two things to write on.

Am i allowed to just do beginning paragraph, my two ideas, and then ending for a total of four paragraphs instead of the usual five? Or is it written in stone that I have to give three ideas to make it five paragraphs in total? Thanks!

8 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I was taught to write in the 5-paragraph essay format in elementary. However, in high school, the upper-level English teachers taught me otherwise. My teachers were tired of the same old format, and told us to use our creativity and that it's not necessary to write in the 5-paragraph format. They said that this format is limiting our writing, and therefore weakening it.

    So I'd say, no, it's not written in stone. Just make sure you have a great thesis statement at the end of your intro, and topic sentences to introduce every other paragraph.

    Even if you just do 4 paragraphs, use LOTS of support and details to lengthen your paragraphs.

    Good luck! :)

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  • 1 decade ago

    Personally, when I taught English, I would have preferred to have seen 2 very well written and developed paragraphs then add a 3rd weak one. There is nothing written in stone in the real world.

    But this isn't the real world, it is academic testing world, so it will depend on the scoring guide used by those grading your essay.

    Some grade on a very cut and dry yes/no basis, and it could be that not having 3 supporting paragraphs will get you a "NO" for that and not do you justice. They may not look at the quality, just the quantity.

    You need further clarification of the scoring guide/rubric for this assignment and if they are grading more on content or form.

    Source(s): M. Ed.
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  • kenton
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    An essay format is the way you set up your paper. the most elementary essay format is Intro (introduce subject matter 2-3 Sentences) Paragraph a million (3-5 sentences) Paragraph 2 (3-5 sentences) Paragraph 3 (3-5 sentences) end (restate subject matter 2-3 sentences)

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  • Nancy
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    This is going to depend upon what is expected by your instructor. Five paragraphs is the norm for a literary essay in it's minimum, so unless your instructor says otherwise, you will need to follow that formula. If you think about it and if you research well, you should have no problem finding your three ideas to flesh out the essay. Good luck.

    Source(s): writer/English tutor
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  • Ladida
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    I am not familiar with this formula of which you speak, but if you do need five paragraphs, any chance that you could merge your first two ideas and blend them into a third?:) I'm not kidding, something about what the two ideas say about each other, or something along those lines. (Obviously this is hard to say given that I don't know anything about the specifics.)

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  • 1 decade ago

    if it were me, i would do it like this

    - Beginning - paragraph on what you topic is on

    - Body 1 - First idea

    - Body 2 - Second idea

    - Body 3 - (Try to combind the topics together)

    - Conclusion - Summary

    If you cant do BODY 3 than you can leave it out but the more you write the better!!!

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  • Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    It's better to have at least 5, but you can do that if you want. If you still feel like it needs another body paragraph, make it about both of your ideas and how they affect each other.

    Source(s): I take Advanced/AP English classes.
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  • You never need five total paragraphs. as long as you have strong body paragraphs you should be okay.

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