How Many Paragraphs Should Be In An Essay?


Basically, there is no such rule as “How many paragraphs in an essay?” An essay’s basic format consists of a minimum of three paragraphs, where lesser than that will not even be considered an essay as it is the simplest form of an essay. Each paragraph is devoted to each section: the introduction section, the body section, and the conclusion section. Some would say the minimum number of paragraphs in an essay should consist of five paragraphs because it is less than that would be inadequate. They suggest you write the content with a minimum of five paragraphs to the given essay topic along with the word count specified.

Always remember before you start writing an essay, you need to outline the essay on a paper by giving a brief outlook of what you will write in that essay. See to that you have no disturbances around as that might make you lose track of the order and the content you were about to put on the paper. If you are going to type the essay on the computer, see that you already know what you are going to type. Because sometimes you might tend to forget few important points you thought you would mention.  Before you make a final copy of your essay, make sure you first make a draft copy on your computer, making it easier for you to rewrite, edit, add-in, or adjust the revisions needed. 

If you do not know about the topic that has been given to you, then research well about that topic through the internet or your school or college library and collect the information you want, and note down the important points you think you will have to mention to make your argument strong and effective. When you draw your outline, make sure you sort out which point you are going to elaborate on in which paragraph. That makes it easier for you to make your argument effective, easily understandable for the readers. 

So, before you start an essay, you need to select a topic and then define the purpose of the topic of that essay by which the person needs to get an idea or knowledge about the topic selected. The purpose of the essay is also necessary as there are different ways of writing an essay. They are:

  • Analytical Essay
  • Argumentative Essay
  • Expository Essay or Explanatory Essay
  • Persuasive Essay 

When you choose a topic, take a paper and note down if you can give any sub-topics for that topic. If so, then see to that you mention those sub-topics in a separate paragraph. As for the purpose, you need to also focus on the content than the number of sections and the word count. If the content is exceeding the word count, then it is not an issue at all. You can proceed and exceed the word count. The main thing you need to focus on is, you are giving the proper information to the readers or not? If yes, then it is well and good. If no, then you need to improvise it and make it readable and understandable to the readers.

In a general reference, we can say that:

  • An essay with a word count of 100-500 words can have a minimum of three paragraphs.
  • An essay with a word count of 500-700 words can have a minimum of four paragraphs.
  • An essay with a word count of 700-800 words can have a minimum of five paragraphs.
  • An essay with a word count of 800-900 words can have a minimum of six paragraphs.
  • An essay with a word count of 900-1000 words can have a minimum of seven paragraphs.
  • An essay with a word count of 1000-1500 words can have a minimum of eight-nine or ten paragraphs.

And so on, these are just in a general reference with the word count. They are not the literal count. Sometimes they go with the number of paragraphs instead of checking the content if the word count is about 500. For an easy understanding of “How many paragraphs in an essay?”, I would like to give you an example of a burger. Where the burger has the top part of the bun, which will be the introduction section of the essay, the middle stuffing part will be the body section of the essay, where there can be different stuffing parts which are considered as body paragraph 1, body paragraph 2, body paragraph 3, etc. as per the word count, the content and the sub-topics you have according to the topic selected. And the bottom bun will be the bottom part of the essay will be the conclusion section of the essay. 

Always see that the information you are trying to give in the essay is clear, adequate, informative, understandable, and complete. The readers should get satisfied with the content you give for the topic allotted to you. Be specific about the points, sub-topics, and everything that you are mentioning in the essay. If you have sub-topics for the topic, divide the topic into different paragraphs as per the sub-topic devoting each sub-topic to each paragraph. Always try to address the different aspects in each paragraph, which might involve revising the same aspects in every new paragraph you start. Make sure each paragraph focuses on one point and does not meander. 

But always keep in mind that the introduction section and the conclusion section should never cross more than one paragraph, and it should not belong. See to that whatever you mention in these both sections are specific, clear, and short. Because sometimes, people tend just to read the introduction and the conclusion part of the essay that is the beginning and the ending paragraphs of the essay. And also, see that you are giving the whole information of the content you have in your mind in just a few words so that they get a glimpse of what is actually written in the body sections. Don’t sacrifice these sections of an essay. These paragraphs to crucial to a persuasive essay.

Not to confuse the readers and to make sense of the topic and the sub-topics you have, there are four ways to organize your main points:

  • Logical Order
  • Chronological Order
  • Climatic Order
  • Random Order

Try to give evidence and examples to each paragraph to clarify or strengthen your points. Ensure that you have fully explained or analyzed each example and try to develop your points in more detail. Don’t ever use fillers, complicated words, or unnecessary words to make your essay weaker and complicated to be easily understood by the reader. See to every paragraph has the information which is relevant to the topic, cut-out the irrelevant information.  Do not cut-out the relevant information. If you remove a paragraph, make sure you revise your transitions and fit all your points together.

Sometimes people tend to write the introduction section before they start to write the body section. They tend to leave few lines of space to write the introduction part after they complete writing what they wanted to write in the body section according to the outline they have made. You can also follow the same pattern accordingly, which is comfortable for you to go with. Either mentioning the introduction first and then going to the body section or going with the body section first and then giving the introduction for that topic.

Do not forget to mention the title of the essay you will write because that is the main important part of the essay. Before you give a title for the essay, make a thesis statement and then craft the thesis statement for your topic where your first part of the title will be specifying the topic, and the second part will be giving a glimpse of the topic.

After you complete the final copy of your essay, please read the whole thing once and try polishing the essay in all the possible ways you could by comparing it with the outline you have drawn before starting to type the essay. And while reading, if you think you should re-arrange the paragraphs, you will have to organize them properly to make your argument effective. Check for punctuational errors, grammatical errors, and everything. Please give it a flow read after you think you have given all the essay’s informative content.

Let me tell you some important rules you have to remember while writing the essay:

  • When you write an essay, you need to talk to the reader without personifying yourself as the first person or the second person. 
  • Avoid using all the first-person abbreviations and second person abbreviations.
  • Always start the paragraph or the sentence with a capital letter.
  • Avoid using words in double quotations.

Nowadays, essay writing has become a trend. Wherever you go, you will be asked to write an essay. In schools, you will be asked to write an essay for competitions; in college, you will be asked to write an essay for a scholarship. Essay writing is considered the main thing to check for the personality and the ability of the child or the student. They check for the knowledge they have about the essay writing and the knowledge in the topic given. 

There are different types of essays. But most people tend to write or are asked to write narrative and descriptive essays. Whatever may be the type of the essay, all the rules and techniques will be the same. There will be no change in the way the reader checks or reading the essay.

A brief description of each section.

  1. Introduction
    • Do keep it short
    • Do not extend it to more than one paragraph.
    • Know the aim or the important points that have to be mentioned in this section
    • Do your thesis before giving the introduction statement or introduction paragraph.
    • Know the purpose of the essay
    • Go for proper and complete research about the topic.
    • Make it easily understandable for the readers.

  2. Body 
    • Ensure you give the proper information and the content only after proper research and proper understanding of the topic and the content.
    • Don’t short it into just one paragraph.
    • Create an outline before you go for this section
    • All the subtopics should be aligned correctly so that they are mentioned in the exact line by line paragraph, which gives the proper alignment and the precise meaning of the essay with a clear explanation of the content or the information you have.
    • Make your arguments effective with the readers.
    • Make sure you satisfy the readers.
    • See to that they are easily understandable and easily readable without using highly expressed words. 
    • Make the body section into body paragraph 1, body paragraph 2, so on….
    • Check for the word count while you write the essay. See to that you fulfill the word count. 
    • If you have or know any references, do mention them in the essay.
    • Give proper examples for the readers.
    • Make it easier for them to read.
    • Give proper segregation for sub-topics as sub-body paragraphs.
    • Elaborate your ideas clearly and give evidence for the arguments you are mentioning there
    • Before you make a final copy, make sure you make a draft of the copy of whatever you want to write.
    • Before typing into the computer, write it down on paper. 
    • Check for the mistakes after you complete your essay.
    • Check for the spelling mistakes, punctuational marks, and all the possible errors you could make
    • After you correct your errors or mistakes, read the essay completely in a flow.
    • See how it is conveyed to the reader.
    • Check if you are satisfied with the essay and the tone in which it is being conveyed.
    • Check where the changes have to be made. Note it down on the paper, and then after you read the complete essay, try making the changes accordingly.
    • After you make the changes again, check for the grammatical, punctuational errors, and spelling mistakes and check the essay’s tone. The way it is being conveyed to the reader.
    • Once you complete checking all these, make sure your argument is being conveyed effectively.
    • Ensure all the things you wanted to mention in the essay are mentioned exactly where they are supposed to be and in which paragraph they are supposed to be mentioned.
    • Do not delete the content or sentences you mentioned if it is right because it might not give the idea of what you want to convey during the argument.
    • Do not go out of the topic. Try giving the information that is needed only. Try not to go out of the box.
    • Go according to the order. If you go out of order, then your argument may not be as compelling as you thought of portraying it to the reader.
    • Try to avoid inappropriate words.
    •  Mostly try using present perfect tense, instead of using the present continuous or past perfect or past continuous, etc.
    • Remember that you are giving your side of the argument to the readers. Do no give questions to them during your arguments in the essay. Try to avoid questioning as much as possible.
    • Do not try to plagiarize any content or information which you are trying to convey.
    • Always remember the burger concept for the structure of the essay. It is as simple as it looks.
    • It would be best if you also chose your writing style. Remember that the font style and color should not look more attractive or eye-catchy than the information you want to convey.
    • Use simple font color that is black and simple font style for the heading or the title and the other information.
    • If you want to highlight any of your points in the essay, then highlight that particular word or point or the sentence.
    • Nobody is perfect, and nothing is perfect so remember no to do perfectionism for your essay. It might lose the interest of the readers to read the essay.
    • When you concentrate on the topic, content only then the essay can be perfect.
    • Do not focus on the number of paragraphs. But see to that you will at least make it as a simple essay with three paragraphs.
    • If possible, make the essay into five paragraphs as it looks adequate and informative too.

  3. Conclusion
    • Make sure you give the proper summary in the conclusion section.
    • Keep it short. See to that conclusion does not cross more than a small paragraph with five lines.
    • Use few quotations or saying in double-quotes.
    • Give a proper ending to your argument.
    • As in a burger, the upper bun and the lower bun look similar. Do not try to write the same content for both the introduction section and the conclusion section.
    • Do not rephrase the sentences you used in the introduction section.
    • Make it unique.
    • See to that the conclusion you give is effective according to the content you gave in the essay.

Also read Freelance writing Career Advice by Jay Vera

How Many Paragraphs Should Be In An Essay?

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