The Hamburger Essay – Guide to Hamburger Paragraph Writing

Writing a good essay is something that a lot of students find challenging. The primary difficulty often concerns the development and organization of one’s argument(s) and/or idea(s) into a coherent and clear piece of writing. Therefore, a guide describing the steps can sometimes be a great help to students when it comes to making the writing process more straightforward and manageable. This also applies to five paragraph essays, which are sometimes called hamburger essays since they can be likened to creating triple-decker burgers.

So, how does one approach hamburger paragraph writing? Firstly, students are often given hamburger essays to write to get them accustomed to writing essays. This type of writing should begin and end with clearly-written introductory and concluding paragraphs (respectively) i.e. the bun at the top and at the bottom! Then, sandwiched between these, comes the essay’s main body.

Hamburger Graphic Organizer for 5 Paragraph Essay

Before thinking about the paragraph sandwich or even beginning to write their essay, the writer needs to organize themselves. This means reading back over the given task a number of times and marking out or underlining any important terms (or words) that indicate what are expected of the writer. Look carefully at the verbs in the instructions e.g. argue, discuss, provide an account, summarize, and so on. You need to be absolutely sure you do exactly what is asked of you and don’t just answer parts of the question. Answer all of it!

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As a student, you are entitled to write a diversity of papers. Quite often, your teacher will provide you with a topic and detailed writing instructions. Many students are afraid of writing. Many others have doubts as to whether they can produce a superior 5 paragraph essay. Now you can use our comprehensive guide to improve the quality of your writing.

The Basic Structure for 5 Paragraph Essay Assignments

hamburger essay organizer

Begin with an Introductory Paragraph

The first hamburger paragraph in this type of essay is the introduction, which is hugely important. Of course, you need to start with a 5 paragraph essay outline. However, before you can create an outline, your task is to determine the type of your paper. You should know that any essay can be of different types, from compare and contrast works to descriptive, analytical, or even opinion works. If you know the type of the essay you are expected to write, you will have better chances to meet your paper requirements. Also, it will be easier for you to select the most suitable topic, if it was not provided by your instructor. In your outline, do not forget to include a strong thesis statement. It will guide the process of writing.

Most likely, your 5 paragraph essay will be a part of a standardized semester-wide test. You will need to answer multiple-choice questions. Then, you will have to produce a short 5 paragraph paper related to your subject. Thus, to successfully complete your test, you will need to know how to write a 5 paragraph essay. Your paper should not exceed 900 words. It should be properly structured. Make sure that it has a well-developed introduction and a concise conclusion. In your introduction, you must provide your reader with some background information. Your reader must develop a good understanding of what they will read in your paper. Also, you must include an attention getter, so that your readers are interested in reading your work. Use a 5 paragraph essay template, but don’t forget to be academically sound. For example, the main idea of your essay should be expressed in a single sentence. Also, your thesis should be strong and debatable. Finally, include rich evidence to back up your claims.

There are three key things that an effective introduction should aim to achieve:

number one

In the 5 paragraph order of writing, the first thing the introduction needs to do is get the reader so interested that they want to keep reading and learning more. This goal can be achieve in one of a number of ways. You could, for instance, begin with a brief anecdote or famous quote. Or you could present your readers with some interesting or surprising statistics or challenge them with a question.

number two

Continuing with the five paragraph essay graphic organizer format, the second thing an introduction should do is let readers know what the entire essay will cover or discuss. Additionally, in this paragraph, you should include a thesis statement or say how you intend to approach your topic. A thesis statement is, virtually without exception, one sentence that sets out the essay’s key idea. So try to ensure this statement is clearly written and stands out in your introductory paragraph.

number three

In the third place, the introduction lets readers know how your content is structured. After reading this section, your readers should understand how you intend to take them through your chosen topic.


Main Body of Your Essay

The body of your paper must elaborate on the thesis statement. Choose three key points of your topic and use them as topic sentences – one sentence per paragraph. In the first sentence of each body paragraph provide a brief description of the issue you are going to discuss. Then, in the next sentences, expand upon the issue and provide some facts to prove its relevance. You may also want to include the data borrowed from other sources. If you use external sources or quotations, do not forget to cite and reference them properly. Use only the most recent and reliable sources. Look at how other students have coped with the same task and see if you can follow the proposed structure. 

Anyone engaged in teaching paragraph structure is likely to tell you that the body of this type of essay is made up of three (3) paragraphs (i.e. the three burgers in the hamburger structure). Each individual paragraph should be limited to just one point or idea that fully supports the central thesis statement. Additionally, each of the paragraphs should begin with a clearly written topic sentence that sets out that paragraph’s key idea. You should include your strongest point or argument in the first body paragraph along with the best examples to support the topic. In this vein then, the last (or third) paragraph should contain the least strong point or argument and the weakest examples. It is important to include however much discussion or explanation is needed to emphasize each paragraph’s main idea or point. Where possible, use specific detail and examples to convey your point(s) and/or idea(s) in as clear and as convincing a manner as is possible. As soon as you define the three key points to discuss in your work, the whole process will go smoother and faster. This is where you can finally develop a conclusion. It is the final part of your 5 paragraph essay.

If you refer to any graphic organizers for writing essays (often found on the Internet), you will see that it is not advisable to jump randomly from idea to idea, at least not if you want your writing to be coherent. Remember this at all times a single idea to each paragraph. For an essay to be effective, transitions should be used to link paragraphs to each other i.e. at the beginning (e.g. in topic sentences) or at end of paragraphs (e.g. in the concluding sentences) to show how the ideas in each section are related.


Adhering to our hamburger essay graphic organizer, the concluding paragraph is the final (or fifth) paragraph in a 5-paragraph essay. This is the last part that readers see and remember most. Hence, it needs to be carefully written. This section should be used to sum-up all the key points from the essay and to reiterate the primary assertion or claim. An essay’s conclusion wraps us what has been previously said and does not introduce any new topic(s). Specific evidence or examples should not be repeated in this paragraph.

In your conclusion, summarize the contents of your work and include some recommendations for your reader. Do not forget to restate the thesis. Be logical and concise. Your conclusion should not exceed a few sentences. Be thorough and stay centered on your topic, as you are writing it.

An essay can be ended in a number of different ways. Your goal is to choose a method that gives a feeling of closure. The best way of doing this is to reiterate the key points from the body paragraphs. Or, if you asked a question in the opening paragraph, you could answer it here to wrap up or choose a quotation that sums everything up.

Some Final Points before Handing Your Essay In

By now, you should roughly know how to write a 5 paragraph essay, but once you finish, cast a critical glance back over your work. Does the introductory paragraph’s thesis statement fit well with the content in the body and with the concluding statement(s) in the last paragraph? Every sentence should reflect, support, and prove the main thesis.

Remember, a successful writer does not:

  • Write from the first person perspective e.g. “I”, “my”, or “me”. The best statements are general ones, e.g., “the wider belief is that …” “experts say that …” “we are prone to thinking …” and so on.
  • Tell personal anecdotes or stories e.g. about themselves, family or friends. These are not suited to an academic text.
  • Use contractions or abbreviations.
  • Use slang e.g. such words as “wanna” or “gonna” since this is a formal essay.
  • Use conjunctions – e.g., “and”, “but”, “because” and so on – to begin sentences:

However, they should use “linking” phrases and words since these improve the coherence and logic of a text.

5 Paragraph Essay Sample PDF

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