How Many Paragraphs in an Essay?

Actually, there is no set rule that states that essays need to have a particular number of paragraphs, but then, it must be a minimum of three. Many people out there have stated that essays need to have five paragraphs, but then if we consider this; it can be such a limiting rule. Unless otherwise you have been instructed to limit your writing to five paragraphs, you should not limit yourself to this. To do justice in any kind of essay format, you actually need to think of something at least for or somewhere five paragraphs, something less that this can be such too much inadequate to be considered an essay.

Considerations of the number of paragraphs your essay should have

The length of the essay

It is an obvious thing that your essay would have a greater number of paragraphs if it is long. A rough average number of words in a paragraph normally range between 80-100 words, so, an essay that is deemed to carry 500 words would approximately have five paragraphs.

The topic of your writing

Depending on the topic of your essay, you will like to use as many paragraphs so that you will cover everything. A relative criterion of any kind of essay is adequacy. Before you embark on the actual writing, you will need to decide on the depth or extent you intend to write on that particular topic. In-depth discussions obviously need longer writing and this will, in turn, dedicate the whole writing into several paragraphs.

Organization of the essay and its development

The number of paragraph your essay will contain will also greatly depend upon this factor. Let’s take an example if you decide to develop your essay by carrying out some comparison and contrast, with this kind of writing, you can end it with even four paragraphs, that is, you can have an introduction to this topic, then another to show comparison, followed by the contrast paragraph and lastly you end with a conclusion.

On the other hand, in case your essay is all about causes of a certain event that occurred a long time back, the number of paragraphs of your writing will be determined by the cases you will place to explain. There are actually many different ways as an essay writer you will develop a topic, each topic you develop will dictate the number of paragraphs you will require for that given method.

Type of essay

There are actually different essay types that are written on. This will range from argumentative, descriptive, expository and persuasive essays. Admirable essays are normally written in five paragraphs, they will carry an introductory paragraph, and the body carries three paragraphs that will present the strongest arguments about the particular topic and a conclusion. As the number of arguments seems to increase, the essay will also be expanding. The other types of essays are kind of more flexible in this case as they tend to contain more paragraphs. The number of paragraphs will depend greatly on the scope of the topic you are instructed to write about.

There are actually so many factors that are in place to determine the number of paragraphs your essay should have. To get some kind of paragraphing sense and general organization of your essay is reading many examples of well-written essays you can come across. The ultimate thing you should have in mind is that the number is not all that an important thing but the way you will approaching the essay and developing the topic, the way you will be chosen to present your material and how to organize it.


Any kind of essay will be evaluated on the presented information. Teachers in your early academic life might provide you with both a guideline on how to approach any given essay and also the structure it should be following. You might have come across a guide showing how many marks are awarded for particular sections of an essay, this should never worry you, the information you present will mean a lot towards this since almost 80% of the marks are normally located on the presented content. So, when writing an essay, ensure that you provide everything in depth first and the rest will follow.

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