How many Paragraphs are in an Essay?

Last Updated: 14 December 2021

How many paragraphs in an essay

Whether you are assigned an argumentative, informative, or descriptive essay, understanding the number of paragraphs that will adequately address ideas in your essay is vital. In our experience, most students have always asked us how many paragraphs an essay should have. And in response, we planned this guide to help any student who is struggling to understand how many paragraphs an essay has so that you can find a comprehensive response and more details on essay paragraphing.

Generally speaking, three paragraphs plus is a good count for any comprehensive essay. This means that a one-page essay can have 3 paragraphs that are well-developed. But for a 2-page essay, you will need either 4 or 5 paragraphs. And if you are writing a long essay, say 5 pages and beyond, you will need not less than 10 well-balanced paragraphs.

Since we have short and long essays, let us find out what other factors determine the number of paragraphs you will have in an essay.

Remember, if you are stuck with an essay, request help from our website. We have expert essay writers who will devour your essay and produce a model essay paper that is 100% original and plagiarism-free. If you are a reader, and a seeker of knowledge, let’s delve deep into the chief topic of this article.

What are paragraphs?

Paragraphs are structures of information or ideas in the text. A paragraph contains a single thought that expresses a single idea. Although the idea may be complex, the suggestion of dividing an essay into paragraphs is to maintain writing focus.

When writing an essay, it is important to develop a paragraph that relates to your essay and the idea explained in the essay itself. The major idea of an essay is the thesis statement. a paragraph should be about a single idea that connects to the thesis statement of your essay.

Why are paragraphs important in an essay?

Paragraphs are important in your essay in different ways. First, the paragraph represents ideas that come in different sizes. The ideas are presented at the beginning of the paragraph and are presented in point form.  The rest of the paragraph then develops the point in a flowing manner.

Paragraphs also play a significant in making the structure of the essay presentable. Expression of the ideas in different paragraphs prevents the mix-up of ideas and allows the reader of the essay to identify different points easily.

How many paragraphs Make an essay?

It is important to note that no rule controls the number of paragraphs in an essay. The basic format of an essay comprises at least three paragraphs and less than that is not regarded as an essay because of its simplicity. Each paragraph is attributed to sections such as introduction, body, and conclusion. However, on many occasions, your instructor will instruct you to write an essay that contains not less than five paragraphs with a word count specified.

Before you begin writing an essay, you should have an outline of the essay by giving a summary outlook of the essay you want to write. It is important to have points on what you want to write. When typing the essay on your computer, it is vital to make a draft of whatever you want to write. The draft will enable you to rewrite, add in, edit or expand the revisions required in your final paper.

If you are not acquainted with the topic that has been given by the instructor, then you should research well through the internet, your college or university library and gather the information you need on the topic, and note down the vital points that you can use to make a strong and effective argument in your essay.

Parts of a paragraph

A paragraph consists of three parts namely the topic sentence, body sentence, and the bridge or concluding sentence.

The topic sentence is the first point of the paragraph. Using topic sentences does not need any rules rather than focus and organization.

The body sentence comprises sentences that build the idea in the paragraph. The body sentences contain several sentences that support the topic sentence.

The bridge or concluding sentence is vital in summarizing the idea in the paragraph and it also serves as the bridge to the following paragraphs.

How many sentences are there in a paragraph?

The minimum number of sentences required to develop a paragraph is 3 based on the length. Nevertheless, a paragraph that has more than 10 long sentences is extremely long. Therefore, a paragraph should have not more than 10 sentences.

How many paragraphs make a comprehensive essay?

A standard comprehensive essay comprises three or more paragraphs that support the thesis of the essay. Comprehensive essay commits of their sections including an introduction that contains a thesis statement, the body that supports the thesis statement, and a conclusion that summarizes the points in the essay. An essay that contains less than three paragraphs is not comprehensive hence cannot be considered as an essay because it is extremely simple.

How many paragraphs make an argumentative essay?

Maintaining an effective argument in an argumentative essay requires not less than 5 paragraphs in a 2-page essay. However, other essays may have utmost 7 paragraphs to accommodate viable counterarguments and divergent points.

Because an argumentative essay contains several points that are expressed in single paragraphs, then 9 paragraphs are best recommended. An argumentative essay contains an introductory paragraph and seven body paragraphs that include counterarguments, arguments, and conclusions.

How many paragraphs make a page?

The number of paragraphs in a page relies on many factors including the typeface, margins, spaces, and other elements related to the format of the essay.

In many academic essays, you will be required to use double-spaced paragraphs, 12-point typefaces like Arial or Times New Roman.

The basic format guidelines generally aim at two to three paragraphs on one page depending on the number of words.  In case you find that your single paragraph takes the whole page, then it means that you are squeezing many ideas that should be disintegrated into several paragraphs to produce single idea paragraphs.

Similarly, if there are many paragraphs on one page then it means that some of the paragraphs lack effective ideas or the ideas are not fully explained thus can confuse the reader. At this point, it is necessary to break the paragraphs into two or three and ensure the single idea is expressed in each paragraph.

An ordinary page consists of 300 words that should be in form of 3 paragraphs. An essay page should contain three paragraphs. Therefore, the students need to restrict the number of words in a paragraph to about 100 words.

Does every paragraph relate to the thesis statement?

It is essential to link all the paragraphs p of the essay to the thesis statement in one way or the other. Each paragraph should also connect to the other to show the cohesiveness of the points discussed in the essay.

 The flow of the essay is defined as how the main idea in one paragraph is explained and linked to the next idea in the following paragraph.  Development of flowing essay gives the reader easy time to understand the content of the essay. However, if the ideas are mixed up, it may lead to boredom and the reader can avoid reading your essay. Instructors are also discouraged with essays that do not flow leading to lower scores in the essay assignments.

What information must be included in a paragraph?

The information that should be included in a paragraph of academic essays includes an assessment of the facts, references to the facts stated, and conclusions drawn from the facts. You will be progressively critiquing and analyzing the entire essay.

One paragraph can be used to compare and contrast issues. A paragraph can go into depth about an issue. Also, you can use each paragraph to argue a certain point in an argumentative essay. The type of information contained in the paragraph depends on the type of the essay.

The basics of writing an effective essay

As you move on with your studies, you will be required to write essays. Some essays are simple others are complex. As you progress, you will face more complex and emending essays. It is therefore important to learn how to write ineffective essays that fulfill specific objectives.

 Just like any other written work, an essay expressed a specific idea and supports it with explanations, facts, analysis, and statements. Five-paragraph essays are the basic format for an essay.  However, an essay can have as many paragraphs as possible. As mentioned earlier, an essay consists of three sections introduction, body, and conclusion.

Below are the basics of writing an effective essay

Topic selection

When you commence writing essays in school, the instructor can assign a specific topic to you. But as you continue, you will be increasingly granted the chance to select your essay topics. When choosing a topic, you need to ensure that the topic selected supports the paper. A general overview paper requires a general topic, while a specific paper needs a specific topic.

In case you are expected to select your topic, then the initial step is to describe the role of the essay for example if your essay is to persuade, explain something or educate people. The chosen topic should support the role of the essay.

The purpose of the essay is defined by the kind of paper you are instructed to write. Essays are classified into three basic types.

Once you have determined the purpose of your essay, it is important to brainstorm. Avoid choosing a single topic swiftly. Take time to weigh, consider, and contrast your different opinions. Use a paper to make a list of different preferred topics that can best fit the role of the essay. Once you made the list, start eliminating the topics that are complex and challenging. Also, remove topics that are irrelevant to the essay. You will then soon remain with a few genuine topics that you can finally choose.

Organize your issues or ideas using an outline or diagram

Some students are afraid of beginning writing because they want to make sure that they frame their thoughts before they put them down on paper. Creating an outline or a diagram permits you to organize your ideas. You should not worry about the organization of the essay at this point, just develop a moderate format that contains sufficient information you intend to use in your paper.

It does not matter whether you use a diagram or an outline. Some people like and work well with diagrams. Others prefer the logical and rigid structure of an outline. You should not fret, once you begin writing and you can change the format in case the format you are using does not work well.

The steps of using the outline below are useful because they can help you in organizing the ideas of your essay.

The steps below are vital for creating a diagram to arrange your essay points or ideas.

Create a thesis statement

After defining the idea or the point for the primary structure of your essay, and the information required. It is now time to create a thesis statement. The thesis statement highlights what you want to justify in your essay. A thesis statement should be concise, clear, specific, and it has a base.

Many students fear the term ''thesis'‘; however, the thesis is quite simple. A thesis statement informs the reader of what the essay expresses and the points that are discussed. After you have chosen the essay topic and created a diagram or outline, you can select the points that you want to discuss in your essay to create a thesis statement.

The thesis statement includes two major components. These components include the topic and the point of your essay.

After you have developed a thesis statement that supports your essay, you can start your essay by writing an introduction.

Write the Introduction

 The first paragraph of your essay is the introduction. It informs the reader about the idea that will be discussed in the entire essay. Also, the introduction is intended to lure the reader's interest and attention. As you write your essay, make sure the initial sentence in the introduction is as interesting and captivating as possible. The sentence that follows the first sentence should clarify the opening statement. Conclude your introduction paragraph by indicating the thesis statement.

Craft the Body Paragraphs

The body is one of the fundamental parts of your essay that contains an explanation, descriptions, or arguments of the topic you selected. Every main idea that you wrote in your outline or diagram is used to create the body inform of paragraphs. If you have five points in your outline, then it means that you will have five body paragraphs.

Every paragraph will define the major idea that defends the thesis statement. The first body paragraph should contain the strongest argument to defend your thesis. You should begin the paragraph with a supporting idea and follow up with supporting sentences containing facts, examples, or evidence as indicated in the outline or the diagram. You should sum your first paragraph discussion with a concluding sentence.

The body paragraph that follows will have the same format as the initial body paragraph. This paragraph should contain the strongest argument that supports the thesis statement. Just like the first and the second body paragraph, the third and fourth body paragraphs will contain the third and fourth strongest arguments, respectively. 

Complete by writing the Conclusion

The final paragraph of the essay concludes the essay. You should restate your essay thesis in this paragraph using different wording as the one used in the introduction. The main function of this paragraph is, to sum up, the arguments discussed in the body of the essay. The last word should be constructed in such a way that it reveals that your essay has come to an end.  The concluding paragraph should inform the reader that the writer of the essay was confident and the idea stated in the thesis statement of the essay has been proven.

The potential of writing an effective essay will increase as you continue with your studies through high school, college, or university. Application of the format above will help you to write compelling and clear essays.

How to determine the number of paragraphs in an essay

There are a hoard of factors that determine the number of paragraphs you will have in your essay as we further explore below.

1. Instructions, essay prompt, or rubric

Sometimes your instructor will provide instruction concerning the specific number of paragraphs required in the essay.

The number of paragraphs in an essay depends on the number of pages or the number of words. Essay prompts present specific issues or topic that is followed by a set of questions that demand response.

Essay prompts are vital in determining the number of paragraphs in an essay. Many prompts require many paragraphs while a few prompts will suggest a few paragraphs. the rubric of the essay comprises instructors' expectations for the essay, sometimes the rubric may demand a specific number of paragraphs in the essay.

You need to comprehend the rubric of the essay before beginning writing to be sure you follow the instructor’s expectations.

2. Number of pages

The number of pages may be part of your essay instruction. The number of pages plays an important role in the calculation of the number of paragraphs in an essay. A typical essay has between two to three paragraphs per page.

The number of paragraphs depends on the distribution of the number of words per section. One page may consist of 300 words, therefore the distribution of words into 100 or 150 per paragraph will lead to between 3 and 2 paragraphs per page.

Students need to adhere to the instructions concerning the number of pages required in their essays. In this manner, the number of pages can be used to determine the number of paragraphs needed.

3. Type of the essay

Considering the type of essay is critical in determining the number of paragraphs to be included in the essay. An argumentative essay may be longer than other essays because it covers the two sides of arguments that require effective clarification.

Argumentative contains several ideas that require an in-depth explanation that need more paragraphs than other essays. Some essays are simple and you don't need to include many paragraphs.

4. The size of each paragraph

You can also use the size of a paragraph to determine the number of paragraphs in your essay.  The length of the paragraphs will predict the number of paragraphs in your essay. If you decided to use longer paragraphs, you will have fewer paragraphs, while shorter paragraphs lead to many paragraphs.

A typical paragraph may contain between 100 to 200 words.  Constructing the small-sized paragraphs in your essay will lead to many paragraphs while creating large-sized paragraphs will lead to few paragraphs in your essay.

Therefore, a 1000-words essay can be paragraphed into 100 or 200 words leading to between five and ten paragraphs.

5. The number of main points being argued

As mentioned early, the outline of your essay can play a significant role in the determination of the number of paragraphs.   The more points your outline contains the higher the number of paragraphs you will develop in your essay. The fewer the points in your outline, the lower the number of paragraphs you will create in your essay.  Therefore, you can determine the number of paragraphs you will construct in your essay by counting the number of points you want to address in your essay.

6. Context and content of your essay

Sometimes an essay may require you to produce straightforward content that will enable you to write much content. Consequently, in this case, the student should use short paragraphs. In most cases, the essay may have 3 to 4 paragraphs.

The context of your essay suggests the parts that will be addressed in your essay. You can use the context of your essay to evaluate the number of paragraphs in the essay. The context and content of the essay are used by the instructor to award marks. Essay contexts display the structure of the essay.

Argumentative essay context may require the use of many paragraphs compared to other essays. The content of the essay may demand the inclusion of several specific areas that form the essay content. The content of the essay may dictate the number of paragraphs to be constructed.

Words to Paragraph Conversion Table (Word count, pages, paragraphs)

Word count of the essay































What is the length of a typical essay?

An atypical essay consists of about two pages of five paragraphs. The five paragraphs are arranged as the introduction, three body paragraphs, and the conclusion. However, there are longer typical essays of between seven to nine paragraphs that cover counter-arguments. Any paper longer than nine paragraphs decreases its recognition as the typical essay.

There are longer essays as dictated by the instructions. However, an increase in their lengths converts them into term papers or research papers. While this is based on several factors, the length can be estimated depending on the level.

High school essays are commonly between 1 and 3 pages or three to nine paragraphs. The length of college-level essays should range between three pages and ten pages. As noted earlier, each page of a typical essay should have three paragraphs; therefore, there will be between nine and thirty paragraphs in college essays.

How to Arrange Paragraphs in Typical Essay

Apart from having an effective topic statement, the paragraph must have a clear and logical organization. There are numerous ways of arranging paragraphs in your essay.  The common patterns include the following: chronological sequence, illustration and evidence, cause and effect, and contrast and comparison. Check out our paragraph writing strategies guide for more information.

When you write your essay, make sure the structure of your essay paragraph is appropriate to points to the points you address, and clear to your reader. Comprehending how the arrangements of paragraphs sometimes achieve this purpose.

The following list provides the patterns of paragraph arrangements.

The classification method involves breaking down the main idea of the essay into smaller categories that are discussed in each paragraph.

This pattern involves following the topic sentence with the expression of what occurs first and continuing from there.

Illustration and evidence are important in supporting the topic sentence of your essay.

This pattern involves making a statement and justifying the effects of that statement. It enables the reader of your essay to identify the predictions and results linked to the first statement.

The comparison and contrast method of arranging paragraphs is significant in explaining the differences and similarities between several aspects discussed in your essay.

Paragraphs in standard essay/ Five-paragraph format

A standard essay consists of five paragraphs. You will agree that five-paragraph essays are common in most academic writing assignments. Mastering the five-paragraph essay is vital for your future essay writings.

Five-paragraph essays assist you to maintain your essays formal, focused, and tight throughout your studies. Besides, an essay with a five-paragraph format consists of the basic structure of the introduction, three body paragraphs, and the conclusion.

Such essays contain a thesis statement that explains the main idea of the paper. Writing a thesis statement that contains three ideas addressed in the three body paragraphs plays a great role in the achievement of the purpose of the five-paragraph essay.

The most common types of college and high school essays


If you are writing an essay and have further questions, here are some common questions that people always ask concerning the number of paragraphs in an essay. We’ve tried to be clear, concise, and direct to offer quick responses.

How many sentences make a paragraph?

In most academic writings a paragraph comprises at least three sentences but not more than ten sentences. More than ten will lead to a long paragraph.

Must a paragraph have a topic sentence?

A paragraph must have a topic sentence. The topic sentence is the most important in a paragraph that develops the major idea. Lack of topic statement translates to weak argument and does not attract the reader’s attention.

Can an essay have 4 paragraphs?

A 4-paragraph essay is an acceptable structure of many essays in academic writing assignments. The essay consists of an introduction, two body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Can an essay have 2 body paragraphs?

An essay can have a minimum of one body paragraph; therefore, an essay can have 2 body paragraphs. Moreover, two body paragraphs indicate that the entire essay is comprised of 4 paragraphs including the introduction and conclusion.

How many paragraphs in 1000 words essay?

1000 words essay contains between 6 and 7 paragraphs depending on the length of the paragraphs. Longer paragraphs translate to 6 paragraphs, while slightly shorter paragraphs can produce 7 paragraphs.

Can an essay have more than five paragraphs?

No fixed rule of the number of paragraphs in an essay. An essay should have a minimum of 3 paragraphs; therefore, having a five-paragraph essay is accepted.

How many paragraphs are in an argumentative essay?

Standard argumentative essay comprises not less than three body paragraphs that support the idea of the thesis statement. Three-body paragraphs mean the essay should have at least five paragraphs including introduction and conclusion.

How many paragraphs make a 500-word essay?

A 500-word essay comprises between three to four paragraphs. The typical paragraph contains between 100 and 200 words that can lead to 3-4 paragraphs.

How long should a standard paragraph be?

A standard paragraph should not be less than three sentences long. It should include a topic sentence, followed by several sentences that support the topic sentence and a concluding sentence that conclude the paragraph.

How many paragraphs are 300 words?

As discussed earlier, 300 words essay should have between 2 and 3 paragraphs depending on the length of the paragraphs. Therefore, students should restrict the number of words in each paragraph to around 100 or 150 to have 3 or 2 paragraphs, respectively.