Can a single Paragraph Constitute an Essay? ? Tips for One-Paragraph Essays

author By Mary Boies

An essay can be one paragraph if you are asked to write a concise essay with one main idea, which is between 100 to 200 words or 10 to 14 sentences. In most cases, this is categorized as a short essay. It is an essay that bears a single argument and respective supporting ideas or pieces of evidence. As long as your single-paragraph essay can make sense to your readers, it can fetch you good marks.

One-paragraph essay guide

Usually, these short-paragraph essays are assigned during exams, quizzes, and in-class tests. Your aim when writing such essays is to analyze a topic to help your readers understand it better and draw conclusions. You can also be assigned to write single-paragraph essays in response to specific chapter readings, respond to a discussion board post, or when analyzing a short story.

Whatever the circumstances, you should not be worried about where to start. As long as you know how to write a good paragraph and organize an essay, you are good to go.

What is One-Paragraph Essay?

A one-paragraph essay, also known as a single-paragraph essay or the chunk paragraph, is a concise and boiled-down version of a full academic essay. It comprises a formal thesis statement at the beginning, concrete details and commentary in the middle, and a concluding statement at the end.

A one-paragraph essay has the same essence as the body paragraph of an essay that has a mini-thesis statement, supporting details, and a concluding sentence at the end.

When writing your one-paragraph essay, you should cut out the general information that sets up the introduction and avoid restating the thesis or including the implications in the concluding sentences (acting for the concluding paragraph).

The 5 Key Components of a Single Paragraph Essay

The five main components of a single-paragraph essay include the thesis statement, body point, concrete details, commentaries, and a concluding sentence. Let?s expound on each so that you can understand.

  1. Thesis Statement: begin writing your essay with a thesis statement that contains your position. It should be a declarative sentence summarizing your essay's main point. In a one-paragraph essay, the thesis serves as the topic sentence. Given that the essay is only a paragraph long, the thesis statement assumes the role of announcing the contents of the paragraph. The thesis statement should also have a position on the topic that can be proven in the paragraph. Finally, support the narrow topic with concrete details and a commentary.
  2. Body Point. This refers to the second sentence in your single-paragraph essay where you make an important point that directly proves the thesis. It should direct the attention of the readers to a specific piece of evidence used in the concrete detail.
  3. Concrete detail. This refers to a specific example from the references or resources to support the thesis. It can be a summary, paraphrased content, quotation, or a statement from the reference and should be cited (provide the parenthetical details).
  4. This refers to the explanation or interpretation of the concrete detail. This is a sentence or two sentences where you explain, using your own words, the meaning of the examples you have given and how it proves or support the thesis.
  5. Concluding sentence. This is the last sentence of the one-paragraph essay that wraps up the paragraph. Even though it is directly related to the thesis, it does not repeat it. Rather, it is the sentence that drives the point home without leaving the readers with the question of ?so what??. Like a typical conclusion paragraph, it should be devoid of new ideas or facts. Instead, it should tie up loose ends and offer some sense of closure to your essay.

A typical one-paragraph essay can have at least two concrete details and two commentaries, meaning it can be 10-14 sentences long, depending on your concrete details. If you are strapped for time, your concise essay can consist of 125?200 words.

How do you write a one-paragraph essay? The Steps

Even if it is a one-paragraph essay, it comprises several sentences, as we have explored above. So, when you are assigned a single-paragraph essay, you need to plan and write a better essay that will tick all the checkboxes used when marking.

Unlike traditional essays that probably take time, a single-paragraph essay will take you under an hour to write. Also, single-paragraph essays do not have body paragraphs. Sometimes it is a short-paragraph answer in an exam where you provide specific details that answer a given question. It can also be a short paragraph for a profile essay task or a short narrative essay.

Whichever the case, to succeed in writing the one-paragraph essay, follow the steps below.

1. Unpack the question

Begin by reading the essay prompt or the question to understand the scope of the essay, topic, word count (length requirements), and other specifics of the short essay assignment. Then, as you read, make quick notes and brainstorm to develop a perspective.

2. Develop an angle or perspective

After understanding your assignment, your next step is to develop the gist of your essay's main point/idea. It should be your take on a chosen subject or topic. For example, you can write about issues around you or current events, controversies, and other topic areas that interest you. However, if you are given a topic or the question is specific, stick to a perspective that better answers the question.

3. Write the thesis statement

With the perspective, write a declarative statement that summarizes your main idea or angle. The thesis should be one sentence long, brief, concise, and relatable. The thesis should be the first sentence of your essay and be strong enough to be substantiated in the body paragraphs. The thesis should be able to be proved, should not be self-evident, and must be able to be argued from another angle. Everything in the essay ties back to the thesis.

4. Write the body point

Immediately follow the thesis with a sentence that asserts the main idea or the thesis. The body point should prove and support the thesis statement. It is a statement that can be both opinion and fact backed with specific examples (concrete details) and clarified through further development and explanation (commentaries). Together, the body points, concrete details, and commentaries form a chunk.

5. Write the concrete details

Provide two examples, points, or pieces of evidence that support the assertions made in the body point. You should not begin it with a quote. Rather, ensure that you blend or introduce it and include the relevant citations.

6. Write the commentaries

Expand or expound on the specific examples provided and connect them to your thesis statement and body point (BP). You can repeat the process because a typical one-page essay can have at least two or three concrete details (CD) and the respective commentaries (CM). Ensure that the CM and CD relate to the topic, the thesis, and BP.

7. Finalize with a concluding sentence

Finally, wind up everything when you have exhaustively covered the main point and you are sure that your single-essay paragraph makes sense. Your concluding sentence is the last sentence. It should restate the thesis and summarize the body.

8. Edit, proofread, and polish

After completing the paragraph, read it to yourself and listen to the areas where you might have made mistakes. If you sense that you have information overload, have filler language, or have unnecessary words, decant them and include only the relevant details that can sustain the one-paragraph format.

Structure and Format for One-Paragraph Essay

If you are planning to write a one-paragraph essay, follow the following outline or structure:


Sentence Types

Purpose or explanation


Thesis Statement

  • Contains the topic and the controlling idea or opinions on the topic
  • States the focus of the entire paragraph
  • Proves the topic




Body Point #1

The most important point that directly proves the thesis.


Concrete Detail

Quotation, example, paraphrased ideas, or summary to prove BP #1 and the thesis.



Two or more sentences analyze how the quote or example proves BP #1 and the thesis.

Chunk #2



Body Point #2

The second point proving the thesis. It can begin with a transition.


Concrete Detail

Quotation, example, paraphrased ideas, or summary to prove BP #2 and the thesis.



Two or more sentences analyzing how the quote or example proves BP #2 and the thesis.

Chunk #3



Body Point #3

The third point proving the thesis. It can begin with a transition.


Concrete Detail

Quotation, example, paraphrased ideas, or summary to prove BP #3 and the thesis.



Two or more sentences analyzing how the quote or example proves BP #3 and the thesis.






Restates the thesis, summarizes the main point and details and closes the essay.

Sample One-Paragraph Essay

The sample single-paragraph essay example below outlines how to use the essay outline or structure we have covered in the previous section of this article. Like a one-page essay, a one-paragraph essay should get straight to the point without beating around the bush because there are not so many words to waste.

Sample one-paragraph essay

Formatting a Single-Paragraph Essay

In terms of formatting, a one-paragraph essay should be double-spaced or single-spaced, with no spaces between the title and the paragraph, a one-inch margin, a 12-point font size, and Times New Roman or Arial.

Essays written in one paragraph include narrative essays, college essays, profile essays, first-person essays, leadership, personal philosophy essays, definition essays, and short critical, analytical, expository, and literary analysis essays.

One-paragraph essay is comprehensive and a condensed version of the full academic essay. They focus on one idea like a typical paragraph and have in-text citations. You should use transitions when writing the essays and ensure they are structured well.

Single-paragraph essays have the advantage of being easy to write, read, and grade. Besides, they can be used to explain different concepts in a snapshot.

Final Words

Nothing is cast in stone regarding the number of paragraphs an essay can have. Can an essay be one paragraph? Yes, it can be an independent paragraph and falls under the short essay category. It is a suitable approach for short-answer essay-based exam questions.

As a short essay, 100-300 words long, a one-page essay contains one main idea. So, you can write one paragraph for an essay and get the grades if you meet the requirements in the essay prompt or the rubric.

It should be 10-14 sentences long, depending on the number of body points (BPs), condensed details (CDs), and the Commentaries. A long one-paragraph essay can be between 200 and 225 words long.

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