What is a Cinquain?


A "cinquain" is a type of poem. There are many types of cinquain, but most of them have five lines. (Did you know that cinq is the French word for "five"?)

We're going to discuss the "didactic cinquain," a type of poem that many elementary school students learn to write. (Don't worry if you don't know what "didactic" means — we don't either!)

In this type of cinquain, the five lines are usually used this way:

Line 1 — a noun (a word that refers to a thing, such as apple or book or elephant).

Line 2 — two adjectives, or describing words, that tell the reader about that thing.

Line 3 — three words ending in -ing that are related to the thing, maybe saying what it does.

Line 4 — a four-word phrase (group of words) about the thing, or about the way it makes you feel.

Line 5 — another noun that is a synonym of (means the same as) the noun in line 1, or else is a different way of looking at that thing.

That's it!

You might want to add a title to your cinquain, but some students just think of line 1 as being the title.

Visit our Examples page to see a couple of cinquains.