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Exam Study Expert

How To Start A Paragraph: 200+ Important Words And Phrases

by Kerri-Anne Edinburgh | Aug 3, 2022

There’s a lot to get right when you’re writing an essay. And a particularly important skill is knowing how to start a paragraph effectively. That first sentence counts!

Luckily for you, we’ve compiled HEAPS of advice, example phrases and top connective words to help you transition between paragraphs and guide your reader with ease.

So read on for a pick ’n’ mix of how to start a paragraph examples!

Paragraphs: the lowdown

So why exactly are paragraphs such an important tool for writing effectively ? Well:

  • They’re an important part of keeping your reader captivated
  • They help your reader to follow your argument or narrative
  • And they keep your writing in easily digestible chunks of information!

And an important part of all that is nailing the start of your paragraphs . Honestly!

Start off strong and your reader will know exactly what you’re going to do next and how your information interrelates. Top marks here you come – and for the low, low cost of some clever vocab!

Start your paragraphs off weakly however, without setting up effective signposting and transitions , and they’ll get lost and ( horror !) might have to re-read your essay to make sense of it. Ugh.

how to write a paragraph

What should your paragraphs contain?

If you’re writing an academic essay, there are a lot of popular conventions and guides about what a paragraph should include.

Academic writing guides favour well-developed paragraphs that are unified, coherent, contain a topic sentence, and provide adequate development of your idea. They should be long enough to fully discuss and analyse your idea and evidence.

And remember – you should ALWAYS start a new paragraph for each new idea or point .

You can read more about paragraph break guidelines in our helpful what is a paragraph article! If you’re wondering how long your paragraphs should be , check out our guideline article.

Paragraph structure (the PEEL method)

Academic paragraphs often follow a common structure , designed to guide your reader through your argument – although not all the time ! It goes like this:

  • Start with a “topic sentence”
  • Give 1-2 sentences of supporting evidence for (or against) your argument
  • Next, write a sentence analysing this evidence with respect to your argument or topic sentence
  • Finally, conclude by explaining the significance of this stance, or providing a transition to the next paragraph

(A quick definition: A “topic sentence” introduces the idea your paragraph will focus upon and makes summarising easy. It can occur anywhere but placing it at the start increases readability for your audience. )

One popular acronym for creating well-developed academic paragraphs is PEEL . This stands for Point, Evidence, Explanation, Link . Using this method makes it easy to remember what your paragraph should include.

  • I.e. your point (the topic sentence), some evidence and analysis of how it supports your point, and a transitional link back to your essay question or forwards to your next paragraph.

NOTE : You shouldn’t start all your paragraphs the same way OR start every sentence in your paragraph with the same word – it’s distracting and won’t earn you good marks from your reader.

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How to create clarity for your readers

Paragraphs are awesome tools for increasing clarity and readability in your writing. They provide visual markers for our eyes and box written content into easily digestible chunks.

But you still need to start them off strongly . Do this job well, and you can seamlessly guide your readers through the narrative or argument of your writing.

The first sentence of your paragraph is an important tool for creating that clarity . You can create links with the surrounding paragraphs and signal the purpose of this paragraph for your reader.

  • Transitions show the links and relationships between the ideas you’re presenting: addition, contrast, sequential, conclusion, emphasis, example/citation
  • Connective words help you to join together multiple paragraphs in a sequence
  • Note: there is quite a lot of overlap in vocabulary! Some transitions are also great signposts etc.

Tip : Don’t overuse them! These techniques can make your writing sounds more professional and less like spoken language by smoothing over jarring jumps between topics. But using too many will make your writing stilted.

A common term that encompasses these three tools is “ sentence starter ”. They are typically set apart from the body of your sentence by a comma.

You can learn more about these key skills in our two helpful articles linked above – or explore a range of other writing skills advice, such as how to start an essay , structure an essay , and proofread an essay effectively!

Picking the right tone

It is important that the paragraph-starting phrases and connective words you choose complement the style of your writing and the conventions of the subject you are writing for .

For example, scientific papers usually have much clearer and expected structure and signposting conventions than arts and humanities papers.

If you’re unsure, it’s best to check some of the sources you’ve researched for your essay, explore the relevant academic style guide, or get help from a teacher – ask them for some examples!

Getting your grammar right

Grammatical conventions can be a minefield, but they’re worth remembering if you want to get top marks!

If you’re looking to increase the clarity of your writing and paragraphs, make sure you pick the right spot for your commas and colons .

For example, when you’re starting a new paragraph, many of the common signposting words and phrases require a comma. These include: however, therefore, moreover, what’s more, firstly, secondly, finally, likewise, for example, in general … (and more!).

These phrases should always be followed by a comma if it’s at the start of a sentence, or separated with a comma before and after like this if placed mid-sentence:

However, we cannot say for sure what happened here. We know, for example, that X claims to have lost the icon.

A word about “ this ” (a tip for really great writing)

As you start writing your paragraphs (and even sentences), you might be tempted to kick off with the word “ this” – as in the classic “ this shows that … ”.

But that’s not a great idea.

Why ? Academic essays aim should aim for maximum clarity, and “ this ” is just vague !

What’s important is that the connections that are clear to you , the writer (who is – hopefully – intimately familiar with your argument), are ALSO clear to your reader , who has probably never read your essay before.

Just imagine, your reader might be muttering “this what??” as they read, and then having to re-read the paragraph and the paragraph before to check … which is not ideal for getting good marks.

In complex documents (especially essays and theses) where a lot of information is presented at once, the points you’re referencing might be spread across several paragraphs of evidence and argument-building. So, unless your sentence/paragraph-starting “this” follows on immediately from the point it references, it’s best to try a different phrase.

And all it really takes is a little signposting and clarification to avoid the vagueness of “ this shows that ”. Ask yourself “ this WHAT shows that? ” And just point out what you’re referencing – and be obvious ! 

Here’s some examples:

words to start essay body paragraph

You can also do a similar exercise with “ they ” and other demonstrative pronouns (that, these, those).

Specifying what your pronouns refer to will great help to increase the clarity of your (topic) sentences . And as an added bonus, your writing will also sound more sophisticated!

What type of paragraph are you starting?

When it comes to essay writing, there’s usually an expected structure: introduction, body (evidence and analysis) and conclusion .

With other genres of writing your paragraphs might not conform to such

Consider the structure of your paragraph. What do you want it to do? What is the topic? Do you want to open with your topic sentence?

How to start an introductory paragraph

Nailing the introduction of your essay is simultaneously one of the most important and hardest sections to write . A great introduction should set up your topic and explain why it’s significant.

One of the primary goals of an effective introduction is to clearly state your “ thesis statement ” (what your essay is about, and what you are setting out to achieve with your argument).

A popular (and easy) technique to start an introduction is to begin your first paragraph by immediately stating your thesis statement .

Here’s some examples of how to start a paragraph with your thesis statement:

  • This paper discusses …
  • In this paper, you will find …
  • This essay argues that …
  • This thesis will evaluate …
  • This article will explore the complex socio-political factors that contributed to the decline of the Roman Empire between the reign of Constantine (312-337AD) and the fall of Rome in 476AD .

However, starting your introductory paragraph effectively is not all about immediately stating your thesis!

So head over to our great article on how to start an essay , for lots of more advice and examples on how to kick off your introductions and capture your reader’s attention with style!

how long is a paragraph

How to start a body paragraph

Unless you’re writing an introduction or conclusion, you’ll be writing a “body paragraph”. Body paragraphs make up the majority of your essay, and should include all of your main points, data, evidence, analysis, deductions and arguments.

Each paragraph should have a particular purpose and be centred around one idea . Your body paragraphs might be analytical, evidential, persuasive, descriptive etc.

To help your reader make sense of the body of your essay, it’s important to guide them with signposts and transitions. These usually occur at the start of your paragraphs to demonstrate their relationship to preceding information.

However, that means there are LOTS of different techniques for starting your body paragraphs! So for 200+ words and phrases for effectively starting a body paragraph, simply keep reading!

How to start a concluding paragraph

Concluding paragraphs are a little different to other paragraphs because they shouldn’t be presenting new evidence or arguments . Instead, you’re aiming to draw your arguments together neatly, and tie up loose ends.

You might find them as part of a smaller sub-section within a longer academic dissertation or thesis. Or as part of the conclusion of your essay.

When starting your conclusion it’s always a great idea to let your reader know they’ve arrived by signposting its purpose . This is especially true if your essay doesn’t contain any headers!

Here are some examples of how to kick off your concluding paragraph:

  • In conclusion, this paper has shown that …
  • In summary, we have found that …
  • A review of these analyses indicates that …
  • To conclude, this essay has demonstrated that we must act immediately if we want to halt the drastic dwindling of our global bee population.

How to start a paragraph: 200+ top words and phrases for a winning first sentence

Choosing the best start for your paragraph is all about understanding the purpose of this paragraph within the wider context of the preceding (and following) paragraphs and your essay as a whole.

Where does it fit into the structure of your essay? Is it:

  • Opening a new topic or theme?
  • Providing explanations or descriptions?
  • Continuing a list or sequence?
  • Providing evidence?
  • Presenting a different opinion or counter-argument?
  • Beginning an analysis?
  • Highlighting consequences?
  • Drawing a conclusion?

It’s important to be direct in how you start each paragraph – especially if you’re struggling to get your point across!

The best way to craft a killer first sentence is to be clear on what you want it to do . We’ve covered 12 options below, packed with vocab and examples to get you started …

And don’t forget to consider when you should start a new paragraph , and how long you want your paragraphs to be . Where you place your paragraph breaks will have a big effect on the kind of starting sentence you need !

Finally – remember that the best time to craft effective opening sentences is after you’ve written your first draft and decided on your paragraph breaks! You should already have all your ideas arranged into a logical order.

Showing structure and presenting concepts

This first type of paragraphs are commonly found throughout your essay, whether you’re introducing your ideas, providing evidence and data, or presenting results.

There a lots of useful types of connective words and phrases to help you kick off your paragraphs with clarity:

how to start a paragraph

Most notable are the sequential signposting words , which you can use throughout your essay to guide your reader through the steps of your argument, or a list of related evidence, for example.

If you’re looking for something a little more specific, read on for four sets of example academic phrases to use to start a paragraph!

1.       Starting or continuing a sequence

One of the most important types of transitional phrases to help you start a paragraph is a sequential transition . These signposting transitions are great for academic arguments because they help you to present your points in order, without the reader getting lost along the way.

Sequential connectives and transitions create order within your narrative by highlighting the temporal relationship between your paragraphs. Think lists of events or evidence , or setting out the steps in your narrative .

You’ll often find them in combination with other paragraph-starting phrases ( have a look at the examples below to spot them !)

Why not try out some of these examples to help guide the readers of your essay?

  • Before considering X, it is important to note that …
  • Following on from Y, we should also consider …
  • The first notion to discuss is …
  • The next point to consider is …
  • Thirdly, we know that Y is also an important feature of …
  • As outlined in the previous paragraph, the next steps are to …
  • Having considered X, it is also necessary to explore Y …

2.       Providing evidence, examples or citations

Once you’ve made your claims or set out your ideas, it’s important to properly back them up. You’ll probably need to give evidence, quote experts and provide references throughout your essay .

If you’ve got more than one piece of evidence, it’s best to separate them out into individual paragraphs . Sequential signposting can be a helpful tool to help you and your reader keep track of your examples.

If your paragraph is all about giving evidence for a preceding statement, why not start with one of these phrases:

  • For example, X often …
  • This stance is clearly illustrated by …
  • Consider the example of Y, which …
  • This concept is well supported by …

If you want to quote or paraphrase a source or expert, a great way to start your paragraph is by introducing their views. You can also use phrases like these to help you clearly show their role in your essay:

  • [Author], in particular, has argued that …
  • According to [source], Y is heavily influenced by …
  • [Source] for example, demonstrates the validity of this assertion by …
  • This [counter-] argument is supported by evidence from X, which shows that …

Always remember to provide references for your sources in the manner most appropriate for your field ( i.e. footnotes, and author-date methods ).

3.       Giving emphasis to your point

Not all points and paragraphs in an essay are made equal. It’s natural you’ll want to highlight ideas and evidence for your reader to make sure they’re persuaded by your argument !

So, if you want to give emphasis to what you’re about to discuss, be obvious ! In fact, you may need to be more direct than you think:

  • This detail is significant because …
  • Undoubtedly, this experience was …
  • Certainly, there are ramifications for …
  • The last chapters, in particular, are revealing of X …

4.       Acknowledging uncertainty

In academia it’s common to find a little uncertainty in your evidence or results, or within the knowledge of your field . That’s true whether you’re a historian exploring artefacts from Ancient Greece, or a social scientist whose questionnaire results haven’t produced a clear answer.

Don’t hide from this uncertainty – it’s a great way to point ahead to future research that needs to be done. In fact, you might be doing it in your essay!

Why not try one of these examples to highlight the gaps in your academic field or experiment?

  • Whether X is actually the case remains a matter of debate, as current explorations cannot …
  • Although not proven, it is commonly understood that X …
  • Whilst the likelihood of X is debateable …
  • Given the age of the artifacts, it is impossible to say with accuracy whether Y …
  • Although we cannot know for sure, the findings above suggest that …
  • Untangling the causes of X is a complex matter and it is impossible to say for sure whether …

Showing the relationships between your points

As your essay progresses you will need to guide your reader through a succession of points, ideas and arguments by creating a narrative for them to follow. And important part of this task is the use of signposting to demonstrate the relationship between your paragraphs . Do they support each other? Do they present opposite sides of a debate?

Luckily there are lots of agreement , opposition and contextual connectives to help you increase your clarity:

how to start a paragraph

Read on for four more sets of example academic phrases to help you present your ideas!

5.       Making a new point

If there’s no connection between your new paragraph and the preceding material, you’re probably starting a new topic, point or idea.

That means it’s less likely ( although not impossible ) that you’ll need transitional phrases . However, it’s still important to signpost the purpose and position of this new paragraph clearly for your reader.

  • We know that X …
  • This section of the essay discusses …
  • We should now turn to an exploration of Y …
  • We should begin with an overview of the situation for X …
  • Before exploring the two sides of the debate, it is important to consider …

You can find some great ideas and examples for starting a new topic in our how to start an essay article. Whilst they’re definitely applicable to introductions, these strategies can also work well for kicking off any new idea!

6.       Presenting accepted concepts

If you’re aiming to take a new stance or question an accepted understanding with your essay, a great way to start a paragraph is by clearly setting out the concepts you want to challenge .

These phrases are also an effective way to establish the context of your essay within your field:

  • It is commonly believed that …
  • The accepted interpretation of X is …
  • Until recently, it was thought that …
  • Historically, X has been treated as a case of …
  • Over the past two decades, scholars have approached X as an example of …
  • The most common interpretation of Y is …

7.       Adding similar points

Agreement connectives are an important tool in your arsenal for clearly indicating the continuation or positive relationship between similar ideas or evidence you’re presenting.

If you’re looking to continue your essay with a similar point, why not try one of these examples:

  • Another aspect of X is …
  • Another important point is …
  • By the same token, Y should be explored with equal retrospection for …
  • Moreover, an equally significant factor of X is …
  • We should also consider …
  • Proponents of Y frequently also suggested that …

8.       Demonstrating contrast

In contrast, if you’re looking to present a counter-argument, opposite side of a debate, or critique of the ideas, evidence or results in your preceding paragraph(s), you’ll need to turn to contradiction and opposition connectives.

These phrases will help you to clearly link your paragraphs whilst setting them in contrast within your narrative:

  • A contrary explanation is that …
  • On the other side of this debate,  X suggests that …
  • Given this understanding of X, it is surprising that Y …
  • On the other hand, critics of X point to …
  • Despite these criticisms, proponents of X continue to …
  • Whilst the discussion in the previous paragraph suggests X to be true, it fails to take into consideration Y …

Note : some paragraph-opening sentences can be modified using connective words to show either agreement or contrast! Here are some examples:

  • It could also be said that X does [not] …
  • It is [also] important to note that X … OR It is important, however, to note that X …
  • There is [also/however], a further point to be considered …

Presenting analyses, arguments and results

An important stage of any essay is the analysis – that’s when you bring your own arguments to the table, based on your data and results.

Signalling this clearly, therefore, is pretty important! Happily, there are plenty of connective words and phrases that can help you out:

paragraph starters

Read on for four sets of example academic phrases to use to start your analysis, results and summary paragraphs!

9.       Conducting an analysis and constructing your argument

Once you’ve set out your evidence or data, it’s time to point out the connections within them. Or to analyse how they support the argument you want to make.

With humanities essays it is common to analyse the impact of your evidence as you present it. In contrast, sciences essays often contain a dedicated analysis section after the data has been presented.

You’ll probably need several analytical paragraphs to address each of your points. So, a great way to get started is to dive straight in by signposting the connections you want to make in each one:

  • Each of these arguments make an important contribution to X because …
  • In order to fully understand Y, we need to analyse the findings from …
  • Each model of X and Y changed throughout the experiment because …
  • Exploring this dataset reveals that, in fact, X is not as common as hypothesised …
  • Notwithstanding such limitations, this data still shows that …
  • Of central concern to Y, therefore, is the evidence that …
  • This interpretation of X is …
  • This critique implies that …
  • This approach is similar to that of Y, who, as we have seen above, argues that …
  • The resulting graphs suggest that …
  • Whilst conducting the survey, it was discovered that …

10.   Presenting results

Having completed your analyses of any evidence (and hopefully persuaded your reader of your argument), you may need to present your results. This is especially relevant for essays that examine a specific dataset after a survey or experiment .

If you want to signpost this section of your essay clearly, start your paragraph with a phrase like these:

  • The arguments presented above show that …
  • In this last analysis, we can see that X has shown …
  • As we have seen, the data gathered demonstrates that …
  • As demonstrated above, our understanding of X primarily stems from …

11.   Demonstrating cause and effect

When writing an academic essay you may often need to demonstrate the cause and effect relationship between your evidence or data, and your theories or results . Choosing the right connective phrases can be important for showing this relationship clearly to your reader.

Try one of these phrases to start your paragraph to clearly explain the consequences:

  • As a consequence, X cannot be said to …
  • Therefore, we can posit that …
  • Provided that X is indeed true, it has been shown that Y …
  • As such, it is necessary to note that …
  • For this reason, the decision was made to …
  • The evidence show that the primary cause of X was …
  • As a result of Y, it was found that …

12.   Summarising a topic or analysis

In general, summary paragraphs should not present any new evidence or arguments. Instead, they act as a reminder of the path your essay has taken so far.

Of course, these concluding paragraphs commonly occur at the end of an essay as part of your conclusion. However, they are also used to draw one point or stage of your argument to a close before the next begins .

Within a larger essay or dissertation, these interludes can be useful reminders for your reader as you transition between providing context, giving evidence, suggesting new approaches etc.

It’s worth noting that concluding your topic or analysis isn’t always the same as presenting results, although there can be some similarities in vocabulary.

Connect your arguments into summaries with clear linking phrases such as:

  • Altogether, these arguments demonstrate that …
  • Each of these arguments make an important contribution to our understanding of X …
  • From this overview of X and Y, we can conclude that …
  • We can therefore see that …
  • It was hypothesised that X, however, as we have seen …
  • Therefore, we can [clearly] see that …

Time to get writing your paragraphs!

And that’s it! You should now have a much-improved understanding of how to start a paragraph.

Whether you we’re worried about how to start your introductions or conclusions, or were wondering about specific types of body paragraphs, hopefully you’ve found what you need in the examples above .

If you need more writing advice to help you nail top marks for your essay, we’ve got a whole series of articles designed to improve your writing skills – perfect ! Have a read for top tips to for capturing easy marks 😊

You can learn:

  • how to create effective paragraphs
  • about the ideal length(s) for your paragraphs
  • how to start an essay AND how to structure an essay
  • the 70+ top connective words and phrases to improve your writing
  • how to signpost your essay for top marks
  • about improving clarity with easy proofreading tricks

Good luck completing your essay!

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words to start essay body paragraph

words to start essay body paragraph

What is a Body Paragraph? (Definition, Examples, How to Start)

Body Paragraph

What is a body paragraph? How do I start a body paragraph? A body paragraph is the most important part of the sentence subject . It delivers the most impactful information and helps to transition in and out of paragraphs more effectively.

Body paragraph

What is a body paragraph?

Any essay, article, or academic writing starts with an introduction and ends with a conclusion. The text between the introduction and conclusion is the body paragraph.

A body paragraph supports the idea that was mentioned in the introduction by shedding light on new details using facts, statistics, arguments, or other information.

What role does a body paragraph play in an article or an essay?

A body paragraph acts as a connection between the introduction and the conclusion. The body paragraph’s role is to justify the thesis stated in the introduction of an essay or article. As mentioned previously it comes between the introduction and the conclusion which is where most of the writing is done. This signifies its importance.

There can be multiple body paragraphs in an article or an essay. That said, each of the body paragraphs should logically connect with one another. In addition to this, all the body paragraphs should focus on the main idea stated in the introduction. Also, the sentences should not be long, so that readers can easily consume the information.

Here is a brief breakdown of the structure of a body paragraph:

How to structure a body paragraph

Every body paragraph has four main parts. They are:

  • Topic Sentence
  • Evidence Or Supporting Sentences
  • Ending Or Conclusion

Here is a detailed breakdown of each one of them.

Topic sentence

The topic sentence is the first sentence in a body paragraph. This sentence discusses the main idea of the topic and indicates what information to expect in the rest of the paragraph. It sets the stage for the rest of the paragraph.

Evidence or supporting sentences

After the topic sentence comes the supporting sentences. These sentences are used to justify the claim that was stated in the topic sentence. Text citations, evidence, statistics, and examples are used to justify the claim. For example, if the topic sentence discusses “Switzerland is a must visit place”, then the supporting sentences should discuss the beautiful parts of Switzerland with examples to justify the claim.

One sentence to another sentence should flow seamlessly and this is possible by using transition words . Transition words like “however”, “although”, “in addition to”, “next”, and “in contrast” helps in doing exactly the same.

Ending or concluding sentence

Every body paragraph should end with a conclusion which comes after the supporting sentences. It summarizes the main idea of the body paragraph and emphasizes the supporting details. The conclusion gives way to the next line of the next paragraph.

Transitions are a few words that help in the smooth flow of the previous paragraph to the next paragraph. These words can be at the beginning of topic sentences or at the end of the body paragraph. They connect one idea of a paragraph to the next idea of another paragraph.

How to write an effective body paragraph

Keep the body paragraph’s focus on the topic.

All the body paragraphs should support the claim made in the introduction of an essay or an article. It should be consistent with the main idea of the topic. It is recommended to avoid adding unnecessary information in the body paragraph that doesn’t relate to the main idea of the topic.

Break complicated topic sentences into smaller parts

If the topic sentence has many parts to it, the topic sentence should be divided into smaller ideas and each idea should be expressed in a different body paragraph. Having too many parts in a topic sentence will lead to many support sentences in the body paragraph which will be too lengthy for readers to grasp.

Add counterarguments

If it is an academic essay or an opinion article, counterarguments should be included in the piece. Adding counterarguments in such pieces will give a broader perspective of the piece. Such inclusions will strengthen the essay or article.

Use signals when more than one paragraph deals with the same evidence

If multiple body paragraphs deal with the same evidence, there are a few signal phrases that will help the reader connect with evidence used earlier in other paragraphs. The signal phrases like “As mentioned previously” and “As already mentioned” can be used.

Include paragraph breaks

It is a single-line space that divides one paragraph from another. This is necessary because too long paragraphs make it difficult for readers to grasp the information. A space between paragraphs will help the readers to easily wade through the text. A paragraph break also signals the transition of one idea of one body paragraph to an idea of another body paragraph.

The body paragraph should be short

The body paragraph should be short and concise . The paragraphs should not exceed one page. Paragraphs exceeding a page will make the article or essay complicated to comprehend the information.

Body paragraphs should be proofread

After writing the body paragraph, proofreading is done. This will help in finding and fixing mistakes. It will also help in removing unnecessary sentences in the body paragraph. The ideal way to proofread is by reading the body paragraph loudly. Doing so will help in identifying awkward word placements in the sentence.

In addition to this, asking questions like “is the body paragraph sticking to the main idea of the topic?” should be exercised. It will give a sense that if the paragraph is heading in the right direction or not.

How to start a body paragraph

The first sentence in a body paragraph is the topic sentence and it is the hardest sentence to write. The topic sentence sets the stage for the rest of the sentences in the paragraph.

Once the reader reads the topic sentence, the reader should get a sense that what the rest of the paragraph will be.

So, it should be concise and to the point, revealing enough information that will help the reader to know what the paragraph will be all about.

How to conclude a body paragraph

At the end of the body paragraph, the sentence should summarize the claim stated in the topic sentence and should also include a brief explanation of the supporting sentences. It should be written in such a way that the sentence is concise and at the same time reveals the main points.

This sentence will help the reader to get a gist of what the paragraph is all about.

Body paragraph vs. intro

Difference between body paragraph and introduction

Though both of them are paragraphs, they are very different. Firstly, the structure of an introduction is constructed differently than the body paragraph. An introduction consists of a thesis statement and a brief explanation. On the other hand, the body paragraph consists of a topic sentence, supporting sentences, and a conclusion.

Secondly, the introduction comes first in an essay or an article. In comparison, the body paragraph comes after the introduction. It comes after the introduction and before the conclusion of an essay or article.

A typical body paragraph should contain at least six sentences.

To develop a well-structured paragraph:

  • Construct a topic sentence.
  • Include evidence to support the claim expressed in the topic sentence.
  • Add analysis to the paragraph.
  • End it with a conclusion summarizing the key points of the paragraph.
  • Finally, proofread the paragraph to identify and fix mistakes.

An introduction is the first paragraph of an essay or article. It gets the reader’s attention regarding the topic and provides the thesis statement of the topic. To write a good introduction:

  • Keep the introduction paragraph short.
  • In one to two sentences explain the thesis statement of the article or essay.

There is no fixed number of words that a body paragraph should have. That said, typically a paragraph contains about a hundred to two hundred words which are six to seven sentences.

Yes, an essay or article can have more than one body paragraph. Some essays have three to four body paragraphs. That said, having two of these is enough to cover important points of the essay.

A conclusion comes after the body paragraph at the end of the essay. A long essay can have two or three paragraphs to conclude. It summarizes the main idea of the topic.

  • Body Paragraphs: How to Write Perfect Ones | Grammarly blog
  • Body Paragraph Example & Structure
  • How Do I Write an Intro, Conclusion, & Body Paragraph
  • How to Write a Body Paragraph | BestColleges

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words to start essay body paragraph

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words to start essay body paragraph

About the author

Dalia Y.: Dalia is an English Major and linguistics expert with an additional degree in Psychology. Dalia has featured articles on Forbes, Inc, Fast Company, Grammarly, and many more. She covers English, ESL, and all things grammar on GrammarBrain.

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How to write strong essay body paragraphs (with examples)

In this blog post, we'll discuss how to write clear, convincing essay body paragraphs using many examples. We'll also be writing paragraphs together. By the end, you'll have a good understanding of how to write a strong essay body for any topic.

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Table of Contents

Introduction, how to structure a body paragraph, creating an outline for our essay body, 1. a strong thesis statment takes a stand, 2. a strong thesis statement allows for debate, 3. a strong thesis statement is specific, writing the first essay body paragraph, how not to write a body paragraph, writing the second essay body paragraph.

After writing a great introduction to our essay, let's make our case in the body paragraphs. These are where we will present our arguments, back them up with evidence, and, in most cases, refute counterarguments. Introductions are very similar across the various types of essays. For example, an argumentative essay's introduction will be near identical to an introduction written for an expository essay. In contrast, the body paragraphs are structured differently depending on the type of essay.

In an expository essay, we are investigating an idea or analyzing the circumstances of a case. In contrast, we want to make compelling points with an argumentative essay to convince readers to agree with us.

The most straightforward technique to make an argument is to provide context first, then make a general point, and lastly back that point up in the following sentences. Not starting with your idea directly but giving context first is crucial in constructing a clear and easy-to-follow paragraph.

How to ideally structure a body paragraph:

  • Provide context
  • Make your thesis statement
  • Support that argument

Now that we have the ideal structure for an argumentative essay, the best step to proceed is to outline the subsequent paragraphs. For the outline, we'll be writing one sentence that is simple in wording and describes the argument that we'll make in that paragraph concisely. Why are we doing that? An outline does more than give you a structure to work off of in the following essay body, thereby saving you time. It also helps you not to repeat yourself or, even worse, to accidentally contradict yourself later on.

While working on the outline, remember that revising your initial topic sentences is completely normal. They do not need to be flawless. Starting the outline with those thoughts can help accelerate writing the entire essay and can be very beneficial in avoiding writer's block.

For the essay body, we'll be proceeding with the topic we've written an introduction for in the previous article - the dangers of social media on society.

These are the main points I would like to make in the essay body regarding the dangers of social media:

Amplification of one's existing beliefs

Skewed comparisons

What makes a polished thesis statement?

Now that we've got our main points, let's create our outline for the body by writing one clear and straightforward topic sentence (which is the same as a thesis statement) for each idea. How do we write a great topic sentence? First, take a look at the three characteristics of a strong thesis statement.

Consider this thesis statement:

'While social media can have some negative effects, it can also be used positively.'

What stand does it take? Which negative and positive aspects does the author mean? While this one:

'Because social media is linked to a rise in mental health problems, it poses a danger to users.'

takes a clear stand and is very precise about the object of discussion.

If your thesis statement is not arguable, then your paper will not likely be enjoyable to read. Consider this thesis statement:

'Lots of people around the globe use social media.'

It does not allow for much discussion at all. Even if you were to argue that more or fewer people are using it on this planet, that wouldn't make for a very compelling argument.

'Although social media has numerous benefits, its various risks, including cyberbullying and possible addiction, mostly outweigh its benefits.'

Whether or not you consider this statement true, it allows for much more discussion than the previous one. It provides a basis for an engaging, thought-provoking paper by taking a position that you can discuss.

A thesis statement is one sentence that clearly states what you will discuss in that paragraph. It should give an overview of the main points you will discuss and show how these relate to your topic. For example, if you were to examine the rapid growth of social media, consider this thesis statement:

'There are many reasons for the rise in social media usage.'

That thesis statement is weak for two reasons. First, depending on the length of your essay, you might need to narrow your focus because the "rise in social media usage" can be a large and broad topic you cannot address adequately in a few pages. Secondly, the term "many reasons" is vague and does not give the reader an idea of what you will discuss in your paper.

In contrast, consider this thesis statement:

'The rise in social media usage is due to the increasing popularity of platforms like Facebook and Twitter, allowing users to connect with friends and share information effortlessly.'

Why is this better? Not only does it abide by the first two rules by allowing for debate and taking a stand, but this statement also narrows the subject down and identifies significant reasons for the increasing popularity of social media.

In conclusion : A strong thesis statement takes a clear stand, allows for discussion, and is specific.

Let's make use of how to write a good thopic sentence and put it into practise for our two main points from before. This is what good topic sentences could look like:

Echo chambers facilitated by social media promote political segregation in society.

Applied to the second argument:

Viewing other people's lives online through a distorted lens can lead to feelings of envy and inadequacy, as well as unrealistic expectations about one's life.

These topic sentences will be a very convenient structure for the whole body of our essay. Let's build out the first body paragraph, then closely examine how we did it so you can apply it to your essay.

Example: First body paragraph

If social media users mostly see content that reaffirms their existing beliefs, it can create an "echo chamber" effect. The echo chamber effect describes the user's limited exposure to diverse perspectives, making it challenging to examine those beliefs critically, thereby contributing to society's political polarization. This polarization emerges from social media becoming increasingly based on algorithms, which cater content to users based on their past interactions on the site. Further contributing to this shared narrative is the very nature of social media, allowing politically like-minded individuals to connect (Sunstein, 2018). Consequently, exposure to only one side of the argument can make it very difficult to see the other side's perspective, marginalizing opposing viewpoints. The entrenchment of one's beliefs by constant reaffirmation and amplification of political ideas results in segregation along partisan lines.

Sunstein, C. R (2018). #Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

In the first sentence, we provide context for the argument that we are about to make. Then, in the second sentence, we clearly state the topic we are addressing (social media contributing to political polarization).

Our topic sentence tells readers that a detailed discussion of the echo chamber effect and its consequences is coming next. All the following sentences, which make up most of the paragraph, either a) explain or b) support this point.

Finally, we answer the questions about how social media facilitates the echo chamber effect and the consequences. Try implementing the same structure in your essay body paragraph to allow for a logical and cohesive argument.

These paragraphs should be focused, so don't incorporate multiple arguments into one. Squeezing ideas into a single paragraph makes it challenging for readers to follow your reasoning. Instead, reserve each body paragraph for a single statement to be discussed and only switch to the next section once you feel that you thoroughly explained and supported your topic sentence.

Let's look at an example that might seem appropriate initially but should be modified.

Negative example: Try identifying the main argument

Over the past decade, social media platforms have become increasingly popular methods of communication and networking. However, these platforms' algorithmic nature fosters echo chambers or online spaces where users only encounter information that reinforces their existing beliefs. This echo chamber effect can lead to a lack of understanding or empathy for those with different perspectives and can even amplify the effects of confirmation bias. The same principle of one-sided exposure to opinions can be abstracted and applied to the biased subjection to lifestyles we see on social media. The constant exposure to these highly-curated and often unrealistic portrayals of other people's lives can lead us to believe that our own lives are inadequate in comparison. These feelings of inadequacy can be especially harmful to young people, who are still developing their sense of self.

Let's analyze this essay paragraph. Introducing the topic sentence by stating the social functions of social media is very useful because it provides context for the following argument. Naming those functions in the first sentence also allows for a smooth transition by contrasting the initial sentence ("However, ...") with the topic sentence. Also, the topic sentence abides by our three rules for creating a strong thesis statement:

  • Taking a clear stand: algorithms are substantial contributors to the echo chamber effect
  • Allowing for debate: there is literature rejecting this claim
  • Being specific: analyzing a specific cause of the effect (algorithms).

So, where's the problem with this body paragraph?

It begins with what seems like a single argument (social media algorithms contributing to the echo chamber effect). Yet after addressing the consequences of the echo-chamber effect right after the thesis sentence, the author applies the same principle to a whole different topic. At the end of the paragraph, the reader is probably feeling confused. What was the paragraph trying to achieve in the first place?

We should place the second idea of being exposed to curated lifestyles in a separate section instead of shoehorning it into the end of the first one. All sentences following the thesis statement should either explain it or provide evidence (refuting counterarguments falls into this category, too).

With our first body paragraph done and having seen an example of what to avoid, let's take the topic of being exposed to curated lifestyles through social media and construct a separate body paragraph for it. We have already provided sufficient context for the reader to follow our argument, so it is unnecessary for this particular paragraph.

Body paragraph 2

Another cause for social media's destructiveness is the users' inclination to only share the highlights of their lives on social media, consequently distorting our perceptions of reality. A highly filtered view of their life leads to feelings of envy and inadequacy, as well as a distorted understanding of what is considered ordinary (Liu et al., 2018). In addition, frequent social media use is linked to decreased self-esteem and body satisfaction (Perloff, 2014). One way social media can provide a curated view of people's lives is through filters, making photos look more radiant, shadier, more or less saturated, and similar. Further, editing tools allow people to fundamentally change how their photos and videos look before sharing them, allowing for inserting or removing certain parts of the image. Editing tools give people considerable control over how their photos and videos look before sharing them, thereby facilitating the curation of one's online persona.

Perloff, R.M. Social Media Effects on Young Women's Body Image Concerns: Theoretical Perspectives and an Agenda for Research. Sex Roles 71, 363–377 (2014).

Liu, Hongbo & Wu, Laurie & Li, Xiang. (2018). Social Media Envy: How Experience Sharing on Social Networking Sites Drives Millennials' Aspirational Tourism Consumption. Journal of Travel Research. 58. 10.1177/0047287518761615.

Dr. Jacob Neumann put it this way in his book A professors guide to writing essays: 'If you've written strong and clear topic sentences, you're well on your way to creating focused paragraphs.'

They provide the basis for each paragraph's development and content, allowing you not to get caught up in the details and lose sight of the overall objective. It's crucial not to neglect that step. Apply these principles to your essay body, whatever the topic, and you'll set yourself up for the best possible results.

Sources used for creating this article

  • Writing a solid thesis statement : https://www.vwu.edu/academics/academic-support/learning-center/pdfs/Thesis-Statement.pdf
  • Neumann, Jacob. A professor's guide to writing essays. 2016.

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Body Paragraphs

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This resource outlines the generally accepted structure for introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions in an academic argument paper. Keep in mind that this resource contains guidelines and not strict rules about organization. Your structure needs to be flexible enough to meet the requirements of your purpose and audience.

Body paragraphs: Moving from general to specific information

Your paper should be organized in a manner that moves from general to specific information. Every time you begin a new subject, think of an inverted pyramid - The broadest range of information sits at the top, and as the paragraph or paper progresses, the author becomes more and more focused on the argument ending with specific, detailed evidence supporting a claim. Lastly, the author explains how and why the information she has just provided connects to and supports her thesis (a brief wrap-up or warrant).

This image shows an inverted pyramid that contains the following text. At the wide top of the pyramid, the text reads general information introduction, topic sentence. Moving down the pyramid to the narrow point, the text reads focusing direction of paper, telling. Getting more specific, showing. Supporting details, data. Conclusions and brief wrap up, warrant.

Moving from General to Specific Information

The four elements of a good paragraph (TTEB)

A good paragraph should contain at least the following four elements: T ransition, T opic sentence, specific E vidence and analysis, and a B rief wrap-up sentence (also known as a warrant ) –TTEB!

  • A T ransition sentence leading in from a previous paragraph to assure smooth reading. This acts as a hand-off from one idea to the next.
  • A T opic sentence that tells the reader what you will be discussing in the paragraph.
  • Specific E vidence and analysis that supports one of your claims and that provides a deeper level of detail than your topic sentence.
  • A B rief wrap-up sentence that tells the reader how and why this information supports the paper’s thesis. The brief wrap-up is also known as the warrant. The warrant is important to your argument because it connects your reasoning and support to your thesis, and it shows that the information in the paragraph is related to your thesis and helps defend it.

Supporting evidence (induction and deduction)

Induction is the type of reasoning that moves from specific facts to a general conclusion. When you use induction in your paper, you will state your thesis (which is actually the conclusion you have come to after looking at all the facts) and then support your thesis with the facts. The following is an example of induction taken from Dorothy U. Seyler’s Understanding Argument :

There is the dead body of Smith. Smith was shot in his bedroom between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m., according to the coroner. Smith was shot with a .32 caliber pistol. The pistol left in the bedroom contains Jones’s fingerprints. Jones was seen, by a neighbor, entering the Smith home at around 11:00 p.m. the night of Smith’s death. A coworker heard Smith and Jones arguing in Smith’s office the morning of the day Smith died.

Conclusion: Jones killed Smith.

Here, then, is the example in bullet form:

  • Conclusion: Jones killed Smith
  • Support: Smith was shot by Jones’ gun, Jones was seen entering the scene of the crime, Jones and Smith argued earlier in the day Smith died.
  • Assumption: The facts are representative, not isolated incidents, and thus reveal a trend, justifying the conclusion drawn.

When you use deduction in an argument, you begin with general premises and move to a specific conclusion. There is a precise pattern you must use when you reason deductively. This pattern is called syllogistic reasoning (the syllogism). Syllogistic reasoning (deduction) is organized in three steps:

  • Major premise
  • Minor premise

In order for the syllogism (deduction) to work, you must accept that the relationship of the two premises lead, logically, to the conclusion. Here are two examples of deduction or syllogistic reasoning:

  • Major premise: All men are mortal.
  • Minor premise: Socrates is a man.
  • Conclusion: Socrates is mortal.
  • Major premise: People who perform with courage and clear purpose in a crisis are great leaders.
  • Minor premise: Lincoln was a person who performed with courage and a clear purpose in a crisis.
  • Conclusion: Lincoln was a great leader.

So in order for deduction to work in the example involving Socrates, you must agree that (1) all men are mortal (they all die); and (2) Socrates is a man. If you disagree with either of these premises, the conclusion is invalid. The example using Socrates isn’t so difficult to validate. But when you move into more murky water (when you use terms such as courage , clear purpose , and great ), the connections get tenuous.

For example, some historians might argue that Lincoln didn’t really shine until a few years into the Civil War, after many Union losses to Southern leaders such as Robert E. Lee.

The following is a clear example of deduction gone awry:

  • Major premise: All dogs make good pets.
  • Minor premise: Doogle is a dog.
  • Conclusion: Doogle will make a good pet.

If you don’t agree that all dogs make good pets, then the conclusion that Doogle will make a good pet is invalid.

When a premise in a syllogism is missing, the syllogism becomes an enthymeme. Enthymemes can be very effective in argument, but they can also be unethical and lead to invalid conclusions. Authors often use enthymemes to persuade audiences. The following is an example of an enthymeme:

If you have a plasma TV, you are not poor.

The first part of the enthymeme (If you have a plasma TV) is the stated premise. The second part of the statement (you are not poor) is the conclusion. Therefore, the unstated premise is “Only rich people have plasma TVs.” The enthymeme above leads us to an invalid conclusion (people who own plasma TVs are not poor) because there are plenty of people who own plasma TVs who are poor. Let’s look at this enthymeme in a syllogistic structure:

  • Major premise: People who own plasma TVs are rich (unstated above).
  • Minor premise: You own a plasma TV.
  • Conclusion: You are not poor.

To help you understand how induction and deduction can work together to form a solid argument, you may want to look at the United States Declaration of Independence. The first section of the Declaration contains a series of syllogisms, while the middle section is an inductive list of examples. The final section brings the first and second sections together in a compelling conclusion.

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How to write an essay: Body

  • What's in this guide
  • Introduction
  • Essay structure
  • Additional resources

Body paragraphs

The essay body itself is organised into paragraphs, according to your plan. Remember that each paragraph focuses on one idea, or aspect of your topic, and should contain at least 4-5 sentences so you can deal with that idea properly.

Each body paragraph has three sections. First is the topic sentence . This lets the reader know what the paragraph is going to be about and the main point it will make. It gives the paragraph’s point straight away. Next – and largest – is the supporting sentences . These expand on the central idea, explaining it in more detail, exploring what it means, and of course giving the evidence and argument that back it up. This is where you use your research to support your argument. Then there is a concluding sentence . This restates the idea in the topic sentence, to remind the reader of your main point. It also shows how that point helps answer the question.

Body paragraph example

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9.2 Writing Body Paragraphs

Learning objectives.

  • Select primary support related to your thesis.
  • Support your topic sentences.

If your thesis gives the reader a roadmap to your essay, then body paragraphs should closely follow that map. The reader should be able to predict what follows your introductory paragraph by simply reading the thesis statement.

The body paragraphs present the evidence you have gathered to confirm your thesis. Before you begin to support your thesis in the body, you must find information from a variety of sources that support and give credit to what you are trying to prove.

Select Primary Support for Your Thesis

Without primary support, your argument is not likely to be convincing. Primary support can be described as the major points you choose to expand on your thesis. It is the most important information you select to argue for your point of view. Each point you choose will be incorporated into the topic sentence for each body paragraph you write. Your primary supporting points are further supported by supporting details within the paragraphs.

Remember that a worthy argument is backed by examples. In order to construct a valid argument, good writers conduct lots of background research and take careful notes. They also talk to people knowledgeable about a topic in order to understand its implications before writing about it.

Identify the Characteristics of Good Primary Support

In order to fulfill the requirements of good primary support, the information you choose must meet the following standards:

  • Be specific. The main points you make about your thesis and the examples you use to expand on those points need to be specific. Use specific examples to provide the evidence and to build upon your general ideas. These types of examples give your reader something narrow to focus on, and if used properly, they leave little doubt about your claim. General examples, while they convey the necessary information, are not nearly as compelling or useful in writing because they are too obvious and typical.
  • Be relevant to the thesis. Primary support is considered strong when it relates directly to the thesis. Primary support should show, explain, or prove your main argument without delving into irrelevant details. When faced with lots of information that could be used to prove your thesis, you may think you need to include it all in your body paragraphs. But effective writers resist the temptation to lose focus. Choose your examples wisely by making sure they directly connect to your thesis.
  • Be detailed. Remember that your thesis, while specific, should not be very detailed. The body paragraphs are where you develop the discussion that a thorough essay requires. Using detailed support shows readers that you have considered all the facts and chosen only the most precise details to enhance your point of view.

Prewrite to Identify Primary Supporting Points for a Thesis Statement

Recall that when you prewrite you essentially make a list of examples or reasons why you support your stance. Stemming from each point, you further provide details to support those reasons. After prewriting, you are then able to look back at the information and choose the most compelling pieces you will use in your body paragraphs.

Choose one of the following working thesis statements. On a separate sheet of paper, write for at least five minutes using one of the prewriting techniques you learned in Chapter 8 “The Writing Process: How Do I Begin?” .

  • Unleashed dogs on city streets are a dangerous nuisance.
  • Students cheat for many different reasons.
  • Drug use among teens and young adults is a problem.
  • The most important change that should occur at my college or university is ____________________________________________.

Select the Most Effective Primary Supporting Points for a Thesis Statement

After you have prewritten about your working thesis statement, you may have generated a lot of information, which may be edited out later. Remember that your primary support must be relevant to your thesis. Remind yourself of your main argument, and delete any ideas that do not directly relate to it. Omitting unrelated ideas ensures that you will use only the most convincing information in your body paragraphs. Choose at least three of only the most compelling points. These will serve as the topic sentences for your body paragraphs.

Refer to the previous exercise and select three of your most compelling reasons to support the thesis statement. Remember that the points you choose must be specific and relevant to the thesis. The statements you choose will be your primary support points, and you will later incorporate them into the topic sentences for the body paragraphs.

Collaboration

Please share with a classmate and compare your answers.

When you support your thesis, you are revealing evidence. Evidence includes anything that can help support your stance. The following are the kinds of evidence you will encounter as you conduct your research:

  • Facts. Facts are the best kind of evidence to use because they often cannot be disputed. They can support your stance by providing background information on or a solid foundation for your point of view. However, some facts may still need explanation. For example, the sentence “The most populated state in the United States is California” is a pure fact, but it may require some explanation to make it relevant to your specific argument.
  • Judgments. Judgments are conclusions drawn from the given facts. Judgments are more credible than opinions because they are founded upon careful reasoning and examination of a topic.
  • Testimony. Testimony consists of direct quotations from either an eyewitness or an expert witness. An eyewitness is someone who has direct experience with a subject; he adds authenticity to an argument based on facts. An expert witness is a person who has extensive experience with a topic. This person studies the facts and provides commentary based on either facts or judgments, or both. An expert witness adds authority and credibility to an argument.
  • Personal observation. Personal observation is similar to testimony, but personal observation consists of your testimony. It reflects what you know to be true because you have experiences and have formed either opinions or judgments about them. For instance, if you are one of five children and your thesis states that being part of a large family is beneficial to a child’s social development, you could use your own experience to support your thesis.

Writing at Work

In any job where you devise a plan, you will need to support the steps that you lay out. This is an area in which you would incorporate primary support into your writing. Choosing only the most specific and relevant information to expand upon the steps will ensure that your plan appears well-thought-out and precise.

You can consult a vast pool of resources to gather support for your stance. Citing relevant information from reliable sources ensures that your reader will take you seriously and consider your assertions. Use any of the following sources for your essay: newspapers or news organization websites, magazines, encyclopedias, and scholarly journals, which are periodicals that address topics in a specialized field.

Choose Supporting Topic Sentences

Each body paragraph contains a topic sentence that states one aspect of your thesis and then expands upon it. Like the thesis statement, each topic sentence should be specific and supported by concrete details, facts, or explanations.

Each body paragraph should comprise the following elements.

topic sentence + supporting details (examples, reasons, or arguments)

As you read in Chapter 8 “The Writing Process: How Do I Begin?” , topic sentences indicate the location and main points of the basic arguments of your essay. These sentences are vital to writing your body paragraphs because they always refer back to and support your thesis statement. Topic sentences are linked to the ideas you have introduced in your thesis, thus reminding readers what your essay is about. A paragraph without a clearly identified topic sentence may be unclear and scattered, just like an essay without a thesis statement.

Unless your teacher instructs otherwise, you should include at least three body paragraphs in your essay. A five-paragraph essay, including the introduction and conclusion, is commonly the standard for exams and essay assignments.

Consider the following the thesis statement:

Author J.D. Salinger relied primarily on his personal life and belief system as the foundation for the themes in the majority of his works.

The following topic sentence is a primary support point for the thesis. The topic sentence states exactly what the controlling idea of the paragraph is. Later, you will see the writer immediately provide support for the sentence.

Salinger, a World War II veteran, suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder, a disorder that influenced themes in many of his works.

In Note 9.19 “Exercise 2” , you chose three of your most convincing points to support the thesis statement you selected from the list. Take each point and incorporate it into a topic sentence for each body paragraph.

Supporting point 1: ____________________________________________

Topic sentence: ____________________________________________

Supporting point 2: ____________________________________________

Supporting point 3: ____________________________________________

Draft Supporting Detail Sentences for Each Primary Support Sentence

After deciding which primary support points you will use as your topic sentences, you must add details to clarify and demonstrate each of those points. These supporting details provide examples, facts, or evidence that support the topic sentence.

The writer drafts possible supporting detail sentences for each primary support sentence based on the thesis statement:

Thesis statement: Unleashed dogs on city streets are a dangerous nuisance.

Supporting point 1: Dogs can scare cyclists and pedestrians.

Supporting details:

  • Cyclists are forced to zigzag on the road.
  • School children panic and turn wildly on their bikes.
  • People who are walking at night freeze in fear.

Supporting point 2:

Loose dogs are traffic hazards.

  • Dogs in the street make people swerve their cars.
  • To avoid dogs, drivers run into other cars or pedestrians.
  • Children coaxing dogs across busy streets create danger.

Supporting point 3: Unleashed dogs damage gardens.

  • They step on flowers and vegetables.
  • They destroy hedges by urinating on them.
  • They mess up lawns by digging holes.

The following paragraph contains supporting detail sentences for the primary support sentence (the topic sentence), which is underlined.

Salinger, a World War II veteran, suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder, a disorder that influenced the themes in many of his works. He did not hide his mental anguish over the horrors of war and once told his daughter, “You never really get the smell of burning flesh out of your nose, no matter how long you live.” His short story “A Perfect Day for a Bananafish” details a day in the life of a WWII veteran who was recently released from an army hospital for psychiatric problems. The man acts questionably with a little girl he meets on the beach before he returns to his hotel room and commits suicide. Another short story, “For Esmé – with Love and Squalor,” is narrated by a traumatized soldier who sparks an unusual relationship with a young girl he meets before he departs to partake in D-Day. Finally, in Salinger’s only novel, The Catcher in the Rye , he continues with the theme of posttraumatic stress, though not directly related to war. From a rest home for the mentally ill, sixteen-year-old Holden Caulfield narrates the story of his nervous breakdown following the death of his younger brother.

Using the three topic sentences you composed for the thesis statement in Note 9.18 “Exercise 1” , draft at least three supporting details for each point.

Thesis statement: ____________________________________________

Primary supporting point 1: ____________________________________________

Supporting details: ____________________________________________

Primary supporting point 2: ____________________________________________

Primary supporting point 3: ____________________________________________

You have the option of writing your topic sentences in one of three ways. You can state it at the beginning of the body paragraph, or at the end of the paragraph, or you do not have to write it at all. This is called an implied topic sentence. An implied topic sentence lets readers form the main idea for themselves. For beginning writers, it is best to not use implied topic sentences because it makes it harder to focus your writing. Your instructor may also want to clearly identify the sentences that support your thesis. For more information on the placement of thesis statements and implied topic statements, see Chapter 8 “The Writing Process: How Do I Begin?” .

Print out the first draft of your essay and use a highlighter to mark your topic sentences in the body paragraphs. Make sure they are clearly stated and accurately present your paragraphs, as well as accurately reflect your thesis. If your topic sentence contains information that does not exist in the rest of the paragraph, rewrite it to more accurately match the rest of the paragraph.

Key Takeaways

  • Your body paragraphs should closely follow the path set forth by your thesis statement.
  • Strong body paragraphs contain evidence that supports your thesis.
  • Primary support comprises the most important points you use to support your thesis.
  • Strong primary support is specific, detailed, and relevant to the thesis.
  • Prewriting helps you determine your most compelling primary support.
  • Evidence includes facts, judgments, testimony, and personal observation.
  • Reliable sources may include newspapers, magazines, academic journals, books, encyclopedias, and firsthand testimony.
  • A topic sentence presents one point of your thesis statement while the information in the rest of the paragraph supports that point.
  • A body paragraph comprises a topic sentence plus supporting details.

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When you write strong, clear paragraphs, you are guiding your readers through your argument by showing them how your points fit together to support your thesis. The number of paragraphs in your essay should be determined by the number of steps you need to take to build your argument. To write strong paragraphs, try to focus each paragraph on one main point—and begin a new paragraph when you are moving to a new point or example.

A strong paragraph in an academic essay will usually include these three elements:

  • A topic sentence. The topic sentence does double duty for a paragraph. First, a strong topic sentence makes a claim or states a main idea that is then developed in the rest of the paragraph. Second, the topic sentence signals to readers how the paragraph is connected to the larger argument in your paper. Below is an example of a topic sentence from a paper by Laura Connor ‘23 that analyzes rhetoric used by Frederic Douglass, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Karl Marx. In her paper, Connor argues that Marx’s rhetoric was most effective in driving social change. In his numerous writings, Marx critiques capitalism by identifying its flaws. This topic sentence makes a claim that will then need to be supported with evidence: readers can expect that the sentence will be followed by a discussion of what Marx saw as the flaws in capitalism, which will in turn help them understand Connor’s thesis about how these three authors used their rhetoric to effect social change. A topic sentence signals to your readers what idea is most important in that paragraph—and it also helps you know if you’ve effectively made your point. In this case, Connor has set up the expectation for readers that by the end of the paragraph, they will understand Marx’s view of the flaws in capitalism. Imagine that, instead of writing “Marx critiques capitalism by identifying its flaws,” Connor had begun that paragraph with a descriptive sentence. For example, she could have written something like this: “Marx wrote a critique of capitalism.” While that sentence describes something that happened, it does not give readers information about what will be in the rest of the paragraph—and it would not have helped Connor figure out how to organize the paragraph.
  • Evidence. Once you’ve made a claim in your topic sentence, you’ll need to help your readers see how you arrived at that claim from the evidence that you examined. That evidence may include quotations or paraphrased material from a source, or it may include data, results, or primary source material. In the paragraph that follows Connor’s topic sentence above, she offers several quotations from Marx that demonstrate how he viewed the flaws in capitalism.
  • Analysis. It’s not enough to provide evidence to support a claim. You have to tell your readers what you want them to understand about that evidence. In other words, you have to analyze it. How does this evidence support your claim? In Connor’s paragraph, she follows her presentation of evidence with sentences that tell readers what they need to understand about that evidence—specifically that it shows how Marx pointed to the flaws in capitalism without telling his own readers what to think about it, and that this was his strategy. It might be tempting to end your paragraph with either a sentence summarizing everything you’ve just written or the introduction of a new idea. But in a short paragraph, your readers don’t need a summary of all that you’ve just said. And introducing a new point in the final sentence can confuse readers by leaving them without evidence to support that new point. Instead, try to end your paragraph with a sentence that tells readers something that they can now understand because they’ve read your paragraph. In Connor’s paragraph, the final sentence doesn’t summarize all of Marx’s specific claims but instead tells readers what to take away from that evidence. After seeing what Marx says about capitalism, Connor explains what the evidence she has just offered suggests about Marx’s beliefs.

Below, you’ll find Connor’s complete paragraph. The topic sentence appears in blue . The evidence appears in green . Connor’s analysis of the evidence appears in yellow .  

Example paragraph  

In his numerous writings, Marx critiques capitalism by identifying its flaws. By critiquing the political economy and capitalism, Marx implores his reader to think critically about their position in society and restores awareness in the proletariat class. T o Marx, capitalism is a system characterized by the “exploitation of the many by the few,” in which workers accept the exploitation of their labor and receive only harm of “alienation,” rather than true benefits ( MER 487). He writes that “labour produces for the rich wonderful things – but for the worker it produces privation. It produces palaces—but for the worker, hovels. It produces beauty—but for the worker, deformity” (MER 73). Marx argues capitalism is a system in which the laborer is repeatedly harmed and estranged from himself, his labor, and other people, while the owner of his labor – the capitalist – receives the benefits ( MER 74). And while industry progresses, the worker “sinks deeper and deeper below the conditions of existence of his own class” ( MER 483). But while Marx critiques the political economy, he does not explicitly say “capitalism is wrong.” Rather, his close examination of the system makes its flaws obvious. Only once the working class realizes the flaws of the system, Marx believes, will they - must they - rise up against their bourgeois masters and achieve the necessary and inevitable communist revolution.

Not every paragraph will be structured exactly like this one, of course. But as you draft your own paragraphs, look for all three of these elements: topic sentence, evidence, and analysis.

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How to Write a Body Paragraph for an Essay: Guide & Example

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A body paragraph is the main section, where students develop a specific point or argument related to an essay's thesis statement. Typical 5-paragraph essays comprise 3 body paragraphs. Each body paragraph starts with a topic sentence and is followed by evidence, examples and analysis.

Writing a good body paragraph takes craft and mastery. But, lucky for you and us, this guide can give you all the information you might need. We will guide you step by step on how to write a topic sentence , overall structure, and other crucial details. In the end, we bet you’ll understand how to perfect your writing. So keep on reading, and we’ll get this one together!

What Is a Body Paragraph?

The body of an essay is the meat of any good burger. Without it, our burger will not be tasty, or your essay will not be convincing. Thinking of how to start an introduction for an essay ? First, create a thesis statement. It gives your readers the main argument of the overall essay. However, body paragraphs are made for proving the argument you have developed. They are also perfect places for evidence, research, and everything that can make your peace truly convincing. The size will depend on your essay, but three sentences are your bare minimum. Normally, we have three body paragraphs that take up to 80% of our work.  

How to Write a Body Paragraph?

Now we can think about how to start a body paragraph. Writing is challenging if one has no good tips or guidelines. So we made sure to include all points one might need. Find all our tricks and hacks from StudyCrumb .

3. Analyze the Evidence in Body Paragraph

Writing a body paragraph also involves not only giving it evidence but also analyzing it. Sadly, it is not enough to randomly put some numbers and statistics without taking our time and commenting on them. First and foremost, you should focus on thorough analysis. Everything you use, each piece of evidence, must be connected with an argument and be explained. Remember that you were making a case and not simply including quotations and words of other authors. To avoid the lack of analysis, make sure that each piece of evidence you use is followed by your own analysis. This combination of proof and your commentary will provide an ideal case for your argument.  

4. Concluding a Body Paragraph

How to end a body paragraph? That is also an excellent question. And we are glad that you asked. We all need some closure. As a consequence, our body paragraph must have some as well. Your concluding sentence provides a quick summary of all the other sentences and details. Mention what our reader has learned and slowly transition to the next paragraph. Also, make sure that you are not using any additional information. It’s not a very good place to do that.  

5. Revise and Proofread Your Body Paragraph

Your essay body paragraph cannot be completed without some proper proofreading. We all make mistakes, especially when it comes to writing. You always should revise and proofread your text to find those embarrassing little errors. Remember, misspelling can happen to anyone. Moreover, the academic world is really harsh with how you write. Therefore, by proofreading your text, you also re-check whether you have proved your argument. It is a perfect opportunity to look critically at your text, analyze evidence and possibly even edit out some sentences. Keep in mind that word count is not the most important part of your essay.  

Final Thoughts on Writing a Body Paragraph

Now we know everything about our body of a paragraph. You might want to practice a little bit. But all tricks and tips are still here to check. Be sure to remember this structure for your essay.

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What Is the Purpose of an Essay Body Paragraph?

Why do we even need body paragraphs of an essay, and what is their purpose? It’s a good question. You might have noticed that our academic world doesn’t believe everything you’re right. So here’s why we need these parts of an essay:

Body Paragraph Structure

We also wanted to talk about parts of a body paragraph . Like any essential part of an essay, this one has a specific structure. It consists of three main parts. Take a look below to find out:

1. Body Paragraph: Topic Sentence Introduction

How to start a topic sentence for a body paragraph? That is an excellent question. First and foremost, you should remember that the topic sentence is put at the beginning of our section. Consequently, it contains the main idea of your paragraph. It is an ideal opportunity to prepare the reader for what they are going to read about next. However, make sure that it doesn’t sound like a fact or a statement that one cannot argue. You've yet to prove it. Something like this will work.  

2. Back Up Your Claim With Evidence in Body of a Paragraph

Body paragraph of an essay was created specifically to add evidence and prove your point. As a consequence, it is an ideal opportunity to include everything that is related to your argument and proves it. The following items are usually used:

Therefore, by including our material that we have mentioned above, you have enough information to prove a claim. You can quote texts or paraphrase authors. But make sure that you give credit to original researchers. Otherwise, you might be facing plagiarism here. Run a plagiarism check before turning your paper in. 

Transition Words for Body Paragraph

Body paragraph transition words are also crucial for a good flow of your text. What are transition words for essays ? There are those little things that tie everything together. They can show contrast at flow and ensure that our reader stays on top of the material all the time. You might have seen such words:  

Here, our list is endless. But by using them, you keep the attention of your readers and arrange your text in a clear manner. Here’s an example:

Tips on Writing a Great Essay Body Paragraph

A good body paragraph will be convincing and full of evidence. Of course, there are certain things to avoid and lots of points to remember. Moreover, there are different structures of body paragraphs depending on the type of work you’re writing. But we still want to include a final list of tips you can use. These tips will help you with the question, " How to write a paper fast ?"

Body Paragraph: Example

We couldn’t leave you without body paragraph examples. Writing will be much easier if you have several examples at your disposal. While checking our example below, think about techniques that can be used to grab the attention of your reader. Besides, keep in mind the basic essay structure  that includes a topic sentence, supporting statements, and a concluding one.  

  • They make your essay more clear.
  • Body paragraphs provide details and evidence that prove your argument.
  • They also give you some time to analytically propose our solution for a problem, in case you have given any.
  • Main body makes your writing sharp and convincing.
  • Topic sentence It summarizes the overall idea of your section.
  • Supporting sentences They provide evidence to prove the argument from the beginning of the section.
  • Concluding statement Wraps up the section and slowly leads to the next one.
  • Quotations from research
  • Statistics or similar quantitative findings
  • Experiences of other professionals in our field
  • Schemes or tables retrieved from peer-reviewed sources that support your argument.
  • In contrast
  • First and foremost
  • In conclusion.
  • Start with outlining your sections.
  • Keep your thesis statement nearby to recheck whether your body paragraphs prove their main argument.
  • Research before you actually start writing.
  • Write your topic sentences before adding evidence or quotations.
  • Continue asking yourself whether you are given an analysis of your evidence and not just quoting it.

Example of a Topic Sentence

Modern horror films greatly rely on jumpscares. In contrast, more old-fashioned movies preferred an eerie atmosphere and carefully crafted starting. 

How to Write a Body Paragraph for a College Essay  

January 29, 2024

how to write a body paragraph college essay

No matter the discipline, college success requires mastering several academic basics, including the body paragraph. This article will provide tips on drafting and editing a strong body paragraph before examining several body paragraph examples. Before we look at how to start a body paragraph and how to write a body paragraph for a college essay (or other writing assignment), let’s define what exactly a body paragraph is.

What is a Body Paragraph?

Simply put, a body paragraph consists of everything in an academic essay that does not constitute the introduction and conclusion. It makes up everything in between. In a five-paragraph, thesis-style essay (which most high schoolers encounter before heading off to college), there are three body paragraphs. Longer essays with more complex arguments will include many more body paragraphs.

We might correlate body paragraphs with bodily appendages—say, a leg. Both operate in a somewhat isolated way to perform specific operations, yet are integral to creating a cohesive, functioning whole. A leg helps the body sit, walk, and run. Like legs, body paragraphs work to move an essay along, by leading the reader through several convincing ideas. Together, these ideas, sometimes called topics, or points, work to prove an overall argument, called the essay’s thesis.

If you compared an essay on Kant’s theory of beauty to an essay on migratory birds, you’d notice that the body paragraphs differ drastically. However, on closer inspection, you’d probably find that they included many of the same key components. Most body paragraphs will include specific, detailed evidence, an analysis of the evidence, a conclusion drawn by the author, and several tie-ins to the larger ideas at play. They’ll also include transitions and citations leading the reader to source material. We’ll go into more detail on these components soon. First, let’s see if you’ve organized your essay so that you’ll know how to start a body paragraph.

How to Start a Body Paragraph

It can be tempting to start writing your college essay as soon as you sit down at your desk. The sooner begun, the sooner done, right? I’d recommend resisting that itch. Instead, pull up a blank document on your screen and make an outline. There are numerous reasons to make an outline, and most involve helping you stay on track. This is especially true of longer college papers, like the 60+ page dissertation some seniors are required to write. Even with regular writing assignments with a page count between 4-10, an outline will help you visualize your argumentation strategy. Moreover, it will help you order your key points and their relevant evidence from most to least convincing. This in turn will determine the order of your body paragraphs.

The most convincing sequence of body paragraphs will depend entirely on your paper’s subject.  Let’s say you’re writing about Penelope’s success in outwitting male counterparts in The Odyssey . You may want to begin with Penelope’s weaving, the most obvious way in which Penelope dupes her suitors. You can end with Penelope’s ingenious way of outsmarting her own husband. Because this evidence is more ambiguous it will require a more nuanced analysis. Thus, it’ll work best as your final body paragraph, after readers have already been convinced of more digestible evidence. If in doubt, keep your body paragraph order chronological.

It can be worthwhile to consider your topic from multiple perspectives. You may decide to include a body paragraph that sets out to consider and refute an opposing point to your thesis. This type of body paragraph will often appear near the end of the essay. It works to erase any lingering doubts readers may have had, and requires strong rhetorical techniques.

How to Start a Body Paragraph, Continued

Once you’ve determined which key points will best support your argument and in what order, draft an introduction. This is a crucial step towards writing a body paragraph. First, it will set the tone for the rest of your paper. Second, it will require you to articulate your thesis statement in specific, concise wording. Highlight or bold your thesis statement, so you can refer back to it quickly. You should be looking at your thesis throughout the drafting of your body paragraphs.

Finally, make sure that your introduction indicates which key points you’ll be covering in your body paragraphs, and in what order. While this level of organization might seem like overkill, it will indicate to the reader that your entire paper is minutely thought-out. It will boost your reader’s confidence going in. They’ll feel reassured and open to your thought process if they can see that it follows a clear path.

Now that you have an essay outline and introduction, you’re ready to draft your body paragraphs.

How to Draft a Body Paragraph

At this point, you know your body paragraph topic, the key point you’re trying to make, and you’ve gathered your evidence. The next thing to do is write! The words highlighted in bold below comprise the main components that will make up your body paragraph. (You’ll notice in the body paragraph examples below that the order of these components is flexible.)

Start with a topic sentence . This will indicate the main point you plan to make that will work to support your overall thesis. Your topic sentence also alerts the reader to the change in topic from the last paragraph to the current one. In making this new topic known, you’ll want to create a transition from the last topic to this one.

Transitions appear in nearly every paragraph of a college essay, apart from the introduction. They create a link between disparate ideas. (For example, if your transition comes at the end of paragraph 4, you won’t need a second transition at the beginning of paragraph 5.) The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Writing Center has a page devoted to Developing Strategic Transitions . Likewise, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Writing Center offers help on paragraph transitions .

How to Draft a Body Paragraph for a College Essay ( Continued)

With the topic sentence written, you’ll need to prove your point through tangible evidence. This requires several sentences with various components. You’ll want to provide more context , going into greater detail to situate the reader within the topic. Next, you’ll provide evidence , often in the form of a quote, facts, or data, and supply a source citation . Citing your source is paramount. Sources indicate that your evidence is empirical and objective. It implies that your evidence is knowledge shared by others in the academic community. Sometimes you’ll want to provide multiple pieces of evidence, if the evidence is similar and can be grouped together.

After providing evidence, you must provide an interpretation and analysis of this evidence. In other words, use rhetorical techniques to paraphrase what your evidence seems to suggest. Break down the evidence further and explain and summarize it in new words. Don’t simply skip to your conclusion. Your evidence should never stand for itself. Why? Because your interpretation and analysis allow you to exhibit original, analytical, and critical thinking skills.

Depending on what evidence you’re using, you may repeat some of these components in the same body paragraph. This might look like: more context + further evidence + increased interpretation and analysis . All this will add up to proving and reaffirming your body paragraph’s main point . To do so, conclude your body paragraph by reformulating your thesis statement in light of the information you’ve given. I recommend comparing your original thesis statement to your paragraph’s concluding statement. Do they align? Does your body paragraph create a sound connection to the overall academic argument? If not, you’ll need to fix this issue when you edit your body paragraph.

How to Edit a Body Paragraph

As you go over each body paragraph of your college essay, keep this short checklist in mind.

  • Consistency in your argument: If your key points don’t add up to a cogent argument, you’ll need to identify where the inconsistency lies. Often it lies in interpretation and analysis. You may need to improve the way you articulate this component. Try to think like a lawyer: how can you use this evidence to your advantage? If that doesn’t work, you may need to find new evidence. As a last resort, amend your thesis statement.
  • Language-level persuasion. Use a broad vocabulary. Vary your sentence structure. Don’t repeat the same words too often, which can induce mental fatigue in the reader. I suggest keeping an online dictionary open on your browser. I find Merriam-Webster user-friendly, since it allows you to toggle between definitions and synonyms. It also includes up-to-date example sentences. Also, don’t forget the power of rhetorical devices .
  • Does your writing flow naturally from one idea to the next, or are there jarring breaks? The editing stage is a great place to polish transitions and reinforce the structure as a whole.

Our first body paragraph example comes from the College Transitions article “ How to Write the AP Lang Argument Essay .” Here’s the prompt: Write an essay that argues your position on the value of striving for perfection.

Here’s the example thesis statement, taken from the introduction paragraph: “Striving for perfection can only lead us to shortchange ourselves. Instead, we should value learning, growth, and creativity and not worry whether we are first or fifth best.” Now let’s see how this writer builds an argument against perfection through one main point across two body paragraphs. (While this writer has split this idea into two paragraphs, one to address a problem and one to provide an alternative resolution, it could easily be combined into one paragraph.)

“Students often feel the need to be perfect in their classes, and this can cause students to struggle or stop making an effort in class. In elementary and middle school, for example, I was very nervous about public speaking. When I had to give a speech, my voice would shake, and I would turn very red. My teachers always told me “relax!” and I got Bs on Cs on my speeches. As a result, I put more pressure on myself to do well, spending extra time making my speeches perfect and rehearsing late at night at home. But this pressure only made me more nervous, and I started getting stomach aches before speaking in public.

“Once I got to high school, however, I started doing YouTube make-up tutorials with a friend. We made videos just for fun, and laughed when we made mistakes or said something silly. Only then, when I wasn’t striving to be perfect, did I get more comfortable with public speaking.”

Body Paragraph Example 1 Dissected

In this body paragraph example, the writer uses their personal experience as evidence against the value of striving for perfection. The writer sets up this example with a topic sentence that acts as a transition from the introduction. They also situate the reader in the classroom. The evidence takes the form of emotion and physical reactions to the pressure of public speaking (nervousness, shaking voice, blushing). Evidence also takes the form of poor results (mediocre grades). Rather than interpret the evidence from an analytical perspective, the writer produces more evidence to underline their point. (This method works fine for a narrative-style essay.) It’s clear that working harder to be perfect further increased the student’s nausea.

The writer proves their point in the second paragraph, through a counter-example. The main point is that improvement comes more naturally when the pressure is lifted; when amusement is possible and mistakes aren’t something to fear. This point ties back in with the thesis, that “we should value learning, growth, and creativity” over perfection.

This second body paragraph example comes from the College Transitions article “ How to Write the AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay .” Here’s an abridged version of the prompt: Rosa Parks was an African American civil rights activist who was arrested in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Read the passage carefully. Write an essay that analyzes the rhetorical choices Obama makes to convey his message.

Here’s the example thesis statement, taken from the introduction paragraph: “Through the use of diction that portrays Parks as quiet and demure, long lists that emphasize the extent of her impacts, and Biblical references, Obama suggests that all of us are capable of achieving greater good, just as Parks did.” Now read the body paragraph example, below.

“To further illustrate Parks’ impact, Obama incorporates Biblical references that emphasize the importance of “that single moment on the bus” (lines 57-58). In lines 33-35, Obama explains that Parks and the other protestors are “driven by a solemn determination to affirm their God-given dignity” and he also compares their victory to the fall the “ancient walls of Jericho” (line 43). By including these Biblical references, Obama suggests that Parks’ action on the bus did more than correct personal or political wrongs; it also corrected moral and spiritual wrongs. Although Parks had no political power or fortune, she was able to restore a moral balance in our world.”

Body Paragraph Example 2 Dissected

The first sentence in this body paragraph example indicates that the topic is transitioning into biblical references as a means of motivating ordinary citizens. The evidence comes as quotes taken from Obama’s speech. One is a reference to God, and the other an allusion to a story from the bible. The subsequent interpretation and analysis demonstrate that Obama’s biblical references imply a deeper, moral and spiritual significance. The concluding sentence draws together the morality inherent in equal rights with Rosa Parks’ power to spark change. Through the words “no political power or fortune,” and “moral balance,” the writer ties the point proven in this body paragraph back to the thesis statement. Obama promises that “All of us” (no matter how small our influence) “are capable of achieving greater good”—a greater moral good.

What’s Next?

Before you body paragraphs come the start and, after your body paragraphs, the conclusion, of course! If you’ve found this article helpful, be sure to read up on how to start a college essay and how to end a college essay .

You may also find the following blogs to be of interest:

  • 6 Best Common App Essay Examples
  • How to Write the Overcoming Challenges Essay
  • UC Essay Examples 
  • How to Write the Community Essay
  • How to Write the Why this Major? Essay
  • College Essay

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Kaylen Baker

With a BA in Literary Studies from Middlebury College, an MFA in Fiction from Columbia University, and a Master’s in Translation from Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis, Kaylen has been working with students on their writing for over five years. Previously, Kaylen taught a fiction course for high school students as part of Columbia Artists/Teachers, and served as an English Language Assistant for the French National Department of Education. Kaylen is an experienced writer/translator whose work has been featured in Los Angeles Review, Hybrid, San Francisco Bay Guardian, France Today, and Honolulu Weekly, among others.

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  • The Writing Process
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  • Writing Skill: Development
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  • Introduction to Academic Essays
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Body Paragraphs

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words to start essay body paragraph

Body paragraphs should all work to support your thesis by explaining why or how your thesis is true. There are three types of sentences in each body paragraph: topic sentences, supporting sentences, and concluding sentences.

Topic sentences

A topic sentence states the focus of the paragraph. The rest of the body paragraph will give evidence and explanations that show why or how your topic sentence is true. A topic sentence is very similar to a thesis. The thesis is the main idea of the essay; a topic sentence is the main idea of a body paragraph. Many of the same characteristics apply to topic sentences that apply to theses. The biggest differences will be the location of the sentence and the scope of the ideas.

An effective topic sentence—

  • clearly supports the thesis statement.
  • is usually at the beginning of a body paragraph.
  • controls the content of all of the supporting sentences in its paragraph.
  • is a complete sentence.
  • does not announce the topic (e.g., “I’m going to talk about exercise.”).
  • should not be t oo general (e.g., “Exercise is good.”).
  • should not be too specific (e.g., “Exercise decreases the chance of developing diabetes, heart disease, asthma, osteoporosis, depression, and anxiety.”).

Supporting sentences

Your body paragraph needs to explain why or how your topic sentence is true. The sentences that support your topic sentence are called supporting sentences. You can have many types of supporting sentences. Supporting sentences can give examples, explanations, details, descriptions, facts, reasons, etc.

Concluding sentences

Your final statement should conclude your paragraph logically. Concluding sentences can restate the main idea of your paragraph, state an opinion, make a prediction, give advice, etc. New ideas should not be presented in your concluding sentence.

 Exercise 1: Analyze a topic sentence.

Read the example body paragraph below to complete this exercise on a piece of paper.

Prompt: Why is exercise important?

Thesis: Exercise is essential because it improves overall physical and mental health.

            Because it makes your body healthier, exercise is extremely important. One of the physical benefits of exercise is having stronger muscles. The only way to make your muscles stronger is to use them, and exercises like crunches, squats, lunges, push-ups, and weight-lifting are good examples of exercises that strengthen your muscles. Another benefit of exercise is that it lowers your heart rate. A slow heart rate can show that our hearts are working more efficiently and they don’t have to pump as many times in a minute to get blood to our organs. Related to our heart beating more efficiently, our blood pressure decreases. These are just some of the incredible health benefits of exercise.

Find the topic sentence. Use the following criteria to evaluate the topic sentence.

  • Does the topic sentence clearly support the thesis statement?
  • Is the topic sentence at the beginning of the body paragraph?
  • Does the topic sentence control the content of all the supporting sentences?
  • Is the topic sentence a complete sentence?
  • Does the topic sentence announce the topic?
  • Is the topic sentence too general? Is it too specific?

Exercise 2: Identify topic sentences.

Each group of sentences has three supporting sentences and one topic sentence. The topic sentence must be broad enough to include all of the supporting sentences. In each group of sentences, choose which sentence is the topic sentence. Write the letter of the topic sentence on the line given.  

Group 1: Topic sentence: _________ 

  • In southern Utah, hikers enjoy the scenic trails in Zion National Park.  
  • Many cities in Utah have created hiking trails in city parks for people to use.  
  • There are hiking paths in Utah’s Rocky Mountains that provide beautiful views.  
  • Hikers all over Utah can access hiking trails and enjoy nature.  

Group 2: Topic sentence: _________ 

  • People in New York speak many different languages.  
  • New York is a culturally diverse city.  
  • People in New York belong to many different religions.  
  • Restaurants in New York have food from all over the world.  

Group 3: Topic sentence: _________ 

  • Websites like YouTube have video tutorials that teach many different skills.  
  • Computer programs like PowerPoint are used in classrooms to teach new concepts.  
  • Technology helps people learn things in today’s world.  
  • Many educational apps have been created to help children in school.  

Group 4: Topic sentence: _________ 

  • Museums at BYU host events on the weekends for students.  
  • There are many fun activities for students at BYU on the weekends.  
  • There are incredible student concerts at BYU on Friday and Saturday nights.  
  • BYU clubs plan exciting activities for students to do on the weekends.  

Group 5: Topic sentence: _________

  • Some places have a scent that people remember when they think of that place.  
  • The smell of someone’s cologne can trigger a memory of that person.  
  • Smelling certain foods can bring back memories of eating that food.  
  • Many different memories can be connected to specific smells.  

Exercise 3: Write topic sentences

Read each paragraph. On a piece of paper, write a topic sentence on the line at the beginning of the paragraph.

1._______ The first difference is that you have more privacy in a private room than in a shared room. You can go to your room to have a private phone call or Skype with your family and you are not bothered by other people. When you share your room, it can be hard to find private time when you can do things alone. Another difference is that it is lonelier in a private room than in a shared room. When you share your room with a roommate, you have someone that you can talk to. Frequently when you have a private room, you are alone more often. These two housing options are very different.

2. _______ People like to eat chocolate because it has many delicious flavors. For example, there are mint chocolates, milk chocolates, dark chocolates, white chocolates, chocolates with honey, and chocolates with nuts. Another reason people like to eat chocolate is because it reduces stress, which can help people to relax and feel better. The last reason people like to eat chocolate is because it can be cooked in many different ways. You can eat chocolate candies, mix chocolate with warm milk to drink, or prepare a chocolate dessert. These reasons are some of the reasons that people like to eat chocolate.

3. _______ A respectful roommate does not leave the main areas of the apartment messy after they use them. For example, they wash their dishes instead of leaving dirty pots and pans on the stove. They also don’t borrow things from other roommates without asking to use them first. In addition to respecting everyone’s need for space and their possessions, the ideal roommate is respectful of his or her roommate’s schedule. For example, if one roommate is asleep and the other roommates needs to study, the ideal roommate goes to the kitchen or living room instead of waking up the sleeping roommate. These simple gestures of respect make a roommate an excellent person to share an apartment with.

Exercise 4: Identify good supporting sentences.

Read the topic sentence. Then circle which sentences would be good supporting sentences.  

Topic Sentence: Eating pancakes for breakfast saves time and money.  

  • Pancakes can be prepared in large quantities and then frozen, so the time it takes to   cook breakfast is only a few minutes.  
  • Pancakes are very inexpensive to make because you only need a few ingredients.  
  • Pancakes are delicious and can be prepared in a variety of flavors.  
  • Pancakes save money because you can buy a big box of mix and only make what you   need; you don’t waste money because you can save the extra mix for another time.  
  • Fresh fruit is a really quick breakfast because you only need to wash it and eat it.

Exercise 5: Identify good concluding sentences.

Read the topic sentence. Then circle which sentences would be good concluding sentences.  

Topic Sentence: A shared room offers students a more social experience.  

  • Students who want more social interaction should have a shared room.  
  • A shared room is not good for students who work late.  
  • Everyone loves having a shared room.  
  • These examples illustrate how much more social a shared room can be.  
  • Really social students will enjoy having a shared room.

Exercise 6: Write concluding sentences.

On a piece of paper, write a concluding sentence at the end of each paragraph.

1. New York is a culturally diverse city. This culture is continually broadened because people immigrate from all over the world bringing different religions, food, and languages with them. This city has people that speak over 30 languages, including Arabic, Mandarin, Untu, Russian, and Polish. There are also more than 20 major religions represented by citizens of New York. These citizens brought more than their language and religion with them, however. They also brought traditional foods from their countries. _______

2. Technology helps people learn things in today’s world. This educational technology includes various websites, apps, programs, and many more things. Popular websites that are used for education include YouTube, TED, Canvas, and CrashCourse. Similarly, there are a variety of educational apps. These apps help users learn languages, history, math, and other practical skills. Computer programs are yet another way to use technology as a way to help people learn. Programs like PowerPoint are frequently used in classrooms as a means to deliver visual support to a lecture or presentation. This visual support aids learning and retention. _______

This content is provided to you freely by BYU Open Learning Network.

Access it online or download it at https://open.byu.edu/academic_a_writing/body_paragraphs .

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How to Write a Body Paragraph?

  • December 2, 2021

Table of Contents

What is a body paragraph, what are the elements of a body paragraph, how to start a body paragraph, how to end a body paragraph, why is a body paragraph important.

We’ve all heard our professors say a well-written essay has two main qualities: they are coherent and concise. The problem is many students don’t know how to go about writing such essays. Fortunately, if you have the right arguments to support your thesis statement, it is only a matter of structuring them. This is where body paragraphs come into play.

Body paragraphs are all the paragraphs that make up an article of writing, with the exception of the very first and last one, i.e., introduction and conclusion. They may vary in terms of length, topic, or content but all written work must contain body paragraphs in order for it to make sense. While an article of writing (e.g., essay) can’t be complete without a proper introduction and conclusion, its essence and reason for existing lies in the body paragraphs.

We think of body paragraphs as essays that have been shrunken down—fun-size essays, if you will. Much like an essay, a body paragraph is made of a few components:

Transitions: Words, expressions, or even whole sentences used at the beginning or end of a body paragraph in order to achieve a continuous glide between paragraphs.

Topic sentence: The first sentence in a body paragraph that acts as the introduction of said paragraph.

Supporting sentences: Used to back up the claim made in the topic sentence with relevant facts and arguments.

Concluding sentence: Used to wrap up the whole idea of the paragraph by summarizing it.

As we’ve already mentioned, a body paragraph resembles an essay structure-wise. Length-wise, on the other hand — not so much. This means you have only a few sentences to get your point across so:

  • Write with intent. Body paragraphs exist because of a claim you made in your thesis statement, and their primary purpose is to back up that claim. This is where you use facts, statistics, experiments, etc., to convince your reader of your point.
  • Plan beforehand. Sure, having convincing arguments to support your claims is essential, but you must also know how to structure them. Use an outline and also have your arguments ready to see what fits where best.

We start a paragraph with a topic sentence. Through this sentence we let our readers know what will be discussed in the rest of the paragraph by making a claim or stating a fact through the topic sentence. You can use a simple statement or even ask a question, but the topic sentence should always make clear to the reader the purpose of the paragraph.

After you’ve provided sufficient arguments or evidence to support your topic sentence, it’s time for the grand finale- wrapping it up. How you end things is often as important as how you start them, so make sure to use your concluding sentence wisely. In a concise, non-repetitive, and preferably clever way, summarize your point in the paragraph. Go out with a bang by leaving your readers informed and impressed.

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The body part of your essay, composed of body paragraphs, is the very essence of your essay. Body paragraphs are the ideal structure for most, if not all, articles of writing. You see, in writing, we don’t have such things as intonation or body language, so we use body paragraphs to make our arguments as comprehensible as possible.

So, dividing the body of an essay into shorter sections like paragraphs can make even the most complex work accessible to most people. Learning to structure your writing into paragraphs ensures a simpler writing process for you, and a fairly undemanding, fun piece for your readers.

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How to Write an Expository Essay | Structure, Tips & Examples

Published on July 14, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

“Expository” means “intended to explain or describe something.” An expository essay provides a clear, focused explanation of a particular topic, process, or set of ideas. It doesn’t set out to prove a point, just to give a balanced view of its subject matter.

Expository essays are usually short assignments intended to test your composition skills or your understanding of a subject. They tend to involve less research and original arguments than argumentative essays .

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Table of contents

When should you write an expository essay, how to approach an expository essay, introducing your essay, writing the body paragraphs, concluding your essay, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about expository essays.

In school and university, you might have to write expository essays as in-class exercises, exam questions, or coursework assignments.

Sometimes it won’t be directly stated that the assignment is an expository essay, but there are certain keywords that imply expository writing is required. Consider the prompts below.

The word “explain” here is the clue: An essay responding to this prompt should provide an explanation of this historical process—not necessarily an original argument about it.

Sometimes you’ll be asked to define a particular term or concept. This means more than just copying down the dictionary definition; you’ll be expected to explore different ideas surrounding the term, as this prompt emphasizes.

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An expository essay should take an objective approach: It isn’t about your personal opinions or experiences. Instead, your goal is to provide an informative and balanced explanation of your topic. Avoid using the first or second person (“I” or “you”).

The structure of your expository essay will vary according to the scope of your assignment and the demands of your topic. It’s worthwhile to plan out your structure before you start, using an essay outline .

A common structure for a short expository essay consists of five paragraphs: An introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Like all essays, an expository essay begins with an introduction . This serves to hook the reader’s interest, briefly introduce your topic, and provide a thesis statement summarizing what you’re going to say about it.

Hover over different parts of the example below to see how a typical introduction works.

In many ways, the invention of the printing press marked the end of the Middle Ages. The medieval period in Europe is often remembered as a time of intellectual and political stagnation. Prior to the Renaissance, the average person had very limited access to books and was unlikely to be literate. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century allowed for much less restricted circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.

The body of your essay is where you cover your topic in depth. It often consists of three paragraphs, but may be more for a longer essay. This is where you present the details of the process, idea or topic you’re explaining.

It’s important to make sure each paragraph covers its own clearly defined topic, introduced with a topic sentence . Different topics (all related to the overall subject matter of the essay) should be presented in a logical order, with clear transitions between paragraphs.

Hover over different parts of the example paragraph below to see how a body paragraph is constructed.

The invention of the printing press in 1440 changed this situation dramatically. Johannes Gutenberg, who had worked as a goldsmith, used his knowledge of metals in the design of the press. He made his type from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony, whose durability allowed for the reliable production of high-quality books. This new technology allowed texts to be reproduced and disseminated on a much larger scale than was previously possible. The Gutenberg Bible appeared in the 1450s, and a large number of printing presses sprang up across the continent in the following decades. Gutenberg’s invention rapidly transformed cultural production in Europe; among other things, it would lead to the Protestant Reformation.

The conclusion of an expository essay serves to summarize the topic under discussion. It should not present any new information or evidence, but should instead focus on reinforcing the points made so far. Essentially, your conclusion is there to round off the essay in an engaging way.

Hover over different parts of the example below to see how a conclusion works.

The invention of the printing press was important not only in terms of its immediate cultural and economic effects, but also in terms of its major impact on politics and religion across Europe. In the century following the invention of the printing press, the relatively stationary intellectual atmosphere of the Middle Ages gave way to the social upheavals of the Reformation and the Renaissance. A single technological innovation had contributed to the total reshaping of the continent.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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An expository essay is a broad form that varies in length according to the scope of the assignment.

Expository essays are often assigned as a writing exercise or as part of an exam, in which case a five-paragraph essay of around 800 words may be appropriate.

You’ll usually be given guidelines regarding length; if you’re not sure, ask.

An expository essay is a common assignment in high-school and university composition classes. It might be assigned as coursework, in class, or as part of an exam.

Sometimes you might not be told explicitly to write an expository essay. Look out for prompts containing keywords like “explain” and “define.” An expository essay is usually the right response to these prompts.

An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.

An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.

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54 Best Transition Words for Paragraphs

transition words for paragraphs

Good transition words for starting a paragraph include addition phrases like ‘furthermore’, cause and effect words like ‘consequently’, and contradiction words like ‘however’. Scroll down for a full table of transition words.

Using transition words in your writing can help you improve the readability and flow of your paragraph to the next.

These words help your text flow seamlessly into the next idea, which shows your readers the relationship between paragraphs and phrases.

List of Transition Words for Starting a Paragraph

Transition words can fall into more than one category based on what type of transition in your paragraph you’re planning to make.

For example, you’d want a different transition word if your second paragraph contradicts your first than if it supports it. Take the following examples:

Here is a list of transition words and what category they fall under.

  • Addition – A transition that combines two or more ideas and shows their relationship. Examples include, what’s more, equally important, again, also, and, furthermore, moreover, besides .
  • Cause and Effect – When one idea triggers another. This lets the reader know that they are directly connected. Examples include, consequently, hence, therefore, thus, next, as a result .
  • Clarification – This is to rephrase what was said to clarify a statement and provide emphasis. Examples include, in other words, that is to say, to clarify.
  • Compare and Contrast – This shows a relationship between two ideas that are compared based on differences or similarities. Examples are, after all, although this may be true, in contrast, likewise, on the contrary, similarly, whereas, yet.
  • Emphasis (Boosting) – This shows certainty. Examples include, emphatically, in fact, surprisingly, undeniably, in any case, indeed, never, without a doubt.
  • Providing examples : For example, for instance, as illustrated by, take the following case in point.
  • Exception or Contradiction – This happens when an action with a pre-conceived notion ends with a different action. Examples are, however, nevertheless, in spite of, of course, once in a while, despite.
  • Summarize or conclude – This signals the reader that they are at the end of the paragraph. Examples are, as this essay has shown, as a result, In conclusion, therefore, thus, hence, in short, in brief.
  • Sequential – This expresses a numerical sequence, conclusion, continuation, resumption, or summation. Examples are to change the topic, to conclude with, afterward, incidentally, by the way, initially.

List of Transition Words for New Paragraphs

Transition words to avoid.

I recommend avoiding the following transition words:

Examples in Sentences

The best way to understand transition words is to provide examples. Let’s look at this sentence:

“Amy did not study for her test. Therefore, she did not get a good result.”

When you see the word ‘therefore,’ the reader knows that this is a cause and effect. What happened in the first sentence caused a resulting action.

The transition word provided a seamless flow into the next sentence that describes this effect.

Using the transitional word, ‘therefore,’ shows that the two sentences are part of one idea/process. Even with skimming, the reader can guess what’s the resulting action. This is how transition words hold your ideas together. Without them, it’s like your piece is just a jumble of coherent words.

Transition words don’t have to be placed at the start of a sentence. Let’s look at this sentence:

“Many people came to the event. Cristine, Emily, and David, for instance.”

In this sentence, ‘for instance’ is at the end of the sentence. However, it still gives the reader the necessary information to see how the two sentences are linked.

What are Transition Words?

Transition words for beginning paragraphs help writers to introduce a shift, opposition, contrast, agreement, emphasis, purpose, result, or conclusion from what was previously written. They are essential in argumentative essays.

Transition words are like bridges between the different paragraphs in your pieces. They serve as the cues that help your reader understand your ideas. They carry your ideas from one sentence to the next and one paragraph to the next.

Transitional words and phrases link an idea from a sentence to the following paragraph, so your work is read smoothly without abrupt jumps or sudden breaks between concepts.

Why use Transition Words

Proper communication of your ideas through paragraphs is important in writing. In order for your reader to read your piece with a thorough understanding of each idea and point conveyed in the piece, you have to use transition words and phrases.

With the examples provided, you would see that transitions string together your ideas by establishing a clear connection between the sentences and paragraphs.

Without transition words, your work may seem daunting and stressful to read, and the reader will not understand the idea you’re trying to convey.

Transitional phrases are especially important when writing an essay or thesis statement , as each paragraph has to connect ideas effortlessly.

Therefore, when a paragraph ends, the next idea must have some link to the previous one, which is why transition words play an important role.

Where Else to use Transition Words in an Essay

Transition words are important English devices for essays and papers. They enhance the transitions and connections between the sentences and paragraphs, giving your essay a flowing structure and logical thought.

Transition terms may seem easy to remember; however, placing them in the incorrect manner can cause your essay to fall flat.

Here are some places where essays transition words may fit:

  • To show a connection between evidence and the ending
  • To flow into the next paragraph, use your closing statement at the conclusion of each one
  • At the start of the first body paragraph
  • At the start of the second body paragraph
  • In some of the starting sections of your summary or introductory paragraphs
  • In an overview of your opinions/solutions in the conclusion

When adding your transition words and phrases in your essay, make sure not to accidentally form an incomplete or fragmented sentence. This is common with transitions, such as, if, although, and since .

While transition words are important in any writing piece, you have to make sure that the word or phrase you choose matches the logic of the paragraph or point you’re making. Use these words and phrases in moderation, as too much of them can also heavily bring the quality of your work down.

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    First is the topic sentence. This lets the reader know what the paragraph is going to be about and the main point it will make. It gives the paragraph's point straight away. Next - and largest - is the supporting sentences.

  13. 9.2 Writing Body Paragraphs

    Key Takeaways. Your body paragraphs should closely follow the path set forth by your thesis statement. Strong body paragraphs contain evidence that supports your thesis. Primary support comprises the most important points you use to support your thesis. Strong primary support is specific, detailed, and relevant to the thesis.

  14. Anatomy of a Body Paragraph

    A strong paragraph in an academic essay will usually include these three elements: A topic sentence. The topic sentence does double duty for a paragraph. First, a strong topic sentence makes a claim or states a main idea that is then developed in the rest of the paragraph.

  15. Body Paragraph: Writing Guide & Examples

    5. Revise and Proofread. Readability checker. is the main section, where students develop a specific point or argument related to an essay's thesis statement. Typical 5-paragraph essays comprise 3 body paragraphs. Each body paragraph starts with a topic sentence and is followed by evidence, examples and analysis.

  16. How to Write a Body Paragraph for a College Essay

    How to Write a Body Paragraph - we explain the best way to start a body paragraph in a college essay or other school writing assignment.

  17. Body Paragraphs

    An effective topic sentence— clearly supports the thesis statement.; is usually at the beginning of a body paragraph.; controls the content of all of the supporting sentences in its paragraph.; is a complete sentence.; does not announce the topic (e.g., "I'm going to talk about exercise.").; should not be too general (e.g., "Exercise is good.").; should not be too specific (e.g ...

  18. How to Write a Body Paragraph?

    Much like an essay, a body paragraph is made of a few components: Transitions: Words, expressions, or even whole sentences used at the beginning or end of a body paragraph in order to achieve a continuous glide between paragraphs. Topic sentence: The first sentence in a body paragraph that acts as the introduction of said paragraph.

  19. How to Write a Five-Paragraph Essay, With Examples

    The five-paragraph essay format is a guide that helps writers structure an essay. It consists of one introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs for support, and one concluding paragraph. Because of this structure, it has been nicknamed the "hamburger essay," the "one-three-one essay," and the "three-tier essay.".

  20. How to Write an Expository Essay

    The structure of your expository essay will vary according to the scope of your assignment and the demands of your topic. It's worthwhile to plan out your structure before you start, using an essay outline. A common structure for a short expository essay consists of five paragraphs: An introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

  21. Free AI Paragraph Generator

    Ahrefs' Paragraph Generator uses a language model that learns patterns, grammar, and vocabulary from large amounts of text data - then uses that knowledge to generate human-like text based on a given prompt or input. The generated text combines both the model's learned information and its understanding of the input.

  22. 54 Best Transition Words for Paragraphs (2024)

    Good transition words for starting a paragraph include addition phrases like 'furthermore', cause and effect words like 'consequently', and contradiction words like 'however'. Scroll down for a full table of transition words. Using transition words in your writing can help you improve the readability and flow of your paragraph to the next.

  23. 92 Essay Transition Words to Know, With Examples

    You can use transition words to start a paragraph, sentence, clause, or even a brief phrase or individual word. Although tired, we had to continue. Even in situations when the connection between topics is obvious, essay transition words can help keep your writing organized and comprehensible.

  24. Kashaf malik on Instagram: "Diagnostic essay : Student name : Fatima

    2 likes, 0 comments - english_with_kashaf_malik on July 22, 2023: "Diagnostic essay : Student name : Fatima Hayat. Batch : CSS 2024 Evaluation by : miss kashaf M..." Kashaf malik on Instagram: "Diagnostic essay : Student name : Fatima Hayat.