Academic writing is incomplete without essays, and writing a body paragraph is an essential aspect of essay writing. If you understand how to write a body paragraph well, you’ll have won half of your essay battles.
In the body paragraph, you will write your main argument, usually after the introductory paragraph has set up the topic. This section of your essay will usually consist of 3-5 paragraphs, each discussing one idea. When writing a paragraph, think about what argument you are trying to make.
This article will discuss the structure of a body paragraph and how to write winning body paragraphs for your essay.
The Main Components of a Body Paragraph
A good body paragraph should have these four elements: A topic sentence, supporting sentences, transitions, and a summary.
|• Topic sentence|
• Supporting sentences
It is the first sentence of a body paragraph that states the main argument you will make. This sentence is usually a generalization that can be supported by facts and evidence in your essay.
The topic sentences are usually short and can stand on their own. If you remove all the supporting sentences from a paragraph, the topic sentence would still be understandable to the reader.
Transitions are words or phrases that show the relationship between sentences. They come before your supporting sentences and help you to build a smooth argument. Transitions also indicate how specific sentences relate to the topic sentence.
Examples of transitional words and phrases include:
- For example
- In the same way
These are the sentences in your paragraph that give your topic sentence more meaning. They provide details, facts, or explanations to support your ideas.
They bring supporting evidence to your topic sentence. For example, if you are writing about the benefits of exercise, here is what a body paragraph might look like:
Topic sentence: Exercise has many benefits.
Transition: For example, one study showed that regular exercise improved mood and enhanced feelings of well-being.
Supporting sentence: The study, published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, involved a year-long exercise regimen for a small group of young adults.
The summary is the last sentence in your paragraph. It recaps what you have already stated and provides closure to your argument. Often it ends with a rhetorical question that forces the reader to think about your main point.
The Structure of a Body Paragraph
Body paragraphs can vary from 2-5 sentences depending on the topic, the audience you are writing for, and your purpose.
The very first sentence of your body paragraph should be an idea that supports the main idea, which will be found in the thesis statement.
The second sentence should provide an explanation or support for the idea. This can come in the form of an example, a statistic, or other supporting information.
The last sentence should tie all the previous information together, essentially summing up your point.
The basic structure of a body paragraph includes an introduction, support, and conclusion.
The introduction (point)
The introduction of a body paragraph should be one or two sentences long. It serves as a hook to get the reader involved and excited about your argument.
The first sentence of the introduction should be similar to your thesis statement, or at least have a relationship with it.
The second sentence provides a transition from the previous paragraph. It can also introduce the idea you will be discussing in the body of your essay.
Examples of introduction sentences would be:
- Today, I want to talk about what makes a good friend.
- I believe that the most important characteristic of any friendship is trust.
The support (information)
The support should be 2-3 sentences and provide information and facts to back up the topic sentence. The supporting sentences can vary in order, but they should follow a general chronological order.
The first sentence should introduce the supporting idea. The second sentence should provide reasoning or an example to support that idea. Here are some examples of types of supporting sentences:
- An example that proves your point
- A statistic that backs your main idea
- An explanation or definition of a term that is necessary for your argument
The conclusion (explanation)
The conclusion of a body paragraph should be one sentence that serves as a review for the main idea. It will sum up what you’ve said in your paragraph.
The first part of this sentence should contain a rephrasing of the thesis statement. The second half can be a prediction or a suggestion on what might come next.
Examples of concluding sentences:
- In conclusion, the most important quality of a friendship is trust.
- I predict that the future of friendships will be determined by how well you build trust in a relationship.
The Process of Writing a Body Paragraph
- Plan your writing. Organize your thoughts before you put them down on paper. You can use bullet points to record your ideas so that you don’t miss the main points.
- Develop a strong, clear thesis statement to begin your body paragraph
- Write an outline of your body paragraph. Think about the general idea you want to convey and break it down into three sentences. Start with an introduction sentence. Follow with a second sentence that explains or describes the first idea. The third sentence acts as a transition to the next paragraph.
- Start writing your paragraph, paying close attention to the main thesis that comes in the first sentence. Follow the outline to give a chronological account where one sentence leads to the next. Ensure that your ideas flow well and that you make proper use of transitions. The flow of your essay depends on how you use transitions between paragraphs.
- Proofread your paragraph to make corrections and edits where necessary. Ensure the transition sentences are smooth and that each sentence makes sense on its own.
Below are some tips for writing a great body paragraph:
- Don’t forget your purpose for each section – one main idea per paragraph.
- Use simple words. Don’t use informal language, such as slang words. Use a variety of sentence types, from simple to complex.
- Include quotations when necessary to strengthen your paragraph’s main idea.
- Use a strong introduction sentence.
- Use transition words and phrases to link your ideas together. Try to use some variety when arranging the list of words and phrases. Don’t use the same phrase every time you transition to a new paragraph.
- Develop a strong thesis statement for each paragraph.
- Use evidence from your research to support each of your main points.
- Be flexible in your arguments and discuss different points of view if appropriate.
- Avoid the perfectionist spirit as it keeps you fixed in one point for a long time. Instead, create a paragraph draft, then go back to edit after writing the concluding sentence.
- End on a strong note, and make sure you summarize your entire paragraph. It can be as simple as restating the thesis statement.
- Research well before you start writing. This way, your arguments will be strong and authoritatively supported—some of the reliable sources of information are journal articles and books.
Arrangement of Body Paragraphs in an Essay
Body paragraphs should be organized and convincing. They should not consist of rambling or unrelated thoughts or ideas. These paragraphs should have a clear purpose and express one idea that goes with the general theme of your essay.
In the essay body, the first paragraph gives the reader a preview of what is ahead and suggests the essay’s direction.
The second paragraph gets into more specifics, perhaps describing your thesis and support for that thesis. This is where you provide evidence solidifying the overall argument.
The third paragraph could contain your strongest argument, the one you feel most strongly about supporting.
The last paragraph is often used to summarize the essay. Think of it as your conclusion. This final paragraph recaps your thesis statement. It can also give new information that might open up another idea or two.
Writing a good body paragraph can be challenging, but it is crucial for having a strong argument and coherent essay. It is important to ensure that your body paragraphs stay on point and do not ramble or stray from the main idea.
By using the technique of outlining, you can ensure that your ideas are organized and that each paragraph flows with the previous one. Before you begin writing, plan out your argument and draft a few ideas to get started.
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