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Developing Body Paragraphs

Page history last edited by Jon Brammer 11 years, 6 months ago

Make sure every body paragraph has a topic sentence.


It is often a good idea to begin the paragraphs in the body of your essay with a one-sentence statement about what the paragraph is about.  This not only helps the reader understand where the essay is going, but it helps the writer stay focused and helps eliminate babbling. (See example below.)


Insert an example into each paragraph and discuss the example.


One of the best ways to explain a point is to provide a specific example.  Almost every paragraph can use one.  It is often useful to follow up the example with a brief discussion or explanation of the example. (See example below.)


Conclude each paragraph with an answer to the question "so what?" and/or an explanation of how this paragraph is connected to your thesis.


Much like a topic sentence, this will help keep the writer focused.  Don't simply repeat the thesis here; rather make a connection here between the topic of the paragraph and the thesis.


Example This sample is from an essay written by a student who is discussing the war in Iraq:


This paragraph may well have started as just one sentence:


Even after I was home from my tour in Iraq, I found myself dreaming of the desert and the firefights.


However, when the writer adds a topic sentence, an example with discussion, and a "so what?" statement, this one sentence turns into a well developed paragraph.


[Topic Sentence]  For most veterans, life off the front lines doesn’t return to normal for a very long time, if ever.  [Original Sentence] Even after I was home from my tour in Iraq, I found myself dreaming of the desert and the firefights [Example] I remember one night about three weeks after I mustered out.  I was sipping a beer on my porch and thinking about all the friends I had left behind.  Some of them were in pieces and some of them were physically whole.  I knew none of them had gone untouched by the war; they all had done and seen things they never thought they could do.  Even so, we had all been in it together.  We had all been able to talk about it together.  Now I was by myself.  [Discuss the Example] The situation was ridiculous.  There I was, sitting on my porch, and all I could think about was how I wanted to be back with my friends, my brothers- no matter where that camaraderie took me.  Later, back in my bedroom, I thought about what would have happened if I had re-upped for another tour.  [So What?]  That conflict and its resulting unrest, is a heavy burden on my mind, and a burden that I find myself pondering more often than I should.


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