First-Term Student Resource: Body Paragraphs
What are body paragraphs?
Body paragraphs are found between the introduction and conclusion paragraphs. They include the supporting points, details, descriptions, and examples that support the main idea (thesis statement) of the paper. If the thesis statement is the brain of the paper, the body paragraphs are the muscles.
When should I begin a new body paragraph?
When the focus of your paper shifts or you include a new supporting point, begin a new body paragraph.
What should a body paragraph consist of?
A body paragraph should consist of a topic sentence and support sentences. The topic sentence reveals the main point of the paragraph and provides a transition from the previous paragraph. The supporting sentences in a body paragraph include examples, description, narration, steps of a process, or other details illustrating and explaining the topic.
What else should I consider?
Focus: All ideas and details in a body paragraph must focus on a single, specific topic. Otherwise, your reader may become distracted and feel lost.
Length: Long paragraphs make for difficult reading and often signal lack of organization. Short paragraphs of one to three sentences seem choppy and may not provide full support of the topic.
Sentence Variety: When you read your paragraph out loud, do the sentences sound repetitive? Are they written in the same pattern? Are some so long that you have to keep stopping to take a breath? Are others really short? Consider varying the structure and length of sentences in order to create smooth reading.