Basic Paragraph Structure
Paragraphs are the building blocks of any essay. Think of each paragraph as developing one aspect of the thesis. Each paragraph does a small part of the job of proving or supporting the essay’s thesis.
Some paragraphs are short; some are long. All paragraphs should develop one core idea – which is indicated in the Topic Sentence – using as much evidence and explanation as necessary.
Topic Sentence : Begins the Paragraph
Topic sentences indicate to the reader what one idea you will cover in that paragraph.
- Topic sentences often include Transition phrases to indicate when you are beginning to either discuss a new idea or develop a new angle on the idea from the previous paragraph.
- Topic sentences should be YOUR voice. Try to avoid beginning paragraphs with quotes or references to sources; beginning with your voice allows you to maintain control over your paper
Examples and Evidence: the “Body” of the Paragraph
Topic sentences need examples and evidence to be logically developed. Examples and evidence could be
- Quotes, paraphrases or summaries from sources
- Observations from you
- Any other information that helps to develop your Topic Sentence
Explanation : Concludes and Relates Back to the Thesis
Again, you incorporate YOUR voice to help articulate the significance of the examples/evidence you included.
- How/why does your evidence support the topic sentence?
- How/why does the information in this paragraph relate to the paper’s thesis?