ObjectivesThe Writing ProcessPrewritingWritingRevisingOriginalityIntroduction to Academic EssaysStyleShapeOrganizationIntroduction ParagraphsBody ParagraphsConclusion ParagraphsExample EssayUsing SourcesFinding SourcesCitationsQuotingSummarizingParaphrasingDescriptive EssaysExample EssayPrewritingWritingRevisingRevise: Descriptive EssayComparison EssaysExample EssayPrewritingWritingRevisingRevise: Comparison EssayCause-Effect EssaysExample EssayPrewritingWritingRevisingRevise: Cause-Effect EssayRefining WritingDevelopmentUnityCohesionWriting for the TOEFLIntegrated Writing TaskIndependent Writing TaskNuts and BoltsPunctuationUsing Academic VocabularyAnswer KeyThe Writing Process AKIntroduction to Academic Essays AKUsing Sources AKDescriptive Essays AKComparison Essays AKCause-Effect Essays AKRefining Writing AKWriting for the TOEFL AKNuts and Bolts AK

Development

Writing is developed when the ideas are explained in sufficient detail. You need to show that you have thought about the topic and that you have something meaningful to say. Paragraphs that lack development often sound too general or are redundant.

Compare the examples below. The first body paragraph is not developed well. The ideas are repeated and there are no solid examples, details, reasons, etc. Find the supporting sentences in the revised version that help develop the ideas.

Example: Body Paragraph (Little development)

       The branch of science known as geology relates to the study of solid earth. Some of the features that geologists study include mountains and other solid features of earth. Geologists study these features extensively. Geologists study the composition of these formations. These studies of the earth are collectively called geology.

Example: Body Paragraph (Better development)

       The branch of science known as geology relates to the study of solid earth. That means that geologists study features of earth that are based on rocks and minerals. Some of the features that they study include mountains, volcanoes, canyons, and plate tectonics. Geologists study these features extensively because they want to investigate the gradual processes that form them and by studying the processes, they can help prevent devastation from future disasters (King, 2018). These processes include natural disasters like earthquakes. Geologists also study the composition of these formations by taking samples and analyzing them. These studies of the earth are collectively called geology.

You can revise a paragraph that lacks development by adding supporting sentences. Supporting sentences can give examples, explanations, details, descriptions, facts, reasons, etc. Which types of supporting sentences you use will depend on your topic. In researched essays, using and explaining sources can also help you develop your ideas.

You can start revising a paragraph by asking questions about the topic sentence (or the other supporting sentences). Ask questions like "Why?" "Like what?" and "How?" The answers to these questions can give you ideas to include that will develop your paragraph.

The first example paragraph had poor development because the ideas stopped too soon. The writer basically only said that geologists extensively study solid earth features and their composition.

The revised body paragraph has better development also stated that geologists extensively study solid earth features and their composition, but it did not stop too soon. It gives lots of examples and relevant details.

In order to revise the paragraph, the author might have asked questions like this: Geology relates to the study of solid earth.

1 Exercise: Ask questions to generate supporting sentences

Write questions about this topic sentence and the answers to the questions you write.

Topic sentence: It is essential to understand the natural resources that exist on the planet.

Question:

Answer:

Question:

Answer:

Question:

Answer:

2 Exercise: Ask questions to generate supporting sentences

Write questions about the topic sentence. Use the answers to write a developed paragraph.

EX: Topic sentence: The Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic symbols of America.

Possible questions:

Why is it iconic?

What does it represent?

Paragraph:

       The Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic symbols of America. The Statue has become iconic because it was the first thing that many people saw when they first came to the United States. People began to connect their first sight of the statue with the hope in their heart of what America held for them. They saw it as a symbol of the freedom they were looking for. Ever since, it has been a symbol of freedom to millions of people who have never physically visited it, but understand the significance. This symbol lives on and continues to be an icon.

1. Topic sentence: Science has made our modern lives better.

Possible questions:

Paragraph:

2. Topic sentence: Music is an essential part of culture.

Possible questions:

Paragraph:

Sometimes paragraphs that lack development have the length of a developed paragraph, but don't clearly develop an idea because the writer was trying to sound elegant or add extra words to make a paragraph longer. Good development is not the same thing as length. You need to focus on supporting your ideas rather than making your sentences long. Compare the following paragraphs. Even though the second paragraph is a little shorter, the paragraph is more developed. The redundant words are crossed out.

Example: Body Paragraph (Little development)

       Chemistry is an absolutely completely different branch of science from any other branch of science that studies how things are formed at the extremely small level of a molecule. Chemists mainly know about chemistry because they study how certain molecules react with each other in very complex and incredible molecular reactions. These reactions happen in an extremely rapid way and very quickly and they can be easily observed in the moment that they occur. Chemists study these processes because they can use them to create new products and materials. Chemists frequently study these reactions by initiating reactions in a laboratory so they can observe them. Molecular reactions are studied in the field of chemistry.

Example: Body Paragraph (Better development)

       Chemistry is an absolutely completely different branch of science from any other branch of science that studies how things are formed at the extremely small level of a molecule. Chemists mainly know about chemistry because they study how certain molecules react with each other in very complex and incredible molecular reactions. These reactions happen in an extremely rapid way and very quickly and they can be easily observed in the moment that they occur. Chemists study these processes because they can use them to create new products and materials. Chemists frequently study these reactions by initiating reactions in a laboratory so they can observe them. Molecular reactions are studied in the field of chemistry.