Body Paragraphs

Body Paragraphs

Body paragraphs should all work to support your thesis by explaining why or how your thesis is true. There are three types of sentences in each body paragraph: topic sentences, supporting sen- tences, and concluding sentences.

Topic sentences

A topic sentence states the main idea, or focus, of the paragraph. The rest of the body paragraph will give evidence and explanations that show why or how your topic sentence is true. In many ways, a topic sentence is very similar to a thesis. Remember that the thesis is the main idea of the essay; a topic sentence is the main idea of a body paragraph. Many of the same characteristics apply to topic sentences that apply to theses. The biggest differences will be the location of the sentence and the scope of the ideas.

An effective topic sentence—

—clearly supports the thesis statement.

—is usually at the beginning of a body paragraph.

—controls the content of all of the supporting sentences in its paragraph.

—is a complete sentence.

—does not announce the topic (e.g., I'm going to talk about exercise.").

—should not be too general (e.g., "Exercise is good.").

—should not be too specific (e.g., "Exercise decreases the chance of developing diabetes, heart disease, asthma, osteoporosis, depression, and anxiety.").

Supporting sentences

Your body paragraph needs to explain why or how your topic sentence is true. The sentences that support your topic sentence are called supporting sentences. You can have many types of supporting sentences. Supporting sentences can give examples, explanations, details, descriptions, facts, reasons, etc.

Concluding sentences

Your final statement should conclude your paragraph logically. Concluding sentences can restate the main idea of your paragraph, state an opinion, make a prediction, give advice, etc. New ideas should not be presented in your concluding sentence.