Body Paragraphs

Body paragraphs should all work to support your thesis by explaining why or how your thesis is true. Each body paragraph has three types of 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. 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. Conclusion sentences can restate main idea of your paragraph, state an opinion, make a prediction, give advice, etc. New ideas should not be presented in your concluding sentence.


Exercise 1: Body Paragraph Analysis

Read this example body paragraph.

  • Is the topic sentence effective?
  • Do the supporting sentences directly connect to the topic sentence? Or are there unnecessary or overly specific details included?
  • Does the concluding sentence effectively end the point?
  • Is it logically organized?

       Second, people who start college after high school can grow in their professional life. A lot of college students who have finished their bachelors can get social security earlier to start working around 23 or 24 as full-time employees. Students who finish their studies can begin to gain work experience in the area they selected. For example, someone who has graduated with a finance degree can start as an employee in a bank. And then through the years, she can develop different skills and be promoted to another position in the same bank. Growing in a company takes time, and students need to spend time to do that; having said that, when people finish college, they can get a lot of professional experience early.


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