CoverObjectivesThe Writing ProcessAddressing the PromptPrewritingWritingRevisingOriginalityEssay Shape and OrganizationIntroduction ParagraphsBody ParagraphsConclusion ParagraphsA Shifting StructureExample EssayUsing SourcesFinding SourcesCitationsQuotingSummarizingParaphrasingReference PagePersonal StatementsExample Personal StatementTypes of Personal StatementsOrganization for Comprehensive Personal StatementOrganization for Personal Statement with PromptRevisionExample Personal StatementCause-Effect EssaysExample Cause-Effect EssayPrewritingWritingRevisingRevise a Cause-Effect EssayArgumentative EssaysExample Argumentative EssayPrewritingWritingRevisingOther Genres of WritingTimed WritingTOEFL Independent WritingTOEFL Integrated WritingStudent Choice (Pick Two)Creative WritingFormal EmailsReflectionsReviewsRefining WritingDevelopmentUnityCohesion

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 speciftc (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.