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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.

Exercise: Ask questions to generate supporting sentences

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

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

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