Parts of a Body Paragraph in an Essay, Assignment, or any Paper

author By Mary Boies

Whether you are writing an essay, thesis, research dissertation, report, proposal, college essay, or personal statement, you must write the body paragraphs at some point. The body paragraphs come immediately after the introduction paragraph.

How to format body paragraphs of an essay

Majorly, professors, markers, and instructors can tell good writing just by reading a few components of the body paragraphs.

Body paragraphs are the building blocks of essays and other papers written in prose form. They provide all the information and reasoning to prove the thesis statement.

Without wasting too much time, let�s delve into what elements make a body paragraph, how to craft the best paragraphs, and some tips you can use when stuck.

Purpose of Writing a Body Paragraph

Body paragraphs play a critical role in proving the thesis of an essay or paper. As a matter of sequence, the body paragraphs come after the introduction and just before the concluding paragraph of an essay or paper.

The body paragraphs fulfill the predictions made in the introduction and give room for the summary in the conclusion. Therefore, the body paragraphs must relate to what comes before them and what comes after.

Eliminating a body paragraph from the sequence of body paragraphs without altering the flow means that you derailed when writing. Furthermore, it is a solid signal for editing, proofreading, and, if possible, rewriting the paragraph. Technically, body paragraphs link to one another to support the thesis.

Each body paragraph must relate logically to the one immediately before (introduction paragraph) or after (concluding paragraph). It should only bear or focus on a single idea or topic reflected in the topic sentence. If your topic is complex or has multiple parts, you can split a paragraph into two to maintain this rule.

A paragraph is about 150 words in length and cannot be one sentence, especially in academia. As a result, one-sentence paragraphs are usually underdeveloped.

Essential Parts or Elements of a Good Body Paragraph

The body of your essay or paper is referred to as developmental paragraphs in the sense that it is the arena where all the action takes place. It is where you develop your central idea or thesis. Depending on the length of your paper, the number of body paragraphs will differ. For instance, if you are writing a one-page paper of 300-400 words, you can ideally have two well-balanced short body paragraphs. Similarly, when writing an essay from 500 to 1000 words, you can write at least three body paragraphs to support the thesis statement of your essay or paper.

The main components of a body paragraph of your essay or whatever written assignment you are undertaking are topic sentences, supporting sentences, transitions, and concluding sentences. Each of these elements works side by side with another to bring out the message of the entire body paragraph as a whole.

When you successfully marry every part to another, you end up with a solid body paragraph that supports the thesis statement of your essay or paper.

Components of a Good Body Paragraph

In a nutshell, we can break a good body paragraph into four main parts. Here is a breakdown of the four parts and the functions that each plays in the body paragraph:

  1. Transition - linking the body paragraphs to one another.
  2. Topic Sentence - introducing the paragraph.
  3. Supporting Sentences - Explain the topic sentence and support the thesis.
  4. Concluding Sentence/Summary - briefly summarize the paragraph and link/transition to the next paragraph.

Given that you now have a rough idea of each part, let's comprehensively explore all the components in detail to figure out how to use each when writing. In the following section, we explain each element of a good body paragraph in detail and give cogent reasons you should incorporate it when writing the developing paragraphs of your essays or papers.

1. Transitions

For you to achieve coherence, flow, and organization in an essay or paper, using transition words and phrases is inevitable. For example, when writing a body paragraph, it must have a transition sentence. Sometimes it comes just before the topic sentence, while you can incorporate it as part of the closing sentence.

Instead of opening a paragraph with an abrupt change of topic, you can use transitions to offer a soft landing to your readers. You slowly guide them into a new conversation that maintains a good flow of ideas. Transitions do a fantastic job of removing confusion and distractions when moving from one paragraph to the next.

The transition sentence is the one that leads from a previous paragraph to ensure that there is smooth reading or flow of ideas. It transitions you from the previous idea to another idea that is related to the former.

And the good thing is that transition phrases and signal words don't have to be complicated. Check out the list of transition or linking words to incorporate into your paragraphs.

2.  Topic Sentence

It is also known as the opening sentence or key sentence.

The topic sentence is usually the first sentence of the paragraph. It is sometimes known as the opening sentence. It states one of the topics related to your thesis and bears assertions about how the topic supports the central idea.

A topic sentence serves two purposes:

  1. It ties the details of the paragraph together
  2. It relates the details of the paragraph to the thesis statement

It is usually a generalization you can support using evidence and facts when writing the essay. As a characteristic, the topic sentences are short and stand independently when the supporting details are stripped.

3. Supporting Sentences

After writing your topic sentence, you need to follow it immediately with a series of supporting sentences. Supporting sentences offer details, facts, examples, and explanations to support the ideas in your paragraph.

The supporting sentences aim to back up your arguments and claims by highlighting the examples, research findings, quotes, citations, and facts.

Since a good essay or research paper must explain your ideas, evidence, and examples, you must also incorporate supporting evidence. You should involve some analysis. Here is where you pull your analytical, organization, and presentation skills.

Supporting evidence can include paraphrased ideas, summaries of ideas, direct quotes, and specific details (such as statistics) from your scholarly reference or source. It is best to ensure a good flow of these ideas.

4. Concluding or Closing Sentence

Although it is not the end of your writing, a closing or concluding sentence is critical in wrapping up your paragraph.

It should be a brief sentence that wraps up the paragraph. It is sometimes called the warrant as it connects your reasoning and support to the thesis. It also shows the relevance of the information provided in supporting the thesis. In most cases, the transition sentence then fits here.

Learn other aspects of paragraph writing in our guide on how to write essays. We have also put together an article on paragraph writing rules, which can be helpful. The process is standard when writing papers such as theses, capstones, case studies, term papers, or white papers. As long as you grasp it, you are good to go.

Your body paragraphs should be organized, coherent, and linked to ensure a good flow.

Related Article: Using first person in academic writing.

The Typical Structure of a Body Paragraph

We can look at the body paragraph like many things. The two main approaches used include the PIE and Hamburger analogy. Let�s look at each in detail to understand how to frame ideas into a body paragraph, score excellent grades, or deliver a masterpiece when writing papers.

Note that regardless of your structure or format for the body paragraph, you will end up with the four components or ingredients we discussed.

The PIE Analogy

PIE paragraph structure

The PIE analogy stands for Point Information Explanation. Typically, considering that a body paragraph can be between 2-5 sentences (both short and long), you can arrange the ideas to fit this analogy. Mainly, the length of a body paragraph depends on the length of your paper or essay (measured in word count or page count), your audience, the purpose of writing, and the chosen topic.

The Point (introduction sentence) - This is the first sentence of your body paragraph. It should entail the idea that supports the central idea or thesis of your essay or paper.

The information (supporting sentences) - This refers to a series of sentences, usually 2-3 sentences, that provide information, explanation, and facts to back up the topic sentence. There is no specific order for the supporting sentences. However, ensure that there is a good flow. For example, the first one introduces the supporting idea while the subsequent sentences each provide examples, illustrations, and explanations.

The Explanation (closing sentence) - The concluding sentence closes the body paragraph. It is one sentence, just like the topic sentence. Therefore, it should wrap up the paragraph in brief. Besides, it also predicts and suggests what to expect in the next paragraph.

The Hamburger Analogy

The hamburger paragraph technique or analogy is widely used. It is sometimes referred to as sandwich paragraph, hamburger paragraph, or Oreo method. It helps write the body paragraphs that appear between the introduction and conclusion paragraphs.

Part of Hamburger

Part of Body Paragraph it Denotes

Purpose and Explanation

The top bun

Topic Sentence or argument (sentence #1)

Explains what the paragraph is about and how it relates to the thesis

 It contains only one idea or one main point

 It proves the thesis or argument of your essay or paper

 It is your mini-thesis

The Veggies

Explanation sentence (sentence #2)

Expounds on and contextualizes the topic sentence.

The meat

Textual Evidence (sentence #3)

Provides evidence, including quotes, citations, summary, specific details, and paraphrasing from the reference or source that supports your argument.

You should introduce the evidence using your words and provide a relevant in-text citation.

The Condiments

Analysis of Evidence (sentence #4)

Explains the meaning of the evidence you introduce and connect it to the main idea of your essay or paper

You can use colorful vocabulary when explaining the evidence

The bottom bun

Closing Sentence (sentence #5)

This is the sentence that wraps up your paragraph. It should relate to the thesis statement and transition the reader to the next paragraph.

Here is the Hamburger Paragraph Template (Download link) that you can use to develop a strong body paragraph for your essay or paper.

How to Write the Body Paragraph for an Essay or any Paper

Now that we have explored the components or elements of a good body paragraph let's delve into the steps you should take to ensure that you successfully write a body paragraph.

Even though you may know the main parts of a body paragraph, you can only achieve mastery by understanding the process of putting each up and all together. So if that's your main worry, you came to the right place.

In this section, we explain and discuss at length how to write a body paragraph for an essay. Your body paragraph should support the thesis statement. If you succeed in writing good body paragraphs for the essay, even the conclusion paragraph gets easier.

You should take six steps to write an effective body paragraph: writing the topic sentence, unpacking the topic sentence, presenting evidence, analyzing the evidence, proving your objective, and providing a conclusion and transition.

The strategies we share have been used by our top essay writers and are highly recommended by our essay tutors for students who want to score top grades for their essays and assignments that involve writing in prose. Here is the process of writing a body paragraph:

Step 1: Write the Topic Sentence

To write a great body paragraph, start with the first sentence, a mini-thesis statement for your paragraph.

Next, the topic sentence establishes the main point or argument of the paragraph and defines its relationship to the overarching thesis.

Reading the topic sentence, a reader should know what the paragraph is about and how it sits in the essay's context.

Do not use too complex topic sentences as that only leads to confusion and creates room for confusing paragraphs, often lengthy, ambiguous, confusing, and making no sense.

Step 2: Unload the topic sentence

After listing the topic sentence, develop the claims in it by expounding, explaining, and expanding all the individual components.

This step entails parsing out the discussion points addressed in your paragraph to support the topic sentence.

Use as many sentences as possible, but be brief to avoid confusion. In simple terms, elaborate on the significance of the topic sentence.

Step 3: Present Evidence

To prove the claim or argument in your topic sentence, use facts, arguments, illustrations, data, statistics, quotes, paraphrased ideas, and evidence from reputable scholarly sources.

In addition, ensure that you provide the correct in-text citations.

This step aims to back up or support the topic sentence using original ideas from primary and secondary sources to contextualize the idea and support the overarching thesis statement.

Step 4: Analyze the presented evidence

Using your own words, interpret, evaluate, explain, expand, and comment on the evidence you have provided.

Help your readers link the ideas to the topic sentence and the main thesis.

Where applicable, debunk the evidence you have presented, especially when introducing a counterargument to show your prowess and maturity in writing.

Step 5: Prove your point

Writing takes an objective approach, at least most academic writing, unless it is personalized, such as college essays, first-person essays, personal statements, or scholarship essays. To be objective in your writing, tie the body paragraph to the topic sentence and then explain how the body of evidence helps the paragraph connect to the thesis.

 For example, how does the body paragraph address the topic? Has the paragraph addressed its purpose of proving the thesis? You should then elaborate on why each paragraph matters to ensure a coherent link between the main aim of your essay and the discussion.

Step 6: Conclude and Transition

Finally, wind up your paragraph by wrapping the entire paragraph in one sentence and transitioning to the next one. The transition sentence should redirect the reader from one topic or paragraph to the other. The transition process should be smooth and should be stronger and clear to the readers.

Related Read: How to write a great case study analysis paper.

Tips to help you write Strong Body Paragraphs

Writing persuasive and organized paragraphs is a tough call for many people, yet it is the only way to achieve excellent grades. With 80% of your word count reserved for the body paragraphs, learning how to write the best is inevitable.

If you constantly make mistakes, try these hacks or tips when writing the body paragraphs next.

1. Follow the outline

You must stick to your essay outline to write a perfect body paragraph. We always recommend developing an outline for your paper before writing. Outlining helps you plan your writing, organize ideas and thoughts, and strategically visualize your paper even though you have not started or completed it.

If you have an outline that you have refined, write your body paragraphs as per the outline. In most cases, writing body paragraphs becomes easier with an outline because you will only be filling in the blanks.

2. Focus when writing

As you develop the ideas in your body paragraphs, pay close attention to your central thesis.

Your focus should be on the chronological sequence of the ideas. If you notice that you have to rearrange the paragraphs for flow, do so.

 Besides, ensure that each body paragraph only discusses one main point related to your thesis. Finally, balance the word count of your paragraphs. It should total 80% of your word count.

Mix long and short sentences to achieve coherence and flow as you write. As well, ensure that you include linking words or transition words. Finally, do not use phrases that are taboo in academic writing.

3. Include counterarguments

When writing the body paragraphs of analytical and argumentative essays, ensure that you reserve one of the body paragraphs for counterarguments where you explain why your thesis is stronger.

Present the facts, evidence, examples, and illustrations to strengthen the understanding of your audience.

4. Don�t be afraid to start over

If you notice that you have veered off-topic, which is likely when you write without an outline, start over again.

As you write the second time, ensure that the paragraphs are interlinked, relevant, and support the thesis. The aim is to ensure that the ideas in each paragraph are interlinked with the main idea of your essay. Do away with vague paragraphs that have weak supporting sentences.

You can also refine and polish your sentences to create a seamless flow of ideas.

Do not cram too much information into a single body paragraph. Instead, split a long paragraph into two and create some flow whenever necessary. You can also shift the paragraphs around.

5. Break Complex Topic Sentences

Since a topic sentence only focuses on one idea, don�t hesitate to break down ambiguous ones for better, shorter, and more direct ones. Ambiguous topic sentences only lead to confused paragraphs or paragraphs that are too long and out of place.

6.  Maximize on Transitions

Even though a body paragraph conventionally begins with a topic sentence, you can include a transition right before the topic sentence to allow a smooth flow to the next section.

7. Be Clear and Concise

When writing body paragraphs, brevity should reign. Ensure that your body paragraphs are no longer than three-quarters of a double-spaced page. An ideal paragraph is about 150 words. Above that, you have a long paragraph that is probably a disservice to your essay. A little longer is acceptable, but too long is worthless.

8.      Revise and edit well

Review, revise, and proofread each body paragraph to eliminate writing errors. Do away with grammatical, spelling, punctuation, and syntax errors. Equally, remove all the unnecessary words and redundancies in your paragraphs. Only ensure you have a clear, concise, and authoritative body paragraph. Finally, remove all the repeated information between paragraphs. Each paragraph should be unique.

Summing Up

The successful students have mastered how to write good body paragraphs. Ideally, the process itself might be challenging. However, it is imperative to understand it to attain coherence in your essay. When the body paragraphs are on point, they together fortify the main thesis statement.

We have covered some unique techniques or paragraphing analogies to help you structure your paragraphs. Then, if you outline your paragraph according to each, you will end up with a high score essay or paper.

You are guaranteed to meet the writing objectives when the paragraphs flow with ideas and points. The only best reward you can get is high scores since you have displayed maturity in your writing. If that feels hard, we have expert essay writers you can count on, talk to us.

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