A body paragraph is a group of related sentences about a particular topic or idea directly relating to the thesis. Because essays are composed of multiple body paragraphs, writing and organizing good paragraphs is one of the most important aspects of creating a well-organized and developed essay.
The term body paragraph refers to any paragraph that follows the introduction and comes before the conclusion. The majority of any essay consists of multiple body paragraphs, and it is in these paragraphs where the main information is presented. The longer an essay is, the more body paragraphs there will be. Because the body paragraphs present the important facts and information from an essay, having well-written body paragraphs is essential in writing a successful essay.
The following are important aspects of all body paragraphs:
- A clear topic sentence
- Specific evidence or supporting detail
- Unity and cohesion
- Transitions between sentences and paragraphs
- A concluding sentence that ties the evidence or details back to the main point and brings the paragraph to a close
A topic sentence generally appears early in a body paragraph (often the 1st or 2nd sentence) and controls the paragraph. A topic sentence is like a mini thesis sentence for each paragraph and serves to unify the contents of the paragraph. Everything that follows in the paragraph needs to relate to the topic sentence. Not all essays call for explicit topic sentences, but most beginning writers should learn how to write effective topic sentences early on in order to achieve paragraph unity. More on topic sentences
No matter what type of essay is being written, all body paragraphs need to be fully developed and provide supporting detail. This detail can come in the form of personal examples, statistics, and/or quotes from an expert. When writing an essay that requires the use of research and outside sources, this information should be used to support the topic sentence.
All body paragraphs should also provide transitions. These transitions need to occur within the individual sentences of a paragraph and from one paragraph to the next. More on transitions
For more information on writing an effective body paragraph, please see the body paragraph exercise page on this site.
Transitions are one of the most important aspects of the body of your paper. Transitions between paragraphs as well as between sentences are essential in order for a paper to be readable, for the reader to fully understand the connections between the points you are trying to make and for the overall coherence of your essay. The use of transitions creates one unified paper instead of several smaller papers all thrown together under a similar larger topic.
- Where Do We Need Transitions?
- Between Sections -- This divides the major ideas or topics of your paper
- Between Paragraphs -- This divides the minor ideas of your writing because you must show a logical connection between your paragraphs.
- Between Sentences -- This shows the relationship between your sentences. These transitions are generally only a word or two, and can be done through the use of conjunctions which are words used to combine two sentences and show the relationship between them.
- Between Parts of a Sentence -- This shows how phrases connect within your sentences.
- Remember to use a variety of transitional expressions
- Remember to be consistent with your transitional expressions that separate the sequential ordering of your points. For example, use first, second and third if you are ordering your points, but not first, secondly, and last
- A mark of punctuation such as a dash, colon or semicolon, is a transition because it connects or shows a relationship between two things
- Remember that if something connects or shows a relationship then it is a transition