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section of text focused on a single idea

main idea

the overall point of a paragraph

topic sentence

the sentence in which a paragraph's main idea is stated

supporting sentences

contain the concrete details that prove, explain, or elaborate a paragraph's main idea

sensory details

what we expeerience through the senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell


information that can be proven true by direct observation or by checking a reliable reference source


typical instances of an idea


all of the paragraph's sentences relate to the central focus or main idea


the supporting details are clearly connected and arranged with a smart organizational structure and transitional words and phrases

organizational structure

a way that the writer has organized his or her ideas; the most common are chronological, spatial, order of importance, cause and effect, sequential, compare and contrast

chronological order

the writer arranges the supporting details in the order in which they happened; often used in fictional stories, to explain a process, or to show cause and effect

spatial order

the writer arranges the supporting details according to their location; often used in writing descriptions

order of importance

the writer arranges the supporting details in which the most important is either located at teh beginning or the end of a series of ideas; often used in persuasive writing

transitional words and phrases

a writer uses these to create coherence; categories include comparing and contrasting, showing cause and effect, showing time, showing place; showing support

descriptive paragraph

the writer describes a scene or object

narrative paragraph

the writer tells a story or explains a sequence of events

expository paragraph

the writer presents information including facts, instructions, definitions in order to inform

persuasive paragraph

the writer attempts to convince others to accept his or her opinion and take action to support it


a short piece of non-fiction writing which contains an introduction, body, and conclusion


the first paragraph of an essay which grabs or hooks the readers' attention and contains a thesis statement which provides the topic's main idea

ways to catch a reader's attention in an introduction

ask a question, start with an anecdote, or begin with a surprising fact


a brief story that can catch readers' attention


the paragraphs of an essay in between the introduction and conclusion in which the writer presents the main supportive, concrete details to support the thesis


the last paragraph of an essay in which the writer ties together the supporting ideas and gives the readers a sense that the writing is complete

ways to finish a concluding paragraph

restate the main idea in a different way; refer back to the introduction anecdote or surprising fact, offer insight through commentary or a quotation


the main idea statement in an essay's introductory paragraph

concrete details

Specific details that form the backbone or core of the body paragraphs. Synonyms for concrete details include facts, specifics, examples, descriptions, illustrations, support, proof, evidence, quotations, paraphrasing, or plot references

attention grabber or hook

A statement, startling fact, question, or anecdote that appears at the beginning of the introduction and "hooks" or grabs the reader's attention.


The writer's opinion or comment about something. Synonyms include opinion, insight, analysis, interpretation, inference, personal response, feelings, evaluation, explication, and reflection.


Using your own words to restate an author's information; requires giving credit to the original author

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