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

sensory details

what we experience 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 paragraphs & sentences relate to the central focus or main idea


the supporting details are connected and arranged so that the ideas logically and clearly flow

organizational structure

a way that the writer has organized his or her ideas; the most common are chronological, spatial, order of importance

chronological order

organizational structure in which details are arranged in order that they occur in time

spatial order

organizational structure in which the writer arranges the supporting details according to their location or space

order of importance

organizational structure of least to most or most to least; often used in persuasive writing

transitional words

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


paragraph in which the writer describes a scene or object


paragraph in which the writer tells a story or explains a sequence of events


paragraph in which the writer provides information in the form of facts, details, examples, definitions, answers


paragraph in which the writer attempts to convince readers to believe and/or do something


contains an introduction, body, and concluding paragraphs


the first paragraph of an essay where a thesis should be found


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


the main idea statement in an essay's introductory paragraph

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