The individual paragraphs that prove your thesis by explaining your arguments or providing the information to readers. Each paragraph is focused on a single idea (usually noted with a focus word/phrase to explain what you will be saying about that idea) stated in a topic sentence. In turn, each paragraph supports, explains, or proves your thesis. You need to keep two things in mind when writing a body paragraph: 1) the overall focus of the essay (thesis); and 2) how this particular paragraph supports/proves/ explains it (focus word/s). When typed, a paragraph should roughly cover 1/3 to 1/2 of a page. Any more, and the reader probably needs a break; any less, and the reader isn't satisfied. This, of course, overlooks the occasional one sentence zinger paragraph.
One way to remember what a body paragraph should include is TEEC. Topic sentence, Evidence, Explanation, Conclusion.
Sample paragraph format
1. A main point stated in one sentence (make it an argument/statement -- "Because handguns are easy to hide, they
are more likely to be used by criminals" a claim that needs to be backed up). I'll call this a topic sentence.
2. An explanation of any general words in your main point.
3. Evidence or details that support your point (use descriptions, statistics, quotes from people who are involved in
4. The reader cannot read your mind: after each example, you have to tell him or her exactly what you want it to
prove/show. Ask the following question in your head "how does this example prove my point?" and "why is this quote important in this paragraph?" and then it answer in your essay. This is where you prove your argument.
As a sentence starter, try "This" or a restatement of your example (ex. "This small size") and then an explanatory word (illustrates, shows, demonstrates, proves, suggests, defines, supports, indicates, results or reveals) to begin your commentary (ex. "This small size results in a firearm that is too easy to conceal, . . . .").
5. A sentence to sum up.
The info on body paragraph is adapted from Rules of Thumb
n essay is a focused and organized presentation of your thinking on a particular topic - with an emphasis on the word focus. It is not everything you know or feel about a topic dumped into a collection of paragraphs, but a body of writing with a clear direction, a direction readily apparent to the reader, logically proceeding from one part to the next. It usually consists of an introduction, thesis/division statement, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
The main difference between academic essays and essays for general readership (such as articles in magazines) is audience. In academic writing, you communicate your thinking by following some basic conventions (introduction, thesis statement, etc.) so that your primary reader, a person who has sought out your essay, can quickly grasp your understanding of, or position on, a specific topic. When writing for general readers, more emphasis is placed on style; unlike the professor, these people don't have to read the essay: the writer has to make them want to read it - and it has to be good enough to persuade readers to shell out the bucks to do so. The challenge in writing for college lies in combining the two: to follow the conventions without sounding, well, conventional. As the sample student essays and paragraphs included in this packet show, it is possible to stick to a "pattern," yet retain an individual and interesting voice: it just takes a bit of skill and a lot of effort.
To look at your writing not as the person that wrote it, but as a reader who feels differently than you on any given topic. A good place to start revising is by deleting as much as you can. While this strikes terror in beginning writers' hearts ("It took me forever to come up with this in the first place!"), it is essential for good writing. Almost all drafts have paragraphs and sentences that aren't detailed or don't support the thesis. It's a very good sign if you cut out large sections of your prose: it shows that you now know what you want to say. In short, revision entails looking at the entire work and determining what helps and what doesn't -- and being brutally honest about what doesn't. As a student once told me, "All I'm keeping is the name at the top of the page."
After removing the "dead wood," you can work on communicating your thoughts more effectively. This often entails adding descriptions, facts, comparisons, or stories (evidence) to make your point, and then explaining, in two or three different ways, exactly how these descriptions, facts, etc. prove that point. Remember, the evidence makes perfect sense to you -- but not to the reader who looks at things differently than you do. In any case, make changes until you're sure the reader says "Oh, NOW I see what you mean."