Each body paragraph is like a self-contained, short essay. Each needs some sort of introduction (which might also be the topic sentence), evidence, assertions (or claims), and a conclusion (which will transition into the next paragraph). Just like with any essay, each paragraph needs to be clearly focused.
In the case of body paragraphs, this means that each paragraph addresses one piece of the writing project, whether your objective is to prove an argument or tell a story (or both).
Clearly focused body paragraphs also relate back to your thesis. Each paragraph supports your thesis in some way, whether by presenting new evidence, exploring counter-arguments, or explaining part of the process. When each paragraph clearly relates back to your thesis, the essay is cohesive.
To produce a coherent essay, the body paragraphs need to be ordered in a logical way. You should expect to move paragraphs around, split them up differently, or delete or move sentences that don’t fit as part of the revision process.
Always be sure that you make appropriate revisions to a paragraph’s content if you move it or delete something. The paragraph might need additional information so that it makes sense to your readers.
Quick tip: Read your thesis, the topic sentence of each paragraph, and then one sentence from your conclusion. If the essay makes sense when you only read these important sentences, then your readers will be able to follow your essay easily.
The handout below walks you through the process of writing body paragraphs.
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