A List of Suggestions on How to Write a Body Paragraph for an Essay
Your essay should have at least three body paragraphs, each of them discussing a separate aspect of your topic. The rules of writing good body paragraphs are rather simple, but you need to know and follow them in order to produce a strong essay.
- Open with a topic sentence.
Decide what main idea you will discuss in this paragraph. Write it in sentence form. If your idea is “less traffic jams out there,” your topic sentence may be “public transportation can reduce traffic jams in the middles of big cities.”
- Add supporting points.
Look at the topic sentence in the example above. Would you believe it as it is? Or, would you like to see more facts, statistics, or logical reasoning? Consider adding at least two sentences that further explain or support your paragraph’s idea. One of your supporting points may be logical: “If people can get where they need to be via fast and convenient public transport, they would appreciate using it instead of expensive and stressful cars.” The other should be evidence-based: “a research study by Colman (2008) demonstrates that an increase in 1% of public transport passenger traffic reduces road congestion by 5%.”
- Use your topic sentence as a guide.
Each of the follow-up sentences should elaborate on the paragraph’s main idea. Do not include anything that takes away from the discussion. For example, if your paragraph idea is the one stated above, it is needless to write anything about the environmental benefits of more people shifting from private vehicles to public transport. Save it for your next paragraph.
- Keep your paragraph size reasonable.
A general rule is that an essay body paragraph should be 5 to 7 sentences long. However, in some cases, the use of a 3 or 8 sentence paragraph can also be justified. If your body paragraph is too short, consider adding more facts and examples that support your idea. If your paragraph is too long, think of how you can break it in two.
- Include transitions.
Close each paragraph with a sentence that forms a transition to the topic of the following paragraph. It may be difficult, but it is necessary for your essay to read as an integral piece of writing, not a bunch of random paragraphs knocked together.
- Check for a logical flow.
After you complete your paragraph, read it to make sure that each sentence is connected to the previous one and the topic sentence. If your topic sentence is “green is more pleasant than red,” the next one should develop this idea: “green has a relaxation effect that red does not.”