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How to write a body paragraph for an essay

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In academic writing, learning how to write a body paragraph for an essay is one of the first challenges that students encounter. When writing, each body paragraph should follow a standard structure, with some variation allowed for short descriptive paragraphs. Many teachers simply provide their students with a model to follow, but teaching composition skills is important as well.

After all, learning how to write an essay has more value if students know what steps are needed to follow to accomplish that goal.

In this guide, we will use essay body paragraph examples to teach the best strategies on how to start a body paragraph and how to write them.

Let start with the definition of a body paragraph in essay writing.

What Is a Body Paragraph?

Body paragraphs are the second part of an essay after the thesis statement and before the conclusion. They discuss in detail examples, facts or ideas presented in one sentence of the introduction or used in support of a claim made in the thesis statement. A good body paragraph has three section which are the topic sentence, the explanation and the concluding sentence.

The number of body paragraphs in an essay will vary with the length and type of an essay being written, but an average five paragraph essay will have: one introduction paragraph, three body paragraphs, and one conclusion paragraph.

Learning how to write a body paragraph is not difficult when you understand the rules for building knowledge paragraphs in general.

What Is the Purpose of a Body Paragraph?

A body paragraph has one simple purpose: to present a single idea that supports your thesis. In academic essays, the role of writing body paragraphs is to provide individual examples of how the thesis is true.

The body paragraphs are where you present any information that your reader needs in order to understand your point. This means that body paragraphs usually have several sentences, even if they are fairly short ones. Since most academic essays will have three or more body paragraphs, it’s important not to repeat yourself in any way when writing each one.

Body paragraphs should also avoid being too short, or else you might end up giving your reader the impression that there’s not much to back up your thesis after all. A good rule of thumb is to aim for three well-developed sentences in each paragraph. However, it’s important to remember that no rule is set in stone, and the best way to judge whether you’ve written a good body paragraph is by reading it out loud. If you find yourself running out of breath, then your reader will likely stop reading before they get very far. Making your sentences concise enough to support solid arguments is important, but avoid sacrificing clarity over brevity (unless you are specifically asked to do so).

Tips on how to start a body paragraph in an essay effectively

Starting an essay body paragraph is not as simple as it may look because you have to convince the readers that your arguments are significant and plausible. The end of the introduction should bring about a transition into the body paragraph.

The way to start an essay body paragraph is to create a link between what you wrote in the introductory paragraph and what you are about to say next. This can be done through an essay hook which is a transitional phrase that helps to link the opening and the body of the essay.

The following hooks have been classified into three categories: transition hooks, comparison hooks, and correlation hooks.

  1. Transition hooks: You can start an essay body paragraph with a transition hook if you feel there is a need for a connection between what you wrote in your introduction and what you are about to talk about in the body paragraph.
  2. Comparison hooks: You can opt for comparison hooks if you want to compare and contrast your arguments with others in the introduction.
  3. Correlation hooks: Correlation hooks may be used when you want to draw a connection between what is stated in the introduction and what you are going to discuss in the essay’s body paragraphs.

Here are the steps start a body paragraph:

Step 1: Create a transition hook that relates the body of your essay to the introduction.

Step 2: Provide an explanation for why your evidence is important and relevant.

Step 3: Give examples, statistics, illustrations etc., related to what you have stated in step 2.

Step 4: End the paragraph with another transition hook that relates the body paragraph to the rest of your essay.

For instance, if you are writing about how poverty affects students’ grades in school, you can create a transition hook between your introduction and your body paragraphs by saying something like “Statistics show that…” or “According to statistics,…”. What follows after the transition hook is an explanation of the statistics you have provided. In the second paragraph, you can offer specific examples from your personal experiences to prove what you have stated in step 2.

For example:

A study shows that only 33% of students who come from disadvantaged homes move away from poverty when they become adults while around 50% of children with middle class parents achieve the same thing.

Statistics show that poverty has a huge effect on educational attainment; therefore, the statements in the introduction will provide support for what is stated in step 2.

In your second body paragraph, you can use this transition hook: “As shown by the example…” In this case, you would give an example that helps to prove what you stated in step 2.

Finally, end your essay with yet another transition hook that relates the rest of your essay’s body paragraphs to the introduction. For example: “Thus, these are some of the ways poverty can affect students’ grades in school.”

Read more: body paragraph argumentative essay

Example of words to start a body paragraph in an essay -essay body paragraph starters

Here is a list of words to start a body paragraph in an essay. You are free to choose any of the essay body paragraph starters listed below:

  1. A striking example of this is the case of…
  2. The most compelling evidence for … can be seen in…
  3. An interesting statistic concerning… is…
  4. One important reason why….is because…
  5. Another vital element that helps us understand …. is . ..
  6. The primary purpose behind …… is……
  7. The most frequent reason given for …. is …..
  8. In conclusion, the only feasible way to understand …… is by considering it from all these angles.

Essay body paragraph starters tip: It must be noted that using the above words to start a body paragraph in an essay might not yield perfect results if there are other words interfering with them. This is because the reader might not be able to follow your line of thinking. However, they are useful as a starting point for brainstorming.

What Are the Components of a Body Paragraph?

A good body paragraph should include the following components:

  1. A topic sentence: The topic sentence, which introduces the idea of the paragraph and previews the examples that will support the thesis.
  2. Supporting sentences: Several details or examples to support your thesis. Depending on length requirements, a body paragraph should include at least two examples.
  3. A concluding sentence: A concluding sentence restates your thesis and ties all of the details of your essay together.

These are the 3 components of a good body paragraph. This is usually all you need to write a good body paragraph, but for descriptive essay paragraphs this strategy will not work as well because the focus must be on describing details of an event or object rather than explaining them. These types of body paragraphs include more of a narrative essay style that focuses on emotions or sensations rather than just the facts.

Some teachers want their students to follow a specific format for writing each paragraph, starting with an introductory sentence and ending with a conclusion sentence. However, this is not always possible in certain essay types such as in writing a process essay or process analysis essay where the purpose is to explain how something works.

How to Write a Body Paragraph in an essay

Now that we have gone through most details on body paragraphs and how they are used in academic writing, let us now review important tips in writing the body paragraphs effectively:

Tip 1: Write with a purpose

When writing a body paragraph, you should aim to express one primary idea at the beginning of the paragraph. This will be your position or claim that you are going to justify in the rest of the paragraph. Try to limit yourself to only one primary claim per body paragraph.

Also, it is important to keep in mind that every single sentence in a body paragraph should have a clear connection to the primary claim that you have made.

For example, if your main position is “The United States should take military action against North Korea”, you should make sure that every sentence in your paragraph directly has something to do with this idea. The purpose of each sentence is to either prove or support your claim.

For example:

North Korea is a threat to the safety and security of the United States with its unpredictable nuclear missiles. The most recent test showed that they can fire a missile as far as California . This is an immediate danger to the population because most of them are not aware of how close they actually are from getting attacked.

Tip 2: Include counterarguments

A counterargument is an opposing view to your claim that you will need to address in order to prove your point. It is important to include a counterargument because this will show that you have thought about the issue from all angles and that you are not simply providing a one-sided argument.

Including a counterargument also makes your argument stronger because it allows you to refute any possible objections that your reader might have. This will make it more difficult for them to argue against your position.

Even if you are citing sources that directly support your claim, it is important to include counterarguments. This will act as a good backup just in case your reader tries to disagree with you. If you feel like adding more details to your paragraph then this would be the best place for it.

Tip 3: Use strong evidence

When writing body paragraphs, it is important to use strong evidence in order to support your position. This evidence can come from a variety of sources such as scholarly articles, statistics, expert opinions, personal experiences, etc.

It is important to remember that citing sources will always help you prove your point because it shows the reader that you are not just making things up by yourself.

Remember that not all evidence is equally strong. Statistics, expert opinions, and hard data are considered much stronger than personal experiences or opinions of others. You should aim to use this type of evidence whenever possible.

Tip 4: Stay focused

Make sure that everything in your paragraph is directly related to the topic at hand. Each sentence should have a connection to your primary argument or else it will not be considered part of your body paragraph.

It is important to remember what exactly you are trying to prove in every body paragraph so that your can stay focused and avoid going off on a tangent.

For example, if you are writing about the reasons why North Korea is dangerous then it would not be appropriate to start talking about how innocent its people are or how their country has been victimized by past wars. Even though these may be considered factors in why they pose a security threat to the United States, they are not directly related to your primary argument.

Tip 5: Use paragraph breaks as necessary

It is important to remember that you need to create clear connections between each of your sentences. This will become increasingly more difficult if all of your sentences are combined together. Therefore, it is important to use paragraph breaks as necessary so that the reader can clearly see what points you are trying to prove and how they are connected.

The best way do this is by including a topic sentence that previews the point you are trying to prove in the next paragraph. This will allow your reader to get ready for what you have to say and it will make your argument much easier to follow.

Tip 6: Revise your work

Remember that writing is a process and the final product will always be different from what you initially had in mind. This means that it is important to constantly revise your work until you are completely satisfied with the result.

Even though this can seem very time-consuming at first, it will make it much easier to come up with a good body paragraph. This is because you will not be simply writing something down as it comes to your mind. You will instead be trying to create a solid argument that has all the necessary components and details.

Tip 7: Evaluate and edit your work

It is important to evaluate and edit your work before you submit it for grading or publishing/posting online. You should always make sure that your work is logical and follows the necessary guidelines for creating good body paragraphs.

If you are unsure of how to go about this process, there are many resources available on the internet that can help guide you in the right direction.

Essay body paragraph examples

Here is an example of a body paragraph in an essay, followed by commentary describing how it follows the guidelines presented above.

PARAGRAPH ONE:

Many people attend church for different reasons. Some go to be closer to God, some go because their family wants them to, and some are forced into going by peers or religious figures.

This paragraph clearly describes its topic—the general subject of church attendance—and gives three specific instances of church attendance, all of which are relevant to the topic. This subject/topic/topic sentence structure is both concise and appropriate for a body paragraph.

PARAGRAPH TWO:

I used to attend church for the sole reason that my family expected me to go.

This sentence immediately offers an example of the writer’s particular situation regarding church attendance, and it is relevant to the topic. This sentence also has a clear subject/topic/topic sentence structure.

PARAGRAPH THREE:

I have gone to church occasionally since then because I feel that being religious can sometimes help society be more peaceful.

This paragraph offers another example of the writer’s specific reason for attending church, which is relevant to the topic and clear in its subject/topic/sentence structure.

As you can see, the three body paragraphs essay above follow the guidelines we established above. However, not all students’ work will be this simple. To further demonstrate how to properly format a body paragraph, consider the following paragraph.

PARAGRAPH ONE:

Over time, churches have proven to be excellent places for marriage proposals, funerals, and other social gatherings.

This subject/topic sentence is clear and concise enough that it could serve as a thesis statement for an essay about many different types of events that are held in churches. Because of its general subject, it could not be a proper topic sentence for a body paragraph; we need more specific detail to base our examples on.

PARAGRAPH TWO:

My cousin was the recipient of one such marriage proposal in my uncle’s church and described the event as “beautiful,” and even teared up when she recalled it for me.

This sentence gives us a specific example of one event that was held in a church: a marriage proposal. It is relevant to the topic and has a clear subject/verb/sentence structure.

PARAGRAPH THREE:

However, funerals provide an even more vivid illustration of churches’ role as community gathering places.

This subject/topic sentence is specific, but it does not offer any information to illustrate the point; thus, though relevant to the topic, it cannot serve as a proper body paragraph topic sentence.

PARAGRAPH FOUR:

Some of my fondest memories are of listening to the music and beautiful words at my grandparents’ and uncle’s funerals.

This sentence offers a relevant example of the topic, but it is not clear in its subject/verb/sentence structure. Because this sentence only describes one personal experience that the writer had with church, it cannot support a thesis statement; instead, it would work better as part of an introductory paragraph about churches being community gathering places.

For most people, good topic sentences are not just the first sentence of a paragraph; most are also found in the last sentence or two of that same paragraph. After you have written several body paragraphs, go back and review them to ensure they have clear topic, subject, sentence structures.

Resources

  1. Writing body paragraphs – Research & Learning Online
  2. How Do I Write an Intro, Conclusion, & Body Paragraph?
  3. Body – How to write an essay – University of Newcastle Library
  4. Body Paragraphs | UAGC Writing Center
  5. Essay body paragraphs – OWLL
  6. Guide to essay paragraph structure – Deakin University
  7. Writing Essay Body Paragraphs – Griffith University
  8. Five-Paragraph Essay | Jackson State Community College
  9. Write the main body | Essay writing | Library | University of Leeds

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