Transitions show the connections between paragraphs themselves, and the connections between the paragraphs and the overall focus of the essay (the ). Every paragraph should have a different controlling idea, each one discussing one aspect or part of the overall essay. Body paragraphs will often begin with a summary of the controlling idea: The topic sentence. As a rough guide, a sentence longer than three lines is too long. All paragraphs should be focused: Explanations, evidence, and examples. Explanations use logic to fully explain the point raised in the topic sentence. You need to show that outside evidence supports it as well. Evidence can includeAll evidence must be relevant to the topic, and it must be used and credited properly. Outside sources can be quoted, summarised, or paraphrased.
For information on the right and wrong ways to do this, see. Ask an expert at However, don't make those sentences too long. The topic sentence summarises the paragraph in the same way that the thesis statement summarises the whole essay. The rest of the paragraph supports that topic sentence, by explaining it in detail, giving an example, or citing evidence that reinforces it. The largest part of any body paragraph is the support: They usually take up most of the essay. Paragraphs contain three main sections: Academic paragraphs are usually at least three sentences long, and can be longer still. It is not enough to just explain an idea, however: They should discuss only one major point.
That point should connect with the overall focus of the essay (as described in the ). The major point of a paragraph is often called the controlling idea. They should fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. This video lecture explains the mechanics of paragraph writing for university students and takes them through the process of constructing a well-structured paragraph. After the introduction come the body paragraphs. They often appear at the end of a paragraph. Transitions are essential for maintaining momentum in your essay and showing the reader how all the ideas fit together. Crediting outside sources is known as referencing, and is described in detail in the section titled. Body paragraphs do not exist in isolation. They are described in detail in the next section. See and for model body paragraphs. Have a study or assignment writing question? Essay paragraphs.