Writing The Body Paragraphs of An Essay or Article

How to write better paragraphs that delivers your message effectively and coherently
June 2, 2024 by
Writing The Body Paragraphs of An Essay or Article
Hamed Mohammadi
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Choosing a topic, crafting an opening, and forming a thesis statement are key to clear writing. But that’s just the beginning. Your points need to be backed up with well-organized details in each paragraph. This helps show your readers that your work is trustworthy. Think of each paragraph in the body of your essay as a piece of a puzzle that talks about one part of your main topic. These paragraphs should back up your main idea and guide your readers to the next piece of information.

Each paragraph in your essay should clearly show what you believe, just like your thesis statement does. They need enough facts and details to convince your readers that what you’re saying makes sense. The length of your paragraph matters too. If it’s too short, it won’t give enough information. But if it’s too long, the main idea might get lost in all the words. Think of it like a goldilocks situation; your paragraph should be just right.

Students often want to know the exact number of sentences they should write in a paragraph. But really, it depends on what you’re talking about and how you’re explaining it. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 5 to 7 strong sentences or more in each paragraph. However, this can change depending on the subject. You’ll know you’ve got it right when your writing flows well, each paragraph zooms in on one clear idea, explains it fully, and is arranged in a way that highlights your thoughts. Your main aim is to keep your readers hooked and get your message across loud and clear.

How to Write Effective Body Paragraphs

Imagine each paragraph in your essay as a brick that helps build your main argument. If these bricks don’t have solid evidence and substance to back up your main point, then readers won’t be convinced by what you’ve written. In essence, without these supportive bricks, your essay won’t stand strong.

Think of each paragraph in your essay like a mini-essay itself. Everything in it should fit together to back up your main idea. The first sentence tells you the key point (it’s like a mini-introduction). The sentences that follow add more information to explain that key point. And the last sentence wraps it all up (just like a conclusion does in a bigger essay).

Here’s a simple guide to help you build a strong paragraph for your essay:

  • Find the main idea that ties everything in the paragraph together.

  • Write a topic sentence that shows this main idea.

  • Choose details that are related to the main idea and write sentences that connect smoothly, building upon the topic sentence.

  • Stay on track with your topic and don’t get sidetracked.

  • Finish with a closing sentence that links back to what you’ve just explained and leads into the next paragraph’s main idea.

Each paragraph in your essay should focus on a specific part of your main argument. Think of it as a short essay on its own. Make sure it has:

  • A clear main idea (this is your topic sentence).

  • Detailed support for this idea (these are your supporting sentences).

  • A final thought that wraps up the paragraph and connects to the next one (this is your clincher sentence).

Patterns of Development for Paragraph Writing

Writing teachers often have strict rules about the structure of essays. They might ask you to write a whole paper using just one style, like a “description” or “process analysis.” But in reality, a good essay usually mixes different styles, depending on what each part needs. For example, even if you’re writing a paper to compare two things, you’ll probably still need to include examples, talk about causes and effects, tell stories, and use other kinds of writing in some paragraphs.

As we explore different ways to structure your writing, remember that these aren’t just made-up rules. They’re based on how we naturally think and share ideas with others. Choose a structure that fits your topic well. Think about how you want to present your thoughts so they make the most sense.

Narration is like telling a story, and it’s a way of writing that feels natural to most of us. We’ve been doing it since we were kids whenever someone asks us, “What happened?” The key to a good story is the order of events. You can tell them in the order they happened, start with the big moment and then explain how you got there, or mix in flashbacks to add depth to the story. Sometimes, a whole piece of writing is just about telling a story. But even then, you might use different ways of organizing your thoughts to make the story come alive. If you’re using narration in just one part of your writing, that part should follow the storytelling pattern all the way through.

Using examples is a common way to organize our thoughts, especially when we’re explaining something. Just like in a conversation, when we talk about people or events, we often use examples to paint a clearer picture. These examples act like illustrations, making it easier for others to understand and relate to what we’re saying.

Description is a way we often explain things, both when we talk and when we write. It’s about painting a picture with words so that others can imagine a person, place, or thing. Good descriptions make you feel like you’re really there, using vivid details that appeal to our senses of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. While it’s similar to telling a story, the main difference is that description focuses more on the sensory details rather than the order of events. It’s all about creating a vivid image that feels real and alive.

Process analysis is all about the steps. It’s a way of writing that gives us clear instructions on how to do something or how things work. It’s different from storytelling, which is about what happened. Process analysis breaks down the task into steps and explains each one in the right order. If you’ve ever been confused by bad instructions while trying to assemble a toy, you know why it’s so important to explain things step by step.

The cause and effect method is like being a detective. When we use it, we’re looking for the reasons behind something that’s already happened. Sometimes, we start with one cause and explore all the different results it could have. When you write using this method, your first sentence should point out either the cause or the effect. Then, the rest of your paragraph will dig into the effects if you started with a cause, or the causes if you started with an effect.

When we write using comparison and contrast, it’s like sorting through our everyday choices. We’re always weighing options, like which product is cheaper or which subject we like more. In writing, comparing means looking at both what’s alike and what’s different between two things. Contrasting, though, is all about spotting the differences. There are two main ways to organize your thoughts with this method. One way is to talk about everything to do with one thing first, then everything about the other, and wrap up with a sentence that brings it all together. The other way is to pick specific points to compare and go through them one by one.

Classification and division are like organizing a closet. With classification, you’re sorting different things into groups that make sense together. It’s important to pick clear categories and stick to them. Division is when you take one thing and break it down into its parts. Just like taking a gadget apart to see how it works, you look at each piece of what you’re writing about to understand it better.

Using analogies is like trying to explain a new game using the rules of an old one. It’s tough because you have to find similarities between two things that don’t seem alike at first. When you pick just the right comparison, it can really help people get what you’re talking about. But if the comparison isn’t quite right, it can end up being more confusing than helpful. So, it’s all about finding that perfect match that makes the new idea click.

When you’re deciding how to organize your writing, think about what will make your ideas clearest to your readers. Not every method works for every topic, so pick the one that best matches what you want to say. It’s like choosing the right tool for a job – the better the fit, the better the result.

How to Connect Sentences Effectively in Body Paragraphs

Great writing has a rhythm that carries the reader from one sentence to the next, and from paragraph to paragraph without stumbling. It’s like a dance of words where each step is planned to match the music perfectly. This harmony comes from mixing familiar ideas with fresh insights in just the right way, and providing the right support to strengthen what’s already been said. It’s all about finding that sweet spot where everything clicks into place.

While transition words are a part of writing, they’re not the only thing that makes your writing flow. Really good writing is built on a strong main idea, sentences that connect that idea to the details, and details that back up each sentence. Think of writing as building something; every part has to be placed just right to make the whole thing work. If you’re writing for others, not just for yourself, then how you put it all together is super important.

When a writer relies too much on words like “First,” “Second,” “Third,” and “Finally” to start paragraphs, it can feel a bit mechanical. High school teachers might suggest using these words to help keep things in order, especially for those just starting out. But if you’re aiming to improve your writing, try to move beyond these basic cues. Let the natural flow and organization of your ideas guide the reader through your writing. This approach can make your work feel more polished and engaging.

Repeating key words and using sentences that mirror each other can really tie your writing together. The subject you’re writing about decides which key words you should use again and again. And when you use parallel structures in your sentences, it’s not just about matching the grammar – the meaning has to line up too. It’s a bit like a dance routine where every move is in sync, not just because it looks good, but because it tells a story.

Body paragraphs are like links in a chain, each one connected by strong topic sentences that guide the reader smoothly from one idea to the next. Transition words can help make these connections clearer and keep your writing consistent. But choose them wisely to make sure they fit your ideas and keep the tone of your writing just right. When referring back to something you’ve already mentioned, pronouns can be handy. They help you avoid repeating the same nouns and keep your writing flowing nicely.

Transition words and phrases are like the glue that holds your writing together, making sure everything flows smoothly from one sentence to the next. But remember, they’re just part of the toolkit. The real strength of your writing comes from a solid structure and fully developed ideas. It’s important to understand the nuances of different transition words and use them wisely. They should complement your writing, not carry it. Think of them as the finishing touches that polish your work, not the foundation that holds it up.

Transition words and phrases, organized by their function to help you enhance the coherence and flow of your writing:


Transition Words/Phrases


furthermore, moreover, in addition, also, not to mention


similarly, likewise, in the same way


however, on the contrary, on the other hand, in contrast

Cause and Effect

therefore, consequently, as a result, thus, hence


first, second, third, next, then, finally


meanwhile, subsequently, thereafter, before, after


for instance, for example, to illustrate


indeed, in fact, most importantly, especially


in conclusion, to sum up, in summary, overall


that is, in other words, to clarify

 To make your writing more impactful and cohesive, link your ideas together. Use key words repeatedly, refer back to significant nouns with pronouns, and employ transition words to bridge sentences within your paragraphs. This will help your readers follow your train of thought and strengthen the connection between your ideas.

Here’s how you can craft compelling body paragraphs:

  1. Structure your body paragraphs like mini-essays: Each should have a clear beginning (topic sentence), middle (supporting details), and end (concluding sentence).

  2. Choose the best pattern of development: Depending on your content, decide whether to use narration, description, process analysis, comparison and contrast, or another organizational method that best conveys your message.

  3. Link your sentences: Use repeated key words, pronouns, and transition words to weave your sentences together seamlessly within each paragraph.

This approach will help ensure that each paragraph is strong, clear, and effective in supporting your overall argument or narrative.

Writing The Body Paragraphs of An Essay or Article
Hamed Mohammadi June 2, 2024
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