Some Tips for Writing Efficient, Effective Body Paragraphs

Some Tips for Writing Efficient, Effective Body Paragraphs

While Writing:

Think of each body paragraph as a mini essay.

  • It should start with an introductory sentence.

Ask yourself: 

What is this paragraph going to be about?

  • Follow with the textual evidence.  
    • Introduce a new idea.
    • Give a quote that supports it.
    • Explain the significance of the quote with respect to your new idea.

Think: Claim. Evidence. Analysis.

  •  Finish with a closing thought and a good transition point.

Ask yourself:

What did that last paragraph have to do with my thesis?

This will keep the reader on track with your thoughts.

While Revising

Go back and look at each paragraph in your essay.

• State the main idea of each paragraph.

If you cannot find one unique focus point, there might be too many ideas within the paragraph. If this is the case, break up the ideas into separate paragraphs.

Remember: Shorter paragraphs can be beneficial because your ideas become more focused. This way, both you and your reader will be able to follow the specific steps you are taking to get to your conclusion.

Once you have determined the main ideas

Read each paragraph sentence by sentence.

Ask yourself:

Does this sentence have to do with the main topic of this paragraph?

If not, change it, or delete it!

Does it belong somewhere else in my essay?

If so, move it!

Is it similar to the sentence that comes before or after it? Or, is it similar to a sentence somewhere else within the paragraph?

If so, combine the ideas into one, specified sentence!

Remember: Each sentence should present new information and should support the main idea of the paragraph.


Barrett Briske

Student learning Center, University of California, Berkeley

©2007 UC Regents

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.