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Body Paragraph

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Body Paragraph

Good writing has a beginning, middle, and end. Beginnings and endings are brief. The majority of an essay is the middle part. That middle part is called the body. The paragraphs that make up that body are called body paragraphs. The purpose of body paragraphs is to explain your ideas. But even body paragraphs have a structure: a beginning, middle, and end. Good writing uses this structure to explain and transition between ideas.

Body Paragraph Meaning

A body paragraph is one of several paragraphs that make up the body of an essay. Let's take a closer look at what body paragraphs are.

Body paragraphs are the paragraphs that make up the bulk of an essay. They appear between the introduction and conclusion. Each body paragraph covers a different aspect of your main idea.

In a 5-paragraph essay, there are three body paragraphs. Each body paragraph supports your main idea by explaining a different aspect of it.

Purpose of Body Paragraph

The purpose of body paragraphs is to explain your ideas. The body paragraphs are where you make your arguments, provide evidence, and explain your reasoning. Think of your essay as a literal body. It has feet, a head, and everything in between.

Body Paragraph, body icon, StudySmarterThink of body paragraphs as making up the literal 'body' of your paper- StudySmarter Originals

A good essay starts with a solid foundation. The introduction is the essay's feet, providing that solid foundation. This foundation sets up the essay so you can build on it.

As you build the essay, you work your way upward, ending at the conclusion. The conclusion is the head of the essay. It completes the picture and allows you to summarize your ideas and look forward to the future.

So, what is between the head and the feet? Everything else! The body paragraphs are like the actual body of your essay. They take up most of the essay. Body paragraphs explain the bulk of your arguments and ideas.

Without the body paragraphs, you would have no essay! They are pretty important.

What is the Purpose of Each Body Paragraph?

In a 5-paragraph essay, each body paragraph serves a different purpose. Look at the table below to learn about the purpose of each body paragraph.

ParagraphPurpose

Body Paragraph 1

The first body paragraph starts the body of the essay. It explains and supports the most important idea or strongest argument of the essay.

Body Paragraph 2

The second body paragraph explains the second most important idea or second strongest argument of the essay.

Body Paragraph 3

The third body paragraph explains the least important or weakest argument of the essay. It builds on the ideas from body paragraphs 1 & 2. It can also be used to address possible counterclaims to your argument IF you were not able to address them throughout your essay.

Body Paragraph Structure With Examples

The structure of a body paragraph includes a topic sentence, supporting sentences with evidence, and a concluding sentence. Let's take a closer look at each of these features and how to write them.

Topic Sentence

Every body paragraph should begin with a topic sentence.

A topic sentence is a sentence that states the main idea of a paragraph. It states the one thing you want the reader to understand from that paragraph.

A good topic sentence focuses the paragraph. It should be the very first sentence of the paragraph. When writing a topic sentence, ask yourself: what is the one thing I want the reader to get from this paragraph?

A good topic sentence clearly connects to the essay's thesis statement.

A thesis statement is a sentence that summarizes the main point of an essay. It appears at the end of the introduction.

Think of the topic sentence as one part of the thesis statement. It states one important piece of your main idea.

Thesis statement: If we are going to provide equal education for all, teachers will need more support in terms of funding, resources, and professional development.

Topic Sentence Body Paragraph 1: Teachers need more funding to obtain more resources, as well as to give them the time and energy needed to focus on student learning.

Topic Sentence Body Paragraph 2: Teachers need to be provided with the necessary resources to ensure every student has equal access to classroom materials and content.

Topic Sentence Body Paragraph 3: Teachers need more professional development to learn how to utilize equality-building resources in the classroom and beyond.

Supporting Sentences

If the topic sentence supports the thesis statement, then what supports the topic sentence? Supporting sentences!

Supporting sentences explain the reasons for the main idea of the paragraph. Each paragraph should have multiple supporting sentences that explain the topic sentence.

When writing supporting sentences, imagine you are in a conversation with the reader. You state your main idea (the topic sentence). The reader is intrigued! They ask you "why" or "how so"? Answer the reader's question with supporting sentences!

Body Paragraph, Supporting Evidence, StudySmarterInclude at least 2-3 supporting sentences to back up your topic sentence in each body paragraph- StudySmarter Original

Every body paragraph should have at least 2-3 supporting sentences. Each sentence should relate to the topic sentence.

Topic Sentence: Teachers need more funding to obtain more resources, as well as to give them the time and energy needed to focus on student learning.

Supporting Sentence 1: Teachers often pay for resources out of their own pockets, which limits what they can provide students.

Supporting Sentence 2: Teachers do not make enough money to live on, let alone provide their own educational resources.

Supporting Sentence 3: Working multiple jobs distracts teachers from their classes, drains them of energy, and keeps them from seeking out professional development opportunities.

*Note how each supporting sentence offers a different reason for the argument. Think of supporting sentences as reasons for your argument. What are your reasons?

Evidence

Back up every supporting sentence with evidence.

Evidence is what you use to support a claim. It includes any facts, examples, or sources that back up your ideas.

The conversation with the reader is still going! You stated your main idea (the topic sentence). You also explained your reasons for that idea (the supporting sentences). But the reader is not quite convinced yet. They ask you, "How do you know this?" You use evidence to show them you know what you're talking about! When identifying evidence, ask yourself: How do I know I'm right about this? What would prove I know what I'm talking about?

Body Paragraph, Supporting Evidence, StudySmarterEvery supporting sentence needs a piece of related evidence- StudySmarter Original

Here are some different types of evidence you might use to back up your ideas:

  • Facts or statistics
  • Quotes from interviews
  • Opinions from authors
  • Descriptions of events, locations, or images
  • Examples from sources
  • Definitions of terms

Supporting Sentence: Teachers often pay for resources out of their own pockets, which limits what they can provide students.

Evidence: According to a 2018 survey, 94% percent of teachers spend their own money on supplies and resources for their classrooms every year.1

How can you communicate evidence? There are 3 different ways to do so:

1. Summary

You can summarize a source by overviewing the main ideas of that source. For example, you might summarize the findings of a study. Summaries are helpful when the general gist of a source is all you need to support your idea.

2. Paraphrase

You can also summarize one or two points from a source. This is called paraphrasing. For instance, the evidence in the above example paraphrased one point from an article. Paraphrasing is perfect for pulling important ideas from a source.

3. Direct Quote

Sometimes you need to use the exact words from a source to convey its message. We call the use of a source's exact words a direct quote. Direct quotes are helpful when a source words something perfectly.

Quick Tip! Don't rely too much on one of these methods. Instead, blend all three of them. Good writing uses a balanced blend of summary, paraphrase, and quote.

Concluding Sentence

Every body paragraph must come to a close. Let the reader know you are wrapping up the paragraph with a concluding sentence. The concluding sentence is the last sentence of the paragraph. It wraps up the paragraph and lets the reader know you are ready to move on to the next point.

A good concluding sentence:

  • Briefly summarizes the ideas of the paragraph
  • Provides a sense of closure
  • Signals what is coming next

Teachers are expected to pay for their own resources with limited funds, limited time, and limited attention to their students' needs.

*Note how this example summarizes the main ideas of the paragraph. It brings them together to show why they matter. However, it does NOT signal what is coming next! That's what transitions are for. We'll discuss transitions next.

Body Paragraph Transitions

Once you have the basic structure of a body paragraph, add transitions. Transitions are important for showing how your ideas fit together.

Transitions are words and phrases that show the relationships between ideas.

Transitions help your paper flow from one paragraph to the next. They also show how your paragraphs connect to the thesis statement.

How to Transition Between Paragraphs

Transitions look different from one body paragraph to the next. Let's go over how to add transitions to each body paragraph.

ParagraphsWhere to add transitionsExample transition words

Transitioning from the introduction to body paragraph 1

  • Add a transition to the topic sentence of Body Paragraph 1. Use transition words that emphasize the relationship between the topic sentence and the thesis statement.
  • Ask yourself: What part of the thesis statement is this paragraph? Is it the most important idea? The first event? The strongest argument?
first, firstly, first of all, most importantly, one of the most important, immediately, from the beginning, originally, primarily, to begin with, one (way/reason/method/etc.)

Transitioning from body paragraph 1 to 2

  • Add a transition to the concluding sentence of Body Paragraph 1. Hint at what is next.
  • Add a transition to the topic sentence of Body Paragraph 2. Emphasize the relationship between the main ideas of body paragraphs 1 & 2.
  • Ask yourself: How do these two ideas connect? What is the relationship between them?
not only, as well, additionally, also, secondly, then, however, although, accordingly, specifically, for example, during, immediately following, so, to illustrate, another (way/reason/method/etc.)

Transitioning from body paragraph 2 to 3

  • Add a transition to the concluding sentence of Body Paragraph 2. Hint at what is next.
  • Add a transition to the topic sentence of Body Paragraph 3. Emphasize the relationship between the main ideas of body paragraphs 2 & 3.
  • Ask yourself: How do these ideas build on each other? How do reveal another aspect of the main idea of my essay?
furthermore, after, similarly, also, differently, in contrast, nonetheless, on the contrary, moreover, equally important, thirdly, finally, all along, subsequently, later, afterward, after, therefore, consequently

Transitioning from body paragraph 3 to the conclusion

  • No transition words are needed to transition to the conclusion. Instead, add concluding words to the concluding sentence of Body Paragraph 3.
  • Concluding words show how the main idea of the paragraph relates to the main ideas of body paragraphs 1 & 2.
  • Ask yourself:How can I let the reader know this is my final point? How can I show the relationship between this final point and my other ideas?
as we can see, it's obvious that, together, all together, over time, in summation, overall, in the end, when all is said and done, after all

You should also transition between your ideas within each body paragraph.

As you write each body paragraph, make sure it's clear how each thought connects to the others. Sometimes this connection is obvious. For example:

Teachers often pay for resources out of their own pockets, which limits what they can provide students. According to a 2018 survey, 94% percent of teachers spend their own money on supplies and resources for their classrooms every year.

Note how each idea has a clear connection: teachers paying for their own resources. Therefore, a transition word is not necessary to tie them together. However, this connection is not always so clear. For example:

Teachers pay anywhere from $400 to over $1000 per year on average for classroom supplies. Teachers have notoriously low wages, and over one-third of teachers take second jobs.

See how the above example doesn't have clear connections? It appears to jump between ideas. It's clear that teachers pay for their own resources. It's also clear that teachers have low wages and take second jobs. However, it's NOT clear exactly how those ideas relate to each other. These connections become clearer by adding transitions.

The same survey found that teachers pay anywhere from $400 to over $1000 per year on average for classroom supplies. Couple this fact with teachers' notoriously low wages, and it's no wonder over one-third of teachers take second jobs.

By simply adding transitions, it becomes much easier to understand how these ideas tie into each other! It's now clear that this information comes from the survey previously cited. It's also clear that the relationship between these ideas is one of cause and effect. Because teachers have low wages and have to pay for their own resources, they often have to take second jobs.

When writing, take some time to make sure your ideas are connected clearly. When necessary, add some transitions to clarify these connections.

Body Paragraph Examples

Let's look at an example of a body paragraph. Note how each feature is in a different color. Pay attention to how these different features work together to explain the main idea.

Use this table for reference to identify each element:

Topic SentenceSupporting SentenceEvidenceConcluding SentenceTransition between paragraphsTransition between ideas

Most importantly, teachers need more funding to obtain resources, as well as to give them the time and energy needed to focus on student learning. Teachers often pay for resources out of their own pockets, which limits what they can provide students. According to a 2018 survey, 94% percent of teachers spend their own money on supplies and resources for their classrooms every year. Teachers do not make enough money to live on, let alone to provide their own educational resources. The same survey found that teachers pay anywhere from $400 to over $1000 per year on average for classroom supplies. Couple this fact with teachers' notoriously low wages, and it's no wonder over one-third of teachers take second jobs. Working multiple jobs distracts teachers from their classes, drains them of energy, and keeps them from seeking out professional development opportunities. According to the National Education Association, "Moonlighting can increase stress and drive disengagement, as teachers are forced to juggle multiple schedules and have their family and leisure time reduced."2 Teachers are expected to pay for their own resources with limited funds, limited time, and limited attention to their students' needs, so how can they be expected to ensure these resources are available to students that need them most?

Body Paragraph - Key takeaways

  • Body paragraphs are the paragraphs that make up the bulk of an essay.
  • The purpose of body paragraphs is to explain your ideas.
  • In a 5-paragraph essay, each of the three body paragraphs serves a different purpose.
  • The structure of a body paragraph includes a topic sentence, supporting sentences with evidence, and a concluding sentence.
  • Once you have the basic features of a body paragraph, add transitions to those features to show the relationships between your ideas.

1. Grace Sparks, "94% of teachers spend their own money on school supplies," CNN, 2018.

2. Tim Walker, National Education Association, "Almost One-Third of New Teachers Take on Second Jobs," NEAToday, 2019.

Frequently Asked Questions about Body Paragraph

Body paragraphs are the paragraphs that make up the bulk of an essay. They appear between the introduction and conclusion. Each body paragraph covers a different aspect of the essay's main idea.  

The features of a body paragraph are a topic sentence, supporting sentences with evidence, and a concluding sentence. 

A good example of a body paragraph is as follows:

Most importantly, teachers need more funding to obtain resources, as well as to give them the time and energy needed to focus on student learning. Teachers often pay for resources out of their own pockets, which limits what they can provide students. According to a 2018 survey, 94% percent of teachers spend their own money on supplies and resources for their classrooms every year. Teachers do not make enough money to live on, let alone to provide their own educational resources. The same survey found that teachers pay anywhere from $400 to over $1000 per year on average for classroom supplies. Couple this fact with teachers' notoriously low wages, and it's no wonder over one-third of teachers take second jobs. Working multiple jobs distracts teachers from their classes, drains them of energy, and keeps them from seeking out professional development opportunities. According to the National Education Association, "Moonlighting can increase stress and drive disengagement, as teachers are forced to juggle multiple schedules and have their family and leisure time reduced." Teachers are expected to pay for their own resources with limited funds, limited time, and limited attention to their students' needs, so how can they be expected to ensure these resources are available to students that need them most? 

Start a body paragraph example with a topic sentence stating the main idea of the paragraph. Then add support sentences, evidence, and a concluding sentence.

The purpose of body paragraphs is to explain your ideas.

Final Body Paragraph Quiz

Question

What is an opinion?

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Answer

Opinion is a personal conjecture.

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Question

Should you use an opinion to support your thesis?

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Answer

No.

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Question

"An opinion does not require verification."


True or false?

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Answer

True.

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If something has failed to acquire verification, what is it?

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Answer

An opinion

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Question

"Humans will evolve into beings of pure energy."

Is this an opinion or a potential fact?

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Answer

An opinion. It cannot be verified, whereas potential facts are in the process of verification.

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Question

Fact is not ____. Fact is what is found out during the search for the truth.

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Answer

The truth

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Question

Fact is what has continuously withstood the test of _____.

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Answer

Hypotheses

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Question

Can a fact be arrived at logically?

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Answer

Yes. Through the argumentation of a hypothesis. 

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Question

If a conclusion has been arrived at practically through the experimentation of a hypothesis, is it a fact?

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Answer

Yes, assuming there are no flaws with the experiment.

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Question

What is a potential fact?

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Answer

Potential facts are in the process of being proven or disproven. The advanced study of quantum mechanics involves potential facts, for example.

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If something is a conclusion, is it a fact or an opinion?

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Answer

It could be either. Facts and opinions can both be conclusions of a kind.

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Question

Can facts evolve?

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Answer

Yes, people are learning new things all the time. This should not be used an argument for conspiracies or pseudoscience, which have no basis in real learning or research. 

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Question

Opinion is not concerned with _____, while facts are.

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Answer

Verification

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Question

Is a subjective conclusion an opinion?

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Answer

Yes. Subjective conclusions contain bias.

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Question

If a hypothesis has been tested repeatedly and the results are inconclusive, is taking a stance on it an opinion?

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Answer

Yes. If a hypothesis has been repeatedly tested and the result consistently provides no answer, then to declare an answer is a matter of opinion.


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If something is quantified, is it fact?

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Answer

Yes. However, quantified results can lead to all kinds of conclusions, including incorrect ones if used fallaciously. 

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If many people have seen something, is it a fact?

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Answer

Not necessarily. If something is clearly witnessed by multiple unbiased people, it is a fact.

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In what ways should you be wary of what you see or read? You should be wary of what? 

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Answer

Be wary of unverified sources, unread context, generalization, sets of information, and all logical fallacies.

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Which is not a hedge word?

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Answer

Absolutely

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Which is not a hedge word?

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Undeniably

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Which is not a hedge phrase?

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Despite there being

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Hedges are words or phrases that express _____.

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Answer

Uncertainty

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If you have a great idea, can you hedge your thesis statement?

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No. You should never hedge your thesis statement. The claim must be clear and unambiguous. 

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"It appears that Group B is not compliant." 

Does this claim contain a hedge?

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Answer

Yes, "appears."

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"Group C certainly provides the data."

Does this claim contain a hedge?

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Answer

No. This claim is definitive.

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Question

Hedging in your body paragraphs is often a sign that your evidence is _____.

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Answer

Weak

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In your body paragraphs, if you are not confident in your evidence, is hedging a good option for that evidence?

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Answer

If you are not confident enough in your evidence to include it without hedges, then you probably shouldn’t include it.

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Question

Many students will present perfectly good evidence, then hedge it just to be on the safe side. Is this the safe, proper call in an essay?


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Answer

No. Let your evidence speak for itself. You want to be confident in your essay.

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Question

What is the hedging fallacy?

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The hedging fallacy is conceding an argument, using a hedge word to create a new hedged argument, but then dismissing the hedged argument and returning to the original (previously conceded) argument.

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Is it okay to revise a claim by hedging it?

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Yes, on its own. This is the search for the truth. It is not okay to revise a claim superficially, then to continue arguing the original claim.

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Regardless of how they are shaped, hedged arguments always make a concession then what?


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Return to the original conclusion or claim.

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In an essay, should a quick wit cover for a lesser argument?

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No. It is better to be cautious and lack a quick answer than it is to employ a logical fallacy in order to stall your opponent.

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Where do hedge words appear in the hedging fallacy?

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In the revised claim that is summarily dismissed.

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Question

What are body paragraphs?

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Answer

Body paragraphs are the paragraphs that make up the bulk of an essay. They appear between the introduction and conclusion. Each body paragraph covers a different aspect of your main idea. 

Show question

Question

How many body paragraphs are there in a 5-paragraph essay?

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Answer

3

Show question

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Where do body paragraphs appear in an essay?

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Answer

Body paragraphs appear between the introduction and the conclusion of an essay.

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Question

True or false: 

Body paragraphs take up the bulk of an essay.

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Answer

True! Body paragraphs make up the body of the essay, so they take up the most space.

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Question

If a paragraph explains the second most important idea of the essay, which paragraph is it?

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Answer

Body paragraph 2

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Question

Which idea or argument should the third body paragraph of an essay cover?

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Answer

the least important idea or weakest argument

Show question

Question

What are the features that structure a body paragraph?

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Answer

topic sentence

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Question

What is a topic sentence?

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Answer

A topic sentence is a sentence that states the main idea of a paragraph. It states the one thing the writer wants the reader to understand from that paragraph.

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Question

True or False:

Topic sentences do not need to connect to the thesis statement of an essay.

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Answer

False. Since each body paragraph covers one aspect of the thesis statement, each topic sentence should clearly connect to that thesis statement.

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Question

What do supporting sentences explain?

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Answer

the reasons for the main idea of a paragraph

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How many supporting sentences should each body paragraph have?

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Answer

Each body paragraph should have at least 2-3 supporting sentences.

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What can one use to back up their supporting sentences?

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Answer

evidence

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What are some different kinds of evidence one might use to back up supporting sentences?

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Answer

facts or statistics

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What is the last sentence in a body paragraph called? 

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concluding sentence

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What are the features of a good concluding sentence?

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Answer

It briefly summarizes the ideas of the paragraph.

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Question

To transition from Body Paragraph 2 to Body Paragraph 3, where should one add transition words?

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Answer

the concluding sentence of Body Paragraph 2

Show question

Question

Instead of transition words, what type of words are helpful for transitioning from Body Paragraph 3 to the Conclusion?

Show answer

Answer

Concluding words are helpful for transitioning from Body Paragraph 3 to the Conclusion.

Show question

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