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Second Paragraph

Second Paragraph

The second paragraph of an essay is also known as the first body paragraph. The second paragraph is an important one. It is where you start making the case for your argument. The second paragraph helps you transition from the introduction to the body of the essay. It contains your most important information or idea and sets the stage for what is to come.

Meaning of the Second Paragraph

The second paragraph is the first body paragraph of an essay. It follows the introductory paragraph and contains the most obvious beginning point for the rest of the essay.

The second paragraph should provide an entry point to the rest of the essay. As the entry point, it should include the strongest argument or the most important information of all the body paragraphs.

Second paragraph. clothes pins hang on a line. StudySmarter.Fig. 1 - Begin lining up your paragraphs and ideas.

Importance of a Second Paragraph

The second paragraph is important because it bridges the introductory paragraph and the rest of the essay. As the bridge, it contains the strongest argument, example, or information of the essay.

Features of the Second Paragraph

The second paragraph is your first chance to make a claim, so it has several important features:

  • A topic sentence that states the main point of the paragraph and connects to the thesis statement
  • An explanation of your reasoning to support the topic sentence
  • Evidence to back up your reasoning
  • A smooth transition into the third paragraph

Second Paragraph Example

Below is an example of a second paragraph. Note how it contains all of the key features listed above. It starts with a topic sentence that connects to the thesis statement (college should be free). It includes sentences that explain the reasoning behind the topic sentence. It uses evidence from sources to back up that reasoning. The final sentence prepares the reader for the upcoming third paragraph.

The primary reason college should be free is that it would boost the economy. Most college graduates leave with a lot of student debt. High levels of student debt can cause them to stop buying houses, investing in businesses, or spending money on travel. According to Gallup, student debt has become the largest form of personal debt in the U.S. Recent studies have found young people are not spending on homes or travel like previous generations. Many of them are postponing large purchases due to student debt. If the government paid for college, more people would be able to make large purchases and boost the economy. Free college can also boost the economy in many other ways.

Note how the above example ends with a hint at what is coming next. This last sentence prepares the reader for the main idea of the next paragraph. The reader can guess that the third paragraph will discuss another way free college can boost the economy.

How to Write the Second Paragraph

To write the second paragraph, transition from the first paragraph with a topic sentence, explain your reasoning, and use evidence to support that reasoning. With these steps, you can write a second paragraph in no time! This also contains great sentence starters for the second paragraph.

Steps to Writing the Second Paragraph:

1. Transition from the first paragraph with a topic sentence.

2. Use relationship words as sentence starters to smooth out the transition.

2. Explain your reasoning with support sentences.

3. Provide evidence to back up your statements.

Let's break down these steps to understand them more clearly.

1. Transition from the First Paragraph

Start the second paragraph with a transition from the first paragraph (the introductory paragraph). You need to show how the second paragraph relates to the first paragraph.

A transition is a word or phrase that connects one idea to another. Transitions between paragraphs connect the main ideas of each paragraph.

Think of transitions as bridges. They connect the main ideas of your paragraphs using relationship words.

Relationship words are words that show the relationship between two or more ideas. They are used in transition sentences to demonstrate the relationships between paragraphs.

Second Paragraph The Transition Bridge StudySmarterFig. 2 - Use a transition to bridge ideas.

Use the Topic Sentence to Transition

To transition from the first paragraph to the second paragraph, write a topic sentence that includes relationship words. Relationship words show how the main ideas of each paragraph connect to each other.

A topic sentence is a sentence that states the main idea of a paragraph. It should be the first sentence of the paragraph.

Think about your most important claim. Write it down. That should be the topic sentence of your second paragraph.

Wait! You're not done just yet. The topic sentence still needs to connect to your thesis statement.

The thesis statement is a sentence that states the main idea or argument of an essay. It appears toward the end of the introductory paragraph.

Read what you have written down. Is it clear how your topic sentence relates to the thesis statement? If not, then it is not an effective transition. Consider adding relationship words to the beginning of the sentence to help make it a solid transition.

2. Use Relationship Words as Sentence Starters

Relationship words provide great sentence starters.

Sentence starters are words and phrases that appear at the beginning of a sentence. They start the sentence.

Effective transitions begin with relationship words. Below is a list of relationship words and phrases that are helpful to use as sentence starters. Try starting your topic sentence with some of them. Which one fits best?
  • From the beginning
  • First,
  • First of all
  • In the first place
  • Initially
  • One way/argument/reason/method/etc.
  • Originally
  • Primarily
  • To begin with
  • The most important
  • Importantly
  • One of the most important

Quick Tip! Play around! Don't limit yourself. Try a few different relationship words. See how each one fits. Read your topic sentence out loud with each transition to see how it sounds. Choose the one that makes the most sense.

3. Explain Your Reasoning

Now that you have a topic sentence, it's time to explain your ideas. You need support sentences to demonstrate your reasoning.

A support sentence is a sentence that supports the main argument of a paragraph. Support sentences explain the logic of the argument for the reader to follow along.

Imagine you are having a conversation with the reader. You state your argument with a topic sentence. You made a good point! You know you are right.

The reader is interested but wants to know more. The reader asks you "how so?" They want to know how you know this.

Answer this "how so" question with two to three reasons. How do you know your argument is right? How do you know your explanation is true? Give your reasons!

Topic Sentence: The primary reason college should be free is that it would boost the economy.

Supporting ideas (how so?):

  1. Graduates have more student debt than ever before
  2. Less student debt would mean more spending
  3. More spending would boost the economy

Take those reasons and turn them into sentences that connect to the topic sentence. Now you have support sentences!

Second Paragraph. Graduate student casting a shadow. StudySmarter.Fig. 3 - Explain the effects of your topic.

4. Provide Evidence

You've made your point, but you still have to prove it. You need to provide evidence that you are right.

There are different types of evidence you can use. Take a look at the list below.

Types of Evidence

  • Examples
  • Facts or Statistics
  • Quotes
  • Expert opinions

Look to your source material to see which types of evidence you have. You probably have a few different sources to choose from. Which sources have information that best supports your ideas?

Source material is the collection of objects a writer uses to gather information and ideas. Sources can be written, spoken, audio, or visual materials.

Every point you make needs a related piece of evidence to back it up. You don't want to make claims you can't prove.

Second Paragraph Every Point Needs Evidence StudySmarterFig. 4. Make a point.

For each support sentence, select a piece of evidence from your source material to back it up.

Support Sentence 1: Most college graduates leave with a lot of student debt.

Evidence 1: Statistic from Gallup poll about student debt.

Here's another pair of examples.

Support Sentence 2: High levels of student debt can cause them to stop buying houses, investing in businesses, or spending money on travel.

Evidence 2: Fact from recent studies.

Write a sentence explaining each piece of evidence you have chosen. In each sentence, focus on how this evidence supports your argument.

Sentence Starters for Second Paragraph


Also take note of the sentence starter in this example. It's different from the sentence starter of the second paragraph's topic sentence. That's because it shows a different kind of relationship. You will need relationship words that show how you are continuing the argument from the second paragraph.

Sentence starters that show continuation:

  • Additionally
  • Also
  • However
  • Secondly
  • Then
  • For example
  • Accordingly
  • Specifically

Transitioning Words for Second Paragraph

To transition from the second paragraph to the third paragraph, use transition sentences at the end of the second paragraph AND the beginning of the third paragraph. These transition sentences should closely relate to each other. The connections between them should be clear.

Start transitioning between ideas at the end of the second paragraph. You should end the second paragraph with a concluding transition sentence.

A concluding transition sentence is a sentence at the end of a paragraph that includes a hint of what is coming next.

The last sentence of a paragraph is a great place to start transitioning to the next paragraph.

Ask yourself: What comes next? How can I hint at the next idea to come?

Free college can also boost the economy in many other ways.

Note how the above example hints at what is to come in the next paragraphs. The reader can guess the third paragraph will discuss another way that free college could boost the economy.

Second Paragraph - Key Takeaways

  • The second paragraph is the first body paragraph of an essay. It follows the introductory paragraph and contains the most obvious beginning point for the rest of the essay.
  • The key features of the second paragraph are: a topic sentence, an explanation of your reasoning, evidence, and a smooth transition into the third paragraph.
  • To write the second paragraph, transition from the first paragraph with a topic sentence, explain your reasoning, and use evidence to support that reasoning.
  • A transition is a word or phrase that connects one idea to another.
  • To transition from the second paragraph to the third paragraph, use transition sentences at the end of the second paragraph.

Frequently Asked Questions about Second Paragraph

Second Paragraph means the first body paragraph of an essay. It follows the introductory paragraph and contains the most obvious beginning point for the rest of the essay.

An example of a second paragraph is as follows:

The primary reason college should be free is that it would boost the economy.  Most college graduates leave with a lot of student debt. High levels of student debt can cause them to stop buying houses, investing in businesses, or spending money on travel. According to Gallup, student debt has become the largest form of personal debt in the U.S. Recent studies have found young people are not spending on homes or travel like previous generations. Many of them are postponing large purchases due to student debt. If the government paid for college, more people would be able to make large purchases and boost the economy. Free college can also boost the economy in many other ways.

To write a second paragraph, transition from the first paragraph with a topic sentence, explain your reasoning, and use evidence to support that reasoning.

The features of a second paragraph are 1) a topic sentence, 2) an explanation of reasoning, 3) evidence to support that reasoning, and 4) a transition to the third paragraph. 

To transition from the second paragraph to the third paragraph, use transition sentences at the end of the second paragraph AND the beginning of the third paragraph.

Final Second Paragraph Quiz

Question

What is the second paragraph of an essay?

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Answer

The second paragraph is the first body paragraph of an essay. It follows the introductory paragraph and contains the most obvious beginning point for the rest of the essay.

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Question

Since the second paragraph provides an entry point to the rest of the essay, it should include your strongest ______ or most important _____.

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Answer

Since the second paragraph provides an entry point to the rest of the essay, it should include your strongest argument or most important information.

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Question

What are the key features of the second paragraph?

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Answer

topic sentence

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Question

What is the first step for writing the second paragraph?

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Answer

Transition from the first paragraph with a topic sentence.

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Question

What is a transition?

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Answer

A transition is a word or phrase that connects one idea to another. Transitions between paragraphs connect the main ideas of each paragraph.

Show question

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 should be the first sentence of the paragraph.

Show question

Question

The topic sentence of the second paragraph should connect to the _____.

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Answer

thesis statement in the first paragraph

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Question

What type of words should be used as sentence starters to transition between ideas?

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Answer

Relationship Words

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Question

What are some examples of relationship words that are appropriate to use as sentence starters for the topic sentence of the second paragraph?

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Answer

First of all

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Question

What type of sentences are used to demonstrate reasoning?

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Answer

support sentences

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Question

What is a support sentence?

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Answer

A support sentence is a sentence that supports the main argument of a paragraph. Support sentences explain the logic of the argument for the reader to follow along. 

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Question

Finish this sentence: 

Every point needs _____.

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Answer

evidence

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Question

What are the different types of evidence?

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Answer

examples

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Question

Where can one look for evidence to support their reasoning?

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Answer

source material

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Question

What is source material?

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Answer

Source material is the collection of objects a writer uses to gather information and ideas. Sources can be written, spoken, audio, or visual materials. 

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Question

What are the three different ways to use evidence in a sentence?

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Answer

summary

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Question

What is a concluding transition sentence? 

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Answer

A concluding transition sentence is a sentence at the end of a paragraph that includes a hint of what is coming next.

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Question

What are some sentence starters that show continuation between the second and third paragraphs?

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Answer

Additionally

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Question

The second paragraph needs the strongest transition.

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Answer

False. You need strong transitions throughout.

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Question

They show how ideas fit together.

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Answer

Relationship words

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