Body Paragraphs

The purpose of the body paragraphs is to develop and explain the main reasons given for writer's position in the introduction paragraph. Each body paragraph explains one of the maind ideas in support of the topic. There should be at least three body paragraphs in the composition. Each body paragraph has a main idea in support of the topic, and is supported by detail sentences in support of the paragraph's main idea.

The Body Paragraph

The Paragraph Main Idea or Topic Sentence
Each "main idea" in support of the topic becomes the main idea or topic sentence of the body paragraph. It is typically the first sentence of the paragraph.

The Paragraph Elaboration Sentences
The paragraph's main idea or topic sentence is followed by 2-3 detail sentences. Detail sentences help explain and give more information in support of the main idea. In some writing programs, detail sentences are followed by elaboration sentences because they provide more details about the paragraph's main idea. Regardless of what your writing program calls them, the body paragraph must have at least 2-3 sentences that explain, support, and discuss in more detail the main idea of the paragraph.

One way to make the body paragraph more interesting is to vary the types of sentences. If the sentences are all facts, it makes the paragraph read like a grocery list which can be boring. To help choose an interesting mix of details, ask yourself a series of questions about the main idea of your topic sentence. Here are some questions to get you started:
Who does this affect?
Why does it occur?
Who does it involve?
Where does this occur?
What causes it to happen?
What can be done?
When does it occur?
How can this problem be helped?
Now think of some questions of your own about the paragraph's main idea by starting with one of the following question words: who, what, where, why, when, and how.
Out of these, choose 2-3 of the most supportive details, while also trying to choose details that come from different question words. This technique will help vary the sentences and make the writing more interesting.

Fact, Statistic, Example, or Life Experience
Elaboration or detail sentences can be a concrete fact, statistic, example, or life experience to support the main idea. Asking questions about a detail sentence using the same process described above, to develp elaboration sentences.

Concluding Paragraph Sentence
It is a good writing strategy to conclude the body paragraph with a restatement of the paragraph's main idea or topic sentence. This refocuses the reader and gives closure to the body paragraph's main idea.