Developing Supporting Paragraphs

Each supporting paragraph in a short essay should support points made in the thesis statement. The thesis statement acts as a road map for the rest of your essay; it defines the ideas and the order in which they will be presented. Your reader expects to see information pertaining to the subject and in the order signaled in the introduction. Moving away from the mental map you established may cause the reader to become lost in the text and miss important points

Begin each supporting paragraph with a topic sentence. This statement reinforces your point for the reader. Everything in the paragraph should support the point you establish in the initial sentence. Use specific facts from your research and specific examples to enhance and clarify the point you are making. Once drafted, read back through the information. Does each sentence support the topic sentence? Do you explain and give examples that support the topic?

Does the paper flow smoothly between paragraphs? Transitions at the end of one paragraph or the beginning of the next help the reader understand connections, follow logical development, and navigate through the text.

Sample Strategy for Supportive Paragraphs:

1. The first sentence usually presents the topic that you will address in the paragraph.

a. The topic sentence should present the claim, or main idea, that you will develop and support within the rest of the paragraph.

2. In the several sentences that follow, provide facts regarding your topic and explain how this information supports your topic or claim.

a. After the topic sentence, present specific facts that support that topic Explain how each fact logically supports the claim or topic. Remain focused and specific, relating only information relevant to your topic sentence.

3. After proving the point you presented in your topic sentence, conclude the paragraph with a transitional sentence that leads readers to the next paragraph

a. End with a transitional sentence that shows how the main idea of this paragraph relates to the main idea of the next paragraph.