Write A Perfect Body Paragraph Every Time
3 Steps For Any Subject
If an essay were considered in terms of a sandwich, the top and bottom pieces of bread would be the introduction and conclusion. The actual contents of the sandwich—meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and et cetera—would be the body paragraphs. Just like you would not want your sandwich filled with cheap meat, imitation cheese, floppy lettuce and flavorless tomatoes, a teacher does not want paragraphs lacking in substance.
Writing a perfect paragraph every time, for any subject, can be quick and easy. Once you learn the five basic types of sentences you need and how to fill in five predetermined sentences with your own information, you will be a rockstar at body paragraphs.
This formula is used by my students from high school all the way through college. It works like a charm. But, like anything else, you have to actually use it to see the results. Students choosing to veer from the path often meet disappointment. So for now, just follow the formula. Once you are comfortable with it and see results, then you can have fun with the format and put in exciting spins and your creativity.
Step 1: You Need A Main Idea
Before we can move ahead to make the perfect body paragraph, we first have to come up with a main idea to link this paragraph to. A main idea—also known as a controlling idea, thesis or enthymeme—simply tells the reader what your main argument is. The most basic main idea includes:
- What the subject is
- Your opinion about the subject (usually without saying “I”)
Let’s say my teacher wanted me to write about a food that I like. My main idea/thesis could be: “Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the best.” (Yes, the theme about sandwiches will continue to develop!).
The subject is “peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,” and the argument/opinion is “they are the best.” Now that the thesis is established, the perfect body paragraph will make much more sense as it is composed.
Step 2: Know The Basic Parts Of A Body Paragraph
A basic body paragraph has five standard components/sentences. These parts are:
1) A topic sentence (TS),
2) A concrete detail (CD): example or specific detail,
3) Two sentences of commentary (CM) and/or analysis, and
4) A concluding sentence (CS)
A topic sentence (TS) states what the paragraph will be about. This prepares your reader for what is to come. The concrete detail (CD) is an example, quote or paraphrase that supports your point. This information can be from personal experience, a book, or another source. Commentary (CM)/Analysis explains the importance of the concrete detail. This information helps prove and relate back to your thesis. This is usually when someone would say, “So what?” Tell the reader why this information important. You should always have at least two pieces/sentences of commentary for every concrete detail. The concluding sentence (CS) serves two purposes:
- To sum up what the paragraph was about, and
- To provide a smooth transition into next paragraph
Step 3: Fill In Your Information
At this point all that is left to do is plug your sentences, ideas, facts, examples, and et cetera into the format above. Following is an example based on if my teacher asked me to write about a food that I like.
Body Paragraph Example (I simply filled in the blanks above)
One reason peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the best is because they are easy to make. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich only requires bread, peanut butter, and jelly. Virtually any kind of bread can be used that is on hand, and the same is true for the peanut butter and jelly. With a quick smear of peanut butter and jelly on bread, the sandwich is complete. The ease with which a peanut butter and jelly sandwich can be made is not the only reason peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the best.
An Annotated Version of the Body Paragraph Example
Now, let’s see these parts put into action. Remember, the thesis/main idea/controlling idea/ enthymeme for the paper is “Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the best.”
My topic sentence (TS) is: One reason peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the best is because they are easy to make.
Next, I need a concrete detail (CD), an example, to support my topic sentence and thesis: A peanut butter and jelly sandwich only requires bread, peanut butter, and jelly.
Now, two pieces/sentences of commentary (CM) and/or analysis are needed: (1) Virtually any kind of bread can be used that is on hand, and the same is true for the peanut butter and jelly. (2) With a quick smear of peanut butter and jelly on bread, the sandwich is complete.
The only thing left is the concluding sentence (CS): The ease with which a peanut butter and jelly sandwich can be made is not the only reason peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the best.
Now the paragraph is complete! Notice how my concluding sentence summed up the main idea of my body paragraph and leads the reader to the next paragraph and main idea coming up without too much of a spoiler.
So Easy A Child Can Do It
I have used this same formula, also called the chunk method, starting with elementary students. If composing a whole paragraph about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches was this easy, certainly you can write a perfect body paragraph about anything. The best part is this paragraph outline can effortlessly be expanded to include more examples and commentary for papers that require more depth and length.
This article is updated from a version originally published on Hubpages.
About The Author
Stephanie Bradberry is first and foremost an educator and life-long learner. Her time in academia spans almost 20 years. She has been an adjunct professor of English, Literature, Composition, Business and Education and a high school English teacher. She is the founder and owner of Stephanie J. Bradberry LLC and former owner of Crosby Educational Consulting, LLC. Stephanie loves being a freelance writer and editor.
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About the Creator
Stephanie J. Bradberry
I have a passion for literature and anime. And I love everything involving academia, health, metaphysics and entrepreneurship. During my free time I enjoy nature, crocheting, reading, my kiddos, and writing.
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Such a great tip. Thanks for sharing
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Formulaically, but in practice?
Congrats on your Top Story! I use a very similar method with my students and I can attest to its effectiveness!
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