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Writers' Center

Eastern Washington University

Writing Your Paper

Body Paragraphs

Body paragraphs are the paragraphs that make up the majority of your paper. Just like the structure of the paper overall, each body paragraph has an intro, body, and conclusion. Think of a paragraph as being like a hamburger. 

  • The top bun of that hamburger is your topic sentence. A topic sentence provides a mini summary of your paragraph’s main idea and looks back to your thesis and forward to the paragraph. 
  • Then, the meat of the paragraph is your evidence to support the main idea. Along with the evidence, you as the writer provide commentary to unpack and analyze the quoted material.
  • Lastly, the bottom bun of the hamburger is your closing. The closing sentence(s) provides the paragraph with a finished feeling and connects to the thesis again. The bottom bun usually does NOT lead into the next paragraph. Instead, the closing deepens the significance of the paragraph’s main point and connects, again, to the thesis.

A strong paragraph relates to the thesis, focuses on one topic (unity), provides evidence and explanation to convince the reader, and flows logically from one sentence to the next (coherence). The link in the Helpful Links box provides an excellent guide for developing a strong paragraph.

Evidence: The Meat of the Paragraph

Most of a paragraph is made up of evidence--the "meat"--that supports the point of the paragraph and, ultimately, the entire essay. The type of evidence that you put in your paragraphs depends on the purpose of the essay. You might describe, compare, argue, analyze, or tell a story, for example. Your goal is to provide enough of the right kinds of evidence in each paragraph in a way that is smooth and logical.

According to Cambridge University Press, these are some types of support you might use in your essay:

  • personal experience
  • expert opinion (click HERE for more on integrating sources into your paper)
  • examples
  • analogy
  • facts and statistics
  • reason
  • emotion

Sample Paragraph