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Writers' Center

Eastern Washington University

Writing Your Paper

The PIE Body Paragraph Model

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.

  • Point: The topic sentence of your paragraph. Each topic sentences should relate to your thesis statement. Think about these questions when determining your point: What is the point of the paragraph? What claim is being made?
  • Illustration: This is the filling of your paragraph where you put supporting evidence. This can be a quote, paraphrase, summary, or a combination. Your illustrations should support and help develop your point. In essence, they help you “prove” the claim you have made. Think about the following question when deciding on supporting examples: What specific data, experiences, or other factual material supports the topic sentence?
  • Explanation: This is the analysis, comparison, elaboration, and/or evaluation of the topic sentence and supporting examples, connecting the Illustration with the Point and the thesis statement of your paper. This is the most important part of the paragraph because it's where you develop your ideas. Think about the following questions as you develop your explanation: What does the provided information mean, or why does it matter?

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.

The Quote Sandwich

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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