Body Paragraphs

The body of the paper contains the development of the ideas introduced in the opening paragraphs, and includes accompanying evidence which will show the thesis to be true.

Each body paragraph should have a single, thoroughly developed idea which stems from a subdivision of the thesis.

Parts of the paragraph should include (but are not limited to):

  1. Topic sentence which incorporates or introduces the subject of that paragraph of relates it to the thesis.
  2. Evidence (any of the five types listed in the blog post)
  3. Analysis or development of this topic sentence or concept
  4. A final sentence which anchors the evidence to the thesis and refreshes the reader’s mind about the paper’s purpose.

Below are certain things to think about as you plan and write the body of your essay:


Before beginning to write the body of your paper, you need to decide in what order to put the information. Are you going to save your most powerful point for the last or are you going to start with it? No single rule is applicable to all assignments, but whatever order is suggested by the thesis should be followed in the body of the paper. Are you going to cover the material chronologically, in the order in which the original narrative is told? If so, beware of the common trap of telling the whole story, including details unnecessary to your thesis. This would be all plot summary and NOT an essay.


In every paper, both evidence and ideas (concepts or interpretations of your own) are expected. A good paper exhibits a careful balance between the two. A paper with only examples and no thinking (no clearly stated points of interpretation) might be criticized for not analyzing the essay question. Conversely, a paper with brilliant or original interpretation or analysis, but lacking evidence or with only vague support without quotations or ideas, will probably be criticized for not establishing the validity of your ideas.


An essay must contain parts that are all related. This is called cohesiveness or unity. It cannot be a loose collection of responses to the topic. Never let your reader lose sight of your thesis. Every paragraph, every bit of evidence must be tied closely to the main point of the entire paper. Do this by re-suggesting the main claim at the end of each body paragraph. Don’t move from one subtopic to another, or from one body paragraph to another, without anchoring each point to the thesis. Continually remind the reader of the thesis. Pile up evidence and hammer it home.