Effective Paragraphs

Topic Sentences: a topic sentence provides direction by stating the [main idea] of a paragraph and answering the reader’s unspoken question, “What is your point?”


[Carrying a homemade lunch instead of eating out] has had unexpected benefits.


[Knowing how to research using a computer] is an essential skill in college.


There are many creative ways to hide [thinning hair.]


Supporting Sentences: these sentences are specific, giving details and examples.  They provide the proof or explanation of your topic sentence.


[Adopting a pet from the animal shelter] can help both animal and owner.

Shelter animals are killed if they are not adopted, so adopting a pet from the shelter saves a life. Shelter puppies and kittens are usually spayed or neutered before adoption, saving the owner veterinary fees.


[Failure to take care of small details of car maintenance] can make driving dangerous.

Tires that do not have enough air can be dangerous to both driver and passengers.  These tires can cause a car to lose its grip on the road and flip.


Unity: unity means that you will write about the topic you mention in the topic sentence and the point you want to make about that topic and nothing else.


[One way that I try to keep in shape] is by eating good food.

✘  I get plenty of exercise.

✔ I eat very few sweets or candy.

✔ I stay away from too much fat.


[My neighbor’s yard] is ugly.

✔In his front yard, he has an old, rusty car.

✘ At the side of his house is a beautiful old oak tree.

✔ Because he never mows his lawn, tall grass and weeds surround his house.


Coherence: this means that the ideas in the paragraph are logically connected and easy to follow. The most common coherence tools are transitional expressions/words and repetition.


My neighbor’s yard is ugly.  Because he never mows his lawn, tall grass and weeds surround his house.  Even worse, in his front yard, he has an old, rusty car.


Sample Introduction Paragraph

The pentagon has twice as many bathrooms as are necessary. The famous government building was constructed in the 1940s, when segregation laws required that separate bathrooms be installed for people of African descent. This building isn’t the only American icon that harkens back to this embarrassing and hurtful time in our history. Across the United States there are many examples of leftover laws and customs that reflect the racism that once permeated American society.


Sample Literary Paragraph

Susan Sanders did not like the rain. Whenever it rained, dark clouds would cover the sky and block out the sun, making the entire day seem dreary and gray. If it rained on a chilly day, then the day seemed even colder and more miserable than before. Moreover, regardless of the temperature, rain meant that Susan’s hair would get frizzy and messed up no matter how much time she spent on it. Even a few raindrops were enough to undo an entire morning’s worth of styling. As far as Susan was concerned, rain was certainly not her friend.


Sample Transition Paragraph

The propensity to ravage the sea is by no means unique to New England.  The northern cod fishery in Canada is closed indefinitely. In Newfoundland, more than 20,000 fishermen and fish processors were abruptly put out of work in 1992 when the government shut down the Grand Banks.


Sample Rebuttal Paragraph

The benefits of social networking websites have the potential to outweigh the dangers of such websites. While social networking does curb real-life interaction with one’s peers, it also provides shy, introverted, or socially awkward youth with a new avenue of communication that often makes it easier to connect and form relationships. Additionally, while unmonitored teens and young adults may post photographs and information that could damage their futures and make them less desirable to potential employers, responsible and well-guided youth have the chance to build working relationships and create a stronger presence in the working world. When the tool is used correctly and the youth are instructed on correct usage, it offers considerable positives.


Sample Conclusion Paragraph

The prevailing ignorance of basic auto mechanics on America’s part is indeed appalling. However, in spite of the current situation, there is hope on the horizon. The number of people showing interest in car maintenance has been increasing at a steady rate over the past few years. Having grown tired and frustrated by the excessive amount of money they have had to spend on shops and auto mechanics, Americans have come to realize that car maintenance is much more essential than they had thought. If this trend continues in America, we can hopefully predict the coming of an age where dependence upon others for “car smarts” will finally become obsolete.


Michael| 2018

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