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What is a Body Paragraph? - Definition, Examples & Quiz

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Patricia Vineski

In this lesson, you'll learn what a body paragraph is, and how body paragraphs function to make your writing clearer and more interesting. Take a look at some examples, and then test your knowledge with a quiz.

We also recommend watching How to Structure Paragraphs in an Essay and How to Write a Strong Essay Body

Definition

Imagine that it is spring. The birds are chirping, the flies are getting in through the window, the plants are budding their newborn leaves. Now imagine that you want to tell someone about it all. First, you need a topic sentence to begin the conversation; maybe something like: 'You wouldn't believe how beautiful the birdsongs are this year' or 'My God, there must be at least a million flies coming in through the kitchen window' or 'The trees and the bushes are bursting with green.' Now, in order to continue the conversation, you will need to have supporting details that include examples of what you are talking about. You might describe the birdsongs, using examples of the most beautiful songs. You might describe the flies, using examples of where the majority of the flies have landed, or describe the trees and bushes, using examples of particular trees or bushes that are most lush and green. These are your supporting sentences. Then, you need a statement that emphasizes the importance of birds chirping, flies getting in, and the new green leaves. It might be something as simple as 'I could listen to birds singing forever' or 'I have got to get some fly strips' or 'Man, am I glad spring is finally here!' These are your concluding sentences and they emphasize the importance of the birdsongs, flies, and new green leaves.

In writing, the body paragraph is the main part of your essay or paper. Each body paragraph contains a topic sentence that tells readers what the paragraph is going to be about, supporting sentences that discuss the idea or ideas in the topic sentence, using examples and/or evidence to support that discussion, and a concluding sentence that emphasizes the importance of the supporting examples or evaluates the connections between them.

Examples

  • Each body paragraph will have a topic sentence, which tells readers what your paragraph is going to be about and what you want to say about your topic.

For example: 'One of the challenges that is unique to space is the fact that space is a vacuum, which is a risk for various reasons.'

This topic sentence tells readers that the paragraph that follows it will be about one of the challenges that is unique to space: the fact that it is a vacuum and the reasons why that vacuum is a risk factor.

  • Each body paragraph will have supporting sentences that discuss the idea or ideas in your topic sentence, using examples and/or evidence to support that discussion. This evidence can be quotes from researched sources, personal experience and observation, statistics, stories or examples.

For example: 'First, in a vacuum there is no atmosphere and therefore no air pressure. Without air pressure, the human body has no oxygen to sustain itself. After too many minutes without oxygen, a person would lose consciousness and eventually die. Also, in a vacuum a person's blood will gradually begin to boil. Finally, without an atmosphere, the rays of the sun can cause radiation poisoning.'

These supporting sentences follow the topic sentence, 'One of the challenges that is unique to space is the fact that space is a vacuum, which is a risk for various reasons,' and tells readers what one of those reasons is and why it is a risk by giving examples of how that 'lack of an atmosphere and air pressure' affects the human body: losing consciousness and eventually dying, the blood beginning to boil, and radiation poisoning from the sun.

  • Each body paragraph will contain a concluding sentence that emphasizes the importance of the supporting examples or evaluates the connections between them.

For example: 'Another difficulty that is unique to outer space is the presence of meteors and micro-meteors. These are pieces of rock and metal that are left over from the formation of the solar system. Many of these objects travel at very high speeds. Under the Earth's blanket of air, people are usually protected from meteor impacts. However, in space, people and spaceships are vulnerable to collisions with meteors. It is true that the chance of meteor impacts is relatively small, but if even a small micro-meteor happens to collide with a spacecraft, it could cause serious damage.'

In this body paragraph, the author emphasizes the importance of the examples of 'pieces of rock and metal' traveling 'at high speeds' causing 'serious damage' out in space, no matter how small, and the protection we have from these impacts because of the earth's 'blanket of air' by concluding with the acknowledgement that although a collision happening is rare, the 'damage' that does occur when it happens is 'serious.'

Lesson Summary

Remember, in writing, the body paragraph is the main part of your essay or paper. Each body paragraph contains a topic sentence that tells readers what the paragraph is going to be about, supporting sentences that discuss the idea or ideas in the topic sentence, using examples and/or evidence to support that discussion, and a concluding sentence that emphasizes the importance of the supporting examples or evaluates the connections between them.

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