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Paragraph Development Academic Writing

Board work from yesterday

Yesterday's brainstorming...

Thesis Statement: Drug addiction in middle schools during class is a problem in society because learners lack proper parental control...

What is the purpose behind writing a paragraph?

Watch the video and look for answers to the following questions...

  • What types of sentences make an effective paragraph?
  • What makes a strong/weak topic sentence? Write an example of each.
  • What does the acronym MEAL stand for?
  • How do the four different sentence types relate to each other?

Tips when developing a body paragraph

Topic Sentence

  • Begin each body paragraph with a topic sentence.
  • A topic sentence should begin with the topic (subject) and opinion, claim, or position (predicate).
  • Avoid using copula verbs in your topic sentence and avoid interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory sentences. Use only declarative sentences.
  • A topic sentence should be debatable or argumentative. Think of a debate where there are two sides (perspectives) of the argumentative. Cell phones facilitate the learning process in the English language classroom because... or Cell phones do not facilitate the learning process in the English language classroom because... Each of these two examples could be the basis for a topic sentence.
  • The topic sentence is an original idea (no citations).
  • Using the acronym MEAL, the topic sentence is also referred to as the main idea.

Evidence sentence

  • After introducing the topic sentence (as the first sentence of the body paragraph), introduce facts, statistics, examples, details, etc. directly related to the topic sentence. This is called evidence. The second sentence of each body paragraph should begin discussing the evidence.
  • Evidence requires citations if an academic essay, or possibly could be anecdotal (anecdotal evidence) if writing a narrative essay. Always clarify with your instructor if citations are required.
  • If citations are used, the evidence always represents ideas from outside sources. Evidence is not an original idea of the writer of the body paragraph.
  • Evidence can be anywhere from one to several sentences depending on the topic sentence.
  • Evidence (i.e., examples, details, facts, etc.) should say what, how, why, when, where, with whom, etc. about the topic sentence.
  • Using the acronym MEAL, evidence is the E in MEAL.

Analysis sentence

  • An analysis sentence is one that connects the evidence to the main idea or topic sentence of the body paragraph.
  • Other phrases that relate to the word analysis are comparing and contrasting, commenting, explaining, discussing, justifying, etc. Explain how the evidence proves the main point of the topic sentence.
  • An analysis is usually an original idea (no citations).
  • Using the acronym MEAL, analysis is the A in MEAL.

Linking sentence

  • A linking sentence can 1) link the main idea (topic sentence) of the paragraph back to the thesis statement (main idea of the entire essay), 2) link the main idea of the paragraph to the main idea of the next paragraph, or 3) link back to the topic sentence of the body paragraph by connecting to a broader idea (summarizing).
  • Using the acronym MEAL, link is the L in MEAL.
Created By
Benjamin Stewart
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