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Writing, Grammar, Literature, ACT Prep
Education: M.Ed.,Stanford University
Katie is an enthusiastic teacher who strives to make connections between literature and student’s every day lives.
Body paragraphs are considered the crux of an essay. In body paragraphs, there are several important parts. First, body paragraphs include topic sentences, supporting information, evidence and analysis.
Let's talk about body paragraphs, so body paragraphs make up the majority of what you're writing in your essays. So in order to make it a little bit easier for my students I came up with a quick formula and it's really a basic formula that you may want to add more to later, but the formula is T.I. E.A topic sentence, information, evidence, analysis. So let's talk about topic sentences, this is where you are going to state what you are going to prove in this particular paragraph, so you want to make sure it's an arguable claim and also that it answers the prompt or connects back to the thesis, so you can see how it fits into the larger argument.
The next thing you are going to do is give some information, right, information is really leading up to evidence so its job, it has two, provide context for the evidence. That means the who, the what, the where, the why and then to weave that evidence into the writing. So if you're going to give a quote from a story you've got to tell us who's talking, what they are talking about, maybe where they are, any other details that may be important for us to understand the quote you're about to give and then you want to set up some quote tags or dialogue tags like he said come up, or she screamed come up, so that will be the information then comes evidence. An evidence has just one job but it's very important, it's got to prove the claim in the topic sentence, so here's where you're telling us why your argument is correct, you're giving us facts to back it up.
And then finally and perhaps the most important is your analysis, in your analysis is where you're going to do a bulk of the work for the reader, you don't want the reader to have to do any work here. So you've got to first restate the evidence, so summarize it in your own words so that you can make sure the reader is getting what you want him to get out of the evidence and then finally connect it back to the claim in the topic sentence. So that means you're basically telling the reader why your evidence proves the claim that you made in your topic sentence. A couple of tricks; first remember that every "E" needs an "I", so like I said this is a basic format but you may have an assignment or want to write a paragraph where you need more than one piece of evidence and that's fine but you have to make sure that you give an "I" with it as well, so every piece of evidence that you introduce needs context and it needs to be woven in. So if you had a paragraph that needed two examples it might be T.I.E.I.E.A so that's totally an acceptable format.
The other thing you need to think about is think of your paragraph as a circle, so your topic sentence and your analysis should kind of to closely connect, to start here with your topic sentence and then move all the way around and your analysis should come back up to it kind of reechoing the same ideas. So let's take a look at an example and see if we can identify T.I.E.A here, so we've got "After much observation, it is clear that humans are naturally evil. Every time one opens a newspaper or turns on the news, the headlines are filled with that day's news of atrocities all over the world. It almost seems as if there is no goodness left because it is constantly overridden by the evil that exists. Maximilien Robespierre and a leader in the French revolution embodies the evil that exists in the human spirit. According to famous historian John Rueda, "Robespierre was one of the main driving forces behind the reign of terror, a 10 month post-revolutionary period in which mass executions were carried out" Single-handedly, Robespierre killed more than 20,000 people. Anyone with the ability to contribute to this kind of destruction of the human race is pure evil. When one truly considers the horrors that Maximilien Robespierre enacted against the human race, there can be no doubt left that humans are in fact evil."
So it sounds like a pretty style of paragraph but let's take a look and make sure it's got all it's necessary parts. This person starts with "After much observation, it's clear that humans are naturally evil." Alright, we've got an argument there right, a reasonable person might argue that humans are naturally good, so this is a good arguable claim we've got a 'T'. "Every time one opens the newspaper or turns on the news, the headlines are filled with that day's news of atrocities all over the world, seems as if there is no goodness left." So here's the beginning of our information, it kind of fills us in on this idea of good and evil in the world and then it continues down here to give context and then set up are piece of evidence that's being given. It introduces Maximilien Robespierre and gives a little quick about who he is incase we didn't know and then here are our weaving words, "According to famous historian John Rueda." So there's our 'I', evidence is really easy to pick out, right, because in this case it's a direct quote and we've got a direct quote telling that Robespierre is a main driving force and that mass executions were committed and that definitely supports the fact that humans are evil.
And then down here everything else is analysis and what I want to point out is, I think that this person did a great job of restating the evidence here, taking what they know. So, "single-handedly, Robespierre killed more than 20,000 people," which is just a summary of what went on up there and then they take that in transition to the idea that clearly if somebody can kill 20,000 people they are proof that evil exists in the human spirit and here we return back to that idea of evil that's in the topic sentence. So you've got a style of body paragraph here with all the parts and hopefully that will help you get started with yours.
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