Writer's WebWriting Effective Paragraphs

A paragraph should be unified, coherent, and well developed. Paragraphs are unified around a main point and all sentences in the paragraph should clearly relate to that point in some way. The paragraph's main idea should be supported with specific information that develops or discusses the main idea in greater detail.

Creating a Topic Sentence

The topic sentence expresses the main point in a paragraph. You may create your topic sentence by considering the details or examples you will discuss. What unifies these examples? What do your examples have in common? Reach a conclusion and write that "conclusion" first. If it helps, think of writing backwards--from generalization to support instead of from examples to a conclusion.

If you know what your main point will be, write it as clearly as possible. Then, focus on key words in your topic sentence and try to explain them more fully. Keep asking yourself "How?" or "Why?" or "What examples can I provide to convince a reader?". After you have added your supporting information, review the topic sentence to see if it still indicates the direction of your writing.

Purposes of Topic Sentences

Placement of Topic Sentences

Supporting a Topic Sentence with Details

To support a topic sentence, consider some of the possible ways that provide details. To develop a paragraph, use one or more of these:

Reasons for beginning a new paragraph

Ways of Arranging Information Within or Between Paragraphs


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