Body Paragraph Help

 

Topic Sentences

 

 

 

A topic sentence consists of a subject and an opinion, and it represents the focus for that particular paragraph. It represents an analysis, or break-down, of your claim; therefore, it should be an idea that supports your claim.

 

In a literary analysis essay, if you are analyzing how a character develops throughout the story, your claim would likely be about their overall growth/development/change/absence of change. Your topic sentence shows part of that development.  The subject may be the beginning of the story and your opinion is your understanding of the characters' traits at the beginning based on the details in the text (opinion, based on text evidence).  The subject may be the ending of the text and your opinion is an idea about your understanding of how the character is changed or how the conflict is resolved.

 

In an argumentative essay, the topic sentence presents a reason supporting your claim.  That is, a logical idea that shows that your claim is worthy of consideration. 

 

Examples of argument essay topic sentences:

Claim: The Renton School District should change the school start time from 7:20 to 8:30.

 

TS1: Starting school an hour later will ensure that students are rested and ready to learn. 

TS2: In addition, a later start time will reduce absences and increase school attendance.

TS3: An 8:30 start time is friendlier to the sleep cycles of developing teens which could help reduce stress and depression.

 

ELABORATING with TEXT EVIDENCE

 

 

General features of evidence

Evidence includes paraphrasing, summarizing, and quoting an author's words. In all cases, the evidence must be cited using MLA Guidelines.  The following are the general features of quotations used to support a claim. To “meet standard”, your quotations should have these features:

o   Specific —  After you present an idea about a character or theme of a story, you should provide specific evidence from the text. The most specific evidence you can provide is the exact words of the author, but you still must be specific when you paraphrase or summarize. This means that you are providing particular examples or details from the text that exemplifies (show) something about the idea your writing is focused on.  Because your writing is based on the text, you must show how your thinking is linked to particular parts of the text. The more specific your evidence, the stronger your analysis. 

This is true for both literary analysis and argument writing that is based on informational text. When analyzing fiction, you should provide specific details that support your analysis. Summarizing larger parts of the story or poem and paraphrasing the words of a character or narrator also require specific reference. While you are shortening parts of the text in these cases, you should avoid being so general in your paraphrase or summary that you lose the specific information that supports your analysis and clearly link your thinking/ideas to your understanding of the text.

o   Relevant – Your evidence should be relevant to the idea it's supporting.  It should actually support the idea and not drift to other ideas.  The evidence itself doesn’t make a point, so be ready to explain the relevance. Some students feel that a detail from the text do not count as evidence unless it repeats your idea exactly.  This is not true.  ANY detail that relates to your thinking counts as evidence.

o   Accurate – Your evidence should accurately represent what actually happens in the story or article. 

o   Ample – You will always need at least two pieces of evidence to support a claim. A piece of evidence means that you have information from different parts of the text; two different things from the text that help you support your idea. You will often need more than this. Your evidence is more likely to be ample if you don’t rely on one form of evidence; providing a mixture of summary, paraphrase, and quotation within your explanation helps ensure you are providing ample evidence.

Cited using MLA guidelines. Any time you provide information from a text source, you must cite that information.  If you do not do this, you are plagiarizing. Plagiarism can happen even when you don’t intend to. For most of your writing, you will cite using the author's last name and page number. The page number should always be placed in parentheses after the quote, never integrated with your words. An author's name may be integrated with your words or placed in parentheses after the quote. 

When writing about literature, you must cite quotations and paraphrasing.  You do not need to cite a summarized portion of the text, but that summarized portion is likely to be followed with a detail that will be cited. 

When writing argumentative synthesis, you will cite all information that comes from your sources, whether it is paraphrasing, summarizing, or quoting. 

 

 A complete guide to MLA citation can be found here:  owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/ 

USING QUOTATIONS as EVIDENCE

You can paraphrase basic information or sections of the text that are too long to quote directly.  But even after paraphrasing, a quote can further illustrate the point you are supporting; it makes the most direct connection to the text. Using a quote is as specific as you can be when referring to the text. You should quote gold only. Choose the right amount of the quote to include. Choose an amount that will help you get your point across, without overwhelming the reader with too many of another person's ideas. A quote that is too long will not clearly connect to your claim. It starts to contain too many ideas to make it clear which is supporting your claim. 

Simply providing two quotes to show an idea from the text is probably not enough by itself.  You most likely will need to paraphrase some other information from the text (or other texts) to provide context that makes those quotes more meaningful and useful in supporting your idea. 

You need specific text evidence from the text in your elaboration.  All of your writing is text-based; therefore, you need to refer to the text. The most specific you can be when referring to the text is to quote the exact words of the author…

When do you quote? 

When analyzing literature, you should quote the language that reflects the idea you are analyzing.  This could be the words of the narrator, dialogue between characters, imagery, figurative language, or any language from which you draw meaning. 

When writing an argumentative or informative piece, which is more focused on information from the "real world", you will usually only quote the words of an authority on the subject you are writing about.  Most of your evidence will likely be paraphrasing information, statistics, and other data to support your claims. 

Don't use a quote to substitute or stand-in for an idea you need to express in your own words. 

How do you quote? 

Provide context for the quote: Make it clear to the reader how this quote fits within the story and the idea in your topic sentence. What is happening at that point in the story? What happens right before? How does it fit with the idea in your topic sentence? If the context isn't provided in the same sentence as the quote, there should be some context that is provided just before the sentence with the quote.

Attribute the quote to its source: There should never be a quotation in your writing without attribution. 

In literary analysis papers, name the voice who says the words you are quoting; this could be a character, the narrator, or (in poetry) the speaker.  

In non-fiction papers, name the voice who says the quoted words; this could be the author, a person the author is interviewing, or a person from an article the author is writing about.  

Cite the author and page number of the quotation: If you are writing about one piece of literature, and you have mentioned the author in the introduction, then you only need the page number after quoted and paraphrased information. If you are writing about two or more authors, you need to include the author and page number in parenthesis after the quoted or paraphrased information. The exception to this is when you have used the author's name in the same sentence; in that case, you only need to include the page number in parenthesis. 

Example of providing context, attribution, and citation for literary analysis:

The narrator takes control of the situation and knocks on the movie projectionist’s door to protest, but he sighs when sees her which makes her “really furious” because she is “…so tired of grownups messin over kids just cause they little and can’t take em to court” (17).

Non-example of providing context, attribution, and citation for literary analysis:

The narrator knocks on the door and he sighs and she “And now I’m really furious cause I get so tired of grownups messin over kids just cause they little and can’t take em to court”.

Example of providing context, attribution, and citation for informational/argumentative:   

The investigation by the Fair Housing Center discovered a form of favoritism when "they found 70 percent of property managers favored white renters, by doing things such as quoting higher rent to blacks and requiring credit and criminal checks that weren't required for whites" (Pailthorp 1).  

Non-Example of providing context for informational/argumentative:    

Pailthorp found that the people were testing,  "they found 70 percent of property managers favored white renters, by doing things such as quoting higher rent to blacks and requiring credit and criminal checks that weren't required for whites." (Pailthorp, page 1). The context in front of the quote does not flow into the quote. (There is a comma splice.) Also, there are two periods at the end of the sentence. MLA citations should not include the word "page" or "pg.").  Pailthorp didn’t find the information; she is reporting about a study conducted by the Fair Housing Center, so the information should be attributed to that organization, the source cited is the article written by Pailthorp.

USE FRAGMENTS and CLAUSES (do not quote whole sentences, nor whole groups of sentences)

Quote words, phrases, and lines that show the parts of the story that lead to your thinking.  For literary analysis, think about what are the words, phrases, and lines that lead you to think what you think about the character and/or theme.  For argument synthesis writing, think about the words, phrases, and ideas that lend support to your reasons and claims.  How much should you quote? Not much. Your paper should primarily contain your own words. Be judicious and also be willing to change. You may start to quote from one line and then realize you actually need to summarize a whole section. You may start to summarize a whole section, but then realize that quoting a small part will suffice. More often, you will wrestle with what parts to summarize or paraphrase and what parts to quote. It is okay if you run into difficulty deciding; that means that you are writing. 

Excerpt fragments from longer portions of text. 

Sometimes, you should quote short fragments, rather than whole sentences. Here is a paragraph from an article about the use of drones in the United Kingdom: 

“But campaigners warned that the new generation of drones could have profound consequences for civil liberties.’With the use of drones in European airspace spiralling, we urgently need greater clarity and transparency about when and how these tools are deployed,’ said Eric King of Privacy International.

Not too long ago, this was the stuff of science fiction, but flying robotic devices equipped with facial recognition technology and mobile phone interception kit are increasingly commonplace.

However, the secretive way in which surveillance drones have been put into operation, and the failure of the police to recognise and address the human rights issues involved, has created a huge potential for abuse.”

You can’t quote all of this, so you need to make some decisions about what to quote, what to paraphrase, what to summarize, or what to exclude. That will depend on the claim and reason you are supporting. If your supporting the idea that the use of drones raises questions about protecting people’s rights and privacy, your evidence may look something like this:

Drones are becoming more common in the sky, and since they can be equipped with technology that recognizes faces and captures cell phone information, Eric King of Privacy INterantional calls for “…greater clarity and transparency about when and how these tools are deployed” (Doward 1). Doward is the author of the article, which is the source of the information.  Notice that there is a combination of summary and quotation in this piece of evidence.

Example of using fragments for literary analysis:

Hwang Sunwon believes that humans can be merciful and kind to another, even if war separates them. Although Songsam originally plans to escort Tokchae to be executed, he changes his mind,  "untie[s] Tokchae's hand," and frees him, pretending they are going to "flush a crane" (4-5). Songsam cannot bear to kill his friend and does not, even if it means going against orders. 

Non-example of using fragments for literary analysis:

Hwang Sunwon believes that humans can be merciful and kind to another, even if war separates them. "Songsam had untied Tokchae's hand and was already crawling through the weeds." Songsam could not bear to kill his friend and did not, even if it meant going against orders. There is no context before the quote. The sentence starts with a quote. Additionally, it is written in past tense. When writing about literature, use present tense.  

Example of using fragments for informational/argumentative:   

Pailthorp's article explains how a majority of property managers in Seattle favor white and able-bodied renters, and discriminate "against black and disabled renters" (1).  

Non-example of using fragments for informational/argumentative:   

In the article, it says "discrimination against black and disabled renters" (1).  There is not enough context in front of the quote. What article? Who said this?  

In the article it says “A snapshot of everyday business practice displays a pattern of discrimination against black and disabled renters in Seattle” (1).

 

USING SINGLE WORDS as EVIDENCE

Sometimes you only need one word to lend support to your idea. When an entire line of the text isn't necessary, but a word or phrase will give you a solid connection between your ideas and the words of the author, you can quote that single word and not an entire phrase or clause.  The entire phrase or clause may make your sentence too wordy.  Be sure there is enough context so that word clearly makes sense in supporting your idea.

Example from literature analysis:   

Buddy says he couldn't eat any more pie, but his "spirit" wanted more (7), indicating that he wants more of the love and connection with his family.  

Non-Example from literature analysis:  

Buddy says, "I'd eaten all I could hold, but my spirit was still hungry for sweet potato pie" (7). He wants more love and connection with his family.  This entire quote is not necessary, as the main point is that he wants connection with his family. The word “spirit” is the key part of that line that shows its significance to Buddy.  It is more effective to link the quoted single word with that idea than to quote the entire line.

Example from informational/argumentative:   

Doyle refers to the “radical” change that comes from using video games in the classroom (Corbett 54).

Non-Example from informational/argumentative:   

Doyle refers to the radical change that comes from using video games in the classroom.  The problem here is that the author (Corbett) uses the word “radical” to describe Doyle’s idea.  Here, “radical” is not in quotation marks and there is no citation.

 

USING PARAPHRASING as EVIDENCE

Paraphrasing is taking a character’s words or a quoted person's words and putting them into your own words in order to keep it brief. 

Example of paraphrasing information for literary analysis:

Consider this line from Hwang Sunwon’s Cranes: “Sŏngsam had untied Tŏkchae’s hands and was already crawling through the weeds.”

Integrated Quote: Although Songsam originally plans to escort Tokchae to be executed, he changes his mind,  "untie[s] Tokchae's hand," and frees him, pretending they are going to "flush a crane" (Sunwon 4-5).  

Paraphrased version of the integrated quote: Although Sonsgam originally plans to escort Tokchae to be executed, he later changes his mind, freeing him by pretending they are going to catch a crane, just as they did in their youth (Sunwon 4-5).  

 Non-Example of paraphrase: Although Sonsgam originally plans to escort Tokchae to be executed, he later changes his mind, unties Tokchae's hand and starts crawling through the weeds. The words "crawling through the weeds" are direct quotes from the story, and therefore need quotation marks around them. They are not written in one’s own words. Similarly, "unties Tokchae's hand" is almost exactly quoted from the text. Lastly, paraphrase, like integrated quotes, must be followed by a citation.   

Example of paraphrasing information for non-fiction/informational:

Consider this paragraph from an article about drones:

"The UK doesn't have a proper road map [for the roll out of drones]; its existing roadmap was written in 2005 and it's too old," said Mahendran Arjunraja, senior research analyst at Frost & Sullivan, a global market consultancy. "Safety issues are paramount. We will soon have civilian UAVs sharing airspace with airplanes," Arjunraja said. "There is a need to develop sense-and-avoid technology so the UAS don't crash into aeroplanes. We should see this technology being rolled out within the next 10 years."

Integrated quote:  Mahendran Arjunraja, a senior research analyst for a global consultancy firm, claims that “the UK doesn’t have a proper road map [for the roll out of drones]; its existing roadmap was written in 2005 and it’s too old” (Doward 2).

Paraphrased version of the integrated quote: Mahendran Arjunraja, a senior research analyst for a global consultancy firm, claims the plans for sharing airspace with drones are out of date which could create safety problems.  Notice that paraphrasing allowed the writer to include the safety angle by reaching beyond quoting the one line.

Non-example of paraphrase:

Mahendran Arjunraja, a senior research analyst for a global consultancy firm, claims safety issues are paramount and we need sense and avoid technology so there aren’t any drones crashing into airplanes. This is not a paraphrase because it uses some exact phrases of the author. 

USING SUMMARIZING as EVIDENCE

If a key event or series of events in the literary work support a point you are trying to make, you may want to include a brief summary, making sure that you show the relevance of the event or events by explicitly connecting your summary to your point.

When supporting a claim about literature, you may summarize a sequence of events that lead to a critical point in the story that you want to emphasize. You may summarize the beginning of the story so you establish some background on the character, and then you can be more specific about significant events later in the story.

When supporting a claim about non-fiction argumentative or informational writing, you might summarize the main points an author makes to support their argument.  You might summarize a long example the author provides to support a point so that you can use it to support your idea, or you may summarize it so you can refute it. 

 

 

Example of summarizing to support a claim about literature 

Topic sentence:

The greatest assistance Happy Gilmore receives in his quest is when Chubs Peterson teaches him to overcome his anger by finding his “happy place”.

Summarizing as evidence:

Happy’s anger problem has roots in the loss of his parents. His mother moved to Egypt because his dad watched too much hockey, and his father was killed after being struck in the head by a stray hockey puck. Because of this, he says that he loses his temper whenever things don’t go his way. And now as a golfer, losing his temper prevents him from being able to make putts on the golf course. Now this problem from his childhood remains as his biggest weakness as a golfer. This is where Chubs Peterson comes in…

Example of summarizing to support a claim about non-fiction argumentative or informational writing 

One page of an essay on school reform discusses “learning friendly environments” as part of arguing that politics can get in the way of thinking about what we really want schools to foster in students. On that page, the author lists six characteristics of a “learning friendly environment” with a paragraph or two about each.  You cannot quote all that, so it is time to summarize:

Rose points out that “learning friendly environments” are classrooms where safety, respect, student responsibility for learning, academic rigor, ongoing support, and concern for students’ welfare are evident (10-11). He asks, “How do the current reforms promote such qualities?” (11).

Rose points out that “learning friendly environments” are classrooms where students feel safe and respected. They are classrooms where students take responsibility for learning; where they work hard, but also have support from someone who cares about their well-being (10-11).  He questions whether the reforms that our society works for actually allow for these qualities to develop when he asks, “How do the current reforms promote such qualities?” (11).

Integrating Quotations

Your quote cannot just be dropped awkwardly into your writing. This looks clunky to the reader, gets in the way of you trying to communicate effectively. Quotes that are dropped into your writing are sometimes called floating quotes, because they are not tightly tied grammatically and logically to your own words.  

Lead into your quote with a properly used colon: 

Hamlet denies Rosencrantz's claim that thwarted ambition caused his depression: "I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space" (Hamlet 2.2). 

The colon announces that a quote will follow to provide evidence for the sentences claim. 

Introduce or conclude the quote by attributing it to the speaker.  If your attribution precedes the quote, you will need to use a comma after the verb. 

Hamlet denies Rosencrantz’s claim that thwarted ambition caused his depression. He states, “I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2). 

When faced with a twelve-foot mountain troll, Ron gathers his courage, shouting, “Wingardium Leviosa!” (176). 

The Pirate King sees an element of regality in their impoverished and dishonest life. “It is, it is a glorious thing/To be a pirate king,” he declares (83). 

Interrupt a quote with an attribution to the speaker.  Again, you will need to use a comma after the verb, as well as a comma leading into the attribution.  THIS IS THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN START A SENTENCE WITH A QUOTATION.  ONLY! 

“There is nothing either good or bad,” Hamlet argues, “but thinking makes it so” (Hamlet 2.2). 

“And death shall be no more,” Donne writes, “Death thou shalt die” (14). 

The first example draws attention to two parts of Hamlet's claim.  The first phrase states that nothing is inherently good or bad; the second phrase suggests that our perspective causes things to become good or bad.  Guess what the essay writer's next sentences will be about: those ideas!  The second example used the break to emphasize the "Death thou shalt die" phrase in particular.  When breaking up a quote in this way, consider the shift in emphasis this creates.  Then, make sure you elaborate on the significance of the emphasized part.  If you are not breaking up a paragraph to emphasize part of it, then don't do it at all. 

Use the words of the quote grammatically within your own sentence. 

When Hamlet tells Rosencrantz that he “could be bounded in a nutshell and count [him]self a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2), he implies that thwarted ambition did not cause his depression. 

Ultimately, death holds no power over Donne since in the afterlife, “death shall be no more” (14). 

Note that when you use “that” after the verb that introduces the quote, you no longer need a comma. 

The Pirate King argues that “it is, it is a glorious thing/to be a pirate king” (83). 

(The previous section is adapted from the Writing Center at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.) 

 

Use transition words to help integrate. 

Example:  After Holden removes his hat, he thinks about... 

Non-Example: Holden removed his hat, he thinks about... 

 

Use brackets [   ] in your writing if you need to make small changes to the quote to make it fit grammatically with your own words. 

Example: Although Holden claims to not care how he looks as he is about to enter the train station, he "got some snow in [his] hand and washed [his] face with it" (Salinger 32).  

Alternate solution: Although Holden claims to not care how he looks as he is about to enter the train station, he says, "I got some snow in my hand and washed my face with it" (Salinger 32).  

Non-Example: Although Holden claims to not care how he looks as he is about to enter the train station, he "got some snow in my hand and washed my face with it" (Salinger 32).  

To add information that the author/speaker do not include in the statement but would make it more clear to the reader:

"The UK doesn't have a proper road map [for the roll out of drones]; its existing roadmap was written in 2005 and it's too old," said Mahendran Arjunraja,

 

Use ellipses ( … ) in your writing to eliminate words within a quote that are not needed to support your point.  

Example: Explaining how he met Mrs. Morrow, Holden recalls, "She sat down next to me...because she had this big bag with her and I was sitting in the front seat" (Salinger 32).  

Non-Example: Explaining how he met Mrs. Morrow, Holden recalls, "She sat down next to me, instead of an empty seat, because she had this big bag with her and I was sitting in the front seat.” 

 

Example frames for integrating quotes and citations 

In the article, The Five Stages of Loss and Grief, which describes ______, [author] explains, “_______” (1).  

Detailing how ________, [author] argues that “______” (     ).  

When teenagers ______________, they “_______” (Schwartz 3).  

When explaining how __________, [author] states, “_________”  (    ).  

When Holden remembers ______, he says, “______” (Salinger 49).  

 

Elaborating with Explanation

 

 

From the Smarter Balanced Range Finding ELA Full Writes Guidelines – Explanatory:

 

Definition of Elaboration 

Elaboration is the process of developing ideas by providing supporting details. These details (e.g., facts, sensory details, definitions, examples, anecdotes, scenarios, descriptions, quotations, etc.) are suitably explained and connected. A writer elaborates on his or her ideas so that a reader will understand more clearly what he or she is saying. Thoughtful elaboration is guided by the purpose for the writing and the needs of the audience. 

 

Levels of Elaboration 

Listed support/elaboration: A list of ideas that support the focus or idea. This list can easily be reordered without changing or confusing the meaning of the text. This type of elaboration would likely earn a 1 or a 2 on the rubric and would not be considered to be meeting standard. 

 

Example of listed support/elaboration: For example, Holden feels like he will fall. Holden calls out to Allie for help. Antolini gave him a warning. Holden is starting to learn what Anolini was talking about. And he is scared, but he thinks Allie can help him.  

 

General, layered Elaboration: A sentence-to-sentence progression of ideas/points, possible examples, and explanations that further develops and supports the focus or main idea. Source-based evidence, if present, may be in the form of general or imprecise references. Reordering of the text might sometimes impair the connection of ideas. This type of elaboration would likely earn 1 or a 2 on the rubric and would be considered to be "approaching standard". 

 

Example of general, layered elaboration: For example, Holden feels like he is going to fall. He starts talking to Allie. Holden is scared by this. Clearly, Holden is starting to change after Mr. Antolini’s warning.  Allie can’t really help him.  He actually crosses the streets by himself, and this shows that he will eventually realize that he can handle life on his own.  And that is what Mr. Antolini wants him to realize after all. 

 

Specific, layered Elaboration:A sentence-to-sentence progression of ideas/points, possible examples, and explanations that specifically develops and supports the focus and main idea using precise language. A writer integrates specific and relevant source-based evidences—facts and details—into his or her explanation. Reordering of the text would often impair the connection of ideas.  This type of elaboration would likely earn a 3 or a 4 and would be considered to be "meeting standard" or better. 

 

Example of specific, layered elaboration: For example, after he leaves Mr. Antolini’s, Holden has a strange experience.  Each time he steps off a curb he feels like he’ll start falling “… down, down, down, and nobody’d ever see [him] again” (197).  He begins to sweat and starts asking Allie to keep him from disappearing; when he makes it to the other side of the street, he thanks Allie as if he prevents his disappearing. Holden doesn’t understand it right away, but he experiences in his imagination the "terrible fall" Mr. Antolini had warned him about, and it scares him.  He calls out to Allie, but Allie can’t really help him.  He actually crosses the streets by himself, even if he does thank Allie, and this shows that he will eventually realize that he can handle moving on without Allie. And that is what Mr. Antolini wants him to realize after all. 

 

 

 

Some organizational patterns that lead to layered elaboration: 

Developing ideas in chronological order (order in which events occur in time) 

-        A sentence-to-sentence progression of details/ideas that show how events occur over time or how an interaction develops over time

Developing ideas in terms of cause and effect (reasons/results) 

-        A sentence-to-sentence progression of details/ideas  that show the reasons for some event and/or the results that stem from the cause

Developing ideas in terms of problem/solution 

-        A sentence-to-sentence progression of details/ideas that show a problem and its potential solution

Developing ideas through description/imagery

-        A sentence-to-sentence progression of  details/ideas that make a person, place, or thing more clear in the reader’s mind

Developing ideas by describing a process or sequence of actions 

-        A sentence-to-sentence progression of details/ideas that show a step-by-step process

Developing ideas by separating them into categories or parts 

-        A sentence-to-sentence progression of details/ideas that put people, places, things in various categories or analyzes their components

Developing ideas by comparing their similar qualities 

-        A sentence-to-sentence progression of details/ideas that show similarities between two or more people, places, or things

Developing ideas by contrasting their differing qualities 

-        A sentence-to-sentence progression of details/ideas that show differences between two or more people, places, or things

 

Some strategies for coherence that lead to layered elaboration

Using transitional markers to make elaboration coherent (From: Writing with a Purpose: 10th edition, Trimmer) 

Transitional markers are words or phrases often place at or near the beginning of a sentence of clause to signal the relationship between the new sentence or clause and the one before it. The most common markers are the conjunctions and, or, nor, but, and for.  Others –sometimes called transitional connectives- indicate the direction a new sentence is about to take and prepare the reader for what is to follow.  The most common transitional connectives are used as follows: 

-          To introduce an illustration: for example, for instance, to illustrate 

-          To add another phrase of the same idea: second, in the second place, then, furthermore, next, moreover, in addition, similarly, again, also , finally 

-          To point out a contrast or qualification: on the other had, nevertheless, despite this fact, on the contrary, still, however, conversely, instead 

-          To indicate a conclusion or result: therefore, in conclusions, to sum up, consequently, as a result, accordingly, in other words 

-          Ways to create layered elaboration/coherence 

-          Use a variety of transition words (when, after, although, since, therefore, clearly, etc.) 

 

Use pronouns to refer back to nouns in earlier sentences 

For example: Buddy is grateful for the sacrifices his family made. He couldn't have become a professor without their support.  

 

Use a compound subject in one sentence, and then write about each subject in the next two sentences.  

For example:  Buddy and Lil are both grateful for the support they receive from their family. Buddy is thankful for the sacrifices Lil and Charley made to allow him to stay in school during childhood. As an adult, Lil expresses gratitude for the money Buddy is able to send her while her husband is out of work, money that Buddy was able to make as a direct result of the Lil's earlier sacrifice; she allowed him to receive the education that opened the door to a high-paying job. 

 

Make connections between different details and evidence used in your paragraph.

For example, "In both cases, ____. Or, "Here, ___, and earlier, ___." 

 

 

Non examples of Layered Elaboration 

The following sentence starters (and others like them) should not appear in your writing. If you use them to start your sentences, make sure to delete them before turning in. The rest of the sentence will still make sense, and be more concise, without it. 

-          The reason why is... 

-          My inference is... 

-          In the last paragraph it says... 

-          The quote is supporting that... 

-          This evidence shows... 

-          My evidence that proves this is…

 

Concluding Sentence/Closing Sentence

 

 

 

Expectations 

A concluding sentence brings closure to your paragraph. It should restate your topic sentence without repeating it. It should also integrate key points that you made within your paragraph. It should be entirely in your own words.   

 

Examples of concluding sentences in a literary analysis essay: 

Topic Sentence 1: Alexie repeats images of unjust environments—both at school and at home—throughout the story, developing the idea that each injustice we face eats away at our pride, and the only way to combat the resulting self-pity is personal reflection.  

Concluding Sentence 1: Clearly, self-reflection is the key to overcoming injustice, since Victor is able to combat both his teacher and his situation at home by pausing to think about what is really going on, rather than what one might initially guess.   

 

Topic Sentence 2: Victor’s awareness of justice and injustice develop in the fourth grade, when he begins to become conscious of a divide between the resources on the Indian Reservation where he lives, and the towns and cities beyond.  

Concluding Sentence 2: Here, the hope of seeking justice becomes more complicated, because advancing one’s education often leads to fairer treatment; however, in this case, higher education is only and unfairly available in a non-Indian community.  

 

Topic Sentence 3: The idea of justice becomes even more complicated as Victor graduates from an off-reservation high school with a number of awards and accomplishments, and begins thinking of a path to success as an adult.  

Concluding Sentence 3: Victor is left not to celebrate his success, but to stoically seek out justice for himself and others.  

 

Examples of concluding sentences in an argumentative essay: 

Topic Sentence 1: One important reason not to require businesses to raise the minimum wage is that it could unintentionally harm the workers this law is trying to help, such as waiters and employees of small businesses. 

Concluding Sentence 1: If both the employees and their employers question the benefits of a minimum wage increase, then maybe you, our mayor, should as well.  

 

Topic Sentence 2: This proposal could also have a negative effect on our local economy, since it would raise costs for many employers.   

Concluding Sentence 2: It should be obvious at this point that any gains in the financial situations of individual workers would be overtaken by the losses in the local economy.  

 

Example of a counterargument and refutation, with closing sentence:

Topic Sentence 3 (Counter Argument): It can be argued that there is no excuse not to raise Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 immediately. Supporting Evidence: According to one of your members, Ms. Sawant, major corporations, such as “McDonald’s and Starbucks have no justification for keeping their workers in poverty for a day longer” (Thompson and Martinez). Elaboration: Sawant suggests it is morally wrong for corporations with billions of dollars in assets to prevent their employees from climbing out of poverty. Refutation: However, at the very least, all companies need time to adjust to a major change in business practice. Supporting Evidence: As reported by the Seattle Times, Seattle’s plan to raise the minimum wage “calls for the city’s minimum wage to climb to $15 an hour, phased in over three to seven years depending on the size of business and whether workers receive tips or benefits in addition to salary.” Elaboration: If the minimum wage must be raised, then “phasing” it in over several years is much more reasonable than forcing businesses to immediately begin paying out a much larger portion of their profits. Elaboration: This would give businesses time to make needed adjustments to their business practice, such as raising menu prices, reducing staff, and slowing down wage increases for staff making over $15 per hour. Concluding Sentence 3: However, an even better decision would be to not mandate a wage increase at all, and allow businesses to manage their own affairs, leaving menu prices and staffing levels the same.   

  

 

Transitions (between paragraphs)

 

 

Three ways to transition between paragraphs: 

1. Basic: 

At the very least, you can begin each topic sentence of your essay with a different transition word, such as "first," "second," "third," or "first," "second," "finally." This is formulaic, and will not earn a great score, but it can be a starting point.  

 

2. Better:  

Use more specific transition words, and embed them within your topic sentences if possible.  

 

Example of transitions in topic sentences of literary analysis essay:

 

Claim: As she grows up, Tan realizes that although she may feel like an outsider at times, she should never sacrifice her pride to fit in. The theme of pride emerges as she worries about a childhood dinner, develops as the dinner gets underway, and develops further when she reflects back on that evening as an adult.  

 

Topic Sentence 1: Tan’s initial lack of pride in her heritage is revealed when she learns her Chinese-American family has invited a white family over for Christmas dinner.  

 

Topic Sentence 2: Tan’s lack of pride becomes even more evident during dinner, when she feels trapped by her family’s actions.  

 

Topic Sentence 3: Although it takes many years, Tan finally stops running and learns to take pride in who she is.  

 

Example of transitions in topic sentences of an argumentative essay: 

 

Claim: Although a large coalition of leaders in Seattle, including you, Mr. Murray, have proposed a government-mandated minimum wage increase to $15 to be phased in over several years, and others (some on the city council) believe the minimum wage should be raised immediately, both of these positions are in error, because business owners should be able to manage their own affairs without government intrusion.  

 

Topic Sentence 1 (elaborates on the first reason in the claim): One important reason not to require businesses to raise the minimum wage is that it could unintentionally harm the workers this law is trying to help, such as waiters and employees of small businesses. 

 

Topic Sentence 2 (elaborates on the second reason in the claim): This proposal could also have a negative effect on our local economy, since it would raise costs for many employers.   

 

Topic Sentence 3 (Opposing Argument): It can be argued that there is no excuse not to raise Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 immediately. Supporting Evidence: According to one of your members, Ms. Sawant, major corporations, such as “McDonald’s and Starbucks have no justification for keeping their workers in poverty for a day longer” (Thompson and Martinez). Elaboration: Sawant suggests it is morally wrong for corporations with billions of dollars in assets to prevent their employees from climbing out of poverty. Refutation (elaborates on the third reason in the claim): However, at the very least, all companies need time to adjust to a major change in business practice.  

 

3. Another option (also good): 

Write compound or complex topic sentences. (Write topic sentences that contain more than clause.) Use the first clause to refer back to your previous paragraph, and the second clause to introduce the main point of the current paragraph.   

 

Example of compound or complex topic sentences that work as transitions:

 

Concluding sentence(s) of Body Paragraph 2: Tan lacks pride to such as extent that she doesn’t even want to be around anyone who shares her customs, worrying that it will reflect on her. She wants to “disappear”; she is running from herself.  

 

Topic Sentence 3 (complex sentence): After Tan finally stops running, she learns to take pride in who she is.  

Topic Sentence 3 (compound sentence): Tan finally stops running, and this allows her to take pride in who she is.  

Topic Sentence 3 (compound predicate): Tan finally stops running and learns to take pride in who she is.