6 Step #3: Coherent, Unified Paragraphs

“Vintage Book” by Suzy Hazelwood, Pexels is in the Public Domain, CC0

Strong essays are built with solid, coherent, and unified paragraphs. They should be digestible units of thought that have similar structure to the essay itself: a topic sentence, a body of support, and a concluding or transitional statement to help the reader move through the essay with clarity. Body paragraphs should also be arranged according to your primary pattern of development and focused on supporting your big idea(s).

A body paragraph is an expansion of a single thought that is laid out according to a specific, logical structure:

  • A strong, clear topic sentence that states the main idea of the paragraph (which will likely be a sub-point helping to explore your thesis).
  • Several (two-four) sentences of development and support for your topic sentence: including quotes, summaries, and paraphrases of relevant sources and your substantive responses to the source material.
  • A closing sentence of summary and/or a transition into the next paragraph.

BEST: When the writer uses paragraphs to present unified, coherent, organized, and well-developed thoughts in support of their overall thesis.


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The Writing Process by Andrew Gurevich is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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