Body Paragraphs Video Lecture
For the first topic sentence, the student decides to say, first, speaking another language broadens a person's view of the world. Those are three things that support the topic sentence that says, speaking another language broadens a person's view of the world. Coherence helps to make your writing logical, and the way we do this is to use transition words and phrases.
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In this lecture we’re going to talk about body paragraphs. These are some of the types of academic essays that you’ll write in a college class. Illustration gives examples to show something. Argument gives reasons to argue a position. Classification describes types of something. Compare and contrast give either similarities, or differences between things. And cause and effect gives either the causes, or the effects of something. These five types of essays follow similar structures, and that includes the structure of the body paragraphs. The body paragraphs in those types of essays will all have this structure. They’ll start with a topic sentence, and they should have between two and four supporting ideas. Here, you’re seeing three supporting ideas, that’s rather standard. And then you’ll have a couple of details or examples for each of the supporting ideas. And then you’ll end to the each body paragraph with a conclusion sentence or transition sentence that helps the paragraph flow to the next paragraph. Each supporting idea supports the topic sentence, so it has to relate back to that idea. Each detail and example have to support the supporting idea. The details and examples are the most specific sentences in the paragraph. The purpose of the supporting ideas is to show what you mean by the topic sentence, and the purpose of the details is to show what you mean by the supports. That’s why they get more specific as you go because you’re showing the reader more specifically, what you’re trying to say. The topic sentences in your body paragraphs should have two parts, the topic and controlling idea. That should sound familiar to you cuz that’s what a thesis also has. A topic sentence is similar to a thesis, but the topic sentence controls that paragraph. Each topic sentence also must support the thesis statement, and you do this by using keywords from the thesis statement. Remember, your thesis statement must be specific, and you use nouns instead of pronouns so that it is specific. And those nouns from your thesis statement become keywords that you’ll repeat in your topic sentence. This will help your reader to follow along with your point, you also should use transitions on your topic sentences. And because we’re using keywords, you’re going to avoid pronouns in your topic sentences. Let’s look at a sample thesis statement. Every citizen should learn to speak a second language. This is the point that the writer wants to make, and the writer will need at least three body paragraphs to support this thesis. For the first topic sentence, the student decides to say, first, speaking another language broadens a person’s view of the world. So that’s the first point he’s going to make to support that thesis. For the second topic sentence, he says, another reason is that learning a second language opens job opportunities. And for the third topic sentence, finally, learning a new language improves mental function. These are the three reasons that the writer thinks every citizen should learn to speak a second language. Each of these topic sentences will start a body paragraph in the essay. Now, in each of those body paragraphs, we have to have support. Each one has to relate back to the topic sentence, everything in the body paragraphs has to relate to that topic sentence. Let’s look at an example. Here’s our first topic sentences again, and here are three ideas that the writer has that will support that topic sentence. The thing that we’re trying to support is that, speaking another language broadens a person’s view of the world. They become aware of different cultures. They think about subjects they’ve never thought about. They learn about different countries. Those are three things that support the topic sentence that says, speaking another language broadens a person’s view of the world. And then we need details for each of those supports. So, this is the first support, they’ve become aware of different cultures. The writer gives a detail that many people never leave their hometowns. That helps to explain why they become familiar with different cultures when they learn a second language. And then there’s another detail about not even having friends from other cultures. So again, that’s a detail explaining why learning a language would help people to become aware of different cultures. Here’s the second supporting idea, they think about subjects they’ve never thought about before. And here the writer gives a detail, new vocabulary gives insight into the country that speaks that language that helps to explain that supporting idea. And then the writer gives an example. A language spoken only in hot climates may not even have a word for snow. So that’s a very specific example that shows something new that a person would think about if they learned another language. And then we have another example. The vocabulary also teaches the learner about new foods of the related culture. So, those three details there help to explain that supporting idea. Here’s the full essay. You can see the introduction in black, and the last sentence is the thesis statement.. And then we have the three topic sentences in purple, they start each of the body paragraphs. And in each of those body paragraphs we have three supporting ideas, those are in green. Also in each body paragraph we have details and examples to help support the supporting ideas. Remember, the details are the most specific sentences in the paragraphs. And then we have a transition or conclusion sentence at the end of each body paragraph. Another thing we need to talk about in essay is coherence. Coherence means the smoothness between sentences and paragraphs. Coherence helps to make your writing logical, and the way we do this is to use transition words and phrases. In this essay, we already have a transition word at the beginning of each paragraph. Our topic sentences all started with a transition word. First, another reason, and finally are all transitions. These help to make the paragraphs flow smoothly from one to the next. And when the reader gets to a new paragraph, he knows how it relates to the thesis statement. Now that’s really good, but we also want to have transitions in our body paragraphs, so that there is smoothness between the sentences. Here’s the essay after I made some changes to help me revise for coherence. All of the yellow here are the ways that we make coherence. You see, I added a few words to my thesis statement to make it a little more complex, and to make it flow better. In the first body paragraph, I added the transitions also, for example, and furthermore. I also added a dependent clause, because many people never leave their own hometowns. And then I joined that with an independent clause, they sometimes don’t think about the world. I made a complex sentence, instead of that simple sentence that I had before. This adds to the coherence, it makes it flow better. Now, I did not add any coherence to the second, and third paragraphs. I’m going to leave that for you to practice. Later in the course you’ll see this essay. You can download it, and print it if you want, and practice adding coherence. To do that, you’ll add some transitions, and you might join a couple of the sentences to make them flow better. This is something you’ll always want to do before you turn in one of your essays.
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