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The second paragraph of an essay is also known as the first Body Paragraph . The second paragraph is an important one. It is where you start making the case for your Argument . The second paragraph helps you transition from the introduction to the body of the essay. It contains your most important information or idea and sets the stage for what is to come.
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Meaning of the Second Paragraph
The second paragraph is the first Body Paragraph of an essay. It follows the introductory paragraph and contains the most obvious beginning point for the rest of the essay.
The second paragraph should provide an entry point to the rest of the essay. As the entry point, it should include the strongest Argument or the most important information of all the body paragraphs.
Importance of a Second Paragraph
The second paragraph is important because it bridges the introductory paragraph and the rest of the essay. As the bridge, it contains the strongest argument, example, or information of the essay.
Features of the Second Paragraph
The second paragraph is your first chance to make a claim, so it has several important features:
- A topic sentence that states the main point of the paragraph and connects to the Thesis Statement
- An explanation of your reasoning to support the topic sentence
- Evidence to back up your reasoning
- A smooth transition into the Third Paragraph
Second Paragraph Example
Below is an example of a second paragraph. Note how it contains all of the key features listed above. It starts with a topic sentence that connects to the Thesis Statement (college should be free). It includes sentences that explain the reasoning behind the topic sentence. It uses Evidence from sources to back up that reasoning. The final sentence prepares the reader for the upcoming Third Paragraph .
The primary reason college should be free is that it would boost the economy. Most college graduates leave with a lot of student debt. High levels of student debt can cause them to stop buying houses, investing in businesses, or spending money on travel. According to Gallup, student debt has become the largest form of personal debt in the U.S. Recent studies have found young people are not spending on homes or travel like previous generations. Many of them are postponing large purchases due to student debt. If the government paid for college, more people would be able to make large purchases and boost the economy. Free college can also boost the economy in many other ways.
Note how the above example ends with a hint at what is coming next. This last sentence prepares the reader for the Main Idea of the next paragraph. The reader can guess that the third paragraph will discuss another way free college can boost the economy.
How to Write the Second Paragraph
To write the second paragraph, transition from the First Paragraph with a topic sentence, explain your reasoning, and use evidence to support that reasoning. With these steps, you can write a second paragraph in no time! This also contains great sentence starters for the second paragraph.
Steps to Writing the Second Paragraph:
1. Transition from the First Paragraph with a topic sentence.
2. Use relationship words as sentence starters to smooth out the transition.
2. Explain your reasoning with support sentences.
3. Provide evidence to back up your statements.
Let's break down these steps to understand them more clearly.
1. Transition from the First Paragraph
Start the second paragraph with a transition from the first paragraph (the introductory paragraph). You need to show how the second paragraph relates to the first paragraph.
A transition is a word or phrase that connects one idea to another. Transitions between paragraphs connect the main ideas of each paragraph.
Think of Transitions as bridges. They connect the main ideas of your paragraphs using relationship words .
Relationship words are words that show the relationship between two or more ideas. They are used in transition sentences to demonstrate the relationships between paragraphs.
Use the Topic Sentence to Transition
To transition from the first paragraph to the second paragraph, write a topic sentence that includes relationship words. Relationship words show how the main ideas of each paragraph connect to each other.
A topic sentence is a sentence that states the Main Idea of a paragraph. It should be the first sentence of the paragraph.
Think about your most important claim. Write it down. That should be the topic sentence of your second paragraph.
Wait! You're not done just yet. The topic sentence still needs to connect to your thesis statement.
The thesis statement is a sentence that states the main idea or argument of an essay. It appears toward the end of the introductory paragraph.
Read what you have written down. Is it clear how your topic sentence relates to the thesis statement? If not, then it is not an effective transition. Consider adding relationship words to the beginning of the sentence to help make it a solid transition.
2. Use Relationship Words as Sentence Starters
Relationship words provide great sentence starters.
Sentence starters are words and phrases that appear at the beginning of a sentence. They start the sentence.
- From the beginning
First of all
- In the first place
- One way/argument/reason/method/etc.
- To begin with
- The most important
- One of the most important
Quick Tip! Play around! Don't limit yourself. Try a few different relationship words. See how each one fits. Read your topic sentence out loud with each transition to see how it sounds. Choose the one that makes the most sense.
3. Explain Your Reasoning
Now that you have a topic sentence, it's time to explain your ideas. You need support sentences to demonstrate your reasoning.
A support sentence is a sentence that supports the main argument of a paragraph. Support sentences explain the logic of The Argument for the reader to follow along.
Imagine you are having a conversation with the reader. You state your argument with a topic sentence. You made a good point! You know you are right.
The reader is interested but wants to know more. The reader asks you "how so?" They want to know how you know this .
Answer this "how so" question with two to three reasons. How do you know your argument is right? How do you know your explanation is true? Give your reasons!
Topic Sentence: The primary reason college should be free is that it would boost the economy.
Supporting ideas (how so?) :
- Graduates have more student debt than ever before
- Less student debt would mean more spending
- More spending would boost the economy
Take those reasons and turn them into sentences that connect to the topic sentence. Now you have support sentences!
4. Provide Evidence
You've made your point, but you still have to prove it. You need to provide evidence that you are right.
There are different types of evidence you can use. Take a look at the list below.
Types of Evidence
- Facts or Statistics
- Expert opinions
Look to your source material to see which types of evidence you have. You probably have a few different sources to choose from. Which sources have information that best supports your ideas?
Source materia l is the collection of objects a writer uses to gather information and ideas. Sources can be written, spoken, audio, or visual materials.
Every point you make needs a related piece of evidence to back it up. You don't want to make claims you can't prove.
For each support sentence, select a piece of evidence from your source material to back it up.
Support Sentence 1: Most college graduates leave with a lot of student debt.
Here's another pair of examples.
Support Sentence 2: High levels of student debt can cause them to stop buying houses, investing in businesses, or spending money on travel.
Evidence 2: Fact from recent studies.
Write a sentence explaining each piece of evidence you have chosen. In each sentence, focus on how this evidence supports your argument.
Sentence Starters for Second Paragraph
Also take note of the sentence starter in this example. It's different from the sentence starter of the second paragraph's topic sentence. That's because it shows a different kind of relationship. You will need relationship words that show how you are continuing The Argument from the second paragraph.
Sentence starters that show continuation:
- For example
Transitioning Words for Second Paragraph
To transition from the second paragraph to the third paragraph, use transition sentences at the end of the second paragraph AND the beginning of the third paragraph. These transition sentences should closely relate to each other. The connections between them should be clear.
Start transitioning between ideas at the end of the second paragraph. You should end the second paragraph with a concluding transition sentence .
A concluding transition sentence is a sentence at the end of a paragraph that includes a hint of what is coming next.
The last sentence of a paragraph is a great place to start transitioning to the next paragraph.
Ask yourself: What comes next? How can I hint at the next idea to come?
Free college can also boost the economy in many other ways.
Note how the above example hints at what is to come in the next paragraphs. The reader can guess the third paragraph will discuss another way that free college could boost the economy.
Second Paragraph - Key Takeaways
The second paragraph is the first body paragraph of an essay. It follows the introductory paragraph and contains the most obvious beginning point for the rest of the essay.
- The key features of the second paragraph are: a topic sentence, an explanation of your reasoning, evidence, and a smooth transition into the third paragraph.
- To write the second paragraph, transition from the first paragraph with a topic sentence, explain your reasoning, and use evidence to support that reasoning.
- A transition is a word or phrase that connects one idea to another.
- To transition from the second paragraph to the third paragraph, use transition sentences at the end of the second paragraph.
Frequently Asked Questions about Second Paragraph
--> what does second paragraph mean.
Second Paragraph means the first body paragraph of an essay. It follows the introductory paragraph and contains the most obvious beginning point for the rest of the essay.
--> What is an example of a second paragraph?
An example of a second paragraph is as follows:
The primary reason college should be free is that it would boost the economy. Most college graduates leave with a lot of student debt. High levels of student debt can cause them to stop buying houses, investing in businesses, or spending money on travel. According to Gallup, student debt has become the largest form of personal debt in the U.S. Recent studies have found young people are not spending on homes or travel like previous generations. Many of them are postponing large purchases due to student debt. If the government paid for college, more people would be able to make large purchases and boost the economy. Free college can also boost the economy in many other ways.
--> How do you write a second paragraph?
To write a second paragraph, transition from the first paragraph with a topic sentence, explain your reasoning, and use evidence to support that reasoning.
--> What are the features of a second paragraph?
The features of a second paragraph are 1) a topic sentence, 2) an explanation of reasoning, 3) evidence to support that reasoning, and 4) a transition to the third paragraph.
--> How do you transition from the second paragraph to the third paragraph?
To transition from the second paragraph to the third paragraph, use transition sentences at the end of the second paragraph AND the beginning of the third paragraph.
Final Second Paragraph Quiz
Second paragraph quiz - teste dein wissen.
What is the second paragraph of an essay?
Since the second paragraph provides an entry point to the rest of the essay, it should include your strongest ______ or most important _____.
Since the second paragraph provides an entry point to the rest of the essay, it should include your strongest argument or most important information .
What are the key features of the second paragraph?
What is the first step for writing the second paragraph?
Transition from the first paragraph with a topic sentence.
What is a transition?
What is a topic sentence?
A topic sentence is a sentence that states the main idea of a paragraph. It should be the first sentence of the paragraph.
The topic sentence of the second paragraph should connect to the _____.
thesis statement in the first paragraph
What type of words should be used as sentence starters to transition between ideas?
What are some examples of relationship words that are appropriate to use as sentence starters for the topic sentence of the second paragraph?
What type of sentences are used to demonstrate reasoning?
What is a support sentence?
A support sentence is a sentence that supports the main argument of a paragraph. Support sentences explain the logic of the argument for the reader to follow along.
Finish this sentence:
Every point needs _____.
What are the different types of evidence?
Where can one look for evidence to support their reasoning?
What is source material?
Source material is the collection of objects a writer uses to gather information and ideas. Sources can be written, spoken, audio, or visual materials.
What are the three different ways to use evidence in a sentence?
What is a concluding transition sentence?
What are some sentence starters that show continuation between the second and third paragraphs?
The second paragraph needs the strongest transition.
False. You need strong transitions throughout.
They show how ideas fit together.
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How to start a new paragraph using transitions
Do you struggle with how to start new paragraphs when you’re writing? As a general rule and to make things much easier, most paragraphs will begin with a transition. These words and phrases help show the relationship between the ideas you’re presenting. This way, the reader can follow your thoughts more easily. On the other hand, without transitions, your writing will be difficult to read and risks coming off like a scattered collection of ideas. So let’s take a look at how to start new paragraphs with transitions for better writing.
Determining an outline of the ideas you’ll present in your paper can save you time writing and will also let you consider how the ideas relate to each other and the topic of the paper . This also helps you choose what kind of transitions to use.
What is a paragraph?
A paragraph is a section of writing that presents one single topic. It is usually made up of more than one sentence and begins on a new line with a transition . Put simply, well-written paragraphs begin with a topic sentence , several detail sentences on that topic and a closing sentence . To provide a bit more detail, well-written paragraphs have logical and verbal bridges as defined below.
The same idea carries over from sentence to sentence.
Key words can be repeated in several sentences
Synonymous words can be repeated in several sentences
Pronouns can refer to nouns in previous sentences
Transition words can be used to link ideas from different sentences
When do you start a new paragraph?
There are three basic times in which you’ll want to start a new paragraph.
Introducing a new idea.
Beginning the introduction or conclusion.
Giving your reader a break.
Topic sentences define what a paragraph is about and are composed of three parts.
Transition + topic + the central point of your paragraph
Example of a topic sentence
“However, homework does have its drawbacks.”
In this topic sentence, the transition “ however ” shows it contrasts with previous information. We can tell we’re talking about “ homework ” and being presented with the central point of “ drawbacks ”
How do you choose what kind of transition to use?
Like we said before, this will depend on the relationship between the previous paragraph and the paragraph you’re starting.
Here are three questions you can ask yourself to choose the correct transition:
Am I starting a paragraph that presents similar information to the one before?
Am I starting a paragraph that presents contrasting information which is in opposition to the one before?
Am I starting a paragraph that highlights the consequences of the previous paragraph’s information?
This isn’t a complete list, but the most common ones you’ll see.
New idea/ Agreement
These transitions can be used to open a paragraph that covers another similar idea.
First, second, third,
On the same token
These are words and phrases when you are beginning a paragraph that contrasts with previous paragraphs or at least presents alternatives.
On the contrary
On the other hand
In spite of ________
Be that as it may
If you’re opening a new paragraph that builds off of the previous paragraph by showing a cause and effect relationship, you might use some of the phrases below that as part of an “adverb clause” (adverb clauses are phrases that like adverbs answer: how, when, where and to what extent)
As a result of ___________,
As a consequence of_________,
With this in mind,___________
EXAMPLE As a result of the previously mentioned improvement in scores , teachers are considering whether to make assignments and tests more difficult.
These transitions help you to signal that you’re closing out your paper. Keep in mind that conclusion paragraphs summarize or restate your thesis.
On the whole
With this in mind, you have all of the parts you need to easily plan and start new paragraphs. Need help taking your writing to the next level? Contact us today for a free consultation. FLS has private tutoring and group English classes for all levels and purposes.
Also, don’t forget FLS is opening for in-person classes. Find out more about our in-person programs here .
Written by: Welkin Tang
The 10 best act prep books.
Essay Writing: Paragraphs and Transitions
- Essay Writing Basics
- Purdue OWL Page on Writing Your Thesis This link opens in a new window
- Paragraphs and Transitions
- How to Tell if a Website is Legitimate This link opens in a new window
- Formatting Your References Page
- Cite a Website
- Common Grammatical and Mechanical Errors
- Additional Resources
- Proofread Before You Submit Your Paper
- Structuring the 5-Paragraph Essay
A. Begins with a sentence that captures the reader’s attention
1) You may want to use an interesting example, a surprising statistic, or a challenging question.
B. Gives background information on the topic.
C. Includes the THESIS STATEMENT which:
1) States the main ideas of the essay and includes:
b. Viewpoint (what you plan to say about the topic)
2) Is more general than supporting data
3) May mention the main point of each of the body paragraphs
II. BODY PARAGRAPH #1
A. Begins with a topic sentence that:
1) States the main point of the paragraph
2) Relates to the THESIS STATEMENT
B. After the topic sentence, you need to fill the paragraph with well-organized details, facts, and examples.
C. Paragraph may end with a transition.
III. BODY PARAGRAPH #2
IV. BODY PARAGRAPH #3
3) States the main point of the paragraph
4) Relates to the THESIS STATEMENT
A. Echoes the THESIS STATEMENT but does not repeat it.
B. Poses a question for the future, suggests some action to be taken, or warns of a consequence.
C. Includes a detail or example from the INTRODUCTION to “tie up” the essay.
D. Ends with a strong image – or a humorous or surprising statement.
Transition Words and Phrases
More transitions and linking expressions, a monroe college research guide.
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How To Start A Paragraph: 200+ Important Words And Phrases
by Kerri-Anne Edinburgh | Aug 3, 2022
There’s a lot to get right when you’re writing an essay. And a particularly important skill is knowing how to start a paragraph effectively. That first sentence counts!
Luckily for you, we’ve compiled HEAPS of advice, example phrases and top connective words to help you transition between paragraphs and guide your reader with ease.
So read on for a pick ’n’ mix of how to start a paragraph examples!
Paragraphs: the lowdown
So why exactly are paragraphs such an important tool for writing effectively ? Well:
- They’re an important part of keeping your reader captivated
- They help your reader to follow your argument or narrative
- And they keep your writing in easily digestible chunks of information!
And an important part of all that is nailing the start of your paragraphs . Honestly!
Start off strong and your reader will know exactly what you’re going to do next and how your information interrelates. Top marks here you come – and for the low, low cost of some clever vocab!
Start your paragraphs off weakly however, without setting up effective signposting and transitions , and they’ll get lost and ( horror !) might have to re-read your essay to make sense of it. Ugh.
What should your paragraphs contain?
If you’re writing an academic essay, there are a lot of popular conventions and guides about what a paragraph should include.
Academic writing guides favour well-developed paragraphs that are unified, coherent, contain a topic sentence, and provide adequate development of your idea. They should be long enough to fully discuss and analyse your idea and evidence.
And remember – you should ALWAYS start a new paragraph for each new idea or point .
You can read more about paragraph break guidelines in our helpful what is a paragraph article! If you’re wondering how long your paragraphs should be , check out our guideline article.
Paragraph structure (the PEEL method)
Academic paragraphs often follow a common structure , designed to guide your reader through your argument – although not all the time ! It goes like this:
- Start with a “topic sentence”
- Give 1-2 sentences of supporting evidence for (or against) your argument
- Next, write a sentence analysing this evidence with respect to your argument or topic sentence
- Finally, conclude by explaining the significance of this stance, or providing a transition to the next paragraph
(A quick definition: A “topic sentence” introduces the idea your paragraph will focus upon and makes summarising easy. It can occur anywhere but placing it at the start increases readability for your audience. )
One popular acronym for creating well-developed academic paragraphs is PEEL . This stands for Point, Evidence, Explanation, Link . Using this method makes it easy to remember what your paragraph should include.
- I.e. your point (the topic sentence), some evidence and analysis of how it supports your point, and a transitional link back to your essay question or forwards to your next paragraph.
NOTE : You shouldn’t start all your paragraphs the same way OR start every sentence in your paragraph with the same word – it’s distracting and won’t earn you good marks from your reader.
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How to create clarity for your readers
Paragraphs are awesome tools for increasing clarity and readability in your writing. They provide visual markers for our eyes and box written content into easily digestible chunks.
But you still need to start them off strongly . Do this job well, and you can seamlessly guide your readers through the narrative or argument of your writing.
The first sentence of your paragraph is an important tool for creating that clarity . You can create links with the surrounding paragraphs and signal the purpose of this paragraph for your reader.
- Transitions show the links and relationships between the ideas you’re presenting: addition, contrast, sequential, conclusion, emphasis, example/citation
- Connective words help you to join together multiple paragraphs in a sequence
- Note: there is quite a lot of overlap in vocabulary! Some transitions are also great signposts etc.
Tip : Don’t overuse them! These techniques can make your writing sounds more professional and less like spoken language by smoothing over jarring jumps between topics. But using too many will make your writing stilted.
A common term that encompasses these three tools is “ sentence starter ”. They are typically set apart from the body of your sentence by a comma.
You can learn more about these key skills in our two helpful articles linked above – or explore a range of other writing skills advice, such as how to start an essay , structure an essay , and proofread an essay effectively!
Picking the right tone
It is important that the paragraph-starting phrases and connective words you choose complement the style of your writing and the conventions of the subject you are writing for .
For example, scientific papers usually have much clearer and expected structure and signposting conventions than arts and humanities papers.
If you’re unsure, it’s best to check some of the sources you’ve researched for your essay, explore the relevant academic style guide, or get help from a teacher – ask them for some examples!
Getting your grammar right
Grammatical conventions can be a minefield, but they’re worth remembering if you want to get top marks!
If you’re looking to increase the clarity of your writing and paragraphs, make sure you pick the right spot for your commas and colons .
For example, when you’re starting a new paragraph, many of the common signposting words and phrases require a comma. These include: however, therefore, moreover, what’s more, firstly, secondly, finally, likewise, for example, in general … (and more!).
These phrases should always be followed by a comma if it’s at the start of a sentence, or separated with a comma before and after like this if placed mid-sentence:
However, we cannot say for sure what happened here. We know, for example, that X claims to have lost the icon.
A word about “ this ” (a tip for really great writing)
As you start writing your paragraphs (and even sentences), you might be tempted to kick off with the word “ this” – as in the classic “ this shows that … ”.
But that’s not a great idea.
Why ? Academic essays aim should aim for maximum clarity, and “ this ” is just vague !
What’s important is that the connections that are clear to you , the writer (who is – hopefully – intimately familiar with your argument), are ALSO clear to your reader , who has probably never read your essay before.
Just imagine, your reader might be muttering “this what??” as they read, and then having to re-read the paragraph and the paragraph before to check … which is not ideal for getting good marks.
In complex documents (especially essays and theses) where a lot of information is presented at once, the points you’re referencing might be spread across several paragraphs of evidence and argument-building. So, unless your sentence/paragraph-starting “this” follows on immediately from the point it references, it’s best to try a different phrase.
And all it really takes is a little signposting and clarification to avoid the vagueness of “ this shows that ”. Ask yourself “ this WHAT shows that? ” And just point out what you’re referencing – and be obvious !
Here’s some examples:
You can also do a similar exercise with “ they ” and other demonstrative pronouns (that, these, those).
Specifying what your pronouns refer to will great help to increase the clarity of your (topic) sentences . And as an added bonus, your writing will also sound more sophisticated!
What type of paragraph are you starting?
When it comes to essay writing, there’s usually an expected structure: introduction, body (evidence and analysis) and conclusion .
With other genres of writing your paragraphs might not conform to such
Consider the structure of your paragraph. What do you want it to do? What is the topic? Do you want to open with your topic sentence?
How to start an introductory paragraph
Nailing the introduction of your essay is simultaneously one of the most important and hardest sections to write . A great introduction should set up your topic and explain why it’s significant.
One of the primary goals of an effective introduction is to clearly state your “ thesis statement ” (what your essay is about, and what you are setting out to achieve with your argument).
A popular (and easy) technique to start an introduction is to begin your first paragraph by immediately stating your thesis statement .
Here’s some examples of how to start a paragraph with your thesis statement:
- This paper discusses …
- In this paper, you will find …
- This essay argues that …
- This thesis will evaluate …
- This article will explore the complex socio-political factors that contributed to the decline of the Roman Empire between the reign of Constantine (312-337AD) and the fall of Rome in 476AD .
However, starting your introductory paragraph effectively is not all about immediately stating your thesis!
So head over to our great article on how to start an essay , for lots of more advice and examples on how to kick off your introductions and capture your reader’s attention with style!
How to start a body paragraph
Unless you’re writing an introduction or conclusion, you’ll be writing a “body paragraph”. Body paragraphs make up the majority of your essay, and should include all of your main points, data, evidence, analysis, deductions and arguments.
Each paragraph should have a particular purpose and be centred around one idea . Your body paragraphs might be analytical, evidential, persuasive, descriptive etc.
To help your reader make sense of the body of your essay, it’s important to guide them with signposts and transitions. These usually occur at the start of your paragraphs to demonstrate their relationship to preceding information.
However, that means there are LOTS of different techniques for starting your body paragraphs! So for 200+ words and phrases for effectively starting a body paragraph, simply keep reading!
How to start a concluding paragraph
Concluding paragraphs are a little different to other paragraphs because they shouldn’t be presenting new evidence or arguments . Instead, you’re aiming to draw your arguments together neatly, and tie up loose ends.
You might find them as part of a smaller sub-section within a longer academic dissertation or thesis. Or as part of the conclusion of your essay.
When starting your conclusion it’s always a great idea to let your reader know they’ve arrived by signposting its purpose . This is especially true if your essay doesn’t contain any headers!
Here are some examples of how to kick off your concluding paragraph:
- In conclusion, this paper has shown that …
- In summary, we have found that …
- A review of these analyses indicates that …
- To conclude, this essay has demonstrated that we must act immediately if we want to halt the drastic dwindling of our global bee population.
How to start a paragraph: 200+ top words and phrases for a winning first sentence
Choosing the best start for your paragraph is all about understanding the purpose of this paragraph within the wider context of the preceding (and following) paragraphs and your essay as a whole.
Where does it fit into the structure of your essay? Is it:
- Opening a new topic or theme?
- Providing explanations or descriptions?
- Continuing a list or sequence?
- Providing evidence?
- Presenting a different opinion or counter-argument?
- Beginning an analysis?
- Highlighting consequences?
- Drawing a conclusion?
It’s important to be direct in how you start each paragraph – especially if you’re struggling to get your point across!
The best way to craft a killer first sentence is to be clear on what you want it to do . We’ve covered 12 options below, packed with vocab and examples to get you started …
And don’t forget to consider when you should start a new paragraph , and how long you want your paragraphs to be . Where you place your paragraph breaks will have a big effect on the kind of starting sentence you need !
Finally – remember that the best time to craft effective opening sentences is after you’ve written your first draft and decided on your paragraph breaks! You should already have all your ideas arranged into a logical order.
Showing structure and presenting concepts
This first type of paragraphs are commonly found throughout your essay, whether you’re introducing your ideas, providing evidence and data, or presenting results.
There a lots of useful types of connective words and phrases to help you kick off your paragraphs with clarity:
Most notable are the sequential signposting words , which you can use throughout your essay to guide your reader through the steps of your argument, or a list of related evidence, for example.
If you’re looking for something a little more specific, read on for four sets of example academic phrases to use to start a paragraph!
1. Starting or continuing a sequence
One of the most important types of transitional phrases to help you start a paragraph is a sequential transition . These signposting transitions are great for academic arguments because they help you to present your points in order, without the reader getting lost along the way.
Sequential connectives and transitions create order within your narrative by highlighting the temporal relationship between your paragraphs. Think lists of events or evidence , or setting out the steps in your narrative .
You’ll often find them in combination with other paragraph-starting phrases ( have a look at the examples below to spot them !)
Why not try out some of these examples to help guide the readers of your essay?
- Before considering X, it is important to note that …
- Following on from Y, we should also consider …
- The first notion to discuss is …
- The next point to consider is …
- Thirdly, we know that Y is also an important feature of …
- As outlined in the previous paragraph, the next steps are to …
- Having considered X, it is also necessary to explore Y …
2. Providing evidence, examples or citations
Once you’ve made your claims or set out your ideas, it’s important to properly back them up. You’ll probably need to give evidence, quote experts and provide references throughout your essay .
If you’ve got more than one piece of evidence, it’s best to separate them out into individual paragraphs . Sequential signposting can be a helpful tool to help you and your reader keep track of your examples.
If your paragraph is all about giving evidence for a preceding statement, why not start with one of these phrases:
- For example, X often …
- This stance is clearly illustrated by …
- Consider the example of Y, which …
- This concept is well supported by …
If you want to quote or paraphrase a source or expert, a great way to start your paragraph is by introducing their views. You can also use phrases like these to help you clearly show their role in your essay:
- [Author], in particular, has argued that …
- According to [source], Y is heavily influenced by …
- [Source] for example, demonstrates the validity of this assertion by …
- This [counter-] argument is supported by evidence from X, which shows that …
Always remember to provide references for your sources in the manner most appropriate for your field ( i.e. footnotes, and author-date methods ).
3. Giving emphasis to your point
Not all points and paragraphs in an essay are made equal. It’s natural you’ll want to highlight ideas and evidence for your reader to make sure they’re persuaded by your argument !
So, if you want to give emphasis to what you’re about to discuss, be obvious ! In fact, you may need to be more direct than you think:
- This detail is significant because …
- Undoubtedly, this experience was …
- Certainly, there are ramifications for …
- The last chapters, in particular, are revealing of X …
4. Acknowledging uncertainty
In academia it’s common to find a little uncertainty in your evidence or results, or within the knowledge of your field . That’s true whether you’re a historian exploring artefacts from Ancient Greece, or a social scientist whose questionnaire results haven’t produced a clear answer.
Don’t hide from this uncertainty – it’s a great way to point ahead to future research that needs to be done. In fact, you might be doing it in your essay!
Why not try one of these examples to highlight the gaps in your academic field or experiment?
- Whether X is actually the case remains a matter of debate, as current explorations cannot …
- Although not proven, it is commonly understood that X …
- Whilst the likelihood of X is debateable …
- Given the age of the artifacts, it is impossible to say with accuracy whether Y …
- Although we cannot know for sure, the findings above suggest that …
- Untangling the causes of X is a complex matter and it is impossible to say for sure whether …
Showing the relationships between your points
As your essay progresses you will need to guide your reader through a succession of points, ideas and arguments by creating a narrative for them to follow. And important part of this task is the use of signposting to demonstrate the relationship between your paragraphs . Do they support each other? Do they present opposite sides of a debate?
Luckily there are lots of agreement , opposition and contextual connectives to help you increase your clarity:
Read on for four more sets of example academic phrases to help you present your ideas!
5. Making a new point
If there’s no connection between your new paragraph and the preceding material, you’re probably starting a new topic, point or idea.
That means it’s less likely ( although not impossible ) that you’ll need transitional phrases . However, it’s still important to signpost the purpose and position of this new paragraph clearly for your reader.
- We know that X …
- This section of the essay discusses …
- We should now turn to an exploration of Y …
- We should begin with an overview of the situation for X …
- Before exploring the two sides of the debate, it is important to consider …
You can find some great ideas and examples for starting a new topic in our how to start an essay article. Whilst they’re definitely applicable to introductions, these strategies can also work well for kicking off any new idea!
6. Presenting accepted concepts
If you’re aiming to take a new stance or question an accepted understanding with your essay, a great way to start a paragraph is by clearly setting out the concepts you want to challenge .
These phrases are also an effective way to establish the context of your essay within your field:
- It is commonly believed that …
- The accepted interpretation of X is …
- Until recently, it was thought that …
- Historically, X has been treated as a case of …
- Over the past two decades, scholars have approached X as an example of …
- The most common interpretation of Y is …
7. Adding similar points
Agreement connectives are an important tool in your arsenal for clearly indicating the continuation or positive relationship between similar ideas or evidence you’re presenting.
If you’re looking to continue your essay with a similar point, why not try one of these examples:
- Another aspect of X is …
- Another important point is …
- By the same token, Y should be explored with equal retrospection for …
- Moreover, an equally significant factor of X is …
- We should also consider …
- Proponents of Y frequently also suggested that …
8. Demonstrating contrast
In contrast, if you’re looking to present a counter-argument, opposite side of a debate, or critique of the ideas, evidence or results in your preceding paragraph(s), you’ll need to turn to contradiction and opposition connectives.
These phrases will help you to clearly link your paragraphs whilst setting them in contrast within your narrative:
- A contrary explanation is that …
- On the other side of this debate, X suggests that …
- Given this understanding of X, it is surprising that Y …
- On the other hand, critics of X point to …
- Despite these criticisms, proponents of X continue to …
- Whilst the discussion in the previous paragraph suggests X to be true, it fails to take into consideration Y …
Note : some paragraph-opening sentences can be modified using connective words to show either agreement or contrast! Here are some examples:
- It could also be said that X does [not] …
- It is [also] important to note that X … OR It is important, however, to note that X …
- There is [also/however], a further point to be considered …
Presenting analyses, arguments and results
An important stage of any essay is the analysis – that’s when you bring your own arguments to the table, based on your data and results.
Signalling this clearly, therefore, is pretty important! Happily, there are plenty of connective words and phrases that can help you out:
Read on for four sets of example academic phrases to use to start your analysis, results and summary paragraphs!
9. Conducting an analysis and constructing your argument
Once you’ve set out your evidence or data, it’s time to point out the connections within them. Or to analyse how they support the argument you want to make.
With humanities essays it is common to analyse the impact of your evidence as you present it. In contrast, sciences essays often contain a dedicated analysis section after the data has been presented.
You’ll probably need several analytical paragraphs to address each of your points. So, a great way to get started is to dive straight in by signposting the connections you want to make in each one:
- Each of these arguments make an important contribution to X because …
- In order to fully understand Y, we need to analyse the findings from …
- Each model of X and Y changed throughout the experiment because …
- Exploring this dataset reveals that, in fact, X is not as common as hypothesised …
- Notwithstanding such limitations, this data still shows that …
- Of central concern to Y, therefore, is the evidence that …
- This interpretation of X is …
- This critique implies that …
- This approach is similar to that of Y, who, as we have seen above, argues that …
- The resulting graphs suggest that …
- Whilst conducting the survey, it was discovered that …
10. Presenting results
Having completed your analyses of any evidence (and hopefully persuaded your reader of your argument), you may need to present your results. This is especially relevant for essays that examine a specific dataset after a survey or experiment .
If you want to signpost this section of your essay clearly, start your paragraph with a phrase like these:
- The arguments presented above show that …
- In this last analysis, we can see that X has shown …
- As we have seen, the data gathered demonstrates that …
- As demonstrated above, our understanding of X primarily stems from …
11. Demonstrating cause and effect
When writing an academic essay you may often need to demonstrate the cause and effect relationship between your evidence or data, and your theories or results . Choosing the right connective phrases can be important for showing this relationship clearly to your reader.
Try one of these phrases to start your paragraph to clearly explain the consequences:
- As a consequence, X cannot be said to …
- Therefore, we can posit that …
- Provided that X is indeed true, it has been shown that Y …
- As such, it is necessary to note that …
- For this reason, the decision was made to …
- The evidence show that the primary cause of X was …
- As a result of Y, it was found that …
12. Summarising a topic or analysis
In general, summary paragraphs should not present any new evidence or arguments. Instead, they act as a reminder of the path your essay has taken so far.
Of course, these concluding paragraphs commonly occur at the end of an essay as part of your conclusion. However, they are also used to draw one point or stage of your argument to a close before the next begins .
Within a larger essay or dissertation, these interludes can be useful reminders for your reader as you transition between providing context, giving evidence, suggesting new approaches etc.
It’s worth noting that concluding your topic or analysis isn’t always the same as presenting results, although there can be some similarities in vocabulary.
Connect your arguments into summaries with clear linking phrases such as:
- Altogether, these arguments demonstrate that …
- Each of these arguments make an important contribution to our understanding of X …
- From this overview of X and Y, we can conclude that …
- We can therefore see that …
- It was hypothesised that X, however, as we have seen …
- Therefore, we can [clearly] see that …
Time to get writing your paragraphs!
And that’s it! You should now have a much-improved understanding of how to start a paragraph.
Whether you we’re worried about how to start your introductions or conclusions, or were wondering about specific types of body paragraphs, hopefully you’ve found what you need in the examples above .
If you need more writing advice to help you nail top marks for your essay, we’ve got a whole series of articles designed to improve your writing skills – perfect ! Have a read for top tips to for capturing easy marks 😊
You can learn:
- how to create effective paragraphs
- about the ideal length(s) for your paragraphs
- how to start an essay AND how to structure an essay
- the 70+ top connective words and phrases to improve your writing
- how to signpost your essay for top marks
- about improving clarity with easy proofreading tricks
Good luck completing your essay!
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105 Best Words To Start A Paragraph
The first words of a paragraph are crucial as they set the tone and inform the reader about the content that follows.
Known as the ‘topic’ sentence, the first sentence of the paragraph should clearly convey the paragraph’s main idea.
This article presents a comprehensive list of the best words to start a paragraph, be it the first, second, third, or concluding paragraph.
Words to Start an Introduction Paragraph
The words you choose for starting an essay should establish the context, importance, or conflict of your topic.
The purpose of an introduction is to provide the reader with a clear understanding of the topic, its significance, and the structure of the ensuing discussion or argument.
Students often struggle to think of ways to start introductions because they may feel overwhelmed by the need to effectively summarize and contextualize their topic, capture the reader’s interest, and provide a roadmap for the rest of the paper, all while trying to create a strong first impression.
Choose one of these example words to start an introduction to get yourself started:
- The debate surrounding [topic]…
- [Topic] has garnered attention due to…
- Exploring the complexities of [topic]…
- The significance of [topic] lies in…
- Over the past decade, [topic] has…
- The critical question of [topic]…
- As society grapples with [topic]…
- The rapidly evolving landscape of [topic]…
- A closer examination of [topic] reveals…
- The ongoing conversation around [topic]…
Don’t Miss my Article: 33 Words to Avoid in an Essay
Words to Start a Body Paragraph
The purpose of a body paragraph in an essay is to develop and support the main argument, presenting evidence, examples, and analysis that contribute to the overall thesis.
Students may struggle to think of ways to start body paragraphs because they need to find appropriate transition words or phrases that seamlessly connect the paragraphs, while also introducing a new idea or evidence that builds on the previous points.
This can be challenging, as students must carefully balance the need for continuity and logical flow with the introduction of fresh perspectives.
Try some of these paragraph starters if you’re stuck:
- Building upon previous research…
- As [source] suggests, [topic]…
- Analyzing [topic] through [theory]…
- Considering the impact of [policy]…
- Delving deeper into [topic]…
- Drawing from [author]’s findings…
- [Topic] intersects with [related topic]…
- Contrary to popular belief, [topic]…
- The historical context of [topic]…
- Addressing the challenges of [topic]…
Words to Start a Conclusion Paragraph
The conclusion paragraph wraps up your essay and leaves a lasting impression on the reader.
It should convincingly summarize your thesis and main points. For more tips on writing a compelling conclusion, consider the following examples of ways to say “in conclusion”:
- In summary, [topic] demonstrates…
- The evidence overwhelmingly suggests…
- Taking all factors into account…
- In light of the analysis, [topic]…
- Ultimately, [topic] plays a crucial role…
- In light of these findings…
- Weighing the pros and cons of [topic]…
- By synthesizing the key points…
- The interplay of factors in [topic]…
- [Topic] leaves us with important implications…
Complete List of Transition Words
Above, I’ve provided 30 different examples of phrases you can copy and paste to get started on your paragraphs.
Let’s finish strong with a comprehensive list of transition words you can mix and match to start any paragraph you want:
- Secondly, …
- In addition, …
- Furthermore, …
- Moreover, …
- On the other hand, …
- In contrast, …
- Conversely, …
- Despite this, …
- Nevertheless, …
- Although, …
- As a result, …
- Consequently, …
- Therefore, …
- Additionally, …
- Simultaneously, …
- Meanwhile, …
- In comparison, …
- Comparatively, …
- As previously mentioned, …
- For instance, …
- For example, …
- Specifically, …
- In particular, …
- Significantly, …
- Interestingly, …
- Surprisingly, …
- Importantly, …
- According to [source], …
- As [source] states, …
- As [source] suggests, …
- In the context of, …
- In light of, …
- Taking into consideration, …
- Given that, …
- Considering the fact that, …
- Bearing in mind, …
- To illustrate, …
- To demonstrate, …
- To clarify, …
- To put it simply, …
- In other words, …
- To reiterate, …
- As a matter of fact, …
- Undoubtedly, …
- Unquestionably, …
- Without a doubt, …
- It is worth noting that, …
- One could argue that, …
- It is essential to highlight, …
- It is important to emphasize, …
- It is crucial to mention, …
- When examining, …
- In terms of, …
- With regards to, …
- In relation to, …
- As a consequence, …
- As an illustration, …
- As evidence, …
- Based on [source], …
- Building upon, …
- By the same token, …
- In the same vein, …
- In support of this, …
- In line with, …
- To further support, …
- To substantiate, …
- To provide context, …
- To put this into perspective, …
Tip: Use Right-Branching Sentences to Start your Paragraphs
Sentences should have the key information front-loaded. This makes them easier to read. So, start your sentence with the key information!
To understand this, you need to understand two contrasting types of sentences:
- Left-branching sentences , also known as front-loaded sentences, begin with the main subject and verb, followed by modifiers, additional information, or clauses.
- Right-branching sentences , or back-loaded sentences, start with modifiers, introductory phrases, or clauses, leading to the main subject and verb later in the sentence.
In academic writing, left-branching or front-loaded sentences are generally considered easier to read and more authoritative.
This is because they present the core information—the subject and the verb—at the beginning, making it easier for readers to understand the main point of the sentence.
Front-loading also creates a clear and straightforward sentence structure, which is preferred in academic writing for its clarity and conciseness.
Right-branching or back-loaded sentences, with their more complex and sometimes convoluted structure, can be more challenging for readers to follow and may lead to confusion or misinterpretation.
Take these examples where I’ve highlighted the subject of the sentence in bold. Note that in the right-branching sentences, the topic is front-loaded.
- Right Branching: Researchers found a strong correlation between sleep and cognitive function after analyzing the data from various studies.
- Left-Branching: After analyzing the data from various studies, a strong correlation between sleep and cognitive function was found by researchers.
- The novel was filled with vivid imagery and thought-provoking themes , which captivated the audience from the very first chapter.
- Captivating the audience from the very first chapter, the novel was filled with vivid imagery and thought-provoking themes.
The words you choose to start a paragraph are crucial for setting the tone, establishing context, and ensuring a smooth flow throughout your essay.
By carefully selecting the best words for each type of paragraph, you can create a coherent, engaging, and persuasive piece of writing.
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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]
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How to Introduce New Topics and Transition Effectively in Essays
Last Updated: November 24, 2022 Fact Checked
New sections, expert q&a.
This article was co-authored by Jake Adams . Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, a Santa Monica, California based online tutoring business offering learning resources and online tutors for academic subjects K-College, SAT & ACT prep, and college admissions applications. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients the very best online tutoring experience and access to a network of excellent undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges all over the nation. Jake holds a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 80,499 times.
Most essays have multiple topics, and switching between them can get tricky. Without strong transitions and introductions to new points, your writing could seem choppy or unfocused. Luckily, making good topic introductions is easy! It just takes some planning, practice, and patience. Once you know the formula, you’ll be introducing new topics like a pro.
- A strong outline includes your overall topic idea, planned thesis statement, essay structure, and the topics and themes you'll be covering in each section.
- Note on your outline when you're going to be introducing new topics. This helps you plan ahead and anticipate where you'll need transitions.
- If you've already started your paper, it never hurts to go back and write an outline anyway. This way, you can keep all your thoughts organized and give your essay more direction.
- For example, you may be writing a large paper about the Civil War, and the current section is about arguments over slavery. You can have one part on Southern arguments defending slavery, then transition to Northern arguments against slavery, since both topics are in the same section.
- Usually for a shorter paper, up to about 5-7 pages, you won’t need individual section headings. It’s fine to just transition from paragraph to paragraph in these cases.
- For example, if your paper is about the Civil War and you’re transitioning from arguments over slavery to the outbreak of the war, then it’s worthwhile to make a whole new section. These topics are related, but distinct and important enough to get their own sections.
- In another example, you might be writing a compare and contrast essay. It’s helpful to start a new section labeled “Differences” when you move from comparing to contrasting.
- Individual section headings are common in longer papers, around 15-20 pages or more. For long papers like this, it helps your reader stay focused.
- Similarly, in the same way, likewise, also, as well, and so too.
- For example, start a paragraph about slavery and the Civil War with, “In the same way that northern abolitionists were singularly focused on eliminating slavery, the Republican Party was concerned with stopping it from spreading into America's territories.”
- In contrast, however, nevertheless, yet, and still.
- For the Civil War example, arguments defending and criticizing slavery are completely different. To reflect that, you’d use a transition indicating disagreement. You could say “In sharp contrast to southern slave owners, northern abolitionists argued that enslaving a human being was evil in all circumstances.”
- If you’re showing contrast, you could say, “Yet King Arthur was destined to fail in his quest to find the Holy Grail.” This shows that the previous topic may have been about Arthur starting his quest, but now you’ll explain how he failed to accomplish it.
- You could also show similarity by saying “Similarly, Abraham Lincoln agreed that slavery was a moral evil.” This indicates that the new topic you’re introducing is related to and supports the previous one.
- You could also follow up on the King Arthur example with “In Arthurian stories, Arthur made numerous journeys to find the Grail, but never actually succeeded.” This tells the reader that the rest of the paragraph will include information on these failures.
- Using the Abraham Lincoln example, you could follow up your topic sentence with “Throughout his entire life, Lincoln saw the evils of slavery and spoke about stopping the practice.” This indicates that the paragraph will elaborate on this point and provide more details.
- For the King Arthur example, you can spend 2-4 sentences explaining Arthur's unsuccessful quests for the Grail. This supports your transition statement saying that Arthur failed to find the Grail.
- Make sure the details you fill in line up with your topic sentence. If your topic sentence said that Abraham Lincoln was anti-slavery, it wouldn’t be consistent to introduce examples of him supporting or praising slavery.
- A conclusion for your King Arthur paragraph could be “Hard as Arthur tried, he never found the Holy Grail.”
- Don’t introduce any new topics in the conclusion sentence. Save that for the topic sentence of the next paragraph if you want to add another topic.
- If you have a similar paragraph after this one, you can link them by giving a hint of where it's going. For example, you could conclude by saying "Abraham Lincoln's lifelong opposition to slavery naturally set him up for a career fighting the institution." Then make the next paragraph about Lincoln's political career.  X Research source
- You can use transitional language without a ton of detail. For example, “While Odysseus was glad to be home, there was trouble brewing in his kingdom.” This provides a strong transition, hints at the next topic, and gets the reader interested in continuing.
- For the Odysseus example, your previous section may have been about the events of The Odyssey . You could sum up the previous topic by saying “He had spent 20 years away from home—10 fighting the Trojan War and 10 on his journey back to Ithaca—and conquered every challenge that came his way.”
- Don’t spend too much time on this summary. Wrap it up within 2 sentences at most.
- You could give a quick introduction of how the suitors in the Odyssey had moved in to Odysseus’ home and would attack him when he arrived. This sets up the challenge and tension for this new topic, and sets the theme for this section of your essay.
- For the Odysseus example, a strong conclusion would be “Perhaps this was to be Odysseus’ greatest challenge yet.”
- In a more research-based paper, you can be less literary. For example, “In the end, the Constitutional Convention was a success, but only after the Framers overcame numerous challenges in the process.”
- It’s easier to plan your transitions if you outline your essay first. This way, you’ll know where you need to introduce new topics. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- If your professor or teacher mentions that your writing seems choppy, then you probably need to work on introducing new topics a bit more smoothly. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- If you still have trouble making strong transitions, take advantage of your school’s writing center if you have one. The tutors there can be a huge help. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/transitions/
- ↑ Jake Adams. Academic Tutor & Test Prep Specialist. Expert Interview. 24 July 2020.
- ↑ https://www.strose.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Transition-Sentences-Handout-2012B.pdf
- ↑ https://monroecollege.libguides.com/c.php?g=589208&p=4072926
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/mechanics/transitions_and_transitional_devices/index.html
- ↑ https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/301/study-skills/writing/academic-writing/paragraph-flow-connectivity
- ↑ https://www.delmar.edu/offices/swc/_resources/Composition/topic-sentence-transition-formula.pdf
- ↑ https://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/ending-essay-conclusions
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How to Write a Paragraph in an Essay
Written by Scribendi
The deadline for your essay is looming, but you're still not sure how to write your essay paragraphs or how to structure them. If that's you, then you're in good hands.
After the content of your essay, the structure is the most important part. How you arrange your thoughts in an essay can either support your argument or confuse the reader. The difference comes down to your knowledge of how to write a paragraph to create structure and flow in an essay.
At its most basic level, an essay paragraph comprises the following elements: (1) a topic sentence, (2) sentences that develop and support the topic sentence, and (3) a concluding sentence.
Also, when writing a paragraph or essay , keep in mind that most essays follow the five-paragraph model. This model involves writing an introductory paragraph, three paragraphs of supporting arguments, and a conclusion paragraph.
In most cases, a paper of this length just won't cut it. However, remembering this formula can help you write key paragraphs in your essay, such as an introduction that states the main hypothesis, a body that supports this argument, and a conclusion that ties everything together.
Let's break down how to write a paragraph so you can get that essay written.
Writing a paragraph means grouping together sentences that focus on the same topic so that the important points are easy to understand. In the body of an essay, each paragraph functions as its own point or argument that backs up the essay's main hypothesis. Each paragraph also includes evidence that supports each argument made.
It helps to separate each paragraph idea in a quick essay outline before you start writing your paragraphs so you can organize your thoughts. It is also helpful to link each paragraph in a cohesive way that supports your hypothesis. For good paragraph writing to work, your readers will need to be able to clearly follow the ideas you're presenting throughout your essay.
Essay paragraphs are important for organizing topics and thoughts and for creating readability and flow. Readers often skip large blocks of writing in blog posts, articles, or essays. It can be confusing when there are no breaks between different ideas or when thoughts flow one into the next without any discernible pauses. Knowing how to write a paragraph to help break up your content and ideas is essential for avoiding this.
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Writing a paragraph is easier when you follow a structure. An essay paragraph consists of around 250 words , with the sentence count varying from five to six or more, depending on the type of essay you're writing.
The structure of an essay paragraph includes the following:
- A topic sentence at the beginning of the paragraph that clearly states one idea
- Supporting sentences that explain the idea in the topic sentence and provide evidence to back up that idea
- A concluding sentence that links back to the original topic sentence idea and segues to the next paragraph
Following this basic structure will ensure that you never have to wonder how to write a paragraph and will keep your essay structure consistent.
What Is a Topic Sentence?
All good paragraph writing starts with a topic sentence. The topic sentence provides a brief summary of the content. In an essay's body, each paragraph begins with a topic sentence.
The topic sentence gives structure to a paragraph the same way a thesis gives structure to an essay. Both a thesis and a topic sentence state the main idea that drives the rest of the content. In the case of a paragraph, the topic sentence drives the rest of the paragraph content, and in the case of an essay, the thesis drives the rest of the essay content.
When writing a topic sentence, keep in mind that it should be
- The first sentence of your paragraph
- Specific, focusing on a specific area of your thesis statement
- The focus of your paragraph
There are two parts to every topic sentence: the topic, which is what the paragraph will be about, and the controlling idea, which is the paragraph's direction. For example, if your paragraph was about hamsters being great pets, that would be your topic, but your controlling idea might be that there are many reasons why hamsters are great pets.
A paragraph example with a good topic sentence would start out something like this:
Hamsters are great pets for many reasons. They don't require extensive training, so no time-consuming obedience courses are necessary. They are also relatively inexpensive to own when compared to dogs or cats because they're low-maintenance.
Examples of Effective Hooks
A paragraph in an essay should always use an effective hook. If you're hoping to grab the attention of your reader, it helps to start your paragraph with a compelling statement or question that will be of interest.
Here are a few examples to use for inspiration:
Most people would rather work to live than live to work, and the gig economy makes this possible.
How important is it for today's influencers to rely on Instagram?
Daily sugar intake has reached a staggering average of 25 teaspoons per person in the United States.
Writing an essay paragraph is like building an effective and functional house. In the same way that each room has a purpose, each paragraph in your essay should have its own separate topic with supporting sentences . Paragraph writing can be simple if you think of it this way!
The goal of supporting sentences is to provide evidence validating each topic in your paragraph. Each sentence provides details to help your reader understand the paragraph's main idea.
If you have trouble coming up with supporting sentences to develop the main idea in your paragraph, try rephrasing your topic sentence as a question. For example, if you're writing about how all babies have three basic needs, ask, what are the three basic needs of all babies?
At the end of your supporting sentences, add a concluding sentence that ties everything to the main argument of your essay. Repeat this for each supporting argument, and you'll have mastered the concept of how to write a paragraph. Read on for a paragraph example with supporting sentences.
Supporting Sentence Examples
To get a feel for how to use supporting sentences in a paragraph in an essay, check out this basic example:
Babies have three basic needs. First, babies need food. Depending on their age, they'll drink formula for their first meals and graduate to soft baby food later. Second, they need shelter. Babies need a safe place to live. Third, they need support. They need someone loving to look out for them and take care of them.
How to Use Transitions
Knowing how to write a paragraph involves knowing how to use transitions .
Good essay paragraphs have transitions that help ideas flow clearly from one to the next. Given that your essay will include many different ideas and subtopics, your transitions will ensure that your information and ideas are well connected.
If you're not familiar with transitions, they are words or phrases that connect ideas. They signal a connection between your topic sentence and your supporting sentences, but they also help readers connect ideas between paragraphs.
At the beginning of a sentence, use a transition to segue into a new idea. At the beginning of each paragraph, use a transition to signal a new concept or idea that you will discuss.
However, try to avoid one-word transitions at the beginning of a paragraph, like "Since" or "While," because they don't usually provide enough information. Instead, try using transitional phrases between paragraphs (instead of words), such as "On the other hand" or "In addition to."
Examples of Transitions
Here are a few examples of transitions — both one-word transitions and transitional phrases — to use in the paragraphs of your essay:
- As a result
- For example
- By the same token
- In the meantime
- To summarize
- To conclude
Writing a paragraph in an essay can be simple if you understand basic paragraph structure. Additionally, it's helpful to keep in mind the structure of an essay and how each essay paragraph links together to form a fully developed argument or idea.
Creating an outline before you start writing your essay—which can also be described as a blueprint (to return to the metaphor of building a house)—is a great way to effectively arrange your topics, support your argument, and guide your writing.
Knowing how to write a paragraph is essential to communicating your thoughts and research, no matter the topic, in a way that is readable and coherent.
How Long Is a Paragraph?
An essay paragraph can vary in length depending on a variety of factors, such as the essay's type, topic, or requirements. Generally, essay paragraphs are three to five or more sentences, since each paragraph should have a fully developed idea with a beginning, middle, and end.
However, all essays are different, and there are no hard and fast rules that dictate paragraph length. So, here are some guidelines to follow while writing a paragraph:
- Stick to one idea per paragraph.
- Keep your paragraphs roughly the same length.
- Ensure that each page of your essay has 2 – 3 paragraphs.
- Combine shorter paragraphs into a larger one if the smaller paragraphs work together to express a single idea.
Overall, it's the paragraph writing itself that dictates a paragraph's length. Don't get too caught up in trying to reach a specific word count or number of sentences. Understanding this concept is key to knowing how to write a paragraph that conveys a clear and fully developed idea.
How Do I Know When to Start a New Paragraph?
A new essay paragraph will always signal a new point or idea. Before you think about starting a new paragraph, ask yourself whether you are about to discuss something new that you haven't brought up yet. If the answer is yes, it warrants a new paragraph.
The end of a paragraph functions as a break for your reader. If you've successfully developed and concluded an idea, you'll know that it's time to begin a new paragraph, especially if the material is long or complex.
Every essay should have an introductory paragraph and a conclusion paragraph. But as long as you keep in mind that good paragraph writing means starting off with a new idea each time, you're in a good position to know when a new paragraph should begin.
How Many Paragraphs Do I Need in My Essay?
The number of paragraphs you write in an essay will largely depend on the requirements of the essay. These requirements are usually dictated by an instructor.
For a short, 1-page essay, your instructor might require only three paragraphs. For a longer, 2- to 3-page essay, you might need five paragraphs. For longer essays, there could be up to seven to nine paragraphs. Any essay with more paragraphs than that is usually deemed a thesis or a research paper.
At a minimum, an essay will always have at least three paragraphs: an introductory paragraph, a body paragraph, and a conclusion paragraph. Depending on the required word or page count or the type of essay (argumentative, informative, etc.), your essay could have multiple paragraphs expanding on different points. An argumentative essay, for example, should have at least five paragraphs.
Therefore, the most important question to ask when deciding on your number of essay paragraphs is this: What does my professor expect from me?
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Use These Sentence Starter Tips to Strengthen Your Writing
In general, a sentence starter is a quick word or phrase at the beginning of a sentence to help the reader transition, such as the phrase “in general.” Without them, writing can be disorganized, disconnected, and therefore hard to read. But knowing which ones to add—and when —is not always obvious.
In this article, we discuss sentence starters quite similar to “in this article.” We explain a bit about when and how to use them, and then give specific examples of sentence starters you can use in your writing, divided into categories for quick reference like “topic sentence starters for essays” or “good sentence starters for emphasis.”
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What is a sentence starter?
Sentence starters are the words or phrases that introduce the rest of the sentence, typically set apart by commas. The words that start a sentence are some of the most important in writing: They introduce what the sentence is about so the reader knows what to expect.
In longer academic writing texts, sentence starters are essential for unifying the entire work. Because each sentence essentially has its own individual topic, these writings frequently jump from point to point, sometimes abruptly. Sentence starters help ease the process for the reader by smoothing over jarring transitions and preparing the reader for the next topic.
That principle also applies to paragraphs , which jump from topic to topic. Paragraph starters fulfill that same role, typically providing an organizational signpost via introduction sentence starters to bridge the gap between the previous and current topics.
Although they’re common in fiction, sentence starters are most useful for nonfiction, in particular essay writing . While fiction unifies the writing through the narrative, nonfiction often incorporates a variety of facts, which sentence starters coalesce for the reader. In other words, if you think nonfiction is dry, imagine if it were merely a list of facts!
When to use sentence starters
Sentence starters are not necessary for every sentence. In fact, using them too much can distract your reader. Here are some situations where a sentence starter works best:
- It’s unclear how one sentence is connected to others.
- You’re introducing a new idea, such as at the beginning of an essay or of a paragraph
- You’re presenting a conclusion or summary, for instance at the end of an essay.
- You want to add emphasis to a particular sentence or point.
- You want to write a hook to captivate readers.
- The sentence requires certain context, such as background information.
There’s no hard rule for when to use sentence starters and when to avoid them. If you’re having trouble deciding, try rereading your last few lines and see how they sound. If your sentences flow together nicely, you don’t need sentence starters. If something seems off, jarring, or missing, try adding one to see if it helps.
Below you’ll find examples of sentence starters relevant to specific contexts.
Topic sentence starters for essays
Topic sentences are like the sentence starters of an entire essay—they introduce what the paragraph or entire text is about so the readers know what to expect.
- This paper discusses . . .
- In this paper . . .
- Here, we discuss . . .
- Below, you will find . . .
Conclusion sentence starters for essays
Conclusions and summaries always act a little differently than other sentences and paragraphs because they don’t present new information. When you’re writing a conclusion , remember that sentence starters can cue the reader that you’re about to “wrap things up” so they don’t expect any new points or evidence.
- In summary . . .
- To summarize . . .
- Putting it all together . . .
- In conclusion . . .
- To wrap things up . . .
- To review . . .
- In short . . .
- All in all . . .
- All things considered . . .
- By and large . . .
- Overall . . .
- On the whole . . .
Good sentence starters for sequences or lists
Sentence starters are quite useful for lists of instructions or explaining a series of events. These items aren’t always related in obvious ways, but sentence starters link them together, and in the right order, so that your reader can organize them properly in their head.
- First . . ., Second . . ., Third . . ., etc.
- Subsequently . . .
- After that . . .
- Afterwards . . .
- Eventually . . .
- Later . . .
- Moving on . . .
Good sentence starters for comparisons
Use sentence starters to show that two things are related or alike. Although the topics may be similar to yours, your reader may not yet understand the connection.
- Similarly . . .
- In the same way . . .
- Along those lines . . .
- Likewise . . .
- Again . . .
Good sentence starters for elaboration or adding new points
For times when one sentence isn’t enough to fully explain your point, adding sentence starters to the subsequent sentences can tie them all together.
- Additionally . . .
- Moreover . . .
- Furthermore . . .
- Even more important . . .
- Just as important . . .
Good sentence starters for introducing examples
Especially for essays, you want to use evidence to support your claims. Sentence starters ease the transition from explaining the big picture to showing those same ideas at work in the real world.
- For example . . .
- For instance . . .
- To illustrate . . .
- Specifically . . .
- We can see this in . . .
- This is evidenced by . . .
- Consider the [case/example] of . . .
Good sentence starters for contrasts and abrupt transitions
Sentence starters work best at times when you must change topics abruptly. Without them, the text becomes jarring and scattered, so use them to keep your reader on the right path, especially when contrasting topics.
- However . . .
- Although . . .
- Otherwise . . .
- On the other hand . . .
- On the contrary . . .
- Nevertheless . . .
- Then again . . .
- Conversely . . .
- Notwithstanding . . .
- In contrast . . .
- Despite that . . .
- Rather . . .
- Still . . .
- Instead . . .
Good sentence starters to establish cause and effect
It’s common to use two different sentences to discuss a cause-and-effect relationship, as in something making something else happen. Sentence starters can make this relationship clear and show which sentence is the cause and which is the effect.
- As a result . . .
- Accordingly . . .
- Consequently . . .
- Due to . . .
- For this reason . . .
- Hence . . .
- Therefore . . .
- This means that . . .
- That is why . . .
Good sentence starters for emphasis
In some situations, sentence starters aren’t necessary, but they help make a point stand out. Save these for the sentences you really want your readers to remember above all else.
- Above all . . .
- As usual . . .
- Certainly . . .
- Indeed . . .
- Undoubtedly . . .
- Of course . . .
- Obviously . . .
- Namely . . .
- Generally speaking . . .
Good sentence starters for references
If you’re citing an idea other than your own, like in research papers, it saves space to put the attribution in the words to start a sentence. Use these sentence starters before a quote or concept from another work.
- According to . . .
- Based on the findings of . . .
- As seen by . . .
- As explained by . . .
- With regards to . . .
Good sentence starters for historical or generally accepted concepts
Some sentences don’t make sense without context. This could be a popular, mainstream idea that the reader is unaware of, or some historical background that is not common knowledge. In these instances, sentence starters can provide that context without becoming a tangent.
- Traditionally . . .
- Historically . . .
- Customarily . . .
- In the past . . .
- Conventionally . . .
- Initially . . .
- Recently . . .
- Until now . . .
Good sentence starters to show uncertainty or doubt
If you’re writing about facts, your reader will assume everything you write is a fact. In situations where something is unproven or uncertain, it helps to mention that there’s room for doubt so as not to misinform the reader.
- Perhaps . . .
- Although not proven . . .
- It’s possible that . . .
- It may be that . . .
- Arguably . . .
- While debatable . . .
Ensure your sentences flow
In addition to using strong sentence starters, you want your entire essay to read smoothly and coherently. Grammarly can help. Our writing suggestions flag confusing sentences and provide feedback on how to make your writing clearer, helping you put your best ideas forward.