Paragraphs Keys

• The first sentence of every paragraph should be a topic sentence (unlike the thesis, which is the last sentence of the introduction, the topic sentence is the first sentence of the paragraph). 
• The topic sentence will tie the paragraph to your thesis.
• To tie the paragraph to the thesis, you will restate your subject and topic.
• The topic sentence will also announce the direct purpose of the paragraph. In short the topic sentence will tell you how it will prove the thesis.
• Paragraphs should be at minimum five sentences.
• A good shapes for paragraphs are squares, not short or long rectangles.
• Short rectangles often are indicative on an idea that is not fully developed. You might need more analysis, a quote, an example, etc. to fill out the paragraph.
• Long rectangles often occur when a writer lumps together several different ideas into one paragraph (to avoid numerous short rectangles).
• A paragraph should contain only one idea.
• Do not begin the next paragraph in the last sentence of the paragraph.

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of Michele Reese.  The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of South Carolina.