Writing Instruction Tutorial



Just as words and grammar are the building blocks of sentences, the building blocks of all papers are paragraphs. Paragraphs consist of three basic components:

  • Topic sentence
  • Supporting details
  • Closing sentence

The topic sentence serves three purposes:

  1. It provides the subject of the paragraph.
  2. It is the controlling idea of the paragraph.
  3. It is the most general statement in the paragraph.

The supporting details are provided in sentences that are more specific than the topic sentence. These sentences support the topic sentence and further elaborate on it by giving examples, explaining an idea or discussing a point of view. Some of these supporting sentences may further delineate or explain a supporting point.

An important point to remember is that a paragraph must be organized, for the sentences need to be in order to best explain or illustrate the key idea. Depending on the subject of the paragraph, there are different forms of organization, such as sequential, spatial, temporal and others.

Relying on repetition of the same point, rather than moving the idea along, often impedes one's writing. The paragraph must move forward and flow smoothly from point to point. Transition words help to improve one's writing style and the flow of language and ideas. These words may be used to move from one sentence to the next, from one paragraph to the next or one section of the paper to the next.

There are different types of paragraphs that function in different ways in a paper. There is the introductory paragraph, the body paragraphs, and the concluding paragraph.