Explaining and Supporting Details in Body Paragraphs

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Explaining and Supporting Details in Body Paragraphs
In our discussion about constructing a strongly-written essay, we addressed several attributes of an exemplary body paragraph. These characteristics include a guiding topic sentence, evidence, quotes, supporting details, explanation, elaboration, and transitions. When considering how to incorporate and explain evidence, quotes, and details, the following strategy is a useful paradigm to follow.


M=make the point

This step is simply where you introduce the main idea of your body paragraph in the topic sentence.


E=explain the point

This step is where you explain the logistics or logic behind your main idea. The explanation clarifies the topic sentence.


S=support the point

This step is where you introduce evidence (quotes, facts, statistics, hypotheticals, etc.) and explain its connection to your main idea.


Y=your voice (critical comment)

This step is where you offer your own insight regarding your main idea and supporting evidence. Remember to avoid first person.


L=link it back to the question

This step serves as a transition into your next paragraph and as a final link for your main idea to the thesis statement.

Analyzing Body Paragraphs

Directions: Read the essay below independently. After you finish reading, fill out the accompanying table. The table asks you to identify whether the essay paragraphs include important components such as topic sentences and supporting details. Pay particularly close attention to whether or not the body paragraphs contain applicable supporting evidence and explanation.
Although they were invented almost a hundred years ago, for decades cars were only owned by the rich. Since the 60s and 70s they have become increasingly affordable, and now most families in developed nations, and a growing number in developing countries, own a car. While cars have undoubted advantages, of which their convenience is the most apparent, they have significant drawbacks, most notably pollution and traffic problems.

The most striking advantage of the car is its convenience. When travelling long distance, there may be only one choice of bus or train per day, which may be at an unsuitable time. The car, however, allows people to travel at any time they wish, and to almost any destination they choose.

Despite this advantage, cars have many significant disadvantages, the most important of which is the pollution they cause. Almost all cars run either on petrol or diesel fuel, both of which are fossil fuels. Burning these fuels causes the car to emit serious pollutants, such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrous oxide. Not only are these gases harmful for health, causing respiratory disease and other illnesses, they also contribute to global warming, an increasing problem in the modern world. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (2013), transportation in the US accounts for 30% of all carbon dioxide production in that country, with 60% of these emissions coming from cars and small trucks. In short, pollution is a major drawback of cars.

A further disadvantage is the traffic problems that they cause in many cities and towns of the world. While car ownership is increasing in almost all countries of the world, especially in developing countries, the amount of available roadway in cities is not increasing at an equal pace. This can lead to traffic congestion, in particular during the morning and evening rush hour. In some cities, this congestion can be severe, and delays of several hours can be a common occurrence. Such congestion can also affect those people who travel out of cities at the weekend. Spending hours sitting in an idle car means that this form of transport can in fact be less convenient than trains or airplanes or other forms of public transport.

In conclusion, while the car is advantageous for its convenience, it has some important disadvantages, in particular the pollution it causes and the rise of traffic jams. If countries can invest in the development of technology for green fuels, and if car owners can think of alternatives such as car sharing, then some of these problems can be lessened.



Each paragraph has a topic sentence.

Each topic sentence has a suitable topic and controlling idea.

Each paragraph has detailed supporting ideas (facts, reasons, examples, citations, etc.).

Paragraphs include a concluding sentence to make their ideas clearer.

Any concluding sentences are introduced using clear transition signals.

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