The Center for Writing Studies

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Writers Workshop: Writer Resources

Writing Tips: Body Paragraphs

Common Traits

Although paragraph structure varies according to the conventions of form, here are common traits

Sample Expository Paragraph

Controlling Ideas

Each paragraph should have its topic sentence. But paragraphs shouldn't always be funnels, either, with one general statement followed by constant illustration, unless the paragraph will be followed by another, more general paragraph. ALTERNATE general with specific as you need to. Consider this paragraph for levels of generality and thus for relation between ideas.


Transitions are words that indicate a relationship between ideas. They help connect sentences and paragraphs together, and aid in coherance and flow. Please refer to this list of transition words for some examples.

Ways to Arrange Paragraphs

Transitions into the Next Paragraph

It is also important to remember to connect individual paragraphs with transitions. See below for an example