How to Write a Body Paragraph for a College Essay

It’s true that college students often become confused when they hear about the requirement to structure their essays properly. Things like introduction, conclusion, and body paragraphs sound too formalist, and many quickly lose their motivation and even initial ideas by trying to wrap their minds around the essay writing formalities.

Nevertheless, the main body paragraph is always the essence of any essay. It is where you explain your main point, answer the key question and bring about all the evidence to support your opinion. Once you learn how to write a body paragraph, you will stop viewing it as a formality, and writing your college essay will become so much easier.

This article will explain to you the role of body paragraphs, and quickly teach you how to write some of the best body paragraphs in your college essays.   

writing process

Why Does an Essay Need a Body Paragraph?

An essay without a body paragraph would be as incomplete as a book without a plot. The main function of the body paragraph is to support and justify the thesis statement, included in the introductory part.

Basically, without a body paragraph, there would be no essay, only an introductory part, and the conclusion, but no essence. Everything one has to say and tell in an essay is included in the body paragraph. This is why the term ‘body paragraph’ is often accompanied by the word ‘main’ – ‘the main body paragraph’ as if to highlight its importance in the overall structure of a text.

Similar to a book, an essay’s main body may include several chapters or body paragraphs. Only the most simple and short college essays, usually not longer than 300-500 words, consist of only one body paragraph. Any longer and more advanced essay would always have at least several body paragraphs. This is where the art of writing effective body paragraphs becomes handy, as several key paragraphs require a proper organization and knowledge of stylistic elements. 

Key Principles for Writing a Body Paragraph

Consider these founding principles when writing a body paragraph for your essay:

  • Sometimes it is easier to begin writing your essay with body paragraphs, omitting the introduction. Once you have the first sketches and your main arguments become clearly visible, you can return to crafting the introductory part and the conclusion.
  • Body paragraphs can be long and short depending on the topic of your essay, its type, your preferences, and the audience. At times, short sentences and paragraphs made up of one or two sentences are more appropriate than lengthy and complicated texts.
  • If you write several body paragraphs, make sure they link well with each other, so that the next paragraph flows naturally from the previous. Using connecting words and phrases is very much appropriate.
  • Try to limit the scope of each separate body paragraph to a single point, argument, or thought. By dosing your ideas wisely, your story becomes crispier overall.
  • Usually, the very first sentence in each body paragraph is a topic sentence. It means that it should contain your key argument or idea (topic). All the other sentences in this paragraph would serve to unfold that idea and support it with evidence. 

Example of a Body Paragraph

Consider the following example of a body paragraph in an essay on the topic of ‘Man and Nature – The Need for Peaceful Coexistence’:

‘In my opinion, in order to survive, man must learn to be in harmony with nature. Firstly, we humans are the children of Mother Nature, that is, we were born in wild nature and our very existence depends on the environment and the ecology of the planet as a whole. A perfect example of the idea that one can live in harmony with nature, and benefit from it, instead of destroying, is the famous work of Daniel Defoe “Robinson Crusoe”. The author describes the life and work of a man who accidentally landed on a desert island. It would seem that initially there was no chance of survival for that man, but our hero has adapted to his new environment. He then made good use of the environment and the achievements of his civilization, which were able to provide a relatively high standard of living for the protagonist.’

Pro Tips on Crafting an Effective Body Paragraph

Expert writers recommend following these tips for all those who want to write a compelling body paragraph in their essay:

Be Natural

There is nothing more motivating than being natural. Experts advise trying to free your mind from all the rules and conditions and simply give yourself freedom and unleash your imagination. At least initially, until you make the first draft. Later, you can always revise and structure your paragraph according to all the requirements and rules. When you are half an hour close to the deadline, it is always better to have more text, as shortening is always easier than making a text longer.

Be Brief

In the age of abundance of information, screens, news, blog posts, texts, and more texts, readers become very picky and fastidious. Today, nobody likes reading long and complex texts. Businesses, academia as well as casual readers value simplicity. If you are not able to grab their attention in the very first or second sentence of your essay’s body paragraph – you are most likely lost their interest in your essay.

Use Transition Words

Transition words and phrases allow for avoiding bumps in an essay text. This is particularly topical when an essay has several body paragraphs. Linking them together by using transition words allows for a smooth flow of information. For example, starting a new paragraph with the words ‘Consequently’, ‘Nevertheless’, ‘After all’, ‘To make a long story short’ – will make reading easier and also revive readers’ attention when needed.

Harness the Power of a White Space

To make one’s essay body paragraph compelling, it is advised to take breaks as often as required. Every time you finish one thought and need to move to another one – make a decent space break between paragraphs. Often starting a new paragraph is enough, but ensuring sufficient spacing and consistency of formatting is also very important. 

White Space

The Key Takeaway

All essays are different, and various students may have different writing habits and styles. Nevertheless, knowing how to write a good body paragraph is a key skill in essay writing. The above tips and recommendations will enable you to understand the importance of a body paragraph and will quickly help you write a compelling paragraph in your essay.

In most cases and for most students, the material from this article should cover their immediate needs in college essay writing. However, for those interested in acquiring advanced skills in essay writing and craving to learn more, we suggest contacting a trustworthy writing assistant service online.