Body Paragraphs (Composition)

The body of an essay (like the body of this clown) is usually much larger than the head (or introduction). (ctoelg/Getty Images)

The part of an essay, report, or speech that explains and develops the main idea (or thesis).

Body paragraphs come after the introduction and before the conclusion. The body is usually the longest part of an essay, and each body paragraph may begin with a topic sentence.

See Examples and Observations below.

Examples of Body Paragraphs in Student Essays


  • "The body paragraphs are the 'meat' of your work. Each paragraph should be composed of related sentences that make a single point. Together they should develop your controlling idea or thesis and maintain unity by supporting the claim made in your topic sentence.
  • "Each paragraph should have a topic sentence that provides a supporting idea for the thesis and indicates to the reader what the paragraph will discuss."
  • Structure of a Body Paragraph: TAXES
    "The following acronym will help you achieve the hourglass structure of a well-developed body paragraph:
    • Topic Sentence (a sentence that states the one point the paragraph will make)
    • Assertion statements (statements that present your ideas)
    • eXample(s) (specific passages, factual material, or concrete detail)
    • Explanation (commentary that shows how the examples support your assertion)
    • Significance (commentary that shows how the paragraph supports the thesis statement). TAXES gives you a formula for building the supporting paragraphs in a thesis-driven essay."
  • Key Traits of an Effective Body Paragraph: DUCTT
    "Here is an acronym for remembering some key traits of an effective body paragraph: DUCTT.


    Sara Hinton, Passing the Georgia End of Course Test in American Literature and Composition. American Book Company, 2007

    Kathleen Muller Moore and Susie Lan Cassel, Techniques for College Writing: The Thesis Statement and Beyond. Wadsworth, 2011

    David Sabrio and Mitchel Burchfield, Insightful Writing: A Process Rhetoric with Readings. Houghton Mifflin, 2009