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Writing Strategies and Grammar

Paragraph Structure

While we like to think that every paper and piece of writing is a unique little flower, they all have a general format of beginning, middle, and end. This holds true for academic papers; they require an introduction, body, and conclusion paragraphs. Keep in mind this is not an exact formula, but serves as a means of organization.



Your introduction serves the function of introducing your topic, contextualizing your topic, and presenting your main argument in a thesis. It is usually one paragraph, and generally follows the ‘funnel’ effect of the topic: starting broad and becoming narrowed. Stay away from writing cliches like asking rhetorical questions or putting quotes in the introduction paragraph. While the thesis statement tells the reader what your claim is and how you arrived to it, the introduction paragraph explains why your topic is important. Here’s a typical structure:


Opening Statements: Introduce some facts and background details about your topic.

  • Example: Video games have often been blamed for causing negative behavior in children and teenagers. Critics claim that gaming leads to addiction, aggression, and laziness.

Specific Statements: Connect your background information to your thesis.

  • Example: As gaming continues to play a larger role in modern entertainment, the old stigma is beginning to be debunked. Studies have revealed that video games are not the root of these negative behaviors and actually have many benefits for gamers.

Thesis Statement: State your claim and supporting arguments.

  • Example: Video games have been proven to enhance cognitive, social, and academic skills, and if society accepts this, video games can be further explored for uses beyond entertainment.

Body Paragraphs

Drafting an essay is just a game of organizing information. Each paragraph should discuss a single topic that supports your thesis statement. Paragraph structure can be flexible, but you want to maintain cohesion and make sure you discuss only a single topic per paragraph.

Body Paragraph:

Topic Sentences: Start the paragraph off with a sentence or two that introduces the main idea the paragraph will cover.

  • Example: Although many people believe video games, particularly the violent ones, lead to aggressive behavior, studies reveal quite the opposite to be true.

Evidence: Provide personal examples or researched facts that support the topic sentence.

  • Example: “It turns out that playing games promotes a range of cognitive skills. This is particularly true for shooter video games, many of which are violent in nature” (Granic et al. 68).

Elaborate: Discuss the evidence’s significance to the paragraph. Provide additional evidence or further discuss the topic until you’ve fully answered how it relates to the thesis statement or helps solve the problem introduced by your claim.

  • Example: A large chunk of society thinks violent video games should be banned, but in reality, they actually can benefit society. While shooting games typically are violent, they don’t have to be if a developer chooses to emphasize the game’s educational potential.

Transition: Transitions between paragraphs can be the last or first sentence of the current or next paragraph, give the reader a general sense of what’s to come in the next paragraph.

  • Example: Today, even classrooms utilize video games to help develop students’ cognitive skill.


The conclusion reiterates the relevance of your topic, reviews your evidence, and briefly discusses the future of your topic. Avoid adding any new facts or arguments in the conclusion.


Opening Statements: Begin with a general concluding statement.

  • Example: Our society is one that is constantly changing, and as we change, so should our views.

Review Evidence:  Overview how all of your evidence came together to prove your claim.

  • Example: Gamers aren’t becoming aggressive and lazy as critics claim. Video games, even violent ones, sharpen youth’s intelligence and cognition, and classrooms that use video games as a learning tool see students retain knowledge much easier.

Future Outlook: State your claim and supporting arguments.

  • Example: Video games have more and more chances to impact society for the better, but we’ll never be able to see those impacts if we are held back by unfounded stigmas.