Every paragraph needs unity, which means it develops one main idea that is stated in the topic sentence. That main idea must then be developed and explained adequately to be interesting and convincing.
Next, that fully-developed idea must be organized in a logical way for the reader to understand it. Finally, the developed and well-organized idea in the paragraph must be clearly linked to the thesis of the essay and the paragraphs around it with strong transitions.
In this workout, you will work on the second of the core building blocks of a good paragraph – Adequate Development.
Let’s get started.
Development of ideas
Each paragraph must have enough information and explanation to support the claim of its topic sentence. If we aren’t sure what we want to say, we can end up saying very little.
Consider these examples:
|Despite the risks of overuse, video games can help children learn basic math skills. Video games provide a lot of support to learn math skills. Children must learn basic math like multiplication tables and video games are a useful tool for doing this.|
|Despite the risks of overuse, video games can help children learn basic math skills. Many video games teach math skills, such as multiplication, in a fun way. For example, players can unlock levels or shoot space ships as they multiply. In addition, games encourage children to solve puzzles and problems (to advance in the game) so that they are empowered in their learning. Used in moderation, video games are an effective tool for math education.|
The first paragraph provides almost no development; in fact, it just repeats the idea in the topic sentence in different ways. The paragraph says nothing about how or why video games help children learn math.
Fix the problem:
This problem is fixed primarily through thinking. When we write, we need enough content to support and develop our ideas to satisfy the reader’s expectation. If we find ourselves with empty paragraphs, we need to go back and write a strong set of supporting sentences.
Providing Adequate Development (Practice)
We have tools we can use to ensure adequate development in the body of our paragraphs. We can use any combination of reasons, facts and statistics, quotations from research, and examples to support our ideas.
Let’s look at the types of support used in an example.