Now imagine, however, that the other driver caused the accident because he was talking on his cell phone. You could certainly go to court and simply tell the judge that the other driver was distracted and this led to the wreck, but why would the judge believe you? Telling the judge that the driver was, in fact, on his phone would be providing him with essential supporting details. Ideally, you could even have the driver’s phone records brought into court to prove he was on the phone at the time of the accident, thus providing even more supporting details to bolster your claim. This is the kind of factual, detailed evidence that explains why you reached the conclusion that you reached, and helps provide a background that proves the veracity of your point.
The idea behind supporting details is simple; it’s all about providing information to explain and bolster your opinion, claim, or belief. How did you reach the conclusion or opinion you reached? The surest, simplest way to convince someone else to see it your way is to provide them with the same information you used to reach that decision.
- Greet you when you get home
- Wag tails
- Lie at your feet when you’re sitting around the house
- Go for walks with you
- Keep you company when you’re sick
Some signals that you may want to combine paragraphs include that
Whether the drafting of a paragraph begins with a main idea or whether that idea surfaces in the revision process, once you have that main idea, you’ll want to make sure that the idea has enough support. The job of the paragraph body is to develop and support the topic. Here’s one way that you might think about it:
The bulk of an expository paragraph is made up of supporting sentences (major and minor details), which help to explain or prove the main idea. These sentences present facts, reasons, examples, definitions, comparison, contrasts, and other pertinent details. They are most important because they sell the main idea.
You should have underlined the first sentence in the paragraph – this is the stated main idea. What can be concluded from the information is: If you do not follow the rules, you will automatically fail the test. This concluding information is found in the last sentence.
Finally, paragraph number is a lot like paragraph length. You may have been asked in the past to write a five paragraph essay. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a five-paragraph essay, but just like sentence length and
paragraph length, the number of paragraphs in an essay depends upon what’s needed to get the job done. There’s
really no way to know that until you start writing. So try not to worry too much about the proper length and number
of things. Just start writing and see where the essay and the paragraphs take you. There will be plenty of time
to sort out the organization in the revision process. You’re not trying to fit pegs into holes here. You’re letting your
ideas unfold. Give yourself—and them—the space to let that happen.
It’s important to consider how to emphasize the relationships not just between sentences but also between paragraphs in your essay. Here are a few strategies to help you show your readers how the main ideas of your paragraphs relate to each other and also to your thesis.