The Basic Parts of a Paragraph

Topic Sentence

The topic sentence tells the reader what the paragraph is going to be about. It also helps you keep your writing under control. This is why a topic sentence is sometimes called the "controlling idea" of a paragraph. Below you will find a sample topic sentence and a simple formula for writing good topic sentences:

Topic sentence: Mr. Brown must have been a drill sergeant before he became our gym teacher.

Formula: A specific subject (Mr. Brown, our gym teacher) + a specific feeling or attitude (must have been a drill sergeant before) = a good topic sentence.


The body is the main part of the paragraph. This is where you tell the reader about your topic by including specific details. All of the sentences in the body must relate to the specific topic of the paragraph and help it come alive for the reader. That is, all of the sentences in the body should contain details that make the topic more interesting or help explain it more clearly. These sentences should be organized in the best possible order.

Concluding Remarks

The closing or clincher sentence comes after all the details have been included in the body of the paragraph. The closing sentence reminds the reader what the topic of the paragraph is really all about, what it means. For example, let's say the topic sentence of a paragraph is "Mr. Brown must have been a drill sergeant before he became our gym teacher." A closing sentence for this paragraph could be something like the following:

Closing sentence: I'm surprised that Mr. Brown doesn't make us march into the shower room after each class.

This document was reproduced with permission from the San Juan Unified School District , San Juan, New Mexico.

Sample Paragraph

My Dog Romeo is so much fun to play with. One reason heís fun is because he loves to play catch. Whatís also fun is that he follows me around the house with a toy and drops it on my foot, so I will kick it. Additionally, he can catch just about anything, but his favorite thing to catch is a Frisbee. Finally, he loves it when I pretend like Iím falling dead, and he runs over to lick me. All these reasons show why I really have fun playing with Romeo.


Green is the Topic.  Purple is the controlling idea. 

Red is the body.

Brown is the conclusion.