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Paragraphs to Compositions. Language Network Ch. 14. Compositions. A composition is a longer piece of writing that consists of at least several paragraphs. Like a paragraph, a composition has an overall purpose, which may be to describe, to narrate, to explain, or to persuade.

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Paragraphs to compositions

Paragraphs to Compositions

Language Network Ch. 14


  • A composition is a longer piece of writing that consists of at least several paragraphs.

  • Like a paragraph, a composition has an overall purpose, which may be to describe, to narrate, to explain, or to persuade.

  • We will focus primarily on expository (informative) compositions.

The parts of a composition
The Parts of a Composition

  • The Introduction

    • Begins the composition and tells what the composition is about. The most important part is the thesis statement, which gives the overall composition a purpose.

  • The Body

    • Presents ideas that support and expand on the thesis statement.

  • The Conclusion

    • Winds up the composition. It might restate the main idea, state the significance of the topic, or call readers to take a course of action.

Creating a thesis statement
Creating a Thesis Statement

  • Develop a Controlling Idea

    • Decide on a purpose for your composition (sometimes this is assigned to you).

    • Think about what angle of your topic you would like to explore.

    • Jot down a sentence that summarizes what you want to say. This is your controlling idea.

  • Focus your thesis statement.

    • Begin with a draft, and decide if it is too broad or too narrow, which can make a composition more difficult to write.

Effective introductions
Effective Introductions

  • An introduction should present the thesis statement and capture your reader’s attention. Try the following:

    • Start with an Anecdote (a brief story)

    • Use a Quotation (a repetition of someone’s exact words)

    • Make a Surprising Statement

    • Ask a Question (but make it engaging!)

The body unity
The Body: Unity

  • A composition has unity when ideas appear in separate paragraphs and all of those ideas support the thesis statement.

  • Try the following to achieve unity:

    • Write your thesis statement.

    • List your main ideas, along with supporting details for each one.

    • Check to see that each main idea supports the thesis statement.

    • Check that each supporting detail supports the appropriate main idea.

The body unity1
The Body: Unity

  • Create topic sentences for each paragraph using the main ideas.

  • Write paragraphs that support each topic sentence.

  • To break up long paragraphs, try to:

    • Look for changes in focus.

    • Look for events or steps.

    • Look for unnecessary information.

The body coherence
The Body: Coherence

  • A composition has coherence when its parts appear in logical order and flow smoothly from one to the next. To create a good flow, use the following transitional methods:

    • Transitional words and phrases, such as “later,” “that night,” and “then.”

    • Repeated phrases

    • Transitional sentences

Writing the conclusion
Writing the Conclusion

  • The conclusion of your composition leaves a final impression with the reader. Use one of the following types of conclusions:

    • Restate the Main Idea

      • This is like a miniature summary of your composition.

    • Call for Action

      • Suggest or urge someone to do something about an issue.

    • State the Significance

      • Emphasize the importance of your topic to the reader.

A tip for writers
A Tip for Writers

  • You don’t have to write a composition from beginning to end.

  • Some writers find it easier to start with a conclusion, and go from there.

  • Many writers will write the body paragraphs first, and then write an introduction and conclusion.