Shape of an academic paragraph
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Shape of an Academic Paragraph. Topic sentence (Idea sentence) Evidence (You may need to “lead-in” to your evidence by providing context) Analysis sentences (may be one, two or three sentences) Evidence Analysis sentences (may be one, two, or three sentences)

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Shape of an Academic Paragraph

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Shape of an academic paragraph

Shape of an Academic Paragraph

  • Topic sentence (Idea sentence)

  • Evidence (You may need to “lead-in” to your evidence by providing context)

  • Analysis sentences (may be one, two or three sentences)

  • Evidence

  • Analysis sentences (may be one, two, or three sentences)

  • [potentially more evidence and analysis]


Shape of a body paragraph cont

Shape of a Body Paragraph, cont.

  • Big Idea sentence (topic sentence)

  • Evidence sentence

  • Two-Three smaller idea sentences

  • Evidence sentence

  • Two-three smaller idea sentences

  • Evidence sentence

  • Two-three smaller idea sentences


Ladder of abstraction

Ladder of Abstraction

An academic essay will have sentences that align with all levels of this graph. A body paragraph or “academic paragraph” (like your Assignment 1.3) will have big idea sentences, small idea sentences, and evidence sentences. Reread your of Assignment 1.3. Your topic sentence should be a “big idea” sentence. Can you identify the other types of sentences in your draft?


More on academic paragraphs or body paragraphs

More on Academic Paragraphs (or Body Paragraphs)

  • The outline on the previous slide gives you a form for Assignment 1.3. It is also the form of any “body paragraph” in a longer essay.

  • I often break the paragraph into “chunks.” One “chunk” is an evidence sentence plus your analysis that follows. Note that any time you provide evidence, you should follow it with analysis. (Don’t have any hanging quotes).

  • Your topic sentence is a “bigger” idea sentence than analysis sentences. (“Bigger” in my terms means broader, more abstract, or able to encompass more evidence.) The topic sentence is less specific than the other idea sentences in a paragraph.


Rhetorical analysis of an argument one way to approach your paragraph

Rhetorical Analysis of an Argument(one way to approach your paragraph)

  • Choose a particular passage (1-2 paragraphs) from the article you want to write your essay on.

  • Identify a rhetorical strategy or assumption at play in that paragraph or paragraphs. Make it obvious! Describe how that strategy or assumption is functioning.

  • Cite the text. You should include at least 2-3 quotes from the passage in question.

  • CLOSE READ the text you cite.


Example from how to tame a wild tongue

Example from “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”

We're going to have to control your tongue," the dentist says, pulling out all the metal from my mouth. Silver bits plop and tinkle into the basin. My mouth is a motherlode.

The dentist is cleaning out my roots. I get a whiff of the stench when I gasp. "I can't cap that tooth yet, you're still draining," he says.

"We're going to have to do something about your tongue," I hear the anger rising in his voice. My tongue keeps pushing out the wads of cotton, pushing back the drills, the long thin needles. "I've never seen anything as strong or as stubborn," he says. And I think, how do you tame a wild tongue, train it to be quiet, how do you bridle and saddle it? How do you make it lie down?


Student sample

Student Sample:

  • Kozol begins to craft his well-reasoned argument by using statistics to appeal to us intellectually, then juxtaposes the voices of the children affected by the inequality and resegregation of inner city public schools, to appeal to us emotionally, arouse our sympathies and move us to action. Kozol writes about his visit to an inner city public, “I did not encounter any children who were white or Asian — or Hispanic, for that matter — and when I was later provided with precise statistics for the demographics of the school, I learned that 99.6 percent of students there were African American” (408). He is showing us that he goes beyond just reading, and gathering statistics, he experiences the segregation personally and is here to testify to the racial make-up of these schools. This bolsters him as an authority on the subject and makes it more difficult for us to ignore the statistics he uses, or to see it just as collected data. In the paragraph that follows Kozol uses pathos to convey the sorrow and alienation that these students experience. He is no longer talking about statistics when he writes about a student in Harlem who speaks about the segregation. She says, “It’s more like being hidden… It’s as if you have been put in a garage where, if they don’t have room for something but aren’t sure if they should throw it out, they put it there where they don’t need to think of it again” (408). He is not paraphrasing but using her own language and phrasing to speak to us. He identifies where she comes from and gives us her age to personalize her, you no longer hear a male voice while reading, but that of a fifteen year old girl from Harlem. This is very successful at arousing feelings of guilt in the reader. It is no longer about hard, cold statistics, but about our sense of fairness and duty to this young girl.


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