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Hamburger Paragraphs. How to write a really great paragraph!. Click on me to learn about good paragraphs!. The Topic Sentence (Top Bun). Very first sentence of your paragraph. Always needs to be indented. Simply tells what your paragraph is going to be about.

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hamburger paragraphs

Hamburger Paragraphs

How to write a really

great paragraph!

the topic sentence top bun
The Topic Sentence (Top Bun)
  • Very first sentence of your paragraph.
  • Always needs to be indented.
  • Simply tells what your paragraph is going to be about.

There are many reasons that I love to teach. First of all, I love to teach because I love being at school. Another reason I love teaching is that the days go by quickly. A third reason I love to teach is because I love seeing a student understand something new. Finally, I love to teach because I love to be around kids. These are just a few reasons I love to teach.

Click here to return to the hamburger

the first detail lettuce
The First Detail (Lettuce)
  • Should not be the most important detail.
  • Needs to support the topic by providing a detail, explanation, or example.

There are many reasons that I love to teach. First of all, I love to teach because I love being at school.Another reason I love teaching is that the days go by quickly. A third reason I love to teach is because I love seeing a student understand something new. Finally, I love to teach because I love to be around kids. These are just a few reasons I love to teach.

Click here to return to the hamburger

the second detail tomato
The Second Detail (Tomato)
  • Still should not be the most important detail.
  • Provides further support with a new detail or example.

There are many reasons that I love to teach. First of all, I love to teach because I love being at school.Another reason I love teaching is that the days go by quickly. A third reason I love to teach is because I love seeing a student understand something new. Finally, I love to teach because I love to be around kids. These are just a few reasons I love to teach.

Click here to return to the hamburger

the third detail cheese
The Third Detail (Cheese)
  • Still not be the most important detail.
  • Continues to support the topic with another detail, explanation, or example.

There are many reasons that I love to teach. First of all, I love to teach because I love being at school. Another reason I love teaching is that the days go by quickly. A third reason I love to teach is because I love seeing a student understand something new. Finally, I love to teach because I love to be around kids. These are just a few reasons I love to teach.

Click here to return to the hamburger

the last detail meat
The Last Detail (Meat)
  • Finally!The most important detail.
  • The strongest piece of evidence to support the topic.

There are many reasons that I love to teach. First of all, I love to teach because I love being at school. Another reason I love teaching is that the days go by quickly. A third reason I love to teach is because I love seeing a student understand something new. Finally, I love to teach because I love to be around kids. These are just a few reasons I love to teach.

Click here to return to the hamburger

the closing sentence bottom bun
The Closing Sentence (Bottom Bun)
  • Should look similar to the topic sentence.
  • Needs to summarize the topic.
  • Needs to be an obvious end to the paragraph.

There are many reasons that I love to teach. First of all, I love to teach because I love being at school. Another reason I love teaching is that the days go by quickly. A third reason I love to teach is because I love seeing a student understand something new. Finally, I love to teach because I love to be around kids. These are just a few reasons I love to teach.

let s review
Let’s Review

Here are some examples of sentences that cannot be used as topic sentences. Can you figure out why they are inappropriate? 

topic sentence one
Topic Sentence One

My hometown is famous because it is located by Wheaton River, which is very wide, and because it is built near an unusually steep hill called Wheaton Hill.

  • The problem with this sentence is that it contains too many details. Topic sentences are general, and details should appear later in the paragraph. A better topic sentence would read like this: My hometown is famous for several amazing geographical features.
topic sentence two
Topic Sentence Two

There are two reasons why some people like to buy cars with automatic transmission and two reasons why others like cars with manual transmission.

  • Sentence #2 is not appropriate as a topic sentence because it mentions two topics, not just one. Paragraphs are usually about one main thing, so their topic sentences should also be about only one main thing, like this:There are two reasons why some people like to buy cars with automatic transmission.
topic sentence three
Topic Sentence Three

Clouds are white.

  • The problem with sentence #3 is that it is too general. It is also very boring! Would you like to read a paragraph with this topic sentence? Most people would not. Here, you need a better topic, such as the following: The shapes of clouds are determined by various factors.
how many sentences
How many sentences?

A paragraph often has more than two supporting ideas.At minimum, you should have at least five to seven sentences in your paragraph. 

  • How many sentences do you count in the paragraph to the right?
  • How many are supporting sentences?

My hometown is famous for several amazing natural features.  First, it is noted for the Wheaton River, which is very wide and beautiful. Also, on the other side of the town is Wheaton Hill, which is unusual because it is very steep. The third amazing feature is the Big Old Tree. This tree stands two hundred feet tall and is probably about six hundred years old. These three landmarks are truly amazing and make my hometown a famous place.

how can i juice up my writing
How can I “juice up” my writing?
  • The short paragraph in this review is a fairly complete paragraph, but it lacks details. 
  • Whenever possible, you should include enough details in your paragraphs to help your reader understand exactly what you are writing about. 
  • For each detail have you addressed the following:
    • WHO
    • WHAT
    • WHEN
    • WHERE
    • WHY
    • HOW
resources
Resources
  • The metaphor of the hamburger is adapted from Reid, J.M. (1994). The Process of Paragraph Writing (2nd Ed.)
  • Walters, F. Scott (2000). Basic Paragraph Structure. < http://lrs.ed.uiuc.edu/students/fwalters/para.html> 19 September 2011.
  • http://www.readingrockets.org/strategies/paragraph_hamburger/ > 19 September 2011.