Every argumentative essay has to be logical and reasonable to convince readers. When it comes to the body paragraphs, students usually get carried away wielding their pens with a flourish and demonstrating why their reasons are superior – but oops! Often, their supporting paragraphs lose the ability to convince due to bad content organisation.
A strong body paragraph should consist of a main point (P), elaboration (E), evidence (E), and a link (L). Let’s go through them step-by-step:
Point (topic sentence)
Many students always ask, “What does the first sentence of the body paragraph do?” Here’s the answer: it lets readers know what the paragraph is about by setting the direction of the argument. A good topic sentence should also help you to choose the most suitable examples that support your points.
Relating your topic sentences to the thesis statement prevents you from straying off topic as you elaborate on them. Keep these questions in mind as you write: what is your stand on the issue, and why?
Expand on your stand on the issue and the reasoning behind it. These supporting sentences in the elaboration should make your point clear and allow you to move on with the discussion. Remain focused on your key idea and not digress!
Tip: Quality over quantity – as long as your key idea is well-established, you can keep your elaboration succinct.
Concrete examples help to establish arguments. Choosing the right ones can be difficult, because they must be relevant and effective in supporting the P (topic sentence).
Common mistake: Some students prefer to select an example first and build their key idea or argument around it. They might digress from the topic if they do so! Examples support key ideas, and not vice versa.
A sentence that reiterates the topic sentence OR flows to the next paragraph’s P (topic sentence). This linking sentence provides closure to the paragraph and answers the ‘so what?’ – and clarifies the importance of the example(s) to the main argument. With this, readers are now crystal clear about the key idea in the paragraph!
While the PEEL structure takes time and practice to master, it provides a very handy method of organising your essay paragraphs.
Troubled about argumentative essay structure? Check out our quick guides to:
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