West Seattle High School

West Seattle
High School
Social Studies Department

Paragraph – How to Write One

How to Write a Paragraph

  1. Write a Topic Sentence
    1. The topic sentence should introduce the main purpose of the paragraph.
    2. If this is an essay, your topic sentences will each support some part of your thesis/claim.
    3. Also, a good writer will use some transition word or phrase in the topic sentence to explain how the new paragraph relates to the last one. (See “Transition Words”)

      Ex. The second reason for the American revolution was the increasing tax burden placed on the colonists, which caused them to protest against the British government.
  2. Introduce the evidence: (follow the steps below for each piece of evidence you use)
    In the sentence where you provide evidence, be sure to identify its source.

    Ex. The political cartoon by Nick Rose indicates…
    Ex. Jared Diamond explains,
  3. Provide the Evidence
    1. Your text evidence should be placed in quotes.

      Ex. According to Samuel Adams, “If our trade be taxed, why not our lands, or produce in short, everything we possess? They tax us without having legal representation.”  
    2. If the evidence is a visual source, it needs to be a detailed description of what you are looking at.

      Ex. The political cartoon by Nick Rose shows that European men cut up

      Africa into pieces, which led to…

      Ex. The Population Density Map shows that Boston was more likely to be a more influential than Falmouth, Massachusetts because…

      Note: Depending on the assignment, you may have to cite your source.                  
  4. Provide reasoning/analysis for each piece of evidence:

    For each piece of evidence, summarize the evidence, make an inference, and connect it to your topic sentence.
    1. Explain what the evidence means

      Ex. Samuel Adams feels that there will be no end to British taxation, especially if the colonists have no voice in government.
    2. Make an inference (your interpretation based upon the evidence)

      Ex. This demonstrates that the colonists feel the tax system is unfair because they have no say in what is taxed or how much it is taxed.  This decision is made solely by the British government.  
    3. Explain how the evidence supports the topic sentence

      As a result, the protest mantra of the American Revolution emerges:  “No taxation without representation.”  This motto unites merchants, like Samuel Adams, and consumers alike in calling for political power and challenges British colonial power, thus inspiring revolution.
  5. Provide a concluding sentence
    1. Summarize how the ideas in this paragraph tie together. Explain what you just proved in this paragraph.
    2. If this is an essay, you may also want to explain how the ideas in this paragraph tie to the claim.

      Ex.  These examples all demonstrate how the taxes on various items such as tea, paper and general trade placed a disproportionate burden on the colonists, who became increasingly frustrated with the British government’s policies.  This mounting frustration consequently inspired enough energy among the colonist to inspire the American Revolution.