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reading respond

Paragraph Development Exercise

1.      Read through the handout “Paragraph Development” before starting this exercise.

2.      An effective paragraph has a controlling idea that is related to the thesis in some way.  For example, if my thesis is that Brent Staples effectively fulfills his purpose in his essay, “Just Walk on By,” then my body paragraphs would develop this idea.


Sample topic sentence: One way Staples fulfills his purpose for this essay on racial discrimination is by showing rather than commenting on his experiences. In this way, he elicits the audience’s sympathy without asking for pity.


I’ve provided below for you a paragraph that merely summarizes what happens and does not contain a topic sentence.  Revise this paragraph by adding a topic sentence, adding sentences that expand the topic sentence, and creating clear links between evidence (use of direct quotation) and purpose (why are you quoting this?).  Or create your own brand new paragraph.



       He starts off by giving his readers an example of his first racist encounter. A woman who was walking far in front of him, immediately assumed he was a mugger, a rapist, or a murderer. Staples knew what she was thinking. He writes, “After a few quick glimpses, she picked up her pace and was soon running in earnest.” After this event, Staples became well aware of his presence to others.

Your paragraph: Underline your topic sentence.  Underline your support for your ideas.


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