Introduction to the Basic Paragraph
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Single Controlling Idea

The controlling idea of a paragraph is the main idea or point the writer is trying to make.

There are many types of paragraphs. When different types of paragraphs are combined in the right way, they form an essay. To start though, let’s take a look at the basic paragraph.

In general, the basic, well-constructed paragraph should contain at least the following:

  1. Single controlling idea
  2. Topic sentence
  3. Supporting details
  4. Concluding sentence

The paragraph should also be indented. This means that there are several spaces before the first sentence. You can achieve this by pressing the space bar several times, or by pressing the Tab key on a computer keyboard. All writing assignment paragraphs must be indented in this course.

This is an image of an outline of a paragraph. The paragraph starts with an indent. The first line is a topic sentence. The topic sentence states the controlling idea of the paragraph. The rest of the paragraph is sentences that are supporting details. The supporting details are: facts, expert testimony, statistics, and personal experiences. The final sentence in the paragraph is the concluding sentence. The concluding sentence states how the supporting details all support the controlling idea.

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