A paragraph is made up of four primary components: a topic, a topic sentence, major supporting details/points, and minor supporting details/points.
The topic is the subject of the paragraph.
The topic sentence reveals the paragraph’s main idea. In other words, it is made up of the topic and the point the writer is trying to make about the topic. This may also be referred to as the author’s claim. This sentence should be the most general sentence in the paragraph, and all other sentences should relate and support the topic sentence.
The major supporting points/details function to support, clarify, or explain the topic sentence. They typically follow transitional words like “first of all,” “secondly,” “in addition,” and “finally.”
The minor supporting points/details function to support, clarify, or explain the major supporting points/details. They typically follow transitional words like “for instance,” “to illustrate,” “for example,” and “this means.”
See the example paragraph below:
The Native American boy was brave. To begin with, he left his family’s reservation to attend an all-white school that was known to be racist. This was difficult because he had to leave his friends behind and start over. Next, after the white students insulted the boy and his tribe, the boy valiantly stood up for his people. For instance, he challenged a much larger classmate to a fight after school. Finally, knowing that he was not well liked by his new…