Three ingredients in a paragraph (essay) by AwP113


          Three ingredients in a paragraph (essay)

Claim: A claim is a statement of opinion or belief.
Thesis: A thesis is a singular, overarching claim which
dictates the path of argument. Generally your thesis comes
at the end of your introduction.

Weak thesis: “Mary Poppins is a great movie.” weak
because it lacks detail and direction

In most cases, a thesis requires several subordinate claims,
acting in concert (together), to demonstrate its persuasion.

Stronger thesis: “Mary Poppins is an entertaining movie
because of its wacky songs, its magical elements, and its
funny characters.” This is a three-part thesis, which feels
formulaic, but it gets the job done.

Claims work on two levels
Essay level: thesis statement
Paragraph level: topic sentence

Topic Sentence: The goal of a topic sentence is to outline
the goals of a body paragraph, generally at the beginning of
that paragraph. A topic sentence, also called a subclaim,
needs to support the case of the thesis/claim.

Weak topic sentence: “The wacky songs in Mary Poppins
are entertaining.”
Strong topic sentence: “The wacky songs in Mary Poppins
encourage laughter but also our personal connection to the

Evidence: Evidence is the material from a text which
supports the claim. Evidence aims to show how or why the
claim is true.
     Examples: Quotes from text, paraphrased material,
anecdotes, statistics

Evidence example: “‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ is
an entertaining song sung during the horse riding episode.”

This cannot prove the point on its own, though, so the
writer needs to explain the evidence through analysis.

Analysis: Analysis does two interrelated tasks in a
1. It shows the relationship between claim and evidence.
2. It shows the relationship of an individual paragraph to
   the thesis and the larger framework of an argument.

“This song has a tune that gets stuck in your head, partially
due to lyrics such as “um-diddle-iddle-iddle-um-diddle-i”,
which lift your spirits when you hear them. Furthermore,
the song is based on this ridiculously long word, which
provides comic relief in the scene when George Banks
finally breaks down and laughs at the bank when he is
being fired from his job. His inappropriate laughter is a
situation with which the audience can identify and with
which they can then laugh along.”

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