Writing Body Paragraphs

The body in your essay is where you fully develop the arguments that you  given a preview in the introduction. Each body paragraph should help to advance your position on the issue.

In writing body paragraphs, most students would be familiar with the PEEL structure, which comprises of Point, Elaboration, Example and Link.

While some students might find such a structure overly rigid and constraining, this four-step formula has persisted because it is the fastest and clearest way of introducing your point of view and persuading someone to accept it.

Speed and clarity matter when writing under the time constraint of exams. The purpose of writing structures and skill frameworks is not to limit yourself, but to enhance your efficiency and effectiveness.

Different Types of Paragraph Structures

There are a variety of paragraph structures that you can use in your essay. Answering the same essay question, we will demonstrate how to apply each structure and explain the type of question that each of them is best suited for.

Argument Paragraph

The argument paragraph is the most straightforward as it focuses on elaborating one reason (either for or against) behind your position on the issue. This structure’s advantage is its clarity as it fully elaborates and substantiates a single point.

The argument paragraph can be written in four steps:

To what extent does the migration of people have a positive effect?


Step 1: Answer the essay question with a stand and reason; highlight a specific stakeholder

The migration of people has a largely positive effect on the receiving countries as they benefit from increased economic growth and development.


Step 2: Explain the process behind the reason you cited

The influx of foreign workers creates a larger workforce, allowing the host nation to plug the job gaps in under-resourced industries. The expansion of the talent pool also enhances the quality of work produced as skilled migrants bring expertise. This improves the economy’s overall productivity and competitiveness, leading to growth.


Step 3: Cite relevant real- world evidence to substantiate your point

Singapore, for example, benefits greatly from immigration, given its naturally small workforce. Foreigners who possess the skills and expertise that are in short supply in Singapore help to fill jobs in the technology, marketing and finance industries, whereas others take up roles that Singaporeans shun, such as those in the construction, cleaning and service industries.


Step 4: Reiterate your response to the question

As far as the economy is concerned, the migration of people clearly has a positive effect.

Addressing a misconception:
Some students might mistakenly think that a good essay is one written in a complex manner. Hence, they may have misgivings about this paragraph structure as it is the most straightforward one.

However, it is entirely possible to write a good essay that only consists of clearly written and direct paragraphs. In truth, all body paragraphs within your essay work together to advance your argument and, taken in total, can express a complex position on the issue even if they are simply written.

Another tip to make your essay more persuasive is to organise the flow of your body paragraphs so that there is a coherent argumentative arc through your whole essay:

  • Common ➞ Controversial ➞ Insightful
  • Broad / Larger Context ➞ Smaller / Niche Context
  • Tangible ➞ Intangible

Other permutations of body paragraphs are possible. When planning the flow of your essay, try to make it an easy and enjoyable reading experience for your reader.

Emphasis Paragraph

The emphasis paragraph strengthens your argument by providing two related reasons and illustrations for the point. It is a good way to reinforce your stand on the issue; it is most suitable when you have two reasons that naturally support each other or have a point that can be examined in two different contexts.

To what extent does the migration of people have a positive effect?


Stand, reason and stakeholder

Secondly, home nations benefit greatly from the positive effects of the migration of people due to an improvement in standard of living.


Reason 1

Migrant workers are often compelled to leave their homes because of the lack of opportunities or poor living conditions there. The outflow of citizens seeking opportunities abroad can therefore alleviate population pressures and reduce the unemployment rate in their home nations.


Reason 1

For instance, Bangladesh has one of the world’s highest population density and suffers from soaring unemployment rates, necessitating many of its citizens to leave the country in search of work.


Reason 2

Tip: Use signalling phrases to show that you are reinforcing your argument.

Beyond alleviating the situation, migrant workers who are employed overseas can also help to boost economic growth back home. When citizens work overseas, they typically remit the bulk of their earnings to their family members. In turn, their family members spend the money on goods and services or pay taxes, stimulating economic growth and infrastructural development in their home country, making these remittances a crucial injection of cash.


Reason 2

The World Bank estimates that remittances amounted to US$70 billion for India, US$64 billion for China and US$28 billion for the Philippines — significant amounts of money that help fuel the continued development of these countries.


Tip: Reference the argument in earlier paragraphs to build on and advance your argument.

It can be seen that the migration of people is beneficial not just to the receiving nations, but to the home nations as well.

Balance Paragraph

The balance paragraph is the most complex paragraph type as it brings two opposing arguments (regarding the same point) into a single paragraph. When executed well, these paragraphs tend to be insightful and powerful as they acknowledge the opposing argument while offering an even stronger argument to counter it, which strengthens your position on the issue.

Opposing and supporting arguments should be done in separate paragraphs if they are addressing different points. But when you want to rebut the opposing argument directly, it can be beneficial to write a balance paragraph.

To what extent does the migration of people have a positive effect?

Opposing argument

Stand, reason and stakeholder

Critics of immigration typically argue that the influx of foreigners affects the receiving country negatively due to the strain an increased population places on public resources and infrastructure.

Elaboration of opposing argument

Reason 1

They argue that immigration increases the demand and competition for housing, schools and jobs, and can heighten social tensions between locals and foreigners.

Transition to your argument

Stand, reason and stakeholder

Tip: Use signalling phrases to show that you are transiting to your real stand. When this is missing, the paragraph can seem contradictory.

While this may occur, these are typically short-term problems that can be resolved. The long-term benefits immigration brings to the receiving country far outweigh the costs incurred.

Elaboration of your argument


The influx of foreign workers creates a greater talent pool and a larger workforce, allowing the host nation to plug the job gaps that exist in its economy and continue to grow and develop. The increased revenue generated by the government can then be used to address the concerns of the people.

Example that supports your argument


Indeed, over the last few years, the Singapore government has successfully stepped up its efforts to alleviate the negative effects of rapid immigration by increasing the supply of public housing, promoting job training and upskilling schemes, and expediting the construction of public infrastructure. Moreover, Singapore has done this while enjoying strong and steady economic growth.


Tip: Acknowledge 
the opposing argument briefly before restating stand.

While the migration of people does have its share of negative effects, the overall effect it has on receiving countries is still largely positive.