Support and Conclusion Sentences


Supporting Sentences

By itself, a topic sentence will not usually fully clarify an idea or convince readers. Supporting sentences can explain, prove, or enhance the idea in the topic sentence. For example, in a persuasive essay about raising the wage for certified nursing assistants, a paragraph might focus on the expectations and duties of the job, comparing them to those of a registered nurse. Needless to say, a single topic sentence that lists the certified nursing assistant’s duties will not give readers a complete enough idea of what these healthcare professionals do. If readers do not have plenty of information about the duties and the writer’s experience in performing them for what they consider inadequate pay, the paragraph fails to do its part in convincing readers that the pay is inadequate and should be increased.

An illustration of an ornate architectural column with the middle portion missing, representing a paragraph missing support sentences.
Image 4.2 A paragraph, like a column, needs support in the middle. (Credit: “Column Pillar Sculpture” by Monika Grafik, licensed under the Pixabay License and CC0 1.0)


In informative or persuasive writing, a supporting sentence usually offers one of the following:

  • Fact: Many families now rely on older relatives to support them financially.
  • Statistic: Nearly 10 percent of adults are currently unemployed in the United States.
  • Quotation: “We will not allow this situation to continue,” stated Senator Johns.
  • Anecdote or example: Last year, Bill was asked to retire at the age of fifty-five.

The type of supporting sentence you choose will depend on what you are writing and why you are writing. For example, if you are attempting to persuade your audience to take a particular position, you should rely on facts, statistics, and concrete examples, rather than personal opinions. Personal testimony in the form of an extended example can be used in conjunction with the other types of support. Let’s look at a sample paragraph as a list of all the elements we’ve just discussed, plus a concluding sentence, which we’ll discuss below.

Topic sentence: There are numerous advantages to owning a hybrid car.

Sentence 1 (statistic): First, they get 20 percent to 35 percent more miles to the gallon than a fuel-efficient gas-powered vehicle.

Sentence 2 (fact): Second, they produce very few emissions during low-speed city driving.

Sentence 3 (reason): Because they do not require gas, hybrid cars reduce dependency on fossil fuels, which helps lower prices at the pump.

Sentence 4 (example): Alex bought a hybrid car two years ago and has been extremely impressed with its performance.

Sentence 5 (quotation): “It’s the cheapest car I’ve ever had,” she said. “The running costs are far lower than previous gas-powered vehicles I’ve owned.”

Concluding sentence: Given the low running costs and environmental benefits of owning a hybrid car, it is likely that many more people will follow Alex’s example in the near future.

Concluding Sentences

Paragraphs do not necessarily need concluding sentences.  However, a concluding sentence can help if you think your readers need a reminder of what the main point was or what we have learned from the paragraph. If the material in the paragraph taken together seems to logically imply an idea, we can name that idea in the concluding sentence.  This might take the form of a prediction, suggestion, or recommendation about the information in the paragraph. For example, a paragraph on childhood obesity might conclude, “These statistics indicate that unless we take action, childhood obesity rates will continue to rise.”


A one-way street sign with a pointing arrow.
Image 4.3 Sometimes it seems as if all sentences in a paragraph point toward the concluding sentence. (Credit: “One way street, Road sign, Roadsign image” by Ryan McGuire, licensed under the Pixabay License and CC0 1.0)


If we repeat the main point, we should express it in different words to avoid sounding too repetitive. For example, let’s compare the topic sentence and concluding sentence from the first example on hybrid cars:

Topic Sentence: There are many advantages to owning a hybrid car.

Concluding Sentence: Given the low running costs and environmental benefits of owning a hybrid car, it is likely that many more people will follow Alex’s example in the near future.

Notice the use of the synonyms advantages and benefits. The concluding sentence reiterates the idea that owning a hybrid is advantageous without using the exact same words. It also summarizes two examples of the advantages covered in the supporting sentences: low running costs and environmental benefits.


Writers should avoid introducing any new ideas into a concluding sentence because a conclusion is intended to provide the reader with a sense of completion. Introducing a subject that is not covered in the paragraph will confuse readers.

Paragraph Length

Writers often want to know how many words a paragraph should contain. There is no set number; a paragraph needs to develop an idea enough to satisfy the writer and readers. Paragraphs can vary in length from one or two sentences to over a page; however, in most college assignments, successfully developed paragraphs usually contain one hundred to two hundred fifty words and span one-fourth to two-thirds of a typed page.


A lineup of pencils of varying colors and lengths on a blue background.
Image 4.4 Paragraphs, like pencils, can be of varying lengths. (Credit: Markus Spiske, licensed under the Unsplash License)


If a paragraph is more than a page long, consider providing a paragraph break for readers. Look for a logical place to divide the paragraph, and then revise the opening sentence of the second paragraph to maintain coherence.

Occasionally a short paragraph may serve to emphasize an idea, but a series of short paragraphs can be confusing and choppy. Examine the content of the paragraphs and combine them with related ideas or develop each one further.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

UNM Core Writing OER Collection Copyright © 2023 by University of New Mexico is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book