You have learned four specific ways to develop expository paragraphs and have practiced each method. Topic sentences have been provided for you. When you write other assignments, you will write your own topic sentences and choose your own methods of development. The method you choose to develop a paragraph depends upon your purpose in writing.
Facts may be included in any paragraph, but a paragraph developed mainly by facts answers the questions who? what? when? where? and how? Consider, for example, the following sentence about George Washington: George Washington (who?) was named head of the Continental Army (what?) in 1775 (when?) in Philadelphia (where?) by an act of the Second Continental Congress (how?).
When you generalize about a group or an idea, develop your paragraph with examples. Paragraphs developed mainly with examples answer who specifically? what specifically? where specifically? when specifically? or how specifically? A topic sentence about fathers (generalization) could be illustrated with sentenced about Jane’s father (specific), Arnold’s father (specific), and Tim’s father (specific). If you were writing about equality (generalization), you might give examples of political equality (more specific) or social equality (more specific).
Paragraphs developed with reasons answer the question why? Suppose your topic sentence was Teenagers too young drive automobiles should have a moped. Why? Mopeds are economical, give teenagers practice in observing laws, and relieve parents the need to drive their teenagers to so many places. The sentence of illustration gives reasons for the assertion made in the top sentence.
When you want to tell what happened, relate an incident. Suppose your history teacher asks on a test, what happened at Gettysburg in 1863? Your paragraph might begin: In Gettysburg Pennsylvania, on July 1 to 3, 1863, one of the most decisive battles of the War Between the States was fought. Then you could illustrate your paragraph with sentences that tell in chronological order what happened each day of the battle