MEMOS for Developmental Writers

Model Paragraph 1

15 August 2005

Below is a model paragraph that contains an introduction (the topic sentence - an academic paragraph's first sentence), a body section (the topic sentence's support sentences), and a conclusion (in a paragraph, the final sentence) that restates the topic of the paragraph.

Read the paragraph very carefully.  Then, just as carefully, read the outlines that follow it.

Key Lime Crazy

     I would eat a piece, a large piece, of key lime pie once a day, every day, if I could. The first bite of a piece of key lime pie transports me back to my south Florida childhood and the desserts my mother would create from the small key lime trees that grew in our side yard. At least once a week my mother would send me outside to harvest at least one dozen of the small green fruits so that she could create an entire week's supply of those creamy, tart confections for our family and all of our neighbors. Another reason that I love key lime pies so much is their combination of sugary sweetness and citric tartness. The sweetness comes from, according to my mother's recipe, an entire, sugar-saturated fourteen-ounce can of Eagle Brand condensed milk; the tartness comes from the juice of three freshly squeezed key limes. The most important reason for my hunger for pies made from sugar, eggs, and key limes is that I can no longer eat them. For the last ten years I have suffered from diabetes, brought on, according to my doctor, by my habit of eating death-by-sugar foods such as key lime pies, and so I must suffer from a hunger that can never be assuaged. In conclusion, my desire for key lime pies is based on happy childhood memories, their uniquely sweet tartness, and the lamentable fact that I will probably never again be able to take even one small bite of that most excellent of all desserts. (259 words)

Descriptive Outline

Proposition: I would eat a piece, a large piece, of key lime pie once a day, every day, if I could.

Strategy: Give three important reasons explaining my love of key lime pie

Paragraph 1 (the only paragraph in this short essay):

What the paragraph says: The writer loves key lime pie because of its associaytions with his childhood, its taste, and because for health reasons he can no longer eat it.

What the paragraph does: The paragraph gives the reader one personal anecdote, a description of the pie's taste, and an explanation of the reason he can no longer eat it.

Scratch Outline of Model Paragraph 1

Topic: Love for key lime pie
1. Childhood memories
2. Taste
3. Can't eat for health reasons


Expanded Scratch Outline of Model Paragraph 1

Topic: Love for key lime pie
1. First reason: Childhood memories

Support example: Picking key limes so mother could cook pies

2. Second reason: Taste of pies

Support details: Combination of sweetness and tartness

3. Third reason: Can't eat for health reasons

Support facts: Diabetes prevents eating sugary food


Sentence Outline of Model Paragraph 1

Topic sentence:  I would eat a piece, a large piece, of key lime pie once a day, every day, if I could.

Reason sentence 1:  The first bite of a piece of key lime pie transports me back to my south Florida childhood and the desserts my mother would create from the small key lime trees that grew in our side yard. 

Support sentence 1:  At least once a week my mother would send me outside to harvest at least one dozen of the small green fruits so that she could create an entire week's supply of those creamy, tart confections for our family and all of our neighbors.

Reason sentence 2:  Another reason that I love key lime pies so much is their combination of sugary sweetness and citric tartness.

Support sentence 2:  The sweetness comes from, according to my mother's recipe, an entire, sugar-saturated fourteen-ounce can of Eagle Brand condensed milk; the tartness comes from the juice of three freshly squeezed key limes.

Reason sentence 3:  The most important reason for my hunger for pies made from sugar, eggs, and key limes is that I can no longer eat them.

Support sentence 3:  For the last ten years I have suffered from diabetes, brought on, according to my doctor, by my habit of eating death-by-sugar foods such as key lime pies, and so I must suffer from a hunger that can never be assuaged.

Conclusion/Topic Restatement sentence:  In conclusion, my desire for key lime pies is based on happy childhood memories, their uniquely sweet tartness, and the lamentable fact that I will probably never again be able to take even one small bite of that most excellent of all desserts.