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In formal writing

In formal writing


In formal, academic writing, we want to write clearly so that our readers can easily understand us. One way to ensure that our writing is clear and well organized is to follow PIE paragraph structure. PIE structure allows us to clearly state our paragraph’s point, prove our point with strong information, and explain to the reader what we want to tell them with our information. We use PIE only for body paragraphs (not introductions or conclusions).

A paragraph only has ONE point, meaning it should only be about one thing. However, it can have more than one piece of Information/Explanation that proves the one Point.

To start our class and prepare for the first small piece of writing, which is writing an academic paragraph, we will learn about PIE paragraph structure.


In this class, we will write our body paragraphs using the PIE formula.

The PIE formula includes three parts:

  1. Point! That is another way to say topic sentence or sub-claim. This tells the reader what the paragraph is going to be about. It should be something arguable.
  2. Information! The information part of PIE is where you give readers examples that support the point you made. This is the proof! For our class, it will mostly be quotes from the articles or personal examples.
  3. Explanation! The explanation is where you tell the readers why you gave the information you gave. It answers the “So What?” It is the analysis of the paper where your voice really stands out. It should be as long as the information part.

Also, note that most paragraphs will have at least two pieces of information (I) and two pieces of explanation (E). A common PIE structures paragraph for this class will look like this: P I I E I E (with the I and the E repeating to give readers more than one example and more analysis/explanation.)

Review the lectures below on PIE paragraph structure. Watch the videos carefully and read through the lectures slowly. Watch and read multiple times if needed.

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