The Lettuce -- or First Reason

Just like the hamburger, paragraphs and essays have five parts.

Some may argue that a hamburger can have a lot more things on it: bacon, cheese or mushrooms. If you have too many ingredients, however, the burger gets sloppy.

With paragraphs and essays, it's similar. If you have just two ideas to support your point, the paragraph seems weak. If you start piling on more reasons, the essay can become unfocused, like a list of bullet points.

There is one important issue: All three reasons must be grammatically "parallel,"" meaning they all must be nouns, adjectives, adverbs or verbs. For instance, you might write that there are a lot of cars in the parking lot in various colors: red, blue and green (adjectives). Or you might talk about all the structures in a part of a city: homes, factories and warehouses (nouns). You about an athlete who runs, jumps and shoots baskets (verbs).

Though it should be fresh and crisp, the lettuce isn't the most important ingredient, it's just the first ingredient.


Now, let's move on to the second most important reason, the tomato.


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