A paragraph is a group of sentences that are all about one specific idea. It should begin with a topic sentence, that is, a sentence which addresses the subject of the paragraph. The other sentences in the paragraph should supply information that helps to explain the topic.
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How long should a paragraph be?
There is no set length for a paragraph, but, generally, three full sentences are considered the minimum, and half a page is considered the maximum.
What are the kinds of paragraph?
Narrative paragraphs/essays are often a chronological (make contain flashbacks) presentation of events that add up to a story. Paragraphs of this type contain protagonist and an antagonist, setting, conflict and resolution. They often contain a lot of description, but this is not essential.
Descriptive types of paragraphs/essays are written in such a way that the reader is able to imagine the scene, object, person, etc. Series of detailed observations are recorded, using sensory language. Descriptions are like narrative paragraphs, with visual characteristics unfolding in a dramatized way. The main objective of a description is to move the story ahead.
Definition type of paragraphs/essays, provide meaning about a topic, using events and happenings. A strong effort should be made to clearly explain what something is, rather than what it is not.
A persuasive paragraph/essay is used in editorials, essays and columns. A direct approach is the best in writing a persuasive paragraph. The objective of a persuasive paragraph is to persuade people to change their minds, or take action. Persuasive paragraphs help people formulate an opinion and/or deepen it, by adding conviction. These essays must use concrete evidence followed by commentary in order to be effective.
Expository paragraphs are explanatory in nature. They could be an important part of a description or narration. Credibility should be added in an expository paragraph, by citing authorities that have good credentials. This type of paragraph can also be a justifier that explains why something is important, for example why a memory or place or a function or activity is important.
A process analysis paragraph describes how a process happens, through a series of sequential actions. This type of paragraph is usually followed by illustrations, as they help explain the process better.
What is a topic sentence? A topic sentence (also known as a focus sentence in some cases) encapsulates or organizes an entire paragraph. Although topic sentences may appear anywhere in a paragraph, in academic essays they often appear at the beginning.
What is paragraph unity? Coherence? Emphasis?
A good paragraph has the characteristics of unity, coherence and emphasis. In unity a paragraph must be unified on its structure. In coherence a paragraph must establish continuity within or towards the other paragraph. In emphasis the idea within the paragraph should be given importance and made to stand.
A paragraph is a unit of composition that established oneness because it develops a central and main idea on its structure. The entire paragraph must be unified on its structure and all the sentences within the paragraph should focus on the topic sentence.
There are several violations in which the unity of the paragraph is lost. One of these is by the inclusion of the second central idea which divides the idea of the entire paragraph. Another violation is the inclusion of one or more sentences containing details that are not really related to the paragraph’s main ideas. There are also cases in which there is no central idea that was being established within the paragraph resulting to the disunity of sentences in the paragraph composition.
Coherence is considered as the continuity between as well as within the paragraph. It is very important to arrange and link the sentences between the paragraphs to be able to make the readers follow the thought or the idea that want to be implied. There are several logical orders in which coherence can be established. These logical orders are the spatial orders, deductive order and inductive order. Chronological order is done in such ways like narrating experiences, summarizing the steps in the process and explaining events and movements. Spatial order can be established through the arrangement of visual details in some consistent sequences such as from left to right, east to west, near or distant and vice versa. Deductive order is done by establishing a general statement moving to the more particular details that explain the general statement itself. Inductive order is done by starting the statement with more particular detail going to and supporting the general statement.
Coherence can also be established through the use of some special devices. These transitional devices are the transitional keywords; the reference of pronoun, the repetition of keywords and the use of the parallel structure. The transitional words and phrases serve as indicators of the different relationships that need to be connected to be able to establish coherence in the paragraph. The reference of pronoun is a device used to avoid needles repetition in the paragraph. The repetition of keywords is used in such a way that the keywords that are related to the central idea in order to establish coherence. The parallel structure is used to call attention to similar idea in the paragraph.
Emphasis is the principle of the paragraph composition in which the important ideas are made to stand. In here it is very important that the main points of the writer should be evident inside the paragraph.
Having an emphasis can be achieved by using some devices such as the use of emphasis by proportion, emphasis by pause and emphasis by position. In the emphasis by proportion, the subordinate ideas should be given less substance while ideas which have greater importance should be given more substance. In the emphasis by pause, the emphasis is established by making chapter divisions, paragraph breaks as well as mark of punctuation. In the emphasis by position, the beginning and end of the paragraph are considered as crucial points where emphasis should be placed, emphasis are usually positioned in these places.
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