A Paragraph In Writing – All You Need to Know About A Paragraph

A Paragraph In Writing

A paragraph in writing… A paragraph is a group of related statements that a writer develops about a  subject. It develops a unit of thought within an essay. A paragraph ranges from a single sentence to between eight and ten or more sentences. There is no particular rule guiding the number of sentences that can constitute a paragraph. Usually, it is the unit of thought embodied in the paragraph that determines its length.

A paragraph in writing

To adopt Sullivan’s (1986) measured caution in Paragraph practice, the paragraph should be neither so short that the subject of the paragraph is underdeveloped and insufficiently explained, nor so long that is tends to break down into too many sub-topics that would be better organized  into  separate paragraph

A writer should limit and focus his paragraph. Me should decide the center of interest in the paragraph and then make sure it is central and unmistakably clear. In the examples that follow, the first paragraph is focused and clear while the second paragraph fails to focus on a particular aspect or make a main point about its subject.

 Example   1:

My father’s face is rough. His complexion is leathery and wrinkled. There are large pores in the skin that cover his nose and checks. His nose, broken twice in his lifetime, makes him look like a boxer who has lost too many fights. His mouth, unless he smiles, looks hard and threatening. His chin is massive and angular. Shaved or not, my father’s face is rugged.

Example II:

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I want to talk about my father. He is strict with his children, especially me. He won’t let me out of the house unless I have done all my homework. He is a tall and rather skinny man. Some people say he is good looking. He has a nice streak of gray in his hair. He laughs a lot and enjoys life. My Father is interesting. (Kathleen E. Sullivan).

Other qualities of a good paragraph are unity, coherence, continuity and adequate development. Unity means that the paragraph should be one piece – a whole, complete unit, understandable whether it stands alone or is combined with other parts to form a larger whole. While coherence emphasizes the logicality and connectedness of the paragraph, Continuity emphasizes the smoothness of the connection of the pasts. Order and sequence are the indexes of coherence. For instance, people are described from head to toe while insects are described according to the main divisions of head, thorax and abdomen. A writer should also ensure that he sticks to the subject. He should not skip from subject to subject. He should not begin a paragraph on sheep and switch the subject to goats, unless of course, the goats must be used to clarify the discussion on sheep. Remember, the mountain should not be in labour and a mouse is born.

Also, a good paragraph should be adequately developed, the three parts of the paragraph – the introduction, the discussion, and the conclusion – should be adequately expanded within proper proportion While the introduction states the topic sentence or what you want to talk about in the paragraph, the discussion talks about the topic. The conclusion completes the discussion by referring to the topic sentence or briefly restating the main ideas of the paragraph.

In order to effectively develop a paragraph the writer is to be specific rather than general. He should strive to be definite, exact and precise. This is achieved by limiting or narrowing the paragraph down to a specific and not a general focus. The more narrowed down or limited the .paragraph is, the, more it must go into detail. Determining the subject of the paragraph by narrowing down an idea from general to specific follows from the topic sentence.

 Example of a good Paragraph

Your paragraph will be clear and enjoyable to read if you follow the directions summed up here. First, remember to indent the paragraph once. Second remember that the paragraph should be neither too short nor too long; make it approximately eight to twelve sentences in length. Third and most important, organize and develop your paragraph carefully. Remember that the paragraph should contain one central idea only, that it should have unity, coherence, continuity, and adequate development. If you follow these directions, your paragraph should be as good as or better than this one.


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