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S ENTENCES TO P ARAGRAPHS Language Network Ch. 13 Pages 319-333
B UILDING E FFECTIVE S ENTENCES Before you can write an effective paragraph, you have to be able to write effective sentences. Effective sentences don’t confuse the reader with incomplete information. Effective sentences don’t have to be long, they can be short as well.
B UILDING E FFECTIVE S ENTENCES Use specific verbs and nouns – avoid generalities. Add adjectives and replace generic words with more specific ones. Add prepositional phrases. Cut out the fluff – if the information is not necessary to understand your thoughts, it is not necessary at all.
W RITING E FFECTIVE P ARAGRAPHS A paragraph is a group of sentences that work together to develop a single main idea. A well-developed paragraph has the following characteristics: Unity – each sentence supports the main idea. Coherence – all sentences relate to one another. There are four types of paragraphs: descriptive, narrative, informative (expository), and persuasive.
D ESCRIPTIVE P ARAGRAPHS Begin with a sentence to introduce the setting. Include many modifiers to “paint a picture.” Effective word choice and detail allows you to show, not tell.
N ARRATIVE P ARAGRAPHS Start with the beginning of your story. Included transitions to progress from one point to another. Conclude your narrative in a way that ties up all loose ends.
I NFORMATIVE P ARAGRAPHS Informative (or expository) paragraphs present facts or examples, explain ideas, or define terms. Start your paragraph by getting the reader’s attention. Define any language or topics that may be unfamiliar to the reader. Provide examples and details to support the topic sentence.
P ERSUASIVE P ARAGRAPHS Persuasive paragraphs give logical reasons to support an opinion. Begin by capturing the reader’s attention. Clearly state your opinion in a respectful tone. Provide facts, details, and reasons to support your opinion. Conclude with a final, powerful reason, or a call to action.
P ARAGRAPH U NITY All sentences should support the topic sentence. This is called paragraph unity. Sometimes the topic sentence clearly states the main idea of the paragraph. Other times, the topic sentence is implied, meaning it is not directly stated, but is understood. Be sure all sentences in a given paragraph relate to the topic of that paragraph.
C OHERENCE Paragraphs are coherent when all the sentences relate to one another and flow logically from one to the next. Types of organization: Sequential order – events appear in the order they occurred. Spatial order – details are arranged according to their position in space (i.e. front, back). Cause and effect – start by stating why something happened, and then state the result of that event.
C OHERENCE Types of organization, continued: Comparison and Contrast – discuss the similarities and differences between two or more subjects. Order of degree – organize from least to most, or from most to least (such as least important to most important). This is very common in journalism, where stories are written in a “reverse pyramid” form, starting with the most important information, and progressing to the least important information.
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