Presentation on theme: "Paragraph Development. Elements of a Paragraph A paragraph is more than just several sentences grouped together. In an essay or research paper, paragraphs."— Presentation transcript:
Elements of a Paragraph A paragraph is more than just several sentences grouped together. In an essay or research paper, paragraphs present points and elaborate on them. This presentation deals with body paragraphs as part of argumentative or informative writing for academic work. Other types of writing can have paragraphs that are structured much differently. The simplest way to begin constructing a paragraph is to think in terms of a topic sentence and support.
Topic Sentence A topic sentence establishes the subject of a paragraph. It can also contain transition words or phrases. Example: Another great 19th century leader was Abraham Lincoln. This example states an idea about Abraham Lincoln. The reader knows what the paragraph will discuss and the writer knows what claim he or she will need to support. Topic sentences are often, but not always, the first sentence of a paragraph.
Questions as Topic Sentences Example: How can we ensure that our education system does not fail special needs children? The question clearly establishes the topic of the paragraph, making it a topic sentence. Warning: This technique is useful to vary your sentence and paragraph structure, but don’t overuse it. Multiple paragraphs beginning with a question can annoy readers and don’t demonstrate that you can use a variety of structures.
Support to Prove a Claim It is not enough to state a claim in a topic sentence. You must demonstrate to the reader why that claim is true. Another great 19th century leader was Abraham Lincoln. During the Civil War, Lincoln never faltered in his commitment to restore a unified United States of America. In addition, through the Emancipation Proclamation, he set many Americans free and gave a nobler purpose to the bloody fighting. The supporting sentences provide reasons (commitment to a unified country, the Emancipation Proclamation) why readers should believe Lincoln was a great 19 th century leader.
Support Also Explains Support informs as well as argues. Even in an informative paper, a topic sentence must be supported by additional information. Supporting sentences provide the reader a reason to trust your authority and deepen the reader’s understanding of the fact presented in the topic sentence.
Complicated Points If you think you have a point that is so complicated that it would require a very long paragraph, you can break that point up into sub-points and assign a paragraph to each one. Create an introductory paragraph to your main point and organize sub-point paragraphs after that.
Organization Support sentences must be organized logically within the paragraph. Some common methods of organization: chronological, cause and effect, process (steps of a human-made or natural process), general to specific or vice versa There are many different ways to organize a paragraph. Make sure that you think through the order of your supporting sentences.
Short and Long Paragraphs Watch out for one or two sentence paragraphs. You are likely to have stated a claim, but provided little or no support. You may also have provided support for a claim in another paragraph. Read through areas with one or two sentence paragraphs. Do these short paragraphs really belong to other paragraphs? Long paragraphs (nearly a page or more) are problematic too. Determine whether you are making one point and supporting it or putting multiple points in one paragraph.