How To Write a Perfect Paragraph

A Simple Guide On How To Write a Perfect Paragraph

Sometimes the best things in life are simple, and this simple guide on writing a perfect paragraph is no exception. If you dissect a paragraph, you discover three important sections:

Writing is not always as simple as it may appear, especially when it comes to paragraphs. Thought processes required to formulate well-defined and concise paragraphs often torture many people. Through mastery of basic rules, hesitant writers are transformed into competent and confident writers. The workhorse of communication (also known as the humble paragraph), if constructed correctly and effectively, can convert their thoughts and ideas into easily read written material.

  1. Topic sentence (also known as key sentence);
  2. Supporting sentences;
  3. Closing sentence.

Your ultimate goal is to understand the purpose of each while fashioning them into a careful, coherent argument that lends meaning to your text.

Side note on a topic versus a key sentence: As you begin to write effective paragraphs, please note the small distinction between topic and key sentences. Although they both deal with the paragraph’s central idea, some instructors favor the term ‘key sentences’ because it doesn’t limit one’s writing to one sentence, especially with academic writing. For example, a question or the use of two sentences function as key sentences, conveying a central idea. Conversely, a topic sentence is only one sentence, usually located at the beginning of a paragraph. As a general rule of thumb, the key to staying on topic within a paragraph is to begin with a topic sentence.

The Art Of Writing a Good Paragraph

The art of writing a good paragraph is simple, once you learn the rules of structure (discussed below). It should always have complete and concise sentences. As well, it should be easy to read and well organized. The paragraph itself should focus on one central idea. Above all, find your writing voice: sincerity, appropriate humor, factual, and credibility are essential and make your work genuine.

The Perfect Paragraph Structure

Perfect paragraph structure follows the basic rules of our Simple Guide. Mastering these three sections will enhance your writing:

Topic (or Key) Sentence:

This is usually the first sentence of the paragraph and introduces your main idea, though there are exceptions. Sometimes the topic sentence follows a linking sentence (this type of sentence provides continuity from the previous to the current paragraph) or follows a first sentence that provides background information. In any event, the topic sentence supports and clearly summarizes the main idea, unifies paragraph content, and directs sentence order.

Does the topic sentence always begin the paragraph? Not necessarily. In some circumstances, one may choose to link the previous paragraph with the current paragraph using a sentence (not the topic sentence). Moreover, background information may be required to begin the paragraph. In each case, the topic or key sentence will follow these two examples.

Supporting Sentences:

As a rule of thumb, writers generally use three supporting sentences. They add the meat to your paragraph-provide details to develop and support the paragraph’s main idea. Relevant quotes and examples are permissible to establish your point(s) and offer your opinion(s). These three sentences are:

  • The first main point: proves or backs up the topic sentence.
  • The second main point: usually provides a reason for the first point that was made.
  • The third main point: can help prove the topic sentence or back up the first or second main point.

Closing Sentence:

The closing sentence is your last sentence. It is the ‘wind up’ to the main idea; it essentially restates the main idea with different wording. However, the idea of a closing sentence is not always widely held, especially with academic writing. As long as the paragraph succeeds in adhering to the topic or key sentence, then one shouldn’t worry about carrying out the conclusiveness.

What Makes a Good Paragraph

Under ‘The Art of Writing a Good Paragraph’, several factors combine to make a good paragraph. Now, let’s examine a few others:

“Paragraphs as Punctuation” is borrowed from writer Mike Harvey, who claims that ‘in essence, paragraphs are a form of punctuation’. It’s easier to think of paragraphs as punctuation that organize your thoughts in a ‘readable way’. By using cohesion and coherence, you can achieve a high degree of ‘punctuation’ with your paragraph.

Cohesion and coherence: Following the topic or key sentence, you need to tie your supporting sentences together; i.e., tying together the body of your paragraph. This is accomplished through cohesion, the “sense of flow” (how each sentence fits with the next), and coherence, the “sense of the whole”. Using these methods will lend the writer’s touch to your paragraph and make it readable.

Examples Of Different Types Of Paragraphs

Three of the most common types of paragraphs: expository, descriptive, and narrative. Below are examples of each. Notice the structure of each paragraph:

Expository: Provides information

English is the language spoken throughout most of Canada. In Quebec, the most populated province, and in areas near Quebec, French is the first language. Because of this, Canadians recognize French and English as official languages used with business and government. Many people are bilingual and easily go from French to English when speaking with tourists. In Canada, the farther west you go, the more English you’ll hear. It is common, though, to meet people throughout this country who are familiar with both languages.

Descriptive: Provides vivid description of one subject

The Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie) makes the perfect pet because Yorkies offer their owners companionship for life, not to mention their loveable personality. Yorkies are sweet, smart, playful, don’t shed, and independent, yet love to be around people. They are always willing to give their unconditional love and loyalty when you need them; they are yours for life! Apart from being a happy spirited dog and a loving companion, a Yorkie is small and doesn’t require much room, so they are ideal for apartments or city settings. Yorkies are suited to most environments and lifestyles; whether it be living in the suburbs or downtown, with one person or a family, they fit right in. This special little dog warms your heart with its character. It becomes a member of your family no matter where you live and it can provide you with love and companionship that you can’t live without. In fact, a better dog is hard to find.

Narrative: A story

Those of us who found out early that our teacher would be Ms. Moore shuddered to think of having to spend an entire year in her classroom, trapped and subjected to months of unending terror. We’d heard stories about her science experiments, or were they? We knew. Then, one month before school was to begin, a list mysteriously surfaced showing names of all eighth grade students at Freemont Middle School, their teachers, and their classrooms. Normally such information wasn’t known until the first week of classes, but Sean Gerard’s mother was secretary at the school, and somehow the list appeared. It didn’t matter how it was found, or who exactly leaked the information. It was that cold list of names that caused a dozen thirteen-year olds to panic. But as it turns out, we were all wrong about Ms. Moore.

Why You Should Follow These Writing Rules

The difference in good and bad writing is simple. Your writing will either capture your reader’s attention and keep them reading to the end of your article (like you have now), or it will scare them off with a lack of structue and flow.

If you don’t want to worry about learning all of these rules and honing your writing skills, it’s a good idea to hire experienced writers to do it for you.

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