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Structuring paragraphs

Structuring paragraphs

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Tutor: Joel

Summary

Structuring paragraphs 

In a nutshell

A paragraph is a group of sentences that presents a point. An effective paragraph structure can organise, flow and provide an understanding of writing by connecting the small ideas to a more significant line of argument. This summary will teach you how to structure and use paragraphs effectively.



Structure

In most cases, a paragraph will consist of five or six sentences, depending on its purpose and length. In its simplest form, a paragraph will follow this structure:


Paragraph structure

Explanation

Topic sentence
  • State your idea and point clearly
  • Clarity is important as it flows into the rest of the paragraph
  • State what you want your paragraph to show
Support
  • Build upon your topic sentence 
  • Provide useful evidence 
  • Explain your argument and explain all evidence used 
  • The supporting sentences should justify your topic sentence 
Linking 
  • Finish by linking back to the topic sentence 
  • Allow this sentence to flow organically back to the topic but also flow into your next argument 


Another way to approach your paragraphs is by using "PEEL".

  • Point - Make your point and argument
  • Evidence - Provide evidence that supports your point
  • Explain - Explain what this evidence shows and how it supports your work
  • Link - Link your writing back to your point



Starting new paragraphs 

A paragraph should hold one argument that is explained and evidenced. Each argument gets its own paragraph. Here are some other reasons to start a new paragraph:

  • Implement a new paragraph to highlight a counter-argument to your original point. A sentence starter could be "Although some readers may suggest...". 
  • When writing, your work could become too long and you may start to lose your point in the paragraph. Make your writing easier to read by creating a break in the paragraph. Can you split your long paragraph into two smaller ones – each with its own topic sentence?
  • Your introduction and conclusion should be separate paragraphs.



Types of paragraphs 

Different paragraph types may be necessary based on the kind of writing you are doing.


Type of paragraph 

Effect

Persuasive
Instead of presenting mere information, persuasive paragraphs present arguments instead. The paragraph should aim to sway the reader's opinion by presenting evidence and explanations for this idea.
Descriptive
You describe someone or the environment in a descriptive paragraph. Each sentence adds to the description, with the aim of the paragraph being to conjure up an image.
Narrative
An event or action is described in a narrative paragraph. The aim of the paragraph is to expand on the event and move the narrative forward.
Expository
The goal of an expository paragraph is to explain and discuss a single point or idea. In these paragraphs, you provide evidence and an explanation for the topic of your paragraph.


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Exercises

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

How many topics should a paragraph have?

Why should you structure a paragraph?

What is a paragraph?

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