The Four Types of Paragraphs

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THE FOUR TYPES OF PARAGRAPHS (With Examples)

There are four types of paragraphs we write. They include: narrative, informative, descriptive, and persuasive. All paragraphs have certain elements, but the four types are also different from one another in how they are composed. Look at the outline about paragraphs in general.

All paragraphs:

1. It has a strong beginning, or introduction sentence, which states the main idea clearly.

2. It has several supporting sentences which make up the body, and support the main idea. All sentences in the supporting details should back up, or point to, that main idea. The details should be strong and vivid. The sentence structure and length should vary.

3. It has a strong concluding sentence, which “wraps up” the paragraph, and restates the main idea.

4. A well written paragraph has unity and transitions, and is well organized. Unity means it’s all about the same idea. Transitions are words that take the reader smoothly from one sentence to the next. Examples of this would be words like “first,” “then,” and “after that” or “finally.” The organization of the paragraph is how you have decided to put it together. Is it in chronological order, spatial order, or weakest to strongest point? The type of paragraph you are writing should dictate how it’s organized.

Organization types:

a. chronological: the details are ordered in the way they happened in time…. First to last. b. spatial: the details are organized in the way they appear in a space. The writer moves from left to right, top to bottom, etc. c. weakest to strongest point: The writer lists his or her points in order of their importance or strength in supporting the main idea. He makes his weakest point first, and ends with his strongest point. Some writers also choose to go in reverse order, strongest to weakest, and then restate the strongest.

While there are other ways to organize paragraphs, these are the most commonly used. When writing a paragraph, your purpose (or the type) should be clear in your mind. Then you will know how to organize it.

The four types:

A narrative paragraph tells a story, and usually has the purpose to entertain. If you want to talk about a funny, scary, or exciting experience you had, you could write it in a narrative paragraph. These are usually organized in chronological order. It should also contain vivid details that have figurative language, strong description, and sensory details. (appeals to sight, sound, taste, touch, or feeling). These will also probably be longer, since you are telling a story. Here is an example.

Have you ever had to be especially brave? I have. One night I got off work really late. It was about 2 AM. I wearily unlocked the door to the apartment where I lived and allowed the door to swing open. I glanced in as I turned on the light, and froze! The door to my bedroom, which was always open, was closed. I knew I had left it open. I never closed it, since I lived alone, but there it was, closed tight. I had to think. I didn’t have a phone, so I wasn’t sure what to do. Then I made a plan. I instantly backed out and shut the door again, locking it. Then I rushed down the hall and out the door. I ran across the street to a convenience store and used the pay phone to call my boyfriend. I told him that I thought someone was in my apartment. He said, “I’ll be right there.” I told him to stay there, because I didn’t want to stand there and wait for him by a pay phone. I was going to go back and check it out, and then call him back. I told him that if I didn’t call back in 10 minutes, to call the police. He tried to argue, but I’m stubborn, and refused to listen. I hung up and went back, gathering my courage to check out my place. I again opened the door and crept inside to the kitchen. I was going to grab a butcher knife. The blade glistened in the light as I...
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