What Is a Paragraph

Topics: Writing, Essay, Paragraph Pages: 6 (1567 words) Published: September 17, 2008
What is a paragraph?
A paragraph is a collection of related sentences dealing with a single topic. •Learning to write good paragraphs will help you as a writer stay on track during your drafting and revision stages. •Good paragraphing also greatly assists your readers in following a piece of writing. You can have fantastic ideas, but if those ideas aren't presented in an organized fashion, you will lose your readers (and fail to achieve your goals in writing).

Qualities of a Good Paragraph:
Unity
Coherence
Emphasis

Unity
Unity is the quality of sticking to one idea from start to finish, with every sentence contributing to the central purpose and main idea of that paragraph. •In a unified paragraph, all of the supporting sentences serve to illustrate, clarify, and/or explain the main idea set forth in the topic sentence.

Cora is very discriminating. She sees no reason to settle for second best, and she hardly ever does. “Why spend an evening with boring people just to be with people? Why not spend an interesting evening at home alone?” She’d often say. She prefers old friends to strangers or mere acquaintances, and she will do just about anything for her friends – short of making dinner for them, which she does rarely because she wants to do it well or not at all. As infrequent as her invitations are, they are highly prized because she is a gourmet cook. Few people I know are as discriminating as Cora is, and I admire her for her insight and her taste.

Later in the dusky streets I walked among the Navajo camps, past the doorways of the town, from which came the good smells of cooking, the festive sounds of music, laughter, and talk. The campfires rippled in the crisp wind that arose with evening and set a soft yellow glow on the ground, low on the adobe walls. A natural building material used for several thousand years, adobe is composed of sand and straw, which is shaped into bricks on wooden frames and dried in the sun. Mutton sizzled and smoked above the fires; fat dripped into the flames; there were great black pots of strong coffee and buckets full of fried bread; dogs crouched on the rim of the light, the many circles of light; and old men sat hunched in their blankets on the ground, in the cold shadows, smoking. . . . Long into the night the fires cast a glare over the town, and I could hear the singing, until it seemed that one by one the voices fell away, and one remained, and then there was none. On the very edge of sleep I heard coyotes in the hills.

Coherence
Derived from the Latin word “co” meaning ‘together,’ and haerere, meaning ‘to stick.’ •A paragraph has coherence when
there is smooth flow of ideas (appropriate use of transitions) and, –when the writer’s ideas are expressed in a clear and logical manner.

Ways to achieve Coherence:
1. by arranging the details in logical order;
2. by using transition devices or signals to link the thought sequence from one idea to the next; •3. by repetition of words and phrases to create a chain of associations throughout the paragraph; and, •4. by using parallelisms or repetition.

Emphasis
In paragraphs, to show emphasis is to order sentences in such a way as to show which is important & which is subordinate among the supporting details. •Usually emphasis is given to the last sentence which is considered as the most conspicuous position, or to the beginning sentence which is second most conspicuous.

Ways to attain Emphasis:
1.By the use of repetition & parallelism;
2.By proportion (important ideas are a given more space); and, 3.By position (end or beginning of the paragraph)

Advertisements for beer and wine should not be allowed on television because they encourage young people to start drinking. Commercials never realistically represent what happens when people drink. They also employ unfair tactics, such as using celebrities who endorse the product and encourage their...
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