Writing well is a difficult task most of the time. The eternal struggle is to put on paper what you have in mind. Many people think so and feel that way because they do not know how to structure their thoughts and ideas correctly. Here we are to help you organise your ideas and teach you how to start a successful writing process. Just giving baby steps you can start to write better. In this post, you will learn how to write a good and effective paragraph.
The first thing you must know is that paragraphs have a structure composed of three main elements: topic sentence, supporting sentences, and concluding sentence. These three elements must be present to write a cohesive and coherent paragraph. Imagine a paragraph as a sandwich, like this one:
As you can see in the picture above, the place and size of the elements of the sandwich are the same as in the paragraph. In other words, the top bun (topic sentence) and bottom bun (concluding sentence) are there to open and close the sandwich (the paragraph) respectively. They are the thinnest part of the sandwich, while the supporting sentences are what give flavour to your sandwich. Each element of this sandwich has a particular function. First, the topic sentence states the main idea and gives context to your readers. They should understand immediately what the paragraph is going to talk about just reading the topic sentence. Second, the supporting sentences answer the questions who? what? where? when? why? etc. In other words, they develop the main idea stated in the topic sentence. Finally, the concluding sentence wraps up the paragraph giving a summary, restating the main idea, giving a final thought, prediction, opinion, etc. Here is an example of a very well written paragraph that follows this structure.
I have a dream to visit Alaska. The weather is beautiful there. I love cold weather. When the temperature is low, I have energy! I also want to visit Alaska because I love nature. Alaska looks so pure and natural. I dream about its scenic landscape. In addition, there are wild animals. Finally, I want to learn important information about the native people of Alaska. Their culture sounds very interesting to me. I hope to visit this wonderful state soon.
*This paragraph was taken from Folse, K. (2010). Great writing 2: Great Paragraphs.
Can you identify the elements of this paragraph? Let’s check them together.
“I have a dream to visit Alaska.” This sentence tells the reader what the paragraph is going to be about. As a reader, we expect to read about the reasons why this person wants to visit Alaska, which is the main idea of the paragraph.
“The weather is beautiful there. I love cold weather. When the temperature is low, I have energy! I also want to visit Alaska because I love nature. Alaska looks so pure and natural. I dream about its scenic landscape. In addition, there are wild animals. Finally, I want to learn important information about the native people of Alaska. Their culture sounds very interesting to me.” All these sentences explain why the author of this paragraph wants to visit Alaska. So, these sentences meet the expectations of the readers.
“I hope to visit this wonderful state soon.” This sentence wraps up the paragraph and gives a final thought. It is important to notice that a concluding sentence never adds new information. This sentence does not give another reason to visit Alaska, but it restates what the author said in the topic sentence.
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