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Transcript of Writing Paragraphs
Focus on a Main Point
A paragraph must be unified around one main point or idea.
Every sentence should relate to that point/idea.
Start with a
a one sentence summary that tells the reader what to expect as he or she reads on.
Topic sentences are
essential for business writing
because readers scan for information and summary statements.
Develop the Main Point
Choose a method of development (patterns).
Examples & Illustrations
Compare & Contrast
Cause & Effect
Coherent Paragraphs: Transitions
As a result of the tax cut, Lincoln High School's educational
facilities have reached an all-time low.
Sticking to the Point
Sentences that do not support the topic sentence destroy unity.
If a paragraph is not focused, delete irrelevant information.
Writers sometimes stray from a topic because they cannot think of enough evidence to support a topic sentence.
find more evidence
adjust topic sentence to reflect evidence provided
A series of brief paragraphs suggests inadequate information.
How much evidence is enough to develop the point varies?
When paragraphs move from one to another without any gaps, they are
Coherence is improved by strengthening the relationship between the old paragraph and the new.
from old information to new information.
Link ideas clearly:
directly or indirectly support topic sentence with every paragraph sentence
Repeat key words:
use variations of key word to avoid repetition
Use parallel structures:
bind a series of sentences expressing similiar information
do not change point of view or verb tense suddenly
: identify relationship between one paragraph and the next. (sentence-level, paragraph-level)
Most of the time, paragraphs should be between
100 and 200 words
start and stop too much.
strain reader's attention span.
scholarly writing about complex ideas contain long paragraphs.
business writing can contain short paragraphs because
readers skim for main ideas.
When should I begin a new paragraph?
When should I combine paragraphs?
When should I separate paragraphs?
Consider aseptic packaging, the synthetic packaging for juice boxes and drinks that many children bring to school. One criticism of aseptic packaging is that it is nearly impossible to recycle, yet on almost every other count, aseptic packaging is environmentally preferable to packaging alternatives. Not only do aseptic containers not require refrigeration to keep their contents from spoiling, but their manufacture requires less than one-tenth the energy of making glass bottles.
What is true for juice boxes is also true for other forms of synthetic packaging. The use of polystyrene, which is commonly (and mistakenly) referred to as "Styrofoam," can reduce food waste dramatically due to its insulating properties. Due to these properties, Styrofoam cups are preferred over paper cups for coffee in most places. Polystyrene also requires significantly fewer resources to produce than its paper counterparts.
Alan Hancock College Writing Center. (n.d.).
Hacker, D. & Sommers, N. (2011).
A Writer's Reference.
(2nd ed.). Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's.
Johnson County Community College. (n.d).
Methods of Developing Paragraphs.
Odegaard Writing & Research Center. (n.d).
Using Transitions Effectively.
Activity: Identify focused paragraphs
Activity: Paragraph development