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Writing Paragraphs

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Emily-Rose Barry

on 25 November 2013

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Transcript of Writing Paragraphs

"A Writer's Reference" C4 a, b, e
Clear & Concise Writing
Focus: Paragraphs

Discussing too many ideas in one paragraph confuses
the reader and doesn't give you an opportunity to
fully explore any one thought
One paragraph =
One main point

"
Before she began training for the Olympic games
,
Tonya spent 15 years in the food service industry. She was the head chef at a well-known Cajun restaurant in New York City.
As a child, Tonya always knew she wanted to be a professional athlete.
In high school, she earned mostly average grades,

but she excelled at track and field.

Math was her most difficult subject, and she became discouraged with school when a teacher told her she wasn't cut out for college.
Training for the Olympics was a dream come true."
The problem: This paragraph discusses
three separate main ideas:

1) Tonya trained as an Olympic athlete

2) Tonya had a long career as a chef

3) Tonya didn't do well academically in
high school but excelled
as an athlete
The Solution: Follow the "One Paragraph = One Main Idea" rule and draft a separate
paragraph for each main idea
A paragraph should begin with a sentence that tells
readers what to expect as they read on and
states the main point.
Begin with a Topic Sentence
"Tonya went to school to become a chef after high school. She did this because she worked at a restaurant and felt she knew the industry pretty well. She worked as a chef in a Cajun restaurant for 15 years. She was successful in this career and could have kept doing it. Her recipes were featured in a cookbook once, and people from all over came to her restaurant. She was a
talented chef, but she didn't love it."
Problem: Without a topic sentence, the
reader doesn't know what the main point is.

Is it that she was a good chef?
Is it why she became a chef?
Is it that she didn't love it?
Is it that she did it for 15 years?

* What are we supposed to get
out of this paragraph? *
Solution: Begin the paragraph
with a topic sentence that
summarizes the main point.
"Tonya even surprised herself when she decided to train for the Olympics, because she had already sunk 15 years into a successful career as a chef.
After high school, she went to school to become a chef. She did this because she worked at a restaurant and felt she knew the industry pretty well. She worked as a chef in a Cajun restaurant for 15 years. She was successful in this career and could have kept doing it. Her recipes were featured in a cookbook once, and people from all over came to her restaurant. She was a talented chef, but she didn't love it."
Body Paragraph 1: Tonya's high school experience

Body Paragraph 2: Tonya's career as a chef

Body Paragraph 3: Tonya training for
the Olympics
Sentences that do not contribute to the point you make in your topic sentence should be deleted or moved to another paragraph
Focus on the Main Point
"Tonya even surprised herself when she decided to train for the Olympics, because she had already sunk 15 years into a successful career as a chef. After high school, she went to school to become a chef. She did this because she worked at a restaurant and felt she knew the industry pretty well. She worked as a chef in a Cajun restaurant for 15 years. She was successful in this career and could have kept doing it. Her recipes were featured in a cookbook once, and people from all over came to her restaurant. She was a talented chef, but she didn't love it."
Problem: This sentence does not
contribute to the main idea of
the paragraph:

"She did this because she worked at
a restaurant and felt she
knew the industry pretty
well."
Solution: Either pull that sentence
out of the essay entirely, or start a
new paragraph that will talk about
why Tonya became a chef.
"Tonya decided to become a chef for the same reason many people choose their careers: It was familiar. When she graduated high school, Tonya found work in serving tables at a local diner. It was an easy decision for her to try and advance in her restaurant job by going to school to become a chef. But Tonya, like so many young people, quickly found that the easy career decision is not always the most fulfilling."
A short paragraph usually means you don't have enough ideas to fully develop your point. But be careful. A long paragraph full of redundant (repeated) ideas means the same thing.
Develop your point fully
"As a child, Tonya always knew she wanted to be a professional athlete. She loved doing sports. She would always be playing
sports after school. Her dream was to grow up and become an athlete."
The Problem: The only idea in this
paragraph is that as a child, Tonya
loved sports and wanted to be an
athlete. Every sentence that follows
the topic sentence essentially
restates the main idea.
Solution: Fully develop your idea with
evidence. Tell a story about when she
was young and playing sports, give a
quote from a family member about
how she always loved it, or compare
her to someone else.
"As a child, Tonya always knew she wanted to be a professional athlete. Some children fluctuate between possible careers, wanting to be a teacher one day and a doctor another. But Tonya was never like that. She knew from the age of 5 that she wanted to be an athlete. Once, when she was just a kindergarten student, she was watching a tennis match on TV with her family. She turned to her dad and said, "I want to do sports when I get big." From that day on, she never missed an afternoon at the park, playing anything from touch football to soccer to field hockey. There was no doubt in anyone's mind: Tonya would be in the Olympics some day.
But what if I don't have enough
ideas to fill a whole paragraph
like that?
If you can't develop your idea
fully, it is not an idea that
should be in your essay.

No more FTSO writing!!
(For The Sake Of)
Sometimes, you need more than one paragraph to fully develop an idea. Write a paragraph that is longer than about 200 words and you may lose the reader. Re-read long paragraphs to "feel out" where a logical paragraph break might take place.
Know when to start a new
paragraph
Your reader shouldn't have to search your essay
to find the introduction or conclusion!
To mark the introduction and conclusion
If you are fully exploring a new idea and therefore
need a new topic sentence,
it's time for a new paragraph
Whenever you introduce
a new idea
If you have written an important sentence that you really want the reader to notice, make it the last line of a paragraph
or the first line of a new one.
To emphasize a point
If you are about to make a point that shows contrast
("On the other hand," "Conversely," "However," "Alternatively"),
start a new paragraph
To show contrast (difference)
Sometimes, it's a judgment call. If a paragraph just looks too
long to you, it probably is. Try to find the spot in the
paragraph that makes the most sense as a paragraph break.
To break up a lot
of text
To provide readers
with a needed pause
Readers need a chance to
breathe in order to
understand
Critical reader says: Holy Ideas, Batman! This paragraph discusses:
Tonya's food service career
Tonya's high school academics
Tonya's track & field career
Smart writer says, "How should I organize these paragraphs? In this case, it might make more sense to go in chronological order..."
Critical reader says: "This paragraph may be well organized, but what's the point? How does this fit into the greater point of the essay?"
Smart writer says: "I bring up Tonya's career as a chef because it's interesting that she gave it up even though she was good at it. Maybe that's what my topic sentence should say."
Critical reader says, "I can't put my finger on it, but this paragraph just feels... a little bit all over the place."
Smart writer says, "I think my reader needs to know more about why she went for the wrong career first. It will help us understand her better and learn from her experience!"
Critical reader says: "Wow. That was really short. I have so many questions. And I'm bored."
Smart writer says: I remember reading a story about Tanya's childhood that really made
me smile. Maybe I should include that."
In Summary:

When constructing paragraphs, remember...
* One paragraph = one main idea
* Begin with a topic sentence
* Focus on the main point
* Develop your point fully, or
don't develop it at all
"A dog is man's best friend." That common saying may contain some truth, but dogs are not the only animal friend whose companionship people enjoy. For many people, a cat is their best friend. Despite what dog lovers may believe, cats make excellent housepets as they are good companions, they are civilized members of the household, and they are easy to care for. In the first place, people enjoy the companionship of cats. Many cats are affectionate. They will snuggle up and ask to be petted, or scratched under the chin. Who can resist a purring cat? If they're not feeling affectionate, cats are generally quite playful.

Where Should the Break Go?
Where Should the Break Go?
Problems are likely to be faced during a camping trip. Run-ins with wildlife, for example, can range from mildly annoying to dangerous. Minor inconveniences include mosquitos and ants. The swarming of mosquitos can literally drive annoyed campers indoors. If an effective repellant is not used, the camper can spend an interminable night scratching, which will only worsen the itch. Although these insects cause minor discomfort, some wildlife encounters are potentially dangerous. There are many poisonous snakes in the United States, such as the water moccasin and the diamond-back rattlesnake. An encounter between an unwary camper and a surprised snake can prove to be fatal. Perhaps the least serious camping troubles are equipment failures; these troubles often plague families camping for the first time. They arrive at the campsite at night and haphazardly set up theirtent. They then settle down for a peaceful night's rest. Sometime during the night the family is awakened by a huge crash. The tent has fallen down. In the morning, everyone emerges from the tent, only to notice that their sleeping bags have been touching the sides of the tent. A tent is only waterproof if the sides are not touched. The sleeping bags and clothing are all drenched by the rain. Equipment failures may not seem very serious, but after campers encounter bad weather and annoying pests or wild animals, these failures can end any remaining hope for a peaceful vacation.

The moment you proclaim yourself to be on a diet, you have already gained the ten pounds that you are trying to lose. It doesn't seem to make sense, and yet, science has proven it to be true. A diet is a limitation on the amount of food you choose to eat. Studies have shown that people who go on diets can lose the weight but can’t maintain their weight loss—causing them to gain more weight. If you want to improve your health and appearance, a life style change will give you the results that a diet can’t.
Where Should the Break Go?
The most notable difference between these two kinds of foods is their flavor. Fresh foods have great flavor and taste because they keep all their natural conditions. Canned foods however, lack a lot of its flavor characteristics because there are some other chemical products added to the natural foods. It is logical that the fresh foods will have a greater taste and flavor when consumed just because of the time in which they have been prepared. Comparing both types of foods we notice another difference. There is a health factor that affects both of them. Canned foods lose some of the original fresh food nutrients when stored, and also it has to be tinned with many conservatives and chemical factors that prolong the shelf life and apparent freshness of the food but could also become toxic if consumed too often.

Where Should the Break Go?
In order to understand how Manet's work echoes or communicates with Titian's, one must first consider the similarities between their paintings. To begin with, both take a nude woman as the subject. More than that, however, Manet directly copies the composition of Titian's Venus; the overwhelming similarity in color and the figures' arrangement in each painting prove this. Both women are lying in the same position with their heads on the left-hand side of the canvas. Both women have their left leg crossed over the right. Both women have flowers and accessories. Other key elements unite these paintings, as well: the arrangement of the sheets on the bed; the green curtains; the servants; and the small animal at the foot of the bed. All these features clearly indicate that Manet echoes Titian. If one stopped at the similarity in the composition, it would appear that both paintings communicate the same thing; both would be a celebration of the beauty of the human figure, and Manet's voice would have added nothing new to the conversation; it would have no additional meaning besides venerating the masterful work of Titian.
Where Should the Break Go?
In "Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America," Jeff Wiltse examines how U.S. swimming pools were transformed from interracial single-sex spaces in which class and gender were more important than race to "leisure resorts, where practically everyone in the community except black Americans swam together." His study then follows what he calls the second social transformation—"when black Americans gained access through legal and social protest" and "white swimmers generally abandoned them for private pools." The various iterations of West's story, which discuss the span from 1950 to 1980, fall between these two moments in social and legal history. Particularly intriguing is how the national history of segregated bathing areas informs the local, particular event described by West. Does the exclusion of blacks from the high beach parallel the segregation of public pools? In the early twentieth century, public bathing spaces were notoriously violent. The Chicago Riot in 1919 was touched off when white bathers threw rocks at black teenagers who had drifted into a white beach on Lake Michigan. Northerners' use of pools during the Progressive era reinforced class and gender but not racial distinction. Working-class folk did not swim with the upper classes, but they were not as concerned about color. Following the Great Migration, the concerns about intimacy and sexuality that have always been latent in conversations about public space were directed at blacks. The social changes that took place during this period shape West's complex politics.
Where Should the Break Go?
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