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Paragraphing

building strong, coherent paragraphs
by

Derek Jenkins

on 22 January 2014

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Transcript of Paragraphing

The ancient Egyptians were masters of preserving dead people's bodies by
MAKING MUMMIES
of them.
In short
, MUMMIFICATION consisted of removing the internal organs, applying natural preservatives inside and out, and then wrapping the body in layers of bandages.
And
THE PROCESS was remarkably effective.
Indeed
, MUMMIES several thousand years old have been discovered nearly intact. THEIR skin, hair, teeth, fingernails and toenails, and facial features are
still
evident. Their diseases in life, such as smallpox, arthritis, and nutritional deficiencies, are
still
diagnosable.
Even
their fatal afflictions are
still
apparent: a middle-aged king died from a blow on the head; a child king died from polio.
Paragraph 3 – corrected
Source: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/transitions.htm
When I was growing up, one of the places I enjoyed most was the cherry tree in the back yard. Behind the yard was an alley and then more houses. Every summer when the cherries began to ripen, I used to spend hours high in the tree, picking and eating the sweet, sun-warmed cherries. My mother always worried about my falling out of the tree, but I never did. But I had some competition for the cherries — flocks of birds that enjoyed them as much as I did and would perch all over the tree, devouring the fruit whenever I wasn't there. I used to wonder why the grown-ups never ate any of the cherries; but actually when the birds and I had finished, there weren't many left.
Paragraph 4
Source: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/transitions.htm
The ball takes place in a secluded abbey, and the Prince has locked himself and his guests inside the grounds. This setting suggests that everyone in the story is hiding from reality. The locking of the masqueraders behind cold iron gates creates a harrowing sense of doom.
Paragraph 2
As an adult living at Thornfield, Jane learns the secret of a hidden room containing the insane Bertha Rochester. There are no windows, rendering it dark and loathsome. The figure of Bertha stands out in the gloom as an unrecognizable beast that "grovel[s] and growl[s] like some strange wild animal" (220). This image compares to that of the unrecognizable mirror image in the red room. Jane takes in the episode of the hidden room and waits until she returns to her own room to think about it. Even though Jane is in love with Rochester, she refuses to compromise her morals and become his mistress. However, just as she is leaving she stops at his door, but moves on. Thus she encounters the greatest challenge to her self-control, but overcomes it in the end.
Paragraph 1
Don’t generalize
Don’t stereotype
Don’t be vague
Don’t state what you can’t prove
Don’t simply restate the topic sentence in different words
Rules for Supporting Details
When you remember something, your brain uses more than one method to store the information. You have short-term memory, which brings back items that are further in the past; and you have deep retrieval, which gives you access to long buried information that is sometimes difficult to recall. Whether these processes are chemical or electrical, we do not yet know, and much research remains to be done before we can say with any certainty.
The brain is one of the most remarkable organs, a part of the body which we have only begun to investigate.
Many scientists have devoted their lives trying to answer the basic questions about brain function.
Find the Topic Sentence…
Here’s the Topic Sentence…

Love is a crazy complicated affair made trickier by the tangle of superstitions that go along with it.
According to the book Cross Your Fingers, Spit in your Hat, you must pull a hair from the head of the one you love to make him or her love you back. Or you can offer your loved one a glass of lemonade in which you have soaked your toenail clippings, or a bowl of soup to which you have added three drops of your blood. Once your sweetheart has devoured either of these concoctions, he or she will love you always.
Love is a crazy complicated affair made trickier by the tangle of superstitions that go along with it. According to the book Cross Your Fingers, Spit in your Hat, you must pull a hair from the head of the one you love to make him or her love you back. Or you can offer your loved one a glass of lemonade in which you have soaked your toenail clippings, or a bowl of soup to which you have added three drops of your blood. Once your sweetheart has devoured either of these concoctions, he or she will love you always.
Test yourself!
Find the Topic Sentence…
It is commonly, but not always, the first sentence
It states the main subject (topic) of the paragraph and the controlling idea
It is the most general sentence of the paragraph
All other sentences support, reinforce and explain it
Topic Sentence
It is the building block of good writing and contains the following:

Topic sentence
Supporting details
Transitions
The Paragraph
PARAGRAPHING
Write a “hot” paragraph that presents various cultural sources of personal identity.
In-class workshop


1. St. John’s and Corner Brook differ in four major ways.

2. Many so-called wonder foods are less than wonderful.

3. Athletic scholarships available to women are increasing.

4. Caffeine has several adverse effects on the human body.

5. Madame Benoit, a famous gourmet cook, had an amusing personality.
Find the topic and the controlling idea:
Test yourself! Find the Topic Sentence…
When you remember something, your brain uses more than one method to store the information. You have short-term memory, which brings back items that are further in the past; and you have deep retrieval, which gives you access to long buried information that is sometimes difficult to recall. Whether these processes are chemical or electrical, we do not yet know, and much research remains to be done before we can say with any certainty. The brain is one of the most remarkable organs, a part of the body which we have only begun to investigate. Many scientists have devoted their lives trying to answer the basic questions about brain function.
The ancient Egyptians were masters of preserving dead people's bodies by making mummies of them. Mummies several thousand years old have been discovered nearly intact. The skin, hair, teeth, fingernails and toenails, and facial features of the mummies were evident. It is possible to diagnose the disease they suffered in life, such as smallpox, arthritis, and nutritional deficiencies. The process was remarkably effective. Sometimes apparent were the fatal afflictions of the dead people: a middle-aged king died from a blow on the head, and polio killed a child king. Mummification consisted of removing the internal organs, applying natural preservatives inside and out, and then wrapping the body in layers of bandages.
Paragraph 3
Source: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/transitions.htm
TS: Iceland has a very barren landscape.
a.) One tenth of the island is covered in ice.
b.) Not one forest with magnificent trees is to be found.
c.) Nature is sparse in Iceland.
d.) Three quarters of the island is uninhabitable.
Support your Topic Sentence… without re-stating it:
A supporting detail is a piece of evidence used by the writer to make the controlling idea of the topic sentence convincing to the reader.

It is strongest when it is precise and specific.

Examples are supporting details that use a very specific illustration . Examples make general ideas concrete and easier to understand.
Supporting details
A common model for paragraph sequencing is one known as the point-proof model. As it suggests, you make a stated point and support it with proof, then provide another point and its proof, etc.

The statements that support your TS are your MAJOR POINTS.

Statements that explain, clarify or provide examples of those points are PROOF.
The POINT-PROOF model
topic and the controlling idea
ANSWERS

The topic sentence contains key words that tell us what the writing is about, but it also contains a controlling idea.

The controlling idea tells us the position the writer has taken on that topic.

The controlling idea often gives us the idea of the ‘path’ the writer will take in supporting her/his argument.
The controlling idea
Do you have a 4 chili pepper paragraph?
Source: OWL at Purdue
facts description examples
life experience definitions expertise
What can you fill a paragraph with?

Here are some possible types of proof (support).






 How do you decide what type of support to use?
EFFECTIVE PARAGRAPHS
Can you write a 4 chili pepper paragraph?
Source: OWL at Purdue
1. Identifiable topic sentence:
A topic sentence is a sentence that indicates in a general way what idea or thesis the paragraph is going to deal with.
2. Unity
The entire paragraph should concern itself with a single focus. If it begins with a one focus, it should not end with another or wander within different ideas
3. Coherence
Coherence is the trait that makes the paragraph easily understandable to a reader. You can help create coherence using transition words, pronouns referring to nouns in previous sentences, repeating key words etc.

4. Adequate development
The topic (which is introduced by the topic sentence) should be discussed fully and adequately.
Hot Paragraphs


1.
St. John’s and Corner Brook

differ
in four major ways.

2. Many so-called
wonder foods
are
less than wonderful
.

3.
Athletic scholarships available to women
are
increasing
.

4.
Caffeine
has several
adverse effects
on the human body.

5.
Madame Benoit
, a famous gourmet cook,
had an amusing personality
.
Source: OWL at Purdue
Full transcript