Writing Paragraphs: Constructing Blocks of Prose


Whereas phrases might be thought-about the person models that make up sentences, sentences themselves are the parts that comprise paragraphs. Because the constructing blocks of prose, whether or not it’s of the nonfiction, memoir, autobiography, flash fiction, brief fiction, or novel style, they’ve kind, construction, and function. This text will study all three.


Visually, a paragraph seems as a block of sentences, normally with the primary line indented. That indentation alerts the start of every subsequent one throughout the textual content.

“As a reader, you establish the paragraph at a look, simply by its look,” in keeping with Carol Pemberton in her guide, “Writing Paragraphs” (Allyn and Bacon, 1997, p. 1). “Paragraphs fluctuate significantly in size as a result of they fluctuate in content material and function.”

Organizationally, they allow the author to give attention to a single predominant thought, which might be each clarified and supported by a number of related factors. Linked by a second or associated thought, the succeeding paragraph does the identical, and collectively they illustrate an extended, extra encompassing thought or theme, as can be expressed in an essay, a time period paper, or a nonfiction guide’s chapter.

Paragraphs can include each common and particular statements, comparable to the next.

Normal: Films might be suspenseful.

Particular: Films, comparable to Die Exhausting and Die Exhausting 2, with their fast-paced motion, might be suspenseful.

The second instance is restricted as a result of it names two films and explains why they’re suspenseful.

Normal statements, that are susceptible to reader interpretation, can summarize the primary thought in every paragraph, however particular ones allow him to give attention to a selected function of the primary thought.

Correctly structured paragraphs include two integral parts.

1). A common matter sentence, which normally seems first, that states the paragraph’s predominant thought.

2). A number of particular sentences that help and illustrate the primary thought.

Think about the next paragraph, whose matter sentence seems in boldface sort and whose supporting sentences seem with commonplace imprints.

“There are methods to save lots of on airfare. Not all seats on all flights carry the identical price ticket. In the event you guide early sufficient, for instance, you possibly can normally discover a decrease fare, as a result of the seats put aside for it are nonetheless obtainable. Since most individuals journey on weekends, flying mid-week, comparable to on a Tuesday, or a Wednesday, will secondly provide the bottom fares. Lastly, when you fly throughout much less fashionable seasons, just like the winter, you possibly can reap the benefits of the decrease fares airways provide to fill historically emptier airplanes.”

Other than a paragraph’s primary construction, it also needs to incorporate different parts. Considered one of them is unity.

“When utilized to paragraph writing, unity means the paragraph is about one major thought,” emphasizes Pemberton (ibid, p. 7). “All of the statements within the paragraph should do with that one thought. The author doesn’t wander off from the concept, however fairly stays with it and leads readers to a transparent understanding.”

As illustrated by the earlier instance, the subject sentence, like an introduction to what was to observe, acknowledged that there have been methods to save lots of on airfares and the supporting ones, sustaining unity in regards to the topic, gave three strategies of doing so.

One other essential paragraph factor is help or development-that is, does the author help, develop, and nearly show his matter? If, within the earlier instance, dialogue following the primary theme entailed the most effective Florida lodges, there would have been no relevance to it.

One more factor is size. Paragraph size itself relies upon upon the subject sentence and varies in accordance with the diploma of improvement ensuing from it or the quantity of help required as an example it.

Lastly, the concluding assertion both gives a proving, lasting thought or a restatement of the subject one.


Whereas faculty college students could have little alternative as to the matters they need to write about due to curriculum complying assignments, others, significantly freelance authors, are nearly limitless in what they’ll discover in paragraphs and the longer items of which these paragraphs are made.

Nonetheless, they need to contemplate a number of features earlier than they try to remodel concepts into phrases.

Curiosity, data, expertise, and skills, before everything, ought to function the weathervanes that time to potential topics. If an individual has an curiosity in one thing, it’s seemingly that it has led to his data of it, probably via research, and even his private expertise with it, qualifying him to discover and clarify it in written kind.

If, however, it isn’t potential to pick a subject, the author can at all times take the designated one and strategy it from a brand new, recent, or totally different angle.

Function is one other side. Though a college project can actually represent a “function,” different, not essentially obligatory ones might be to jot down, to tell, to supply recommendation or course to others, to elucidate, to steer, and to entertain.

Readership, the third, ought to at all times be thought-about when an writer writes one thing, particularly if his intention is to publish it. A faculty project, evidently, might be learn by a trainer or a professor, probably for a grade. A travelogue wherein the essential sights in San Antonio, Texas, are mentioned will facilitate vacationer journey planning. And an article about rose backyard care will attraction to these with such dwelling flora.

Writing concepts themselves may result from inner inspiration, exterior stimulation, or brainstorming numerous prospects, after which filtering, sorting, and grouping the factors to be mentioned.


“The subject sentence states the primary thought of a paragraph,” in keeping with Pemberton (ibid, p. 35). “For that purpose, it’s a very powerful sentence within the paragraph. Writers construct paragraphs to help matter sentences, and readers depend on their sentences to see which predominant concepts are being developed.”

The subject sentence itself serves two functions. Firstly, it establishes and foreshadows the paragraph’s function. Secondly, it serves to slender its scope by providing a controlling thought, creating the parameters to which the writer ought to adhere in order that info is related and doesn’t stray from its function.

A subject sentence ought to result in dialogue and elaboration and presents an thought that’s slender sufficient to be adequately lined in a single paragraph, however shouldn’t be full in and of itself with out that continuing paragraph.

Think about the next sentences.

“The precept worth of writing for a pupil is that it improves his grades.” The final 4 phrases, “it improves his grades,” limits it to the factors that may be mentioned in that paragraph and units up reader expectation that he’ll study the way it does so.

“Consider the subject sentence as a author’s promise to the reader,” Pemberton advises (ibid, p. 36). “The author guarantees to debate a specified predominant thought.”


Whereas matter statements are common and typically brief in nature, sentences that observe to help them ought to be particular and might be longer, since they normally current information. They’re supposed to offer readers with clear, exact understanding.

Normal references typically go away readers open to interpretation primarily based upon their very own experiences and understanding. “A well-paying place,” as an example, could imply $25,000 to an unemployed individual, however a seven-digit determine to a rich one. With out particular figures, neither will ever know what it means to the writer.

With a purpose to help a subject sentence, the author should use particular particulars, information, examples, and even printed quotes, comparable to “13.5 p.c of People dwell under the poverty line,” in keeping with the “Probing Poverty” article within the September 15, 2019 challenge of Information and Views journal.

“Particulars present help,” in keeping with Pemberton (ibid, p. 62). “(They) are particular items of knowledge that present what the author means by the subject sentence. Examples illustrate a predominant thought. A number of examples could be utilized in a paragraph, relying on the final thought being supported. Details are statements about which unbiased observers agree… Quotations are the precise phrases of a author or speaker.”


One other essential paragraph writing factor is coherence. Coherence itself entails a number of features. Relationships between concepts, as an example, ought to be clear and connectable-that is, one ought to logically and easily circulate from the earlier one. Supporting concepts moreover clarify earlier statements. Major concepts might be expressed via repetition. Lastly, textual content circulate is ensured and enhanced by way of transition phrases, comparable to “however,” “nonetheless,” “however,” “due to this fact,” “for,” and “but,” amongst others.

“Studying incoherent writing is like driving with a driver who’s misplaced, who wanders up and down bumpy streets, looking for a vacation spot, however losing time and jarring passengers round,” feedback Pemberton (ibid, p. 68).

Think about the coherency of the next paragraph.

“I’ve simply returned from a busy day. My alarm, as traditional, went off at 6:30 and I showered and dressed. It seemed prefer it was going to drizzle so I introduced my umbrella. There was hardly a drop within the sky, however everybody drove as if it was pouring cats and canines and I used to be nearly 15 minutes late to work. I discovered the report from my secretary on my desk. I believe she’s having relationship issues, as a result of she hasn’t been as much as snuff currently. Possibly she did not sleep effectively final night time. I had an evening like that final week. Even the Tylenol did not assist. Due to the visitors, I missed Harold’s opening feedback within the assembly. He twice instructed me we might go fishing some Saturday, however by no means appears to recollect after I put him as much as it. I wolfed down my lunch and nearly had a combat with a consumer within the afternoon. I might hardly include myself. The visitors was actually crawling due to a downpour after I drove dwelling. As I walked into the kitchen, I spotted I hadn’t gone meals purchasing currently, so the cabinets had been naked. I plopped down on the sofa as an alternative, nonetheless in my go well with and tie, and fell asleep.”

Coherence might be enhanced with the right use of transitional phrases, phrases, and clauses.

“Phrases, phrases, and clauses used as transitions are like bridges that carry readers safely from one level to a different,” Pemberton advises (ibid, p. 72).


Expository writing entails explaining, describing, illustrating (via phrases), and revealing, and seems in nearly all genres, together with fiction. Whereas narrative writing can show actions, feelings, emotions, and moods via the dialog and interplay between two or extra characters, its expository counterpart merely informs, as in “Regina and Daybreak had a disagreement final night time” or “The backyard was a tangle of weeds.” It’s actually instrumental in writing paragraphs.

There are a number of expository writing strategies that can be utilized in and may even improve paragraph creation. The primary of those concerned comparability and distinction.

“Writing with the comparability/distinction sample, you study similarities (comparisons) and variations (contrasts) between two folks, objects, or concepts,” in keeping with Pemberton (bid, p. 135). “The subject might be as summary as socialism versus capitalism, or it may be as concrete as model X versus model Y toothpaste. Clearly for a single paragraph, the subject have to be slender sufficient to permit dialogue of particular similarities and variations.”

Think about the next two examples.

Comparisons: “The small restaurant that opened on the town final month could be very very like a diner; the service is pleasant, the meals is straightforward and healthful, and the costs are modest.”

Distinction: “Frayer’s wheat bread is just like Hoffmayer’s: all-natural and baked with stone-ground wheat. However, it tends to be coarser and drier.”

One other expository writing approach is designated “course of writing.” Ideally suited to how-to guides and tutorial manuals, it presents chronological, step-by-step procedures, as within the following.

“With a purpose to reupholster a chair, you first have to relocate it to a piece space, comparable to a basement or a storage. You subsequent have to take away the staples or tacks that hold the material affixed to the body. Examine the froth or stuffing underneath it after you’ve gotten. If the chair is 5 or extra years outdated, it could have begun to decay and you’ll most probably wish to change it. Measure the world it lined and reduce the brand new stuffing in keeping with the required dimension, tightly packing it into the chair’s crevices. The brand new cloth masking should even be reduce to measured dimension. After you’ve gotten, pull it across the chair’s body tautly earlier than re-stapling or re-tacking it in place. Chances are you’ll want a serving to hand to tug one aspect of it when you fasten the opposite. Lastly, return the chair to its unique location.”

One other expository writing approach is that of classification. It permits the writer to categorize objects, issues, ideas, and even folks, after which offers enough particulars in order that the reader can perceive the variations between them. Nonetheless, a single widespread denominator unifies the paragraph. Think about the next instance.

“All printed books are written, however there are variations between them. These from the USA and the UK, for instance, seem in English. Nevertheless, phrases comparable to ‘harbor’ are spelled in another way, with the letter ‘u,’ as in ‘harbour.’ When they’re positioned vertically on a shelf, their titles are learn from the highest to the underside. Books in Germany are clearly in that language, however the titles on their spines are learn from the underside to the highest. These from Israel are neither in English or German, however seem in Hebrew, and are learn from the again cowl, which is definitely the entrance one. Pages are learn from the correct to the left.”

On this instance, “printed books” constitutes the widespread denominator, however their spelling, language, backbone printing, and studying course function their distinctions.

One more expository writing approach is that of definition.

“Usually, definitions are very brief-just sufficient to elucidate a time period or idea that’s both unfamiliar or being utilized in an uncommon sense… ,” in keeping with Pemberton (ibid, p. 157). “Generally, nonetheless, a complete paragraph… might be dedicated to an prolonged definition of a time period. Due to the better size, readers naturally count on that one which means (or maybe a number of meanings) might be elaborated on.”

Think about this instance of a paragraph that gives a definition.

“The commonest definition of the world ‘alone’ is to be someplace with out the corporate or presence of no less than one different. However there may be extra to this idea than simply present by yourself. In case you are uncomfortable with, distrustful of, and due to this fact unable to attach with others, you might be equally alone, since you can not full that person-to-person or soul-to-soul hyperlink. The definition extends past the sheer presence of one other. As a substitute, it entails your means to enter into an in depth bond with that individual. In case you are at a gathering with ten buddies, as an example, but can not relate to them in any significant approach, it’s also possible to contemplate your self to be alone. Lastly, when you attempt to strategy somebody and she or he both exhibits little interest in you and even rejects you, it’s also possible to contemplate your self to be ‘alone.'”

Article Sources:

Pemberton, Carol. “Writing Paragraphs.” Needham Heights, Massachusetts: Allyn and Bacon, 1997.

by Robert Waldvogel