A paragraph is a unit of written discourse (may be spoken discourse also). It may be self-contained i.e. complete in itself or may be used as part of a longer discourse such as an essay or other assignments.
The main idea of a the well-written paragraph is usually expressed in one sentence. This is called the topic sentence. Then the idea is developed sentence by sentence. It is usually made up of a number of logically connected sentences written on one single topic. Each sentence of a paragraph should be closely related to the topic, and the paragraph should have a good structure with a beginning, middle and end.
An effective paragraph, according to Donald (1978) should have 3 major Characteristics which are:What are the characteristics of a paragraph?
1. It develops one idea only, called the controlling idea or thesis statement.
2. It should have sufficient details to support the controlling idea.
3. It should have a beginning, a middle, and an end, that is, it requires a topic sentence, a body to develop the topic sentence and a conclusion.
4. The beginning or topic sentence introduces the topic or the subject of the paragraph.
5. The middle or body develops and provides support to the topic or thesis statement.
6. The conclusion or end sums up and reaches a conclusion about the topic/subject.
A paragraph is a group of sentences about one topic. There are three parts of a paragraph. These are:
1. The Introduction
2. The Middle
3. The Conclusion
Their position is sequential.
How to cite paragraph
Introduction/Topic Sentence: The introduction of a paragraph contains an introductory sentence. It is called a topic sentence. Generally a paragraph begins with it. The topic sentence introduces your topic.
To write a good topic sentence
1. State the topic clearly so that the reader can understand what you are going to write about.
2. Your topic sentence should be attractive.
A good topic sentence introduces the topic to be developed in a paragraph. It controls or limits the focus of the paragraph, and once the focus is mentioned, there is no scope to go outside it. Anything outside its scope will be redundant or unnecessary.
On the other hand, if the paragraph does not sufficiently support the topic statement that proves another weakness of a paragraph.
Remember that although the topic sentence usually comes at the beginning of a paragraph, it may sometimes come at the end or even in the middle of the paragraph. Sometimes the main idea of a paragraph can be so obvious that it need not be stated explicitly.
How to write middle Paragraph
The middle of a paragraph contains supporting Ideas. Here you narrate, explain and thus support what you said in the introduction. It should contain the details of your description.
1. Narrate everything you want to write about your topic.
2. If needed, classify your ideas.
3. Put them clearly one after another and make a link between them.
How to end paragraph
It is the last part of your paragraph. Here you make a final say about your topic. To write a conclusion - avoid repetition and sum up your ideas.
Types of paragraph
There are many types of paragraphs. The major types are:
1. Descriptive Paragraph
2. Narrative Paragraph
3. Cause and Effect Paragraph
4. Comparison Paragraph
5. Contrast Paragraph
6. Expository Paragraph
7. Argumentative Paragraph
8. Persuasive Paragraph
9. Listing Paragraph
Paragraphs can be classified in various ways. In essays paragraphs are classified into introductory, development, transitional, summarizing etc, types. Depending on the purpose of the writer, on the other hand, paragraphs maybe classified into persuasive, argumentative, descriptive, narrative etc, types.
According to techniques of development, they can be classified into cause and the effect, contrast, comparison, definition etc. types In short, these are the major classifications of paragraphs.
1. Descriptive Paragraph: Description is that kind of writing that pictures a place, a person, or an object. In learning to write a description, you should sharpen your powers of observation i.e. train your five senses- sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. Try to picture for your reader the people, places or objects you are familiar with and have observed carefully.
This will help you describe them vividly by using details that would appeal to your reader. When you write a descriptive paragraph, tell who or what you are describing in your topic sentence. Here is an example for you. Read the paragraph below and look for details that appeal to the senses.
2. Narrative Paragraph: The purpose of narration is storytelling. Narrative paragraphs narrate or tell about some past incidents or events. The simplest kind of story is the kind of writing that tells us about a series of actions, usually in time order, in a single paragraph. A good narrative paragraph often tells us not only ‘what happened’ but also ‘how it happened’.
While writing a narrative paragraph you should keep in mind the following guidelines:
1. Present the subject in a topic sentence
2. includes information about the people and the setting
3. tells the action in chronological order
4. use transitional words, such as first, soon, next, then, later, etc.
5. write a concluding sentence to bring the incident to a definite end
3. Cause and Effect Paragraph: This type of paragraph begins with a statement of the effect first, and then goes on to give the causes that contribute to that effect.
4. Comparison Paragraph: This type of paragraphs shows similarities between the two persons, places, things, objects, actions or ideas. The topic sentence shows how we are comparing the features or qualities of two subjects. To use this technique, we can have two procedures:
i) We can compare two subjects’ features or qualities point by point, or
ii) We can state all the features or qualities of a subject first and then compare these with those of the other subject.
5. Contrast Paragraph: Contrast paragraphs show the differences between two things. For example the contrast between the stars and the planets.
6. Listing Paragraph: Listing paragraph provides a list of items in support of the topic sentence. The following paragraph provides a list of the major fruits of Bangladesh.