One of the most essential and basic things which any student is taught is how to write a paragraph. Writing paragraphs, as easy as it may seem, is not everybody's piece of cake and unless it is written and structured correctly, it is not liable to fetch acceptable grades. Paragraph writing exercises are given often at a very early age to students to enable them to have a brief idea about it. There are many types of paragraph writing:
- descriptive paragraph
- narrative paragraph
- expository paragraph
Even in an essay or a research paper, there are many kinds of paragraphs. A good paragraph should have the following essential parts:
- Introductory paragraph
- body paragraph or supporting paragraphs
- concluding paragraph or closing paragraph or summarizing paragraphs
Some explanation is required about the above mentioned kinds of paragraphs. Descriptive paragraphs usually describe an event or a thing or even a person. Since description tends to get boring for the reader, it is up to the writer to form his paragraph and sentences in order to capture the attention of the reader throughout the piece of writing. Interesting descriptions, drawing examples, use of metaphors are useful to increase the quality of a descriptive paragraph.
Descriptive paragraphs can be structured beforehand by a descriptive paragraph graphic organizer which helps in putting together all the points in a diagrammatic form, making it easier for the writer to organize them in his paragraph. Narrative paragraphs are used to narrate and let the reader know about a chain of events in a chronological manner. Paragraphs of this type contain characters, setting, conflict and resolution. Narrative paragraphs should be substantiated with dates and venues but should not be a mere listing of such details. Instead, it should contain valuable information as well as be interesting so as not to seem like a page out of the history book! The best way to ensure this is to include interesting facts and form the basic sentences wisely to be appealing to the reader. Example of a narrative paragraph, unfortunately, could not be provided because of the word constraint but they are widely found on the internet. A narrative paragraph sample can be downloaded for future reference or knowledge for the student. An expository paragraph is meant to explain. They could be an important part of a description or commentary. An expository paragraph could contain evidence of integrity by citing credible authorities. This type of a paragraph could also be a justifier which explains the importance of a particular thing or event.
Writing an introductory paragraph is the most important thing in writing an essay or doing a research paper or even a thesis. Its precise construction varies from paper to paper but a good introductory paragraph generally follows a set of guidelines and pattern. In the opening paragraph of an essay, the topic is introduced with an indication of its inherent importance, followed by an indication of the structure of the main essay and its contents, finally stating the thesis or subject of the essay, preferably in a single sentence with a main clause. The intro paragraph should explain the importance and purpose of the essay, the methodology adopted and the structural principles followed. Though not every introductory paragraph contains these elements, it is advisable to keep them in mind while writing introductory paragraphs. Since introductory paragraphs are of such importance, teaching introductory paragraphs is included in many courses in schools which stay with the student throughout his life. There are many good ways to start a paragraph such as a quote, an anecdote, a real-life incident, an example or simple the topic of the essay which is to be discussed in an interesting way. After the introductory paragraph, comes the body paragraph, which is also called supporting paragraphs because they contain the main body of the essay, supporting the introductory claims made. A body paragraph definition can be the main/better part of an essay which portrays the essence of the subject. In a small essay, there may be only one body paragraph required, but in a long essay or in a thesis, there are numerous body paragraphs, each dealing with a specific sub-topic. However, care must be taken to form a link between two body paragraphs so that the reader does not lose his way while perusing the essay. This an important factor while writing any perfect paragraph, especially writing body paragraphs. The body paragraph structure has to be clearly understood and it is one of the major elements while teaching paragraph writing. While writing a body paragraph, all the relevant details should be included like elaboration of the subject, details, examples and other relevant data. The body paragraph outline must include:
- While writing body paragraphs, the general information is a must
- Focus on the direction of the essay or paper, which is, telling the reader more about the subject. If it is an argumentative paper, the writer's point of view should be expressed in contrast to the contradictory views, substantiating them with data and examples
- More specific details such as statistical data and so on
The closing paragraph or the conclusion or the summarizing paragraph is the last paragraph of a piece of writing which briefly sums up the main points of the essay. It presents all what the author had deduced. If it is an argumentative paper, the writer emphasises his opinion which has to be strong enough so as to refute any contrasting views. If the paper is on a person, thing, event or an issue, the writer should always present his opinion at the last without sounding biased or making any controversial claims. There may be more than one concluding paragraphs depending on the paper and they all serve the same purpose of summing up the points and presenting them in a neat precise package to the reader with a tone of wrapping up. Writing a concluding paragraph also requires skill as, like the introduction, the conclusion also has a great potential for impressing the reader. If the conclusion is not interesting, the entire essay loses its attractiveness. A good closing paragraph should end with a question or a thought which lingers on n the mind of the reader and induces further research or which leaves a message with a deep impact.
Another type of paragraph is a topic paragraph which is mainly in the introductory paragraph where the topic is introduced to the reader. Usually, it is a short paragraph where the topic is discussed in brief, one or two sentences. It should be wisely written to arouse interest in the reader. A topic paragraph should not be confused with what the topic of a paragraph is. The latter is the opening sentence of a paragraph, conveying the main idea of the paragraph or the essay if it is an introductory paragraph.
PARAGRAPH WRITING TOPICS
Definition of paragraph topics- paragraph topics are the subject on which paragraphs are written. In an assignment to students, they are given on a topic to write within a word limit. Here are some examples of the topics which can be used for the different types of paragraphs:
Descriptive paragraph topics
- a rainy day
- the sunset
- a building
- the 9/11 attack
- one's parents or a friend
- a political personality or a celebrity
Narrative paragraph topics
- events of the cold war
- a cricket/football match commentary
- the life of a king or dynasty
Expository paragraph topics
- issue of feminism
- the working of an electronic device
- the functioning of a corporation
For paragraph writing, various worksheets can be prepared to help the writer prioritize the points and organise them accordingly. While writing paragraphs worksheet
can even aid the writer to formulate new ideas or sub-points which can be included systematically. Forming or writing a paragraph worksheet can also include graphic organizer which are of immense help in channelizing the data into coherent groups or topics, to be penned down. Paragraph writing worksheets are easily available on the internet and can be accessed without any problem.
Paragraph writing activities for young children usually begins with the following phrase "make a paragraph with these words" and then a string of words follow. They can be of descriptive, narrative or expository types. A proper paragraph structure should include a paragraph topic sentence, the main body and a few summarizing lines. It is best to remain within the word limit since individual paragraphs should not be too long.
The internet is filled with sites which offer examples including narrative paragraph examples, descriptive paragraph examples, body paragraph examples, concluding paragraph examples, introductory paragraph examples and expository paragraph examples. Examples of narrative paragraphs, expository paragraphs and descriptive paragraphs for all age groups are available in any website of an institution. Sample narrative paragraphs along with the other two types can also be found in printed handbooks and grammar books which provide with paragraph writing exercises as well as examples. When someone write paragraph, the above tips, if followed, can be of a great help.