How to write paragraphs

Paragraph checking

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Paragraphs break your writing up into manageable chunks that help your reader to make sense of what you've written. A lot of people find writing in paragraphs difficult, but there is a reasonably straightforward formula for paragraph writing that can make the job a lot easier. Paragraphs can be broken up into three sections: the topic sentence that tells the reader what the paragraph is about, the supporting information that develops the topic - this is usually a few sentences, and the final sentence that sums up the paragraphs and sets the scene for the following paragraph. The important thing is that each paragraph covers one main topic and the topic sentence is clear to your reader. Can you find the important elements of a paragraph in this paragraph?

Activity: Paragraph checking

In this activity, you will use a piece of your own work. You'll use the list of questions to make sure your paragraphs make the grade.

1. Read through each paragraph in your assignment, checking for the following:

  • Is the topic sentence clear? What's the point of the paragraph?
  • Do all the sentences in the paragraph build on and relate to the topic sentence?
  • Are all the sentences linked to each other, and do they follow a logical order?
  • Is the topic sentence developed by supporting information, evidence and examples?
  • Does the paragraph link logically to the previous and following paragraphs?

2. Rewrite any paragraphs that you're not happy with, and check them again.

Recommended Further Reading

If you're still unsure about writing in paragraphs, try looking at the paragraphs in other people's work. See if you can identify the topic sentence and supporting information. Look at how they have developed the main idea in each paragraph.

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