Writing Paragraphs: Constructing Blocks of Prose


Whereas phrases may be thought-about the person items that make up sentences, sentences themselves are the elements that comprise paragraphs. Because the constructing blocks of prose, whether or not it’s of the nonfiction, memoir, autobiography, flash fiction, quick fiction, or novel style, they’ve kind, construction, and goal. This text will look at all three.


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

“As a reader, you establish the paragraph at a look, simply by its look,” in line 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 goal.”

Organizationally, they allow the author to concentrate on a single most important concept, which may be each clarified and supported by a number of related factors. Linked by a second or associated concept, the succeeding paragraph does the identical, and collectively they illustrate an extended, extra encompassing concept or theme, as could be expressed in an essay, a time period paper, or a nonfiction guide’s chapter.

Paragraphs can include each normal and particular statements, similar to the next.

Basic: Motion pictures may be suspenseful.

Particular: Motion pictures, similar to Die Exhausting and Die Exhausting 2, with their fast-paced motion, may be suspenseful.

The second instance is particular as a result of it names two motion pictures and explains why they’re suspenseful.

Basic statements, that are susceptible to reader interpretation, can summarize the primary concept in every paragraph, however particular ones allow him to concentrate on a particular characteristic of the primary concept.

Correctly structured paragraphs include two integral components.

1). A normal subject sentence, which often seems first, that states the paragraph’s most important concept.

2). A number of particular sentences that assist and illustrate the primary concept.

Take into account the next paragraph, whose subject sentence seems in boldface kind and whose supporting sentences seem with normal imprints.

“There are methods to save lots of on airfare. Not all seats on all flights carry the identical price ticket. For those who guide early sufficient, for instance, you may often discover a decrease fare, as a result of the seats put aside for it are nonetheless out there. Since most individuals journey on weekends, flying mid-week, similar to on a Tuesday, or a Wednesday, will secondly supply the bottom fares. Lastly, should you fly throughout much less fashionable seasons, just like the winter, you may make the most of the decrease fares airways supply to fill historically emptier airplanes.”

Other than a paragraph’s fundamental construction, it also needs to incorporate different components. One in all them is unity.

“When utilized to paragraph writing, unity means the paragraph is about one major concept,” emphasizes Pemberton (ibid, p. 7). “All of the statements within the paragraph must do with that one concept. The author doesn’t wander off from the concept, however quite 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 necessary paragraph aspect is assist or development-that is, does the author assist, develop, and nearly show his subject? If, within the earlier instance, dialogue following the primary theme entailed one of the best Florida inns, there would have been no relevance to it.

One more aspect is size. Paragraph size itself relies upon upon the subject sentence and varies in accordance with the diploma of growth ensuing from it or the quantity of assist required for example it.

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


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

However, they need to take into account a number of elements earlier than they try to remodel concepts into phrases.

Curiosity, data, expertise, and talents, at first, 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 by way of examine, and even his private expertise with it, qualifying him to discover and clarify it in written kind.

If, however, it isn’t attainable to pick out a subject, the author can all the time take the designated one and strategy it from a brand new, contemporary, or totally different angle.

Function is one other facet. Though a faculty project can actually represent a “goal,” different, not essentially obligatory ones may be to put in writing, to tell, to supply recommendation or course to others, to clarify, to influence, and to entertain.

Readership, the third, ought to all the time be thought-about when an writer writes one thing, particularly if his intention is to publish it. A college project, for sure, will probably be learn by a instructor or a professor, probably for a grade. A travelogue through which the necessary 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 house flora.

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


“The subject sentence states the primary concept of a paragraph,” in line with Pemberton (ibid, p. 35). “For that purpose, it’s an important sentence within the paragraph. Writers construct paragraphs to assist subject sentences, and readers depend on their sentences to see which most important concepts are being developed.”

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

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

Take into account 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 most important concept.”


Whereas subject statements are normal and generally quick in nature, sentences that observe to assist them ought to be particular and may be longer, since they often current details. They’re meant to offer readers with clear, exact understanding.

Basic references usually go away readers open to interpretation based mostly upon their very own experiences and understanding. “A well-paying place,” for example, might 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.

As a way to assist a subject sentence, the author should use particular particulars, details, examples, and even revealed quotes, similar to “13.5 p.c of People stay beneath the poverty line,” in line with the “Probing Poverty” article within the September 15, 2019 challenge of Information and Views journal.

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


One other necessary paragraph writing aspect is coherence. Coherence itself entails a number of elements. Relationships between concepts, for example, ought to be clear and connectable-that is, one ought to logically and easily move from the earlier one. Supporting concepts moreover clarify earlier statements. Principal concepts may be expressed by way of repetition. Lastly, textual content move is ensured and enhanced by way of transition phrases, similar to “however,” “nevertheless,” “however,” “subsequently,” “for,” and “but,” amongst others.

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

Take into account the coherency of the next paragraph.

“I’ve simply returned from a busy day. My alarm, as standard, 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 canine and I used to be nearly 15 minutes late to work. I discovered the report from my secretary on my desk. I feel she’s having relationship issues, as a result of she hasn’t been as much as snuff currently. Possibly she did not sleep properly final night time. I had an evening like that final week. Even the Tylenol did not assist. Due to the site visitors, I missed Harold’s opening feedback within the assembly. He twice informed me we would go fishing some Saturday, however by no means appears to recollect once I put him as much as it. I wolfed down my lunch and nearly had a combat with a shopper within the afternoon. I might hardly include myself. The site visitors was actually crawling due to a downpour once I drove house. As I walked into the kitchen, I noticed 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 swimsuit and tie, and fell asleep.”

Coherence may be enhanced with the correct 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 (by way of phrases), and revealing, and seems in nearly all genres, together with fiction. Whereas narrative writing can reveal actions, feelings, emotions, and moods by way of 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 look at similarities (comparisons) and variations (contrasts) between two folks, objects, or concepts,” in line with Pemberton (bid, p. 135). “The subject may 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 slim sufficient to permit dialogue of particular similarities and variations.”

Take into account the next two examples.

Comparisons: “The small restaurant that opened on the town final month could be very very similar to a diner; the service is pleasant, the meals is easy 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. Alternatively, it tends to be coarser and drier.”

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

“As a way to reupholster a chair, you first must relocate it to a piece space, similar to a basement or a storage. You subsequent must take away the staples or tacks that maintain the material affixed to the body. Examine the froth or stuffing beneath it after you might have. If the chair is 5 or extra years previous, it could have begun to decay and you’ll most certainly need to exchange it. Measure the world it coated and minimize the brand new stuffing in line with the required measurement, tightly packing it into the chair’s crevices. The brand new material masking should even be minimize to measured measurement. After you might have, pull it across the chair’s body tautly earlier than re-stapling or re-tacking it in place. You might want a serving to hand to drag one aspect of it when you fasten the opposite. Lastly, return the chair to its unique location.”

One other expository writing method 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. However, a single widespread denominator unifies the paragraph. Take into account the next instance.

“All revealed books are written, however there are variations between them. These from the USA and the UK, for instance, seem in English. Nevertheless, phrases similar to ‘harbor’ are spelled in a different 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 fitting to the left.”

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

One more expository writing method is that of definition.

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

Take into account this instance of a paragraph that gives a definition.

“The most typical definition of the world ‘alone’ is to be someplace with out the corporate or presence of at the very least one different. However there’s extra to this idea than simply current by yourself. In case you are uncomfortable with, distrustful of, and subsequently 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 skill to enter into a detailed bond with that individual. In case you are at a gathering with ten associates, for example, but can not relate to them in any significant approach, you may as well take into account your self to be alone. Lastly, should you attempt to strategy somebody and she or he both exhibits no real interest in you and even rejects you, you may as well take into account your self to be ‘alone.'”

Article Sources:

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

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