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Paragraph Writing

In general, the purpose of a paragraph is to express one point, idea or opinion. For example: Students require more recreational time in order to better focus on lessons in class. This main idea is expressed through three sections of a paragraph: 1. Beginning - Introduce your idea. 2. Middle - Explain your idea. 3. End - Make your point again, transition to next paragraph. Here is a paragraph taken from an essay on various strategies required for an overall improvement of student performance: Students require more recreational time in order to better focus on lessons in class. In fact, studies have shown that students who enjoy a recess of more than 45 minutes consistently score better on tests immediately following the recess period. Clinical analysis further suggests that physical exercise greatly improves the ability to focus on academic materials. Longer periods of recess are clearly required to allow students the best possible chances of success in their studies. Clearly, physical exercise is just one of the necessary ingredients for improving student scores on standardized tests. There are four sentence types used to construct a paragraph: 1. Topic sentence One sentence which states your idea, point, or opinion. This sentence should use a strong verb and make a bold statement. For example: Students require more recreational time in order to better focus on lessons in class. NOTE: Notice the strong verb 'require' which is a call to action. A weaker form of this sentence might be: I think students probably need more recreational time ... This weaker form is inappropriate for a topic sentence. 2. Supporting sentences Supporting sentences (notice the plural) provide explanations and support for the topic sentence (main idea) of your paragraph. For example: In fact, studies have shown that students who enjoy a recess of more than 45 minutes consistently score better on tests immediately following the recess

period. Clinical analysis further suggests that physical exercise greatly improves the ability to focus on academic materials. NOTE: Supporting sentences provide the evidence for your topic sentence. Supporting sentences that include facts, statistics and logical reasoning are much more convincing that simple statements of opinion. 3. Concluding sentence The concluding sentence restates the main idea (found in your topic sentence) and reinforces the point or opinion. For example: Longer periods of recess are clearly required to allow students the best possible chances of success in their studies. NOTE: Concluding sentences repeat the main idea of your paragraph in different words. 4. Transitional sentence The transitional sentence prepares the reader for the following paragraph. For example: Clearly, physical exercise is just one of the necessary ingredients for improving student scores on standardized tests. NOTE: Transitional sentences should help readers logically understand the connection between your current main idea, point or opinion and the main idea of your next paragraph. In this instance, the phrase 'just one of the necessary ingredients ...' prepares the reader for the next paragraph which will discuss another necessary ingredient for success. *** Elements of a Paragraph To be as effective as possible, a paragraph should contain each of the following: Unity, Coherence, A Topic Sentence, and Adequate Development. As you will see, all of these traits overlap. Using and adapting them to your individual purposes will help you construct effective paragraphs. Unity The entire paragraph should concern itself with a single focus. If it begins with a one focus or major point of discussion, it should not end with another or wander within different ideas. Coherence

Coherence is the trait that makes the paragraph easily understandable to a reader. You can help create coherence in your paragraphs by creating logical bridges and verbal bridges. Logical bridges

The same idea of a topic is carried over from sentence to sentence Successive sentences can be constructed in parallel form

Verbal bridges

Key words can be repeated in several sentences Synonymous words can be repeated in several sentences Pronouns can refer to nouns in previous sentences Transition words can be used to link ideas from different sentences

A topic sentence A topic sentence is a sentence that indicates in a general way what idea or thesis the paragraph is going to deal with. Although not all paragraphs have clear-cut topic sentences, and despite the fact that topic sentences can occur anywhere in the paragraph (as the first sentence, the last sentence, or somewhere in the middle), an easy way to make sure your reader understands the topic of the paragraph is to put your topic sentence near the beginning of the paragraph. (This is a good general rule for less experienced writers, although it is not the only way to do it). Regardless of whether you include an explicit topic sentence or not, you should be able to easily summarize what the paragraph is about. Adequate development The topic (which is introduced by the topic sentence) should be discussed fully and adequately. Again, this varies from paragraph to paragraph, depending on the author's purpose, but writers should beware of paragraphs that only have two or three sentences. It's a pretty good bet that the paragraph is not fully developed if it is that short. Some methods to make sure your paragraph is well-developed:

Use examples and illustrations Cite data (facts, statistics, evidence, details, and others) Examine testimony (what other people say such as quotes and paraphrases) Use an anecdote or story Define terms in the paragraph Compare and contrast Evaluate causes and reasons Examine effects and consequences Analyze the topic Describe the topic Offer a chronology of an event (time segments)

Here is a table of a few common connectors (also called transitions): For example, For instance, One example of (this) is First, Second, Third, etc. As another example, Another example of [xxx] is (that) Finally, In conclusion, To summarize, On the one hand, On the other hand, However, ..., but... also

Exercise 1. Describe in two paragraph the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear power as an alternate source of energy. (200 words) May 2003 2. Write two paragraphs describing the advantages of using solar power and wind power as alternative sources of energy in India. (200 words) Dec 2002 3. Write a paragraph comparing human brain and the computer and another paragraph comparing calculators and computers in about 100 words each. Dec 2002 4. Computer, its Parts and Uses Write two paragraphs on this topic of 200 words each. 5. Write a paragraph of 200 words stating the ways in which our environment can be preserved. May 2003 6. In this electronic era, people still continue to read books and magazines. Write a paragraph of 200 words describing why people still prefer to read books. 7. Write two paragraphs comparing the newspaper and the television as media of mass communication. Each of the paragraphs should not exceed 200 words. May 2004 8. Write two paragraphs one describing the benefits of technology the other describing the drawbacks of technology. Each paragraph should not exceed 200 words. May 2004 Discuss whether technology is a boon or bane, substantiating your contention in a paragraph of about 200 words. Dec 2004 9. Write a Paragraph on the different types of technology. 200 words 10. Write a paragraph of 200 words explaining the role of English as an international language. Dec 2004 11. Discuss the wisdom pf investing the money in gold as an economic proposition. Your answer should not exceed 200 words. 12. Describe a suitable form of alternative source of energy to be exploited for use in rural India. You answer should not exceed 200 words. 13. Water as an invaluable natural resource, which has to be spent carefully. 14. The merits and demerits of the best alternative source of energy for India. 15. Describe an ordinary bicycle and point out why its use has to be popularized in todays world. Highlight its advantages over powered vehicles. Limit your answer to about 200 words.

16. Describe the interior of a crowded bus as seen from its inside. Highlight its conveniences in a state like Tamil Nadu and also point out the disadvantages of this mode of transport. Limit your answer to about 200 words.