To know what is a paragraph includes understanding the structure of the paragraph as well as knowing the strategies to master the making of a paragraph. This article shares more guidance and strategies to develop an impressive paragraph. The primary goal of composing a paragraph is to create a compact collection
of thoughts in the form of logically connected sentences.
The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary gives the following meanings of the terms:
PARA - prefix denotes beyond
Graph means a planned drawing, consisting of a line or lines, showing how two or more sets of numbers are related to each other
Together the two words mean
Paragraph: a section of a piece of writing, usually consisting of several sentences dealing with a single subject. The first sentence of a paragraph starts on a new line
We can understand from the word Paragraph that it relates to something presented the Objective- Ordered and Logically Connected. While the data here is the sentences and information, the fundamental rules of the graph are used as benchmarks.
As we ensure that the Graph must represent a larger context and is a précised version of something bigger in words.
The basic structure of a paragraph includes a topical sentence/topic statement followed by major supportive sentences and minor supportive sentences. One can also see an Inverted Pyramid of writing news reports where we put the heading sentence first and then insert the significant details and add less important details as well. However, the inverted pyramid is not applicable to every type of paragraph.
We should write a paragraph to make a point rather than trying to impress the reader with our verbosity. The minor supportive sentence can be removed, if we feel there is a need to shorten the paragraph. Major supportive sentences are essential to the making of a paragraph and the removal of even one sentence from the Sequence of Thoughts (Sentences) will actually kill the whole effort of writing a compact piece.
STRATEGIES OF DEVELOPING THE PARAGRAPH
There are different ways of developing a paragraph. You choose one that suits your topic and purpose. In this article, we shall take up a few common ways of developing paragraphs.
One of the ways of developing a paragraph is by putting all the events in an order in which they occur. This is generally used in narratives.
Here is an example. Read it.
On the way home from work yesterday evening I saw a small boy standing outside a door struggling to reach the doorbell. “Here, let me help you,” I said, pressing the doorbell for him. “Thanks, mister,” said the young boy, starting to run away. “But don’t stand there, you’ll get caught,” he added as he disappeared down the road.
Now let us analyse it. The order of the sentences in the paragraph is straight-forward.
Each sentence describes the order in which the events have taken place.
Another important way of developing the paragraph is through exposition. The paragraphs devised thus are called expository paragraphs. Let us now look at some of the common ways of developing expository paragraphs.
- Cause and effect
- Compare and contrast
Many famous breeds of dogs come from Germany. The Alsatian or the German
Shepherd, the Dobermann, and the Dacshund are three of the most popular breeds. The other name of the Alsatian gives us a clue about the work performed by this dog in the old days. Now, this dog is seen very often as the “Seeing Eye” on streets in the west.
Along with the Dobermann, this breed is often selected for security or police work. Daschund, which is small and narrow-bodied, used to be an excellent hunter. This is the national dog of Germany.
The writer has developed the paragraph by classifying the three types of dogs and briefly telling about them. This is a very useful way of developing a paragraph.
Nuclear-powered submarines have broken all earlier records for speed and time submerged. In 1958 the USS Nautilus, a nuclear submarine, made history by sailing under the North Pole. In 1960 the Triton, powered by two nuclear plants, travelled around the world underwater, covering over 40,000 miles in eighty-four days. In the same year, the nuclear submarine Seadragon made the first underwater trip from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean in the sea north of Canada.
Notice the way the writer makes a statement in the first line. This is the topic sentence.
The writer supports this topic sentence by providing illustrations to the reader. These illustrations help the reader to accept a general statement.
- Cause and effect
Shopping centres have developed from a number of causes-the great shift of population to the suburbs, the growing use of and dependence upon the automobile, and the heavy traffic in downtown areas. The first centres were nothing more than a group of neighbourhood stores, built around a supermarket, with a little off-street parking space.
The next step was a strip of stores set back from a street or highway with a common parking area in front. Then came the giant shopping centres, surrounded by parking areas, with scores of stores facing a huge central mall. Finally, the mall was enclosed completely, and heating and air conditioning were added.
There are two ways of developing a paragraph by using the cause and effect technique. You either develop the paragraph by stating an effect (as the writer of the above paragraph has done) and then the causes, or you can list the causes first and the effect of that at the end. What is important is to establish a link between the two.
- Compare and Contrast
Students who are in their senior secondary classes have a big question in their minds. They are in need of a critically analysed version about engineering education and non-technical education. They also need to know if they choose to study in their own country whether they will get a good institution to teach them real engineering. At a time when employers are asking for technical as well as management skills in a candidate, management education/degrees have become popular among technical graduates. Careers after engineering are still better if the education is skill based and the graduates know what they are supposed to do. When we contrast the non-technical education with the technical education, we see a significant difference in the approach these are taught. On has to ponder deep to understand what actually suits the future.
Engineering is left with less popular options in traditional jobs. One needs to develop for the new age engineering which is multi-dimensional as well as integrated. One needs to have some guidance to know what can work for them and what not. Non-technical education has become popular in this age because after doing a graduation in engineering, the study of management adds to the employability.
Amphetamines are the most commonly used stimulant drugs. They are a group of synthetic chemicals similar to the ‘fight and fright’ hormone-adrenaline-these are often called the “pep” pills. These are known to be used in basketball, cycling, swimming, wrestling, boxing among other events. Amphetamines act on the central nervous system and produce a three-fold effect. First, as they indirectly suppress hunger, amphetamines are used to ‘make’ a lower weight for boxers and wrestlers. Second, as a metabolic stimulant, amphetamines speed up the respiratory and circulatory systems and hence enable the users to remain active for a longer time when they would have ordinarily slowed down due to fatigue. Third, these act directly on the brain, inducing a sense of excitement and euphoria which is at times dangerously misleading.
Look at the above paragraph. The writer first tries to define what amphetamines are. Then some of the effects they produce are described. You can define something in terms of what it does or where it comes from, what it is caused by and so on.
- Twenty topic sentences are given below. Develop them into unified and coherent paragraphs. (You may vary the length between 50-100 words)
Use the 5 techniques discussed above. Along with these, you have to use the narrative mode also.
- Technology addiction is dangerous.
- Some of the television channels encourage violent behaviour.
- Animals and plants are facing great threat because of mankind.
- A city life is more comfortable than living in the village.
- A government job is preferable to a job in the private sector.
- There are several kinds of films.
- Road accidents are increasing at an alarming rate.
- A Maruti Zen is similar to Santro Zing in many ways.
- Anthropology is the study of human development.
- One evening, I was coming back from college. On the way, I saw………
- Computers have many advantages over a typewriter.
- India is a land of rich resources.
- Taking preventive measures against immense heat is necessary.
- India is a country of various religions.
- Mobile phones have advantages and disadvantages.
- If we do not curb female feticide, it will have disastrous consequences.
- Life in a hostel is not easy.
- It was a horrifying experience.
- Tigers will soon become extinct.
- Two of the best players in our team fell sick during the basketball tournament.
Further Reading: How to Write Impressive Paragraphs
ContentRef: EklavyaParv, HBTE Booklet 2007 Communicating Effectively in English for Diploma Students of Haryana