Writing an effective paragraph

Essay by lmaoJunior High, 9th gradeA-, February 2004

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Writing Effective Paragraphs

A paragraph should be unified, coherent, and well developed. Paragraphs are unified around a main point, and all sentences in the paragraph should clearly relate to that point in some way. The paragraph's main idea should be supported with specific information that develops or discusses the main idea in greater detail.

Creating a Topic Sentence

The topic sentence articulates the main point in a paragraph. You may create your topic sentence by considering the details or examples you will discuss. What unifies these examples? What do your examples have in common? Reach a conclusion and write that "conclusion" first. If it helps, think of writing backwards--from generalization to support instead of from examples to a conclusion.

If you know what you main point will be, write that as clearly as possible. Then focus on key words in your topic sentence and try to explain them more fully.

Keep asking yourself "How?" or "Why?" or "What examples can I provide to convince a reader?". After you have added your supporting information, review the topic sentence to see that it still indicates the direction of your writing.

Purposes of Topic Sentences

To state the main point of a paragraph

To give the reader a sense of direction (indicate what information will follow)

To summarize the paragraph's main point

Placement of Topic Sentences

This often appear as the first or second sentences of a paragraph and rarely appear at the end of the paragraph

Supporting a Topic Sentence with Details

To support a topic sentence, consider some of the possible ways that provide details. To develop a paragraph:

You the add dd examples

tell a story that illustrates the point you're making

discuss a process

compare and contrast

use analogies (e.g., "X is similar to Y because. .