A paragraph is a basic unit of
organization in writing in which a group
of sentences develops one main idea.
The number of sentences a paragraph
contains is not important. It can be as
short as one sentence or as long as
nine sentences, the most important
thing is that the idea stated at the
beginning is clearly developed.
Parts of a Paragraph
Three essential parts compose any paragraph: a
topic sentence, supporting sentences and a
• Topic Sentence: it states the main idea of the
paragraph. It contains the name of the topic
that is to be carried out. This sentence has to
be precise, but avoid telling everything in the
first sentence or your reader will lose interest.
The topic sentence serves to limit the topic to
one or two areas that will be discussed entirely
in the space of one paragraph. The area is
what we call the controling idea.
Supporting Sentences: they come after the
topic sentence, making up the body of a
paragraph. they help develop the topic
sentence. It means that these sentences
explain the topic by giving reasons,
examples, facts, statistics, and quotations.
Closing Sentences: it´s the last sentence in
a paragraph, it indicates that the paragraph
is ending and sums up important points to
remember or reprises the main idea. You
write it restating the main idea of a
paragraph but using different words.
In addition to the three parts of a paragraph, a
good paragraph also needs two important
elements: unity and coherence. Unity: it means
that in your paragraph you discuss one and only
one main idea which is stated in the topic
sentence and then developed by the supporting
sentences. Coherence: it means that your
paragraph is easy to read and understand
• your supporting sentences are in logical order
• your ideas are connected by the use of a
appropriate transition signals.
How to Write a Paragraph
Prewriting a Paragraph
The prewriting stage is when you think carefully and
organize your ideas for your paragraph before you begin
writing. There are six steps involved in this process. They
are the following:
1. Think carefully about what you are going to write. Ask
yourself: "What question am I going to answer in this
paragraph or essay? How can I make this paragraph
interesting? What facts can be stated to support this
2. Write your answers to the above questions and do not
need to spend a lot of time doing this. Just write
enough to help you remember why and how you are
3. Collect facts related to your topic. Write down facts that
will help you answer your questions.
4. Write down your own ideas. Ask yourself: What
other things can I include about this topic?
Why should people be interested in this topic?
Why is this topic important?
5. Find the main idea of your paragraph: Chose
the most important point. If you cannot decide
which is the most important one, just chose
one and stick to it throughout your paragraph.
6. Organize your facts and ideas to develop your
topic, find the best way to tell the reader about
it. Decide which facts will support the main
Writing a Paragraph
The writing stage is when you turn your ideas into
sentences and you communicate them. Some
important steps are the following:
• Write a topic sentence, some supporting
sentences, and one closing sentence
• Make sure that the sentences are clear, simple,
and they express what you really mean
• Focus on the main idea of your paragraph
• Re-read what you wrote and see if the idea is
clear and you can read it with ease
Editing a Paragraph
The editing stage is when you check your
paragraph for mistakes and correct them.
Do not forget to do the following:
• Check your grammar and spelling
• Read your text again and make sure each
sentence makes sense
• See if your paragraph is interesting to read
• Transition signals can be compared to traffic
signs. They are words that tell you to go forward,
to turn, to slow down and to stop. Better said,
they help the reader when to you are giving a
similar idea, an opposite idea, an example, a
result, or a conclusion. As a writer it is important
to use these types of words to help you follow
your ideas coherently.
Types of Transitional Signals
• Transition words can be classified taking into
account they type of help they might offer a
writer. They can be classified in the following
Words that Show Addition
They aid the writer when he or she wants to
present two or more ideas that continue
along the same line of thought. Some
common addition words are:
and, also, another, in addition, moreover,
first of all, second, third, furthermore, finally.
Words that Show Time
They indicate a time relationship. They tell
us when an specific event took place in
relation to another. Some of these words
First, then, often, since, next, before, after,
soon, as, now, until, previously, while,
during, immediately, frequently.
Words that Show Contrast
They signal a change in the direction of the
writer's thought. They tell us a new idea will
be different in a significant way from the
previous one. Some contrast words are:
but, however, yet, although, in contrast,
instead, still, in spite of, despite,
on the other hand, on the contrary.
Word that Show Comparison
These words are used when a writer wants
to point out a similarity between two
subjects. They tell us that the previous idea
is similar to the next one in some way.
words that show comparison are:
like, as, just like, just as, in like manner,
equally, similarly, in a similar fashion,
in the same way.
Words that Show Illustration
These words are used if you as a writer
want to provide one of more examples to
develop and clarify a given idea. They tell us
that the second idea is an example of the
first. Some illustration words are:
for example, for instance, as an illustration,
to illustrate, such as, to be specific,
Words that Show Location
Location transitions show a relationship in
space. They tell us where something is in
relation to something else. Some of these
words can be:
next to, in front of, in back of, below,
between, inside, outside, opposite, on top
across, beneath, in the middle of, on the
other side, at the end of, ahead of, over,
under, behind, near, far.
Words that Show Cause and Effect
These types of words are useful if an author
wants to describe a result of something.
They tell us what happened or will happen
because something else happened. These
type of words are:
because, if... then, as a result,
accordingly, therefore, since, so.
Words that Summarize or Conclude
These types of words are used when the
idea that follows will sum up the entire
writing or a final statement will be written as
a conclusion. These words are:
in summary, in conclusion, in short, all in all,
in brief, in other words, on the whole,
to conclude, to sum up.
One of the most important aspects to take into consideration when you write is
punctuation. It will tell your reader when to stop or when to change the
interpretation of your paper. Speakers use intonation and writers use punctuation.
Some of the most common marks in English are the following:
- Use a period after a statement or command.
Turn on the television.
We are studying English.
- Use a period after most abbreviations.
• Question Mark
-Use a question mark in an interrogative statement. In a direct quotation, the question mark
goes before the quotation mark.
He said, "Are you coming home?"
-Use a comma before a conjunction (and, or, so, but) that separates two
She wanted to learn to cook, so she decided to buy herself a book.
- Don't use a comma before a conjunction that separates two incomplete
She worked in the library and studied at night.
- Use a comma to separate interrupting expressions from the rest of the sentence.
Do you know, by the way, what time it is?
- Use a comma after yes and no in answers.
Yes, my father is a doctor.
- Use a comma to separate an apposite form the rest of the sentence.
Mr. Smith, the new teacher, really knows how to teach.
Would you like to try a taco, a traditional Mexican dish?
• Quotation Marks
- Use quotation marks at the beginning and at the end of exact quotations.
He said, "I'm going to get married."
- Use quotation marks before and after titles of stories, articles, songs, and TV
Do you want to watch "Friends" on TV?
My favorite song is "Disappear" by INXS.