Basic Paragraph StructureIn many languages, the fundamental unit of•composition is the paragraph.•A paragraph consists of several sentences thatare grouped together.This group of sentences together•discuss one main subject.
Paragraphs have three principalpartsThese three parts are : * the topic sentence * body sentences/ supporting sentences * the concluding sentence
The Topic SentenceA topic sentence usually comes at the beginning of a paragraph; that is, it is usually the first sentence in a formal academic paragraph.Not only is a topic sentence the first sentence of a paragraph, but, more importantly, it is the most general sentence in a paragraph. What does "most general" mean? It means that there are not many details in the sentence, but that the sentence introduces an overall idea that you want to discuss later in the paragraph.
Example: There are three reasons why Canada is one of the best countries in the world. First, Canada has an excellent health care system. All Canadians have access to medical services at a reasonable price. Second, Canada has a high standard of education. Students are taught by well-trained teachers and are encouraged to continue studying at university. Finally, Canadas cities are clean and efficiently managed. Canadian cities have many parks and lots of space for people to live. As a result, Canada is a desirable place to live.
Supporting SentencesExample: There are three reasons why Canada is one of the best countries in the world. First, Canada has an excellent health care system. All Canadians have access to medical services at a reasonable price. Second, Canada has a high standard of education. Students are taught by well-trained teachers and are encouraged to continue studying at university. Finally, Canadas cities are clean and efficiently managed. Canadian cities have many parks and lots of space for people to live. As a result, Canada is a desirable place to live.
The Concluding SentenceIn formal paragraphs you will sometimes see a sentence at the end of the paragraph which summarizes the information that has been presented. This is the concluding sentence. You can think of a concluding sentence as a sort of topic sentence in reverse.Lets see how a concluding sentence (in boldfont) might look in our sample paragraph about Wheaton:Example: There are three reasons why Canada is one of the best countries in the world. First, Canada has an excellent health care system. All Canadians have access to medical services at a reasonable price. Second, Canada has a high standard of education. Students are taught by well-trained teachers and are encouraged to continue studying at university. Finally, Canadas cities are clean and efficiently managed. Canadian cities have many parks and lots of space for people to live. As a result, Canada is a desirable place to live.
For Example : My hometown is famous because it is located by Wheaton River, which is very wide, and because it is built near an unusually steep hill called Wheaton Hill.( The problem with this sentence is that it contains too many details. Topic sentences are general, and details should appear later in the paragraph. A better topic sentence would be like the mentioned above, My hometown is famous for several amazing geographical features).
There are two reasons why some people like to buy cars with automatic transmission and two reasons why others like cars with manual transmission.(Sentence #2 is not appropriate as a topic sentence because it mentions two topics, not just one. Paragraphs are usually about one main thing and so their topic sentences should also be about only one main thing).
Clouds are white.(The problem with this sentence is that it is too general. It is also very boring! Would you like to read a paragraph with this topic sentence? Most people would not).
We can rewrite sentences #2 and #3 in thefollowing ways to make it better: * There are two reasons why some people like to buy cars with automatic transmission. OR (in a different paragraph): * There are two reasons why some people like cars with manual transmission. * The shapes of clouds are determined by various factors.
Details in ParagraphsFor example, we could add a sentence or two about Wheaton river concerning HOW wide it is or WHY it is beautiful. Consider this revision (and note the additional details in bold): My hometown is famous for several amazing natural features. First, it is noted for the Wheaton River, which is very wide and beautiful. On either side of this river, which is 175 feet wide, are many willow trees which have long branches that can move gracefully in the wind. In autumn the leaves of these trees fall and cover the riverbanks like golden snow. Also, on the other side of the town is Wheaton Hill, which is unusual because it is very steep. Even though it is steep, climbing this hill is not dangerous, because there are some firm rocks along the sides that can be used as stairs. There are no trees around this hill, so it stands clearly against the sky and can be seen from many miles away. The third amazing feature is the Big Old Tree. This tree stands two hundred feet tall and is probably about six hundred years old. These three landmarks are truly amazing and make my hometown a famous place.
A Note on Formality. In addition to having a particular kind ofstructure, academic paragraphs (and multi-paragraph essays,which will be topic of another lesson) are different from"ordinary writing" (such as letter writing) in that certain kindsof expressions are not allowed. For example, in formal essays,you should not use contractions suchas dont orarent. Instead, you should write out the words infull, for example, do not and are not. TOO INFORMAL ACCEPTABLE (Do not use) dont do not doesnt does not arent are not werent were not cant cannot couldnt could not wont will not
Kinds of Paragraphs:Definition Paragraph When writing a definition paragraph, you take a thing or an idea and explain what it is.Example: Write a paragraph giving the definition of a pest.The following words can help you to write a good definition paragraph: 1. "is defined as"Example: A pest is defined as any animal or plant that damages crops, forests, or property.2. "is a kind of"Example: A pest is a kind of animal or plant that damages crops, forests, or property.
Example of a Definition Paragraph The IAU has so far recognized five dwarf planets differentiated from planets by a parameter of “planetary discriminant” which allows estimating the capacity to dominate orbits. According to NationMasterEncyclopaedia dwarf planets follow orbits which are not free from other minor celestial bodies. Simultaneously, they always circulate the Sun and not other celestial objects (they are not satellites). Several dwarf planets have already been scrutinized effectively. Their physical properties have been calculated through routine Earth-based observations as well as advanced image-searching software. Since current data may not be entirely accurate, further examinations are undertaken by astronomers and physicists world-wide.Elements of Definition Paragraph Definition paragraphs contain the following elements: Explanation of meaning – the fragment above explains why certain celestial objects are called “dwarf planets”; Account of the origin of things – the fragment briefly recounts the history of astronomical scrutiny relating to dwarf planets; Method – the fragment explains how astronomical observations influenced contemporary knowledge of the solar system, and denotes specifically what tools were used in the process; Examples and comparisons – in the fragment cited above, the idea of dwarf planets is explained through comparisons with regular planets, as well as other celestial objects. Definition paragraph should, generally, provide information on how not to confuse different ideas; Citing verifiable sources – the fragment contain references to encyclopedia; there could be quotations from dictionaries, and other authoritative sources.
Classification ParagraphWhen writing a classification paragraph, you group things or ideas into specific categories.Example: Write a paragraph discussing two types of energy resources. The following words can help you to write a good classification paragraph:Helper Words: is a kind of can be divided into is a type of falls under belongs to is a part of fits into is grouped with is related to is associated with
Example of a Classification Paragraph Paraphrasing is used for different purposes. Some paraphrases will be designated to support already existing evidence. Others will reinforce argumentation against evidence. Still others will help to develop existing arguments and provide back-up for any conclusion drawn in the course of writing. Depending on the function, paraphrases will be introduced in accordance with their unique context. Quotations require yet another approach. They are not self- expressive because every quotation can signify a number of different things in various contexts. It is both the introduction and the commentary that follows it which decides about its context and the ultimate meaning of a given citation in an essay. Paraphrasing quotations - changing the original words or sense is not allowed.
Elements of a Classification ParagraphClassification paragraphs contain the following elements:Definition – term, idea, or an object presented in a classification paragraph is briefly defined by its own terms – that includes defining its origin, meaning, and function;Comparison – classification paragraphs will, usually, define things by comparingand contrasting them, showing crucial functions and diverse use or meaning in analogical contexts;Multiple contextualizations – classification paragraphs will compare ideas in diverse contexts, so as to estimate specifically the potential of each of the described thingsin different situations;Descriptive vocabulary – adverbs and adjectives should point to the contrast between two or more things (black vs. white, boring vs. interesting, etc.).
Description Paragraph In a description paragraph, you are writing about what a person, place, or thing is like. Sometimes, you may describe where a place is located.Examples: Write a paragraph describing what a polar bear looks like. Describe where Canadas industry is located.
Example of a Description Paragraph Writers commit plagiarism every time they reword sources without crediting original authors or fail to reference their sources appropriately. Plagiarism through paraphrasing can happen in two cases. First, writer may choose to substitute some words from the original with different vocabulary, rearrange words, or rearrange the whole paragraph. In this way, he or she presents stolen information expressing it with his or her own words. And second, writer may try to use exactly the same vocabulary and stylistic constructions and use them with respect to another context. Plagiarism occurs in both cases.
Elements of a Description ParagraphDescriptive paragraphs contain the following elements:Information – descriptive paragraphs describe ideas and things, as well as inform about their functions;Context – in descriptive paragraphs, information is always contextualized. Moreover, the context in which given piece of information is presented is also subject to description and evaluation;Descriptive language – descriptive paragraphs use considerable amounts of vocabulary that describes action (verbs), as well as vocabulary denoting value and attributes of thins (nouns, adverbs, and adjectives).
Helper Words: Properties Measurement Analogy Location size Length is like In Colour Width Resembles Above Shape mass/weight Below Purpose speed Beside Near north/east/south/we st
Compare and Contrast Paragraph In a compare and contrast paragraph, you write about the similarities and differences between two or more people, places, things, or ideas.Example: Write a paragraph comparing the weather in Vancouver and Halifax.
Contrast and Comparison paragraph The Comparison paragraph compares two subjects and discusses how they are alike and lists a few examples. In the contrast paragraph, two subjects are discussed as how they are different, again, listing a few examples. There are two ways to write a paragraph, first, there is the point by point paragraph and there is the blocked paragraph. In the point by point, writing back and forth between the two subjects. First, talking about topic A. then talk about topic B., then right back to topic A. and so on. Finally, the block paragraph only discusses one topic and then finishes the paragraph with the other subject that is to be compared or contrasted with the first. Then the conclusion puts what your compairing or contrasting together.
Transitional expressions used in Transitional expressions used incomparison: contrast:in the same way althoughand, also, in addition whereasas well as butboth, neither howevereach of converselyjust as...so on the other handsimilarly in contrastlike whiletoo yetthe same unlike
Helper words: Similarities Differences is similar to the other hand both however also but too in contrast as well differs from while unlike
My Hogs Although I raised Marcee and Obbie from puppies, they have completely diverse personalities. Obbie is a six year old, male, toy Pomeranian whereas Marcee is a one year old, female, Boston terrier. Obbie is small and soft, unlike Marcee who has bristly hair and is much bigger. Marcee insists on sleeping on the bed, under the covers every night. On the other hand, Obbie will only sleep on the floor, under the bed. Obbie is tremendously loyal and uptight; however, Marcee is hyper and friendly to anyone she meets or sees. Around other dogs, Marcee cowers to the larger dog, yet Obbie will always stand his ground, never giving up until he is scolded. Given that they were both treated the same way all their life, it is hard to believe that they are so different in everything they do.
Sequence Paragraph In a sequencing paragraph, you are writing to describe a series of events or a process in some sort of order. Usually, this order is based on time.Example: Write a paragraph outlining how a person becomes the prime minister
Helper Words: Order Time first, second, third, etc. recently in the beginning previously before afterwards then when after after finally at last subsequently
Choice Paragraph In a paragraph where you have to make a choice, you need to choose which object, idea, or action that you prefer. Often, you will need to give your opinion on a choice of actions or events.Example: Write a paragraph stating whether you would prefer to play hockey or lacrosse.
Helper Words: Point of View Personal Opinion in my opinion like/dislike belief hope idea feel understanding I think that I consider I believe it seems to me I prefer
Explanation ParagraphIn an explanation paragraph, you need to explain how or why something happens. Very often in social studies class, you will be asked to explore causes and effects of certain events.Example: Write a paragraph explaining why so many Europeans moved to Canada during the nineteenth century.
Helper Words: Cause Effect because therefore since thus as a result of consequently is due to hence it follows that if . . . then
Evaluation ParagraphIn an evaluation paragraph, you make judgments about people, ideas, and possible actions. You need to make your evaluation based on certain criteria that you develop. In the paragraph, you will state your evaluation or recommendation and then support it by referring to your criteria.Example: Write a paragraph evaluating whether pesticides should be used on farms.
Helper Words: Criteria for Evaluation Recommendation good / bad suggest correct / incorrect recommend moral / immoral advise right / wrong argue important / trivial
How to write a paragraph:Prewriting ParagraphsWhat is the prewriting stage?The prewriting stage is when you think carefully and organize your ideas for your paragraph before you begin writing.Six Prewriting Steps:1. Think carefully about what you are going to write.2. Open your notebook.3. Collect facts related to your paragraph or essay topic.4. Write down your own ideas.5. Find the main idea of your paragraph or essay.6. Organize your facts and ideas in a way that develops your main idea.
Writing ParagraphsWhat is the writing stage? The writing stage is when you turn your ideas into sentences.Five Writing Steps: 1.Open your notebook and word processor. 2. Write the topic sentence, supporting sentences, and closing sentence. 3. Write clear and simple sentences to express your meaning. 4. Focus on the main idea of your paragraph. 5. Use the dictionary to help you find additional words to express your ideas.
Editing Paragraphs What is the editing stage? The editing stage is when you check your paragraph for mistakes and correct them.Grammar and Spelling 1. Check your spelling. 2. Check your grammar. 3. Read your essay again. 4. Make sure each sentence has a subject. 5. See if your subjects and verbs agree with each other. 6. Check the verb tenses of each sentence. 7. Make sure that each sentence makes sense.