Organization and Paragraph Structure
Writing a well constructed paragraph is not always a straight forward task. Students often want to know exactly how many sentences there needs to be in each paragraph. I respond by saying that a well developed paragraph is usually six to eight sentences long. Can you have a paragraph that is ten sentences long? Yes. Can you have a three sentence paragraph? Certainly. The length of the paragraph is determined by what needs to be included in it Use the topic sentence of each paragraph as your guide for what should be in that paragraph. Think of the topic sentence as a mini thesis sentence but specifically for your paragraph. Your reader should have a general idea of what the paragraph is going to cover based on what your topic sentences addresses.
It is important to stay focused when you are writing your paper. Your thesis statement should be specific enough that it gives clear direction to the paper. The order of your paragraphs should mirror the order that issues are addressed within the thesis statement. Every paragraph of your paper needs to directly support your thesis statement. It doesn’t matter how well a paragraph is written if it doesn’t further the point you are making in your paper; that paragraph just takes up space. It is fluff; cut it out of your paper. Some students get so overwhelmed with length requirements that they will put just about anything in their paper to meet the required length. You are past the point in your academic career where you can get away with that. Make sure that every paragraph directly supports your thesis, and make every sentence within a paragraph supports that paragraph’s topic sentence.
I do want to note that you should avoid what I call “monster paragraphs.” Monster paragraphs are paragraphs that spill on for several pages. Sometimes writers aren’t sure where to end one paragraph and begin another, so they just give up separating paragraphs all together. Don’t do this. Use topics sentences to help you sort out when to end a paragraph and when to begin another. If you have addressed everything that you need to address regarding one topic sentence, it is time to write the topic sentence for the next paragraph.
Remember that as you edit you can shift words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs around. It is fine to combine and divide paragraphs during the revision stage of writing. Don’t forget to take a fresh look at your paper after you have moved everything around.
Make sure that the order of the paragraphs still mirrors the order of you thesis statement. In addition, look closely to be sure that each paragraph directly supports your thesis statement. Also check to ensure that each paragraph has an appropriate topic sentence and that each following sentence directly supports the topic sentence.
Use your Facebook login and see what your friends are reading and sharing.
Now bringing you back...
Please enter your email address below to reset your password. We will send you an email with instructions on how to continue.