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Published by sammy

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Published by: sammy on Aug 29, 2008
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Readers generally look to the first few sentences in aparagraph to determine the subject and perspective of the paragraph. That's why it's often best to put thetopic sentence at the very beginning of the paragraph.In some cases, however, it's more effective to placeanother sentence before the topic sentence—for example,a sentence linking the current paragraph to the previousone, or one providing background information.Although most paragraphs should have a topicsentence, there are a few situations when a paragraphmight not need a topic sentence. For example, you might be able to omit a topic sentence in a paragraph thatnarrates a series of events, if a paragraph continuesdeveloping an idea that you introduced (with a topicsentence) in the previous paragraph, or if all thesentences and details in a paragraph clearly refer--perhaps indirectly--to a main point. The vast majorityof your paragraphs, however, should have a topicsentence.
Paragraph Structure
Most paragraphs in an essay have a three-partstructure--introduction, body, and conclusion. You can seethis structure in paragraphs whether they arenarrating, describing, comparing, contrasting, oranalyzing information. Each part of the paragraphplays an important role in communicating your meaningto your reader.
the first section of a paragraph;should include the topic sentence and any othersentences at the beginning of the paragraph thatgive background information or provide a transition.
follows the introduction; discusses thecontrolling idea, using facts, arguments, analysis,examples, or other information.
the final section; summarizes theconnections between the information discussed in the body of the paragraphs and the paragraph'scontrolling idea.The following paragraph illustrates this pattern of organization. In this paragraph both the topic sentenceand the concluding sentence (printed in boldface) helpthe reader keep the paragraph's main point in mind.
Scientists have learned to supplement the sense ofsight in numerous ways.
In front of the tiny pupil of the eye they put, on Mount Palomar, a great monocle200 inches in diameter, and with it see 2000 timesfarther into the depths of space. Or they look through a small pair of lenses arranged as amicroscope into a drop of water or blood, andmagnify by as much as 2000 diameters the livingcreatures there, many of which are among man'smost dangerous enemies. Or , if we want to seedistant happenings on earth, they use some of thepreviously wasted electromagnetic waves to carrytelevision images which they re-create as light bywhipping tiny crystals on a screen with electrons ina vacuum. Or they can bring happenings of long agoand far away as colored motion pictures, byarranging silver atoms and color-absorbing moleculesto force light waves into the patterns of the originalreality. Or if we want to see into the center of asteel casting or the chest of an injured child,
theysend the information on a beam of penetrating short-wave X rays, and then convert it back into images wecan see on a screen or photograph.
Thus almost everytype of electromagnetic radiation yet discoveredhas been used to extend our sense of sight in someway.
George Harrison, "Faith and the Scientist"
In a coherent paragraph, each sentence relates clearly tothe topic sentence or controlling idea, but there is more tocoherence than this. If a paragraph is coherent, eachsentence flows smoothly into the next without obviousshifts or jumps. A coherent paragraph also highlightsthe ties between old and new information to make thestructure of ideas or arguments clear to the reader. Alongwith the smooth flow of sentences, a paragraph'scoherence may also be related to its length. If you havewritten a very long paragraph, one that fills a double-spaced typed page, for example, you should check itcarefully to see if it contains more than one controllingidea. If it does, you should start a new paragraphwhere the original paragraph wanders from itscontrolling idea. On the other hand, if a paragraph isvery short (only one or two sentences, perhaps), you mayneed to develop its controlling idea more thoroughly, orcombine it with another paragraph. A number of othertechniques that you can use to establish coherence inparagraphs are described below.
Repeat key words or phrases
.Particularly in paragraphs in which you define oridentify an important idea or theory, be consistent inhow you refer to it. This consistency and repetition will bind the paragraph together and help the readerunderstand your definition or description.
Create parallel structures.
Parallel structures are created by constructing two ormore phrases or sentences that have the samegrammatical structure and use the same parts of speech.By creating parallel structures, you make your sentencesclearer and easier to read. In addition, repeating apattern in a series of consecutive sentences helps yourreader see the connections between ideas. In theparagraph above about scientists and the sense of sight,several sentences in the body of the paragraph have been constructed in a parallel way. The parallelstructures (which have been underlined) help the readersee that the paragraph is organized as a set of examplesof a general statement.
Be consistent in point of view, verb tense, and number.
Consistency in point of view, verb tense, and number aresubtle but important aspects of coherence. If you shiftfrom the more personal
to the impersonal
 , frompast to present tense, or from
a man
 , for example,you make your paragraph less coherent. Such

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