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Improve Your Punctuation

Improve Your Punctuation


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Published by mrokela

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Published by: mrokela on Sep 02, 2009
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A paragraph consists of several sentences dealing with one

topic. Your work should always be broken up into para-

graphs. If it is one long piece with no paragraphs, it will be

very difficult to read. Each paragraph should be indented so

that the reader is aware you are starting afresh. (For typed

letters and single spaced typing a space can be left between

the paragraphs instead of indenting. However, this should

not be done in hand-written work.)

Each paragraph should be related in some way to the one

before it and the one after it.

Planning the topic sentence

The topic sentence is the main sentence in the paragraph.

The other sentences expand on it. Its positioning in the

sentence can vary. In the following example it comes at

the beginning and the rest of the sentences tell you more

about it.



Starting the paragraph

Kate sat dejectedly in the airport lounge and stared

around her. Two teenagers were chattering excitedly

about their proposed holiday. A mother was tearfully

bidding good-bye to her daughter while her husband stood

beside her. A small boy was zooming around making loud

aeroplane noises. All of them seemed to have purpose in

their lives except her.

The topic sentence which starts the paragraph sets the scene

and we are then told more detail in the following sentences.

The last one leads naturally on to the following paragraph

which will explain why Kate is depressed.

Ending the paragraph

She should have been so happy. A man walked by and she

looked up, startled. For a moment she had thought it was

Mark. She wondered what he was doing now. Was he

thinking of her? Tears flooded her eyes. Tomorrow should

have been her wedding day.

In the above paragraph the sentence leads up to the topic

sentence at the end. It sums up the previous sentences and

suggests that the following paragraph will give reasons for

the cancelled wedding. Sometimes the topic sentence will be

in the middle with the opening sentences preparing the

groundwork and the following ones continuing to expand it.

Inserting the topic sentence

She should have known something was wrong when he so

often worked late. He had frequently made excuses for

not meeting her. However, she was unprepared for the


stark message left on her answer phone. He had told

her bluntly that he was going to marry her best friend.

He hoped she would understand and they could remain

friends. She could still hear every word. It was burnt into

her memory for ever.

The first two sentences build up to the answer phone

message and the ones after the topic sentence expand it.

Choosing a single sentence paragraph

It is important to vary the length of your paragraphs. Occa-

sionally you can use a single sentence paragraph but don’t

use it too often. It is sometimes used for dramatic effect.

Kate was relaxing in the drawing room with a book when

she heard the front door bell. Idly she speculated about

the visitor. It was no doubt someone for her aunt. After all

no one knew where she was. She heard the door behind

her open and her aunt’s voice informing her she had a

visitor. Turning quickly, she gasped.

Mark stood in the doorway, looking sheepish.

In the previous example the single sentence paragraph

stands out starkly after the build up to it in the previous


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