Writing a paragraph
What is a Paragraph? • A paragraph is a group of sentences that develops an idea. • A paragraph can be a sentence or as long as ten sentences.
What kinds of sentences can we find in paragraphs? • There are different kinds of sentences in a paragraph. We may find: • topic sentences • supporting sentences/ ideas • concluding sentences.
Topicsentence • What is a topic sentence? • It is a general statement that tells the reader what the paragraph is about. • Consequently, it contains the main idea in the paragraph. • Itlimitsthetopictoa specificarea. • Where can we find a topic sentence? • In general, the topic sentence appears at the beginning of a paragraph • Which are the main parts in a topic sentence? • The topic sentence is a complete sentence which has three main parts: a subject, a verb, and a controlling idea.
What is a controlling idea? • A controlling idea is a word or phrase that needs to be explained, described, and supported in the sentences that follow in the paragraph. • This idea controls or limits the content of the paragraph. • The controlling ideas in a sentence can be used to ask questions about the topic.
Let’sanalyseanexample: • The following questions could be answered in the paragraph that follows this topic sentence: • Whatdifferences? • Howmany? • Why are theydifferent? • Why are they ‘particularly marked’?
Supportingsentences • What is a supporting sentence? • This sentence develops the topic sentence and gives specific details about the topic. It is also called the ‘second’ sentence. It proves or supports the main idea. A supporting sentence is more specific than a topic sentence. • How can we recognize a supporting sentence? • It generally begins with a linking word that signals the reader about the organization of the paragraph. • What can we find in supporting sentences? • Supporting sentences may include facts, examples, physical descriptions, and/ or personal experiences.
Let’sseeanotherexample. The following sentence could be one of the second or supporting sentences that might follow our previous example.
Concludingsentences • What is a concluding sentence? • This sentence will tell the reader that the paragraph is finished. It completes and summarizes the development of the topic of the paragraph. It is like the topic sentence because it is also a general statement. It reminds the reader of the topic sentence. • How can we recognize a concluding sentence? • Mainly because it appears at the end of the paragraph. It is also written like the topic sentence but with different words. We may also find linking words at the beginning of a concluding sentence. • What can we find in a concluding sentence? • Four different things can be found in a concluding sentence: • A summary of the material in the paragraph, • A solution to the problem presented in the paragraph, • A prediction of a situation that will occur from the statement made in the paragraph, • A recommendation concerning material presented in the paragraph, • A conclusion to information given in the paragraph.
Let’s study our last example. We have already read the topic sentence and the supporting sentence in a paragraph about UK education and training systems. The following sentence could be the concluding sentence in that paragraph:
Paragraph Structure • A paragraph should have a logical structure that is easy to put into an outline: I. Topic Sentence II. Supporting sentence III. Supporting sentence IV. Supporting sentence V. Concluding Sentence