March 10th, 2010 in Writing
Look at any printed prose text, and you will notice that the text content is divided into sections. Each one of these sections of text is called a paragraph. Every form of prose composition is broken up into paragraphs to make them easily readable.
The beginning of a paragraph should mark a change in topic, or a step in the development of a plot. Learning to know how to divide an essay into neat paragraphs is an essential skill an ESL student should master. Unless divided into paragraphs, your essay would look uninteresting to the reader.
A paragraph is a group of related sentences that develop a single point. Note that paragraphs are not mere arbitrary division of text. Each paragraph should deal with a central topic or develop a single idea.
The length of a paragraph
There is no rule as to what the length of a paragraph should be. A paragraph may be long or short. It may consist of a single sentence or a number of sentences. Note that the paragraphs of a piece of prose are different from the stanzas of a poem. While the stanzas of a poem are usually of the same length and pattern, paragraphs may be long or short.
Unity of thought
Discuss only one topic in each paragraph. Every sentence in the paragraph must be closely connected with the central idea of the paragraph. As far as possible, try to express the topic or subject of the paragraph in the first sentence itself. Narrate events in the order of their occurrence. Also make sure that every sentence is connected with the leading idea and arranged in the order of their importance.
The two most important sentences in a paragraph are the first and the last. The first sentence should arouse the interest of the reader and the last sentence should satisfy it.
To avoid monotony and to make the text look interesting, the paragraphs should be of different lengths. They must also not be of the same grammatical construction.