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It is important that you structure your writing according to Academic writing conventions. A paragraph will focus on one main point (topic sentence). They comprise multiple sentences to prove the central idea, a standard paragraph will have a word count of 250 - 300 words. 


What is a paragraph?

What is a paragraph?

A paragraph is the essential body of your work that presents your ideas in an organised and concise way. A paragraph should begin with a topic sentence that outlines the focus of that paragraph and the core ideas relevant to your work that you will examine. From there, you should expand the ideas you've outlined in that topic sentence in order to ensure that your reader can clearly understand your ideas, along with the vocabulary you will be drawing from. The expanding section of your paragraph should be the point you introduce specific words or phrases that are integral to the development of your ideas and vocabulary. After this point, you should include your evidence. Your evidence will have a three-fold effect, according to Levin (2009), "... in thinking about significance you develop your skill in reasoning and critical thinking; you demonstrate to the reader that you have put thought into the essay; and you are helping to insure yourself against the danger of plagiarism because the thoughts are your own."  These effects as Levin describes them denotes the vital importance of including evidence as central to creating a foundation of credibility in your work by engendering a shrewd understanding in you, the writer, and your reader. And finally, you would link these analytical arrivals to your thesis and question once more, proving the development and maturation of your ideas in that organised and concise way.

The above paragraph functions not only as an introduction to these concepts and aims that are fundamental to the writing of a good paragraph, but as an example of one. In it, you'll see each of the five components (topic sentence, expansion of the idea, evidence, analysis, and linking sentence). 


Note that when writing paragraphs, you should always aim for readability. For many writers, a paragraph can be opportunity to present and prove an idea in an in-depth way that sacrifices readability for specialisation. This is not to demean or degrade those writers, as their works can often be intentionally difficult so as to promote reflection or interpretation. It could be argued that these works are often a unique form of readable, just simply less accessible. 

Readability comes from a conscious effort by the writer to create well-structured paragraphs. This, in no small part, means sentence variation. The writer should author long sentences that explain intricate notions and concepts that are vital for the reader to understand as it necessitates their understanding of the rest of the work. Short sentences offer punctuating thoughts. Sentence variation is not simply a question of length; it is also a question of punctuation. Commas, semi-colons, periods, brackets. Punctuation presents a pause in the action, a moment of rest for the reader to organise and understand the flow of words and thoughts.

Some degree of literary technique can also be helfpul. Analogies are particularly indispensable, as similes and metaphor are fundamental tools of communication that should find some home in your writing. That previous sentence did just that, using the idea of a home and connecting it to a written work so as to ensure your understanding. Analogies are unavoidable in everyday speech. With that in mind, be sure to include them effectively in your writing.

Finally, a paragraph can be divided in the name of readability. If you are writing a paragraph of fifteen to twenty sentences, rather than presenting a large wall of text, insert line breaks where possible. 

Check the Sentence Structure LibGuide for more info.

Writing a Paragraph