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Writing a paragraph means writing a series of sentences related to a single topic. In theory, finding the right topic, building sentences with substantial ideas, and connecting them effectively can sometimes be challenging. Here are some strategies for creating well-organised paragraphs.

Descriptive Paragraph Writing

The easiest way to write a descriptive paragraph is to begin with a topic sentence that identifies the object being described, followed by the actual description in four or five sentences, giving details, and finally, concluding the paragraph with a sentence that reinforces its importance to the writer. Descriptions may be objective or subjective, depending on the writer’s approach to the theme.

Descriptive Words

The words and parameters can make the description clearer.

Features: size, colour, shape, purpose, effect
Measurement: length, width, mass/weight, speed, height
Comparison: is like, resembles, similarly, same, exactly
Place/Location: in, above, below, beside, near

Narrative Paragraph Writing

When you write a narrative paragraph, you must use transition words to develop a logical, unified paragraph. The most common transition words used in narrative writing are those that indicate a time relationship. These words are called time relationship transition.

Some of the words that appear in the narrative text: after, before, later, soon, during, earlier, eventually, now, today, while, next, first, then, in the meantime, meanwhile, until, etc.

Special care must be given to a narrative’s beginning and ending to engage the reader’s attention. One of the easiest ways to begin a narrative paragraph is to use the five WH questions –WHo, WHat, WHere, WHen, WHy -to ensure a complete story.

    • Who introduces the characters
    • What identifies the topic
    • Where establishes the mood or ambience
    • When pinpointing the time the event took place
    • Why is a brief explanation of the circumstances leading up to the event

One may also start with an anecdote, an amusing incident or a real story about a person or event. An accepted way to end a narrative paragraph is to go back to the topic sentence and, by rewording it, tie up the loose ends to complete the paragraph. For example, if the topic sentence is Appearances can be deceptive, reinforce the idea in this way: That is how I realised that the external aspects of people or things do not always reflect the reality within.

Persuasive Paragraph Writing

A persuasive paragraph consists of:

    • facts
    • reference to authoritative sources
    • examples
    • predicting the consequence
    • anticipating the opposition

Words such as, of course, some may say, nevertheless, and on the other hand, serve this purpose. A persuasive paragraph gives reasons for the statements made by the author. For this purpose, it uses words such as first, second, last, since, because, finally, for, next, although, etc. To conclude, one may use words like therefore, thus, hence, in the end, consequently, as a result, to sum up, etc.

To write an effective persuasive paragraph, one has to understand the differences between claims and facts. Claims are statements that present an arguable thesis. A claim is an individual’s interpretation, belief, or opinion of something. Claims are conclusions that the writer of a persuasive paragraph infers from the information they have on a topic. Claims that you present in a piece of writing should reflect an arguable position; that is, you should be able to argue your stand convincingly with substantial subsidiary points. Facts, on the other hand, reflect the known truth, not easily refuted. When facts are used to argue a point, they become evidence or support.

Persuasive paragraphs use facts to support their claims. They generally have a primary claim in the topic sentence, followed by secondary claims in the body of the paragraph. The secondary claims are supported by factual evidence proving the prior claim. Following this organisational pattern will help one to write well-supported and well-developed interpretations and arguments.

Expository Paragraph Writing

In expository writing, the author investigates an idea, explains and illustrates it, evaluates supporting facts and then creates a clear-cut argument around the central theme. Expository writing can be an analysis of cause and effect, comparison and contrast, an investigation of a problem and its solution, or an explanation of a process. The paragraph reflects the purpose and communicates it clearly to the reader. The supporting points in an expository paragraph may be factual, statistical, logical or anecdotal. A good writer can influence or convince an astute reader by presenting an indisputable statement, strong, relevant evidence, and a summary.

Below are a few words, phrases and expressions commonly used in expository paragraphs to convey cause and effect, comparison and contrast, or a problem and its solution.

Cause and effect: accordingly, as a result, thus, for this reason, otherwise, for this purpose, consequently, subsequently, so, then, in effect, etc.
Comparison and contrast: is similar to, on the other hand, both, however, but, unlike, on the contrary, differs from, etc.
Problem and its solution: the fact is, it is related to the most common error, above all, to sum up, in conclusion, after all, etc.

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Devika Panikar
δάσκαλος (dáskalos) means the teacher in Greek. Devika Panikar has been teaching English Language and Literature since 2006. She is an Assistant Professor with the Directorate of Collegiate Education under the Government of Kerala. She teaches at the Government Colleges under this directorate and is now posted at the Government Law College, Thiruvananthapuram. This website is a collection of lecture notes she prepared by referencing various sources for her students’ perusal. It has been compiled here for the sake of future generations.