How to Write a Paragraph: A step-by-step guide
A well-developed academic paragraph can be hard to write. The following is a recipe for drafting, extending, improving and describing your ideas so that you can write clearly, well-developed paragraphs and discussion posts.
Step 1: Decision on your paragraph topic
You should know what you are writing before you start writing. First of all, look immediately at the assigned topic or writing prompt. Note all key terms or repeated phrases as soon as you see them because you want to use them in your response. Then ask yourself:
• What topic have I to write about?
• What do I already know about this topic?
• If I do not know how to answer this assignment, where can I go to find some answers?
• What does this prompt mean to me? How am I related to it?
After looking at the topic and following some extra reading and research, you should better understand your assignment and what you need to talk.
Step 2: Development of a subject sentence
Before writing the paragraph, first of all, it is necessary to think about the topic and then what you want to say about this topic. Most often, the topic is simple, but the question turns into what you want to say about the topic. This concept is sometimes called controlling idea.
Strong paragraphs are usually about one important idea or topic, which is often described clearly in a subject sentence. Good topics always have both
(1) a topic and
(2) a controlling idea.
➡ The Topic -The paragraph contains a major theme or idea that is discussed in the paragraph
➡ Controlling idea – This idea focuses on the theme by providing direction to the paragraph.
Read the following topic sentences. All of them contain a topic and a controlling idea. When your paragraph contains a clearly described topic like one of the following, your readers will know what is expected and, therefore, understand your thoughts better.
Examples of topical sentences
• There are many benefits of online education.
• Effective leadership needs specific features that anyone can develop.
• People can avoid smoking by taking some precautions.
Step 3: Demonstration of Your Point
After describing your topic sentence, you need to provide information and description to explain, and/or clarify your viewpoint.
• What best examples can I use to support my point?
• What information can I provide to explain my thoughts?
• How can I support my view with specific data, experiences, or other realistic content?
• What information does the reader need to know to see my point?
➡ Here is a list of the kinds of information you can add to your paragraph:
• Facts, subtleties, reasons, examples
• Information from the readings or class talks
• Paraphrases or short citations
• Statistics, surveys, rates, information from research studies.
• Personal experience, stories, accounts, models from your life Sometimes, including transitional or introductory expressions like: for instance, for example, first, second, or last can help direct the reader. Likewise, ensure you are referring to your sources properly.
Step 4: Give Your Paragraph Meaning
After you have given the reader enough data to see and comprehend your point, you have to clarify why this data is applicable, important, or interesting.
• What does the given data mean?
• How can it relate with your general point, contention, or postulation?
• Why is this data critical/noteworthy/significant?
• How does this data relate with the assignment or course I am taking?
Stage 5: Concluding the Paragraph
After describing your point with pertinent data, include a concluding sentence. Concluding sentences connect one section to the following and provide another tool for helping you guarantee your passage is bound together. While not all sections incorporate a closing sentence, you should always think about one which is suitable.
Concluding sentences have two critical jobs in paragraph writing:
➡ First, they draw together the data you have introduced to expound your controlling idea by
• Summarising the point(s) you have made.
• Repeating words or expressions from the topic sentence.
• Using linking words that demonstrate that ends are being drawn (e.g., therefore, consequently, resulting).
➡ Second, they frequently connect the present paragraph to the following passage. They may foresee the topic sentence of the following passage by:
• Introducing a word/expression or new idea which will at that point be gotten in the topic sentence of the following section.
• Using words or expressions that point ahead (e.g., the following, another, other).
Step 6: Look Over and Proofread
The last important step in the great paragraph is editing and correction. Before you present your composition, investigate your work at least one more time. Read your passage aloud so anyone can hear to ensure it makes sense well. Moreover, put forth these questions to yourself:
• Does my passage answer the prompt and bolster my assignment?
• Does it bode well? Does it use the appropriate scholarly voice?
Proofreading And Editing Strategies
Many students do not realise that the final stages of the writing process are proofreading and editing. Every task– a discussion board post, essay, proposal, etc. – should be reviewed and edited before it is submitted to the instructor. There are some revision and editing strategies that work well to guide you in this process:
➡ Take a break
Allow yourself some time to read and write. Even a five- minute break can be productive because it allows you to distance yourself from what you wrote so that you can return to your paper with a fresh eye and mind.
➡ Read out loud
When you read aloud what you have written by yourself, you can catch both grammatical errors and awkward organization or ideas.
➡ Involve other people
If you ask a friend or family member to read your paper, you will have a different view of your writing. A new reader can also help you to catch errors you may have overlooked.
➡ Run the check of the spell
The Microsoft Word Spell Check function can help you quickly detect spelling and grammar errors in the Word document. You can also use Grammarly to discover your mis takes.
CODER Technique For Paragraph Writing
Whenever a writer starts writing anything like a poem, a short story, a letter or an essay, s/he first plans what s/he will write, how s/he will organize the material, and how s/he will give to her/his ideas the shape of words, phrases, verses, sentences, etc. And finally, s/he checks the piece of writing for any errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, etc., and then rewrites that piece of writing without any error/s. These steps or stages in writing are referred to as CODER.
C: Stands for collecting ideas/ information about the topic.
O: Stands for ordering/organizing the ideas/ information collected about the
D: Stands for drafting i.e. writing the first draft from the collected ideas/information.
E: Stands for editing the first draft for errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, etc.
R: Stands for redrafting/ rewriting the first draft after editing has been done on it.
Thus following the CODER technique, a person can not only make a piece of writing readable and comprehensible for his reader/s, but also flawless in language.
But it is important to note that just as we learn to read by reading or we learn to speak by speaking, similarly, we learn to write by writing. That is to say that writing is an art which can be learnt only by practice. The CODER technique is therefore not a theoretical one but a practical one.
Let us now define a paragraph. A paragraph is a group of sentences elaborating a single thought or idea. The sentences are inter-connected. Each sentence tells something about the main thought or idea developed in the paragraph. The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines it as “a distinct section of a piece of writing, indicated by a new line, indentation, or numbering”.
In short, a paragraph is a compact piece of writing, complete in itself. It doesn’t deal with details. It is simple, direct, and effective.
KINDS OF PARAGRAPHS
Paragraphs may be classified as narrative, descriptive, imaginative, reflective, expository and argumentative. However, some paragraphs may partake the peculiarities of more than one class or type. For instance, a narrative paragraph may contain a good deal of description or an argumentative paragraph may contain a good deal of reflection. All these types are described in detail in the post viz Essay Writing
Read Also : Essay Writing
CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD PARAGRAPH
A good paragraph should have the following characteristics:
- Unity, i.e., it should deal with one main subject and all its parts should be
clearly related to the subject.
A good topical sentence i.e., a clear statement of the theme which generally comes at the beginning of the paragraph.
Coherence, i.e., it should have a logical sequence of thought.
A full and rounded final sentence at the end
1. Write a paragraph of 200 – 250 words on Mahatma Gandhi.
Let us write it by using the CODER technique.
Step 1: Collecting information about the topic.
Let us write whatever information we have in our memory about the topic in the following way :
a. Gandhiji’s full name was Mohan Dass Karam Chand Gandhi. (a)
b. He was born in Porbandar, India on Oct. 2, 1869. (c)
c. He was a shy type of boy, and it was because of this he couldn‘t make friends with other boys in school. (d)
d. He belonged to a highly respectable Hindu family. (b
e. At 18, he went to college but remained there for only part of the year because the lesson did not interest him and he did not do well. (f)
f. He was married at an early age of 13. (e)
g. Since he did not do well in college, so he was advised to go to England to study to be a lawyer, and he has gone to England, at the age of 18, leaving his wife and a child behind in India. (g)
h. After four years of study in England, Gandhi passed his law exams and returned to India in 1891. (h)
i. In India, Gandhiji finds his work as a lawyer, not at all interesting and would welcome a change. This change came when he was invited to go to South Africa to advise a rich Indian merchant there, and he went there. (i)
j. In Africa, he found that many Indians were treated badly, so he did much to improve their conditions during the time he spent there. (j)
k. He returned to India after three years at the beginning of the First World War to find himself already recognized as a leader because of his work in S.A. (k).
l. In India, he started non-cooperation and civil disobedience movements. (o)
m. He preached non-violence and truth. (m)
n. He worked for Hindu-Muslim unity and upliftment of the untouchables.
o. He worked hard to make India free from British rule. (l)
p. He succeeded in his mission and India become free in 1947, but Gandhi died a year later because he was shot by a fanatic Hindu who thought that Gandhi had done harm to the Hindus because he was friendly with the Muslims. (p)
q. Thus, Gandhi made India free; he is therefore rightly called the father of the nation (q).
Step 2: Ordering / organizing the collected information.
Let us now order or organize the above-collected information. It means that we have to write the above-collected information in a proper sequence or in a systematic arrangement. Here, in this case, we can easily follow the chronological order, i.e., we can write the events of Gandhi‘s life from his birth to death. If we re-write the information collected in Step 1, we will unnecessarily waste our time. Because we have to do the same thing in Step 3. So, in order to save our time and energy, let us re-number the sentences of Step 1 by writing a new number in brackets at the end of each sentence in Step 1.
Step 3: Drafting
Let us now write a rough draft from the information collected in Step 1.
It is important to note that here we can insert many changes to the information collected in Step 1. Mahatma Gandhi’s full name was Mohan Dass Karam Chand Gandhi. He belonged to (a) 1 highly respectable Hindu family. He was born on Oct 2, 1869, in Porbandar, India. He was a shy type of boy, (and) it was because of this that he could not make friends with other boys in School. He was married at an early age of 13. At the age of 18(,) he went to college (,) but remained there for only part of the year because the lesson(s) did not interest him and he did not do well in studies. Since Gandhi did not do well in college, he was adviced (advised) to go to England to study to be a lawyer. Accordingly, he has gone (went) to England at the age of 18, leaving his wife and (a) child behind in India. After four years of study in England, Gandhi passed his law examinations and returned to India in 1891. But in India, he find (found) his work as a lawyer, not at all interesting and would welcome (was looking for) a change. This change came when he was invited to go to South Africa to advice (give legal advice) to a rich Indian merchant there. (He accepted the offer) and went there. In Africa, he found that many Indians (living there) were treated badly, so he did much to improve their conditions during the time he (remained) there. (After three years, Gandhi returned to India at the beginning of the First World War and found) himself already recognized as a leader because of his work in South Africa. In India, he worked hard against British rule. He preached non-violence and truth and started non-co-operation (Non-Cooperation) and civil disobedience (Civil Disobedience) movement (Movements) against the Britishers. He also worked for Hindu-Muslim unity and for the upliftment of the untouchable (Untouchables). (Finally), Gandhi succeeded in his mission and India become (became) free from the British rule in 1947. But (,) he died a year later as he was shot dead by a fanatic Hindu who thought that Gandhi had done harm to the Hindus because he was friendly with the Muslims. Thus Gandhi made India free (;) he is, therefore, rightly called the father (Father) of the nation (Nation).
NOTE: The text in brackets at various places in this rough draft is the edited text of Step 4.
Step 4: Editing
Now edit the rough draft of Step 3. Don’t re-write the text of the rough draft but you can edit the text written in Step 3. As mentioned earlier, the text in brackets ( ) in Step 3 is the edited text.
Step 5: Re-Drafting/ re-writing
Let’s now re-write the text of Step 3 which now includes the changes done to it during editing:
Mahatma Gandhi’s full name was Mohan Dass Karam Chand Gandhi. He belonged to a highly respectable Hindu family. He was born on Oct 2, 1869, in Porbandar, India. He was a shy type of boy, and it was because of this that he could not make friends with other boys in school. He was married at an early age of 13. At the age of 18, he went to college but remained there for only part of the year because the lessons did not interest him and he did not do well in studies. Since Gandhi did not do well in college, he was advised to go to England to study to be a lawyer. Accordingly, he went to England at the age of 18, leaving his wife and a child behind in India. After four years of study in England, Gandhi passed his law examinations and returned to India in 1891. But in India, he found his work as a lawyer, not at all interesting and was looking for a change. This change came when he was invited to go to South Africa to give legal advice to a rich Indian merchant there. He accepted the offer and went there. In Africa, he found that many Indians living there were treated badly, so he did much to improve their conditions during the time he remained there. After three years, Gandhi returned to India at the beginning of the First World War and found himself already recognized as a leader because of his work in South Africa. In India, he worked hard against British rule. He preached non-violence and truth and started Non-Cooperation and Civil Disobedience Movements against the British rulers. He also worked for Hindu-Muslim unity and for the upliftment of the untouchables. Finally, Gandhi succeeded in his mission and India became free from the British rule in 1947. But, he died a year later as he was shot dead by a fanatic Hindu who thought that Gandhi had done harm to the Hindus because he was friendly with the Muslims. Thus Gandhi made India free; he is, therefore, rightly called the Father of the Nation.
Thus from the above, it becomes clear that we can write on any topic by using the CODER technique. But, as mentioned earlier, that writing is an art which can be learnt only by practice. So, if one wants to become a good writer, s/he has to write as much as s/he can.
Some Sample Paragraphs
Students and Social Service
The ideal of social service is held sacred in every religion. The service of fellow-men is the service of God. Service of others should be the motto of everyone. To infuse this spirit, social service should be made compulsory in schools and colleges. Students have unlimited vigour and vitality. They have a lot of time at their disposal. So they can be of great help in the field of social service. India is a country of villages. But our villages are still backward. Villagers suffer from hunger and disease. They live in ignorance. They suffer from many evils. So students can do a lot of social service in villages. As students have no worries about earning their livelihood and they have a lot of strength, energy, enthusiasm and time, so they can devote their time and energy to the villages. During their vacations, the students should set up camps in villages. They should study the conditions of the villagers and be friendly with them. Their first and foremost task should be to teach the villagers to keep their villages clean. They should also teach the villagers about other fields of lifelike health, first-aid, nursing of patients, etc. Not only that the students can also render help to many other social organizations in their social works. They can help the sufferers of an epidemic or famine-stricken area. They can also do something for the defence of their country. They can first get training in the first-aid, use of rifles, fire-fighting, air raid precautions, nursing, etc. and then teach the same to others, and also help the others through these skills. But unfortunately, the modern students don‘t like social service. They lead a dull and irresponsible life. They waste most of their time in frivolous activities. This is very pathetic.
Afforestation and its Uses
Afforestation means planting more and more trees. Trees are very important. They give us many amenities. If we want to live happily, we have to preserve our forests. It is time to remind ourselves of our dependence on the forest. Where would be the modern man without wood? Even the most cursory look at your surroundings in enough to show its importance. Most of the furniture, homes and offices are more or less made up of wood. Many tools like boxes, vessels, bridges and other implements are made up of wood. The benefits of trees are unlimited. Can you imagine life without paper? The life would be halted without paper which is also obtained from the trees. Not only this there are so many other useful things like medicines, rubber and wax which are a few out of limitless blessings obtained from the trees. Trees further bestow us firewood which is called the best friend of the poor. Above all, trees also protect our environment and make it beautiful. They maintain environmental balance and decorate our surroundings with lush greenery and keep it afresh.
Paragraph on Importance of Games
Games are very important for us. They are a part and parcel of our life. They have many advantages and lend interest and charm to our life. Life without games would be dull and unpleasant. Games are of different kinds. There are indoor games like Chess, Carom, Table Tennis, etc., and there are outdoor games like Cricket, Football, Baseball, Hockey, etc. They are necessary for health. They keep us physically fit for doing work. They give exercise to our limbs, regulate the circulation of blood in our body, promote digestion and keep the machine of our body going. They make us energetic, active and smart. They remove weakness and minor physical deformity. They are a means of recreation also. They refresh our mind. As it is said that a sound mind lives in a sound body. They keep us cheerful and happy. They too have a great educative value. They build character. They teach us discipline, co-operation and self-control. As it is said that the battle of Waterloo was won on the play-fields of Eton. They make us punctual and regular. A player has to reach the playground on time. Otherwise, he is out of the team. So he realizes the importance of punctuality. A player has to practice regularly if he doesn‘t want to lose his form. In doing that, he develops regularity of habits. They infuse in us the spirit of true sportsmanship. They teach us obedience and tolerance. They prevent us from wasting our time in ideal pursuits. They create in us goodwill and friendliness.