- 1 What is a paragraph? (with examples)
- 2 The“Perfect“Paragraph versus Reality
- 3 Indenting or Numbering Paragraphs
- 4 Why Should I Care About Paragraphs?
- 5 (Point 1 – a good tip) In business writing, use paragraph titles.
- 6 (Point 2 – a style convention) Use several“opening“quotation marks if your quotation covers more than one paragraph.
- 7 (Point 3 – an observation) Your online readers won’t read lengthy texts, so use your discretion to keep your paragraphs short.
- 8 Key Points
What is a paragraph? (with examples)
A paragraph is a distinct section of writing that covers a topic. A paragraph will usually contain more than one sentence. A typical paragraph will have 5-7 sentences, but this is not a rule. The length of a paragraph is determined by the topic and the content.
The“Perfect“Paragraph versus Reality
The paragraph“perfect“Begin with a topic sentence. It will have detailed sentences in the middle and will end with a final sentence. It will only cover one topic from start to finish.
However, sticking rigidly to this formula is not always advisable. Although the length of a paragraph is supposed to be determined by the topic, writers have learned to divide long texts into small paragraphs to avoid presenting too much text at one time. This is a justifiable technique that ensures readers are not overwhelmed. If you use this technique, look for a natural break in your long paragraph. In other words, don’t create a divide between two closely linked sentences, and avoid using pronouns in the second half that unclearly or ambiguously refer to nouns in the first half (called their antecedents).
Indenting or Numbering Paragraphs
A paragraph starts on a new line. Sometimes paragraphs are indented or numbered. (Whatever format you use, be consistent.)
A paragraph can be part of a text that informs people, describes something, criticizes something, compares things, persuades people, lists a process, presents an argument, offers a solution, or tells a story. The level of detail will vary from text to text, so there is no answer to the question“How long is a paragraph?“.
This diversity means that it is not always easy to determine what“a theme“when dividing the text into paragraphs. For example, you could have a single-topic paragraph describing Venus (with the next paragraph describing Mars), or a single-topic paragraph describing the hues of a sunset (with the next paragraph describing its reflection). at sea).
So what is a theme? That is another question that cannot be answered. Sometimes a paragraph will be an aspect of a theme, sometimes it will be a theme within a theme, sometimes it will be a theme within a plot…a narrative, a process, a comparison, whatever. Whatever the scope of your paragraph, it should be clearly outlined as an aspect. if you prefer“aspect“instead of“him“, do it.
Why Should I Care About Paragraphs?
There are three notable points related to paragraphs. One is good advice, one is a style convention, and one is an observation.
(Point 1 – a good tip) In business writing, use paragraph titles.
A good tip for business writing is to give each of your paragraphs a title that summarizes the content of the paragraph. This has two purposes. Firstly, it ensures that the topic of your paragraph is narrowly focused, and secondly, the title will help busy executives with cursory reading.
You could use a one-word title for your paragraph (eg Cost), but it wouldn’t be as helpful. Another helpful tip is to make up a paragraph heading in your head (ie don’t physically write it down) before you write. This is a helpful tip to make sure your paragraph covers a topic clearly.
(Point 2 – a style convention) Use several“opening“quotation marks if your quotation covers more than one paragraph.
When a quote contains multiple paragraphs (or is text with many new lines), a common convention is to use an opening quotation mark at the beginning of each paragraph (to remind your readers that they are still reading a quote) but only one closing quotation mark at the end of the last paragraph. Look at this example:
In 1912, the publisher Arthur C. Fifield sent Gertrude Stein the following rejection letter shortly after receiving her manuscript for The Making of Americans:
“I am only one, only one, only one. Only one being, one at the same time. Not two, not three, only one. Only one life to live, only sixty minutes in one hour. Only one pair of eyes. Only one brain. Only one being. Being only one, having only one pair of eyes, having only one time, having only one life, I cannot read your M.S. three or four times. Not even one time. Only one look, only one look is enough. Hardly one copy would sell here. Hardly one. Hardly one.
“Many thanks. I am returning the M.S. by registered post. Only one M.S. by one post.
“A. C. Fifield“
Note that only the last“paragraph“(in this case, the name) is given a closing quote.
(Point 3 – an observation) Your online readers won’t read lengthy texts, so use your discretion to keep your paragraphs short.
In print, long, uninterrupted text looks boring and daunting. On a screen, long, unbroken text looks doubly like this. Therefore, dividing a long text into short topics is essential to maintain the interest of the readers. If we are strict, each of your paragraphs must clearly encapsulate a topic, but, as we have mentioned, the definition of“him“is quite vague, and this often gives you leeway to play around with your paragraph. lengths
Yes, there is a one topic, one paragraph rule, but there is also a need to protect your readers from long texts. Strike a balance or lose your readers.
This sounds like a tip to play by the rules for writing a paragraph. Okay. This. If you’re not convinced that readers, particularly online readers, need a lot of“Blanks“, try to search in Google“the value of the blanks“.
- Keep your paragraphs clearly bound under one topic by using paragraph headings (even if those headings exist only in your head and not on paper).
- Insert opening quotation marks around each paragraph of a multi-paragraph quote. Close the quote with a closing quote at the end of the last paragraph.
- If you’re writing web content, keep your paragraphs short (even if that means bending the one-topic, one-paragraph rule).