Paragraphs are a powerful tool for writers. Use them correctly and you can make your writing memorable and easy to understand. Use them incorrectly and you could make your readers feel bored or confused.
Most of us already know that the general rule for forming paragraphs is that each one should contain one idea or point. However, there are lots of other things you need to know about writing in paragraphs. Here are five facts that will help you write effective paragraphs in English.
There is no ‘perfect’ length for a paragraph. Depending on the style of writing, you may want to use shorter or longer paragraphs. Sometimes, in fiction writing, a paragraph can be as short as one sentence. For essays, paragraphs are often longer. People usually say 3-5 sentences is the best length, though.
Good essay paragraphs contain a topic sentence. This usually the first sentence of the paragraph and explains the main idea of the paragraph while encouraging the reader to read more by not giving too much away.
You can use discourse markers at the beginning of paragraphs to help readers understand the function. For example, if a paragraph starts ‘In summary’, we all know that the paragraph is going to summarise some previous ideas or information.
Repetition within a paragraph can help it sound more coherent. Repeating key words and phrases or reusing the same grammatical structure can add emphasis to a point you are making in a paragraph.
Repetition between paragraphs can make a powerful impact. It helps drill an idea into the reader’s mind. Don’t overuse this technique, though or it will lose its effect.
(Plus a special bonus tip:)
Repetition is usually best in threes. Three is the magic number for repetition and dramatic effect so make good use of it. For example: ‘Friends, Romans, countrymen…’
Now you’ve learned a few helpful tips for writing paragraphs that you can use to improve your written English. Why not write a short paragraph in the comments section below to try out some of these ideas?