is a paragraph?
paragraph is a short piece of writing about a single topic.
stand alone paragraph is made up of three sections:
Topic Sentence: states the topic and your view about the topic
Supporting Sentences: provide support for your topic sentences
Concluding Sentence: brings the paragraph to a close
in mind that a paragraph is about a single topic. Paragraphs can
stand on their own, or a number of paragraphs can be connected to
develop an essay.
is no fixed length for a paragraph, but in order to develop
sufficient support for your topic sentence, you will generally have
to write between five and ten sentences for a stand alone paragraph.
a sample paragraph:
Keys to Physical Fitness
Many people are unrealistic about what it takes to become
physically fit. They
try fad diets, infomercial exercise programs and miracle fat burning
supplements without success while ignoring the real steps to
fitness. The first step
is strength training. Strength
training builds muscle which helps increase energy levels and
improve posture. In
addition to building muscle strength through strength training,
regular cardiovascular exercise such as running, walking or cycling
is essential. Cardiovascular
training burns fat and strengthens the heart.
But regular exercise will only be effective if people pay
attention to diet and nutrition.
A diet that avoids sugars, junk foods, and high fat meals and
is high in fruits, grains and low fat meats will provide the body
with the energy it needs without weight gain. As much as we might
wish it, the "secret" of physical fitness can't be found
in a bottle. It's a matter of regular exercise and good eating
that the writer expresses a view point on physical fitness--that many
people have unrealistic ideas about how to become fit. The rest of the paragraph goes on to explain the only
realistic way to become physically fit.
topic sentence should be more than just a factual statement about your
topic. It also should
contain your view or your particular slant on the topic.
For example: Many teenagers play video games is simply a
statement of fact and brings nothing new, interesting or
controversial to the subject. A
topic sentence such as Teenagers learn many important skills by
playing video games, however, makes a point that prepares the reader
for an argument. As you explore topics that you are interested in,
look for ideas about your topic, not just statements of fact or
are some examples:
Professional athletes' salaries.
sentence: In spite of their great skills and talents, professional
athletes are overpaid.
sentence: Learning how to deal with stress is an essential survival
sentence: SUV's are unnecessary vehicles promoted by the car
companies to increase their profits.
Pets and kids
sentence: Owning a pet
can be an important part of a child's learning experience.
Broad and Narrow
we are deciding on a topic to write about we have to think about
whether the topic is appropriate for a paragraph.
Will we have enough points to back up our topic sentence or
is the topic more suitable for an essay or even a book?
We refer to topics that are very limited as being too narrow
and topics that seem to have almost no limit as being too broad.
topics like "The Effects of Smoking" would be appropriate
for paragraph, an essay or even a book depending on the level of
detail the writer wishes to include. "Basic Car Repair" is
clearly best covered in a book, while a paragraph could cover
"How to Change Your Oil".
topic is likely too narrow if you can't come up with enough ideas to
support it or it looks at just one detail.
topic is likely too broad if you seem to have so many points that
you can't seem to organize them effectively.
are some examples of broad and narrow topics and some suggestions
for adapting them into more manageable writing topics.
Keep in mind that a person's knowledge of a particular
subject can determine whether the topic is too broad or narrow.
Young people today face many challenges in their lives.
focused : Dealing with peer pressure is the biggest challenge young
people face today.
Growing car ownership has caused many problems.
focused: Our cities are becoming noisy, congested and polluted
because everybody wants to drive a car.
Dogs can be very entertaining.
focused: A dog can play
an important role in a single person's life.
Aerobic exercise is essential for fitness.
focused: A complete
exercise routine includes aerobic training, muscle building and
of a Paragraph
States the topic of the paragraph
Makes a point about the topic
Usually, but not always, at the beginning of the paragraph
Points 1, 2, 3, or more
Each supporting point provides details to explain and support the
Supporting points can include facts, details, examples, and personal
views-whatever supports the topic sentence
Each separate supporting point may be one or two sentences
- Bring(s) the paragraph to a close by referring to but not
repeating word-for-word the point made in the topic sentence.
to what many out of shape people may think, exercise is not a waste
of all, exercise conditions and strengthens the body's most
important muscle, the heart. A stronger heart provides increased
energy and stamina.
also changes the way people look.
Muscle tone develops and posture improves as the body becomes
people look better and feel better, their self esteem increases and
they feel more confident.
the fitness gained through exercise helps fight off illness and
Exercise is not just for kids and athletes. Following a
regular exercise routine pays off, both physically and mentally.