of development are patterns of organization that writers use to
their ideas about a topic. Although
a lot of writing you will come across
not rely solely on one method of development, an understanding of
will help you organize your ideas and get you writing more quickly.
a Method of Development
understanding of different methods of development and when to use
them can save
valuable time in starting and organizing your essay. Many, if not most, essays by
writers will contain elements of several types of development.
A piece in
travel section of a newspaper could include narration, description,
classification, and illustration or example.
A typical article on new cars in the
section will likely be developed using both a classification and
compare and contrast
Take some time to decide what you want to say and then decide
of development will be the most effective in presenting your ideas.
to slavishly adhere to a single form of development. Think of methods of
as writing tools to help you organize and focus your writing.
common methods of development with some tips on how to organize and
narrative paragraph or essay:
when writing a narrative paragraph you will usually relate events in
which they occurred. Your
topic sentence should identify the situation or event and
the reader for a story. An
effective narrative is more than just a chronological
through of the things that happen to you in a typical day.
It should contain some
of drama and tension.
can write an engaging narrative about topics like
your wallet, discovering that a friend has lied to you, or finding
or getting fired
your first job. Keep in
mind that in a narrative essay your readers are not looking
information; they are looking for some dramatic interest or conflict
in your story.
want to be entertained or emotionally engaged.
narratives are written from the first person (the "I")
point of view as in the
morning of my big job interview started like any other. I awoke with
sleep under my belt determined and confident in getting a new job as
Williams Moving and Storage. The night before the interview, I
practiced moving the
from one end of the house to the other.
My roommates thought I was crazy.
from bed, I felt stronger, like a rodeo bull waiting to get out of
his cage. Sitting
the kitchen table eating my Wheaties, I started looking at the
furniture around me in a
light. The hide-a-bed in the living room was a 300 pound
and closing snapping at me. Looking out onto the covered patio, the
was floating, almost drifting by itself to the front door.
Then and there I knew
moving furniture was my calling.
Walking to the front door, I gave the hide-a-bed a
(also called how to, time order, process analysis)
process paragraph or essay:
writing need not be limited to concrete practical subjects such as
or installing drywall. A
process paragraph or essay might tell you how to plan
budget holiday, prepare for final exams, get a deal on a used car,
or revive a sputtering
Pick a subject you know about and explain the process in
all the information your reader would need in order to follow your
topics like how to tie your shoes or how to bake an apple pie which
are unlikely to
a reader. If you work
out regularly, you might write about the steps to improved
fitness. If you fish,
you might offer advice on how to prepare yourself for a
trip. Write about what you know, and search for a unique slant on
essays that give instructions are most often written in the second
the reader directly as you, but recall that there is an implied you
sentences. For example
in the sentence, "Remove the lid.", the subject you is
but not directly stated. Note
how the reader is addressed and how the steps
organized in the following process paragraphs.
Process Paragraph 1
Being able to ollie on a skateboard—jumping in such a way that the
sticks to your feet—is not as hard as most people
think, as long as you learn some basic
The first step is the positioning of your feet. Your back
foot should be on the tail
of your board. Meanwhile,
your front foot should be just behind the screws of the front
(wheels). You should be standing mostly on your toes, with your heel
pointed outwards. Once
your feet are in proper position, start to bend your knees to
ninety degrees and prepare to jump.
There are three things you now
need—the three C's: comfort, control, and confidence.
Without these you will be eating
a lot of pavement. Now
kick down and back with your back foot so that the board pops
the air. Immediately
afterward, slide the front foot up towards the nose to level out
board. Finally, bend
your knees again and prepare for impact. The only step
is practice and lots of it. So,
if doing an ollie doesn't sound so tough, wait
actually try one.
Process Paragraph 2
a great looking chest is easier than most people think.
It starts with a few
steps. First, begin
with a flat bench press. Start with approximately 60% of your
weight. While lying on
your back on the bench, grab the bar firmly with both hands
they line up with the ends of your shoulders.
Push the bar up to release it form the
and extend your arms. Avoid
fully locking your arms. Then,
bring the bar down
until it touches your chest. Push
the bar back up at twice the speed it was brought
Do ten repetitions and then take a two-minute rest.
This completes one set.
weight if needed and
complete three more sets. Within
several weeks, your chest
will increase dramatically in size and you'll be ready for the
classification paragraph or essay:
we may not think about it much, we are constantly classifying things
them into types, groups or categories. By classifying things, we
the distinct qualities of two subjects in the same general group. If
for a new bicycle, we have probably gone through a process of
we want a road bike, a mountain bike, or a hybrid bike?
By breaking down the larger
of bikes into different types of bikes, we are better able to
understand the key
of different types of bikes and choose the type that best suits our
your classification paragraph or essay by breaking down your subject
into at least
distinct groups or categories.
Examples: types of parenting styles could include
liberal, and permissive; types of video games could include
and shoot-em-up; types of dogs could include family pets, show dogs,
dogs. However you break
down your topic you should identify the basis for the
What are the qualities that distinguish each of your
If you are
drivers you might group them into reckless, sensible, and overly
basis for classification then would be how they drive. You might
point to some
examples to illustrate some of their driving behaviours and you
might make the
between driving styles and personality.
how the writer in "Tattoo You" has used classification to
provide a humorous
of annoying clientele in her tattoo studio.
worked in a tattoo studio for the past year, I have come to
of annoying customers that invariably stroll through the door.
The first is the Time
Generally the Time Waster is not serious about getting a
tattoo now, or probably
but nevertheless is hell-bent on wasting the artist's time with a
barrage of inane
They often talk big and have grandiose plans for the ultimate
it comes time to put down a deposit for the work, they suddenly say
sounds great. I'll be
back in six months when my next student loan comes in."
the artist has started drawing the design while three serious
clients went to
less "busy" studio. The
next type of annoying client is the Know-it-all.
usually have a friend with a tattoo, or maybe even a small one
consider themselves to be experts on the subject. They contradict
the artist on
and insist on using words they've heard in a movie because they
them sound in the know. What
they don't realize, however, is that those in the
would never use a word like "tatty" to describe the art.
Finishing up the list of
of annoying tattoo studio customers is the Bargain Hunter.
The Bargain Hunters
believe that when having a design committed to their skin for life,
price is the top priority. Bargain
Hunters often have a "buddy" from some
source—like their kitchen table—who "would do it much
these people don't seem to realize is that tattooing is a serious
art form that artists
their lives to learning and executing.
A little respect and some manners would
division paragraph or essay:
is sometimes confused with classification, but it works a little
if you were classifying restaurants, you might group them into fast
and gourmet. Approaching
the subject of restaurants with a view to developing
essay through division, you would look at the qualities or the parts
of a good
such as food, service and atmosphere.
In a division essay you identify and
the essential qualities that make up the whole. What are the qualities of the ideal
job or friend? For some, the characteristics of the ideal city might
include a pleasant
an attractive physical setting, and an active cultural scene, while
for others ideal
might include an active night life, cheap rents, good beaches, and a
of single young people. Your
ideal job might directly use your education and
present constant new challenges, and allow you to work
independently. An ideal
would be loyal, fun to be with, and mentally stimulating.
You can use the same
for any number of topics. Once
you have defined the essential parts, you have
basic structure of your essay laid out.
essay about what makes a great action movie could be organized
effectively using a
introduction could point out that in order for an action movie to be
three elements—acting, screenplay, and special effects—must be
well together. Each of
your body paragraphs would focus on one of these elements.
continues to produce a constant stream of expensive, big effects
but most of these lack the ingredients of a great film. For a start,
any film worth
needs good actors who can deliver their lines convincingly.
of many muscle bound heroes have sunk many an action film.
films today need to have truly spectacular special effects.
But these need to be
developed, rather than just featuring an endless series of
and battles. The last
and probably most important ingredient is a convincing
If the audience can't buy into the story, neither Arnold nor
the Lucas Film
Effects Team can save the film. Yet, when a good story is supported
and dazzling special effects, we can't help but be seduced by the
comparison and contrast paragraph or essay:
our daily lives we constantly make comparisons. We compare breakfast serials, TV
teachers, music, girlfriends and boyfriends, jobs, etc.
In fact we compare almost
to something else. Then
we make choices about what we like or don't like
about what we want or definitely don't want.
We often don't give much thought as
how we are making these comparisons, but usually there is an
comparisons carefully, we can make can make better choices.
For example, if we
looking for a new computer we will probably look at several
and then make our decision. We
may compare on the basis of price, features,
reputation, and service quality. Once we have weighed all these
what model to buy and where to buy it.
We've all been through this process, but
have we had to write about it. Writing out our thoughts not only
helps us better
the reasons for making a decision, but can help others make more
comparison and contrast composition is a formal way of organizing
our thoughts. It
the differences and similarities between two subjects and helps us
to understand their advantages and disadvantages, or strengths and
we're looking for an apartment, we compare and contrast the cost,
size, location, and
of various apartments before we make a choice.
When you really think about
most consumerism is one big exercise in comparison and contrast.
When purchasing a
a toaster, a computer, or even a bottle of shampoo, most people
models, or manufacturers.
compare two subjects, you first have to decide what the basis of
your comparison is.
comparing two cars you are thinking about buying, you might look at
record, performance, standard features, and comfort. When you have
your comparison you can make a more informed choice.
good way to begin organizing a comparison and contrast paragraph is
by dividing your
into two columns and writing the name of your two points of
comparison at the top
each column. The Divide
and List approach will make it easier to decide upon the
pattern that will work best for your paragraph.
Suppose you want to
the advantages and disadvantages of commuting by bus rather than by
general title of "Transportation Choices". Place a title at the top of the page and
the page into two columns, one for car and one for bus.
No schedules, go when you want
Go door to door
Can carry groceries, kids, dogs, etc.
Comfortable seats, private
Can listen to radio, drink coffee
High environmental impact
Lower environmental impact
table above shows the key points of comparison as well as supporting
ideas for each
Note the basis of comparison is cost, convenience, comfort, and
These points will help you organize your paragraph.
Between the Block Method and the Point-by-Point Method
are two basic approaches to organizing a comparison and contrast
essay: the point-
method and the block method (also called the subject-by-subject
point-by-point method you look at one aspect of your comparison at a
time and relate
to the two subjects you are comparing. The examples below show the
the point-by-point and block method in a paragraph comparing car
and Contrast using Point-by-Point Method
faced with the choice of driving their own car or using the bus, the
North Americans opt for cars. They
are not put off by the fact that owning and
a car is expensive when compared to the cost of monthly or annual
most cities. In
addition to the initial cost of a car there is gas, repairs,
which add up to thousands a year while a typical bus pass is about
$50 a month.
most people are willing to pay this price for the convenience of
owning a car. They
the freedom of coming and going according to their own whims. They
willing to put up with waiting for buses that stop far from their
homes and are often
with unkempt strangers. Cars
are comfortable and personal spaces, in contrast to
grungy and impersonal feeling of many buses.
But as they motor happily along, few
owners even think about what their personal vehicle use is doing to
they know that a loaded bus creates much less pollution per person
than a car?
until there is a huge change in the attitude of car owners towards
transit, cars will continue to rule the roads and our environment
and our cities will
the block method, you deal with the points of comparison relating to
one subject, and
a transition move on to your next subject.
Method Paragraph Organization:
and Contrast Using the Block Method
Americans clearly prefer driving their own cars to using public
ways, the desire to own a car is easy to understand. True, cars are
expensive to buy
run. Car payments, gas, insurance, and repairs can cost thousands
per year. But
love the convenience of cars that they see as an expression of
provide a comfortable small personal space in which people can drink
to music. Most car
owners give little thought to the damage to the environment all
cars are doing even as they sit in traffic complaining about too
many cars on the
Unlike car owners, bus riders are prepared to make some
sacrifices to save money.
schedules are not always convenient and buses don't take you to your
on a jerky bus is no fun either.
Riders can, however, take some small pleasure
the knowledge that using a bus is the environmentally responsible
way to get around
Unfortunately, until there is a huge change in the attitude
of car owners towards
public transit, cars will continue to rule the roads and our
environment and our
will pay the price.
Comparison and Contrast Paragraph 2
by Point Method
Engine Oils: Worth the Price?
Drivers who want the best protection for their engines will
find that synthetic oil
several advantages over conventional oil.
First of all, it's better year round.
oil flows freely at all temperatures and circulates immediately at
oil thickens at low temperatures and takes time to warm up.
Synthetic oil is
more stable at high temperatures, making it more dependable in hot
synthetic oil is much cleaner than conventional oil. It contains the finest
rust inhibitors, and other additives that reduce friction and make
smoother and cleaner. Third,
and perhaps most important, is that synthetic oil lasts
Conventional oil must be changed every three months or 5000
synthetic oil can last up to six times longer.
Only the filter has to be changed
this period of time. Even
though synthetic oil is much more expensive, it's worth
extra cost if you value the life and performance of your engine.
explains the reasons (causes) why something happened
describes the results (effects) of an event, action, or
are many times when you are asked to examine a cause and effect
we visit a doctor, the doctor usually questions us carefully to
determine the cause
our illness. Causes are
the reasons that something happened; the causes of pollution,
heart disease, anorexia, etc., can be identified and presented so
that the reader
a better knowledge of how the causes brought about certain results.
we think of effects, we often think of benefits or advantages such
as the benefits of
or the advantages of self-employment.
Or we could look at the negative effects
a cause such as divorce, alcoholism, or global warming.
in a paragraph or
essay, it is better to deal with either causes or effects.
you start writing, you should be clear on whether you will be
dealing mostly with
or effects. We often
examine causes so that we can learn how to prevent things
happening again. Researchers
look at causes of heart disease so that they can
people on how to avoid behaviours such as high fat diets and
contribute to heart disease. We
may focus on effects to convince someone that
a vegetarian for example—is a good idea because of the health
In a paragraph focusing on effects you should clearly
indicate the cause—an
for example—and then spend the rest of the paragraph detailing and
the specific effects. these might include damage to buildings,
and mass psychological trauma.
In a paragraph focusing on cause, state the effect
result) in your opening and then go on to explain why this result
came about. For
in a paragraph on divorce or marriage breakdown you might look at
incompatibility, infidelity, substance abuse, and neglect among
Cause and Effect Paragraph:
on the Cause
Misuse of Credit Cards
While credit cards are convenient and easy to use, the misuse
of credit cards can
to serious problems. Today,
many consumers are spending beyond their ability to
This often leads to serious financial difficulties or even
personal bankruptcy. One
the reasons for consumer over-spending is aggressive promotion by
Fancy commercials and advertisements are everywhere and they
that using credit cards is easy and trendy and gives people class.
low introductory rates and other benefits.
Instead of worrying about payment
high interest rates, card users tend to get carried away and find
in fulfilling their desires. Incredibly,
many people seem unaware that credit
are not free; people may not feel like they are spending money, but
debts that have to be paid. They
often lose track of how much they are spending.
And they don't realize how quickly many little purchases can add up until
they receive their
credit card bill. To
avoid problems with credit card debt, people need to become
in personal financial management.
Unfortunately, this kind of information isn't
easily available to consumers as credit card advertisements that
promote the freedom
benefits of credit card use.
Cause and Effect Paragraph:
on the Effects
Drugs Can Destroy People's Lives
addiction is a serious health issue that affects addicts, their
First of all, drug addiction has severe physical effects on the
addict's body. Drug
can experience many physical symptoms including sickness, fevers,
loss of appetite, and weight loss.
They also face the danger of contracting serious
such as AIDS, hepatitis, and other communicable diseases, not to
of overdose. Families
and friends of drug addicts are inevitably also affected by their
Addiction can lead to serious financial problems, loss of trust, and
breakup and divorce. Society
as well pays a cost: crime rates go up, and more
and hospital care is needed which are all paid for by taxpayers.
a destructive way to live. Maybe more would be done about it if it
were looked at not
as a problem that addicts face alone, but as something that affects
society as a whole.
(also called Illustration)
example paragraph or essay:
article about growing violence in kids' sports might include several
how violence has gotten out of hand in some situations.
An essay about the
of drinking and driving could be made stronger by including several
results of drinking and driving.
Today, men and women of all ages undergo surgery to achieve
the looks they
Cosmetic surgery is so common that to some it is a lifestyle.
Some of the most
procedures are breast implants, liposuction, facelifts, and hair
many prefer fuller, bigger breasts, a good number of women from all
undergo the painful and costly procedure of breast implants.
Even though the risks
well known, many still take their chances.
And what goes better with bigger breasts
a flat abdomen? Liposuction
is a quick fix for those who find good diet and exercise
and time consuming. Another
popular procedure for both men and women is
surgical facelift. This
process promises men and women a younger and fresher look.
men who are worried about baldness, there is hair replacement.
Thanks to medical
men can avoid the harsh reality of balding by undergoing a long
procedure. Many value
plastic surgery even though it's costly and can have a
of negative side effects. In
spite of the many plastic surgery disasters, those
with having the perfect face and body will keep the business alive
descriptive paragraph or essay:
a narrative writing, descriptive writing does not tell a story but
rather tries to
a clear impression of what something is like.
Effective descriptive writing relies
specific words and phrases that create a clear picture in the
reader's mind. Describing
house as unusual looking doesn't help the reader visualize the
house. However, if you
the lime green paint and fake Greek columns, the reader will start
to form a mental
words like interesting, nice, great, etc. which reveal nothing about
the real nature
the topic. Look for
specific words to describe sights, sounds, smells and both physical
emotional feelings. Try
to make your reader see and feel the object or situation you
these two sentences:
came from the car as it drove by.
volume Led Zepplin screamed from the old Camaro as it sped by.
second version provides specific details about the music and the car
that help the reader
picture the scene more
for a pattern to help you organize your description. When describing a room you
talk about the size and shape of the room, and then about the
furniture, and then
the possessions of the occupant. When describing people you could
look at their
their general body type, and their facial features. In a descriptive essay about a
you might deal with personality, physical features, and lifestyle as
a way of
brainstorming or making a list for descriptive writing, look at your
list of points
try to find ways to make them more specific.
example: A pile of junk becomes a pile of worn out shoes, broken
cracked ski goggles.
My first apartment was a third floor walk-up on a busy street
The building was a faded brown characterless box.
My apartment was down
dimly-lit narrow hallway covered in worn fifties style dark green
carpeting. When I say
I really mean room, because there was just one small square room
with a tiny
The air was humid and musty.
One small window provided a perfect view of
brown stucco wall of the building next door. A small
"avocado" coloured stove and
highlighted the kitchen which consisted of a few shabby painted wood
projected into the room. Along one wall was an older pale blue sofa,
which was also
bed. A small red card table with two chairs served as my kitchen and
A few feet away, several large cardboard moving boxes
contained all of my
and personal possessions. The one bright spot was a large poster of
scene which I had hung on the dull gray wall. It helped me survive
I called this dump home.
(also called Argument)
persuasive writing you take a clear position and then present
evidence to support your
If, for example, you believe that the penalties for drinking
and driving are too
then your basic organization might look something like this:
Penalties for drinking and driving are too light
to support your argument:
people should be responsible for their actions when they
cars are weapons in the hands of a drunk driver—drunk
driving is a form of
all situations involving drunk drivers have the potential for
drunk drivers responsible for most accidents
drunk drivers often get a slap on the wrist while victims
suffer for a long time
stiff penalties would reduce drunk driving
other drivers pay through increased insurance costs
to Get Tough with Drunk Drivers
time for the courts to crack down on drunk drivers. Often even repeat
get small fines when caught driving with alcohol levels above the
drunk driving is a serious crime and should be treated as such.
Drunk drivers cause
serious accidents, but all situations involving drunk drivers have
the potential for
consequences. Drunk drivers threaten the safety of everyone on the
road; cars are
and drunk driving is a form of assault.
People should be responsible for their
and if they choose to drink and drive then they should pay the
price. Often the
of accidents caused by drunk drivers suffer long after these drivers
debt to society". The
law should be changed so that all cases of drinking and
would result in jail time and vehicles would be confiscated.
Then perhaps more
would think twice about drinking and driving.
of Developing Paragraphs and Essays:
A Quick Reference
you begin writing think about your purpose.
Are you trying to explain how an
happened, give someone tips on how to buy a used car, point out the
two friends, or argue for stronger penalties for impaired drivers?
method of development is best for making your points. The methods of
listed below provide approaches to help you arrange your ideas
To entertain or amuse
To tell how something
Begin with a clear idea of what the main point of
Provide clear descriptive details of character and
to help the reader visualize the events
Stick with your main story line
Relate the events in the order they happened
provide instructions for
explain how something
Your topic sentence or thesis should make it
what you are going to explain. Example:
a good used car involves researching
models, knowing where to find good
and getting a thorough mechanical
Present steps in logical or chronological order
Use a variety of transitions to move smoothly
give reasons why
Show the results of some
Decide whether you are going to deal with cause
effect and make this clear in your
If you are explaining why something happened
the reasons for you are
looking at the causes
If you are looking at the results of some action
event, then you are focusing on effects
To show the differences
Decide on a pattern to use to make your
point-by-point or subject-by-
Choose two things that you can reasonably
e.g., professional and amateur sports
boxing and lawn bowling
Make sure the comparison offers a unique slant
the differences or similarities.
To explain something by
it into types,
Make sure the categories you are grouping are of
equal value. For Example:
Types of athletes: pros, competitive amateurs,
To explain the
Look for the qualities that something is made up
of the qualities your ideal of something—
great athlete, city, leader, teacher, etc.—would
A great restaurant will have delicious
a distinct atmosphere and professional
Use examples to support
point you are making
Back up your point with specific examples or
that illustrate or provide evidence for
topic sentence or thesis
Example: Although the US is an economic giant,
is still the world leader in automobiles,
electronics, and robotics.
To create a clear
in the reader's
of a person, place,
Try to give the reader a clear impression of the
place, thing, or situation you are
Appeal to the senses—consider how something
smells, tastes, feels, and sounds.
To argue for or against an
Decide on your approach: Make your position
at the beginning and then spend the rest of
paragraph or essay providing support for
Recognize the other side of the argument, then
it down. e.g., Sure professional athletes
skilled and talented, but why should a
rate defenseman earn more than a brain