You know by now that in a 5-paragraph essay, you need to have an introduction, 3 body paragraphs and a conclusion. You also know that in each of the body paragraphs, you need to have the topic sentence, supporting details and closing sentence. There are ways to write good body paragraphs, so in this lesson, you are going to learn how to write a paragraph. After this lesson, you should be able to write all the 3 body paragraphs of your essay.

You have already learnt in the previous lesson the writing process. It gives you an idea of what it takes to write an essay. In this lesson, you will start writing a paragraph, but before that, let’s take a look at what a paragraph entails:

Tips on Writing a Good Paragraph

A good paragraph must have the following characteristics:

  • Unity
  • Coherence
  • Good opening statement / topic sentence

(a) Unity

It means that all the sentences refer to the main idea, or the topic of the paragraph. Here is bad example which you should not follow:

Description of My House

  • I live in a beautiful house with my family. We have two bedrooms and a living room. We have a garden and we have some flowers there. In weekdays I arrive home at five o’clock and I have lunch. Then I do my homework and go to bed. I had a computer but now it doesn’t work. I have a brother and a sister and I think I am very lucky to live with them. Sometimes our relatives visit us. Our flat becomes very crowded sometimes but I like it.

In the example above, how many sentences actually describe your house? Two.

  1. We have two bedrooms and a living room.
  2. We have a garden and we have some flowers there.

All other sentences are NOT RELATED to the main idea.  However, if the topic of the paragraph is changed to “My Life at Home”, then the sentences become more related.

(b) Coherence

It means that the sentences should be organized in a logical manner and should follow a definite plan of development. Here’s an example of an incoherent paragraph:

  • I live in a house in Melaka. It isn’t old or modern. It’s a normal Malaysian house. We can say it is near the sea. It takes about 10 minutes to go to the sea side on foot. We have one bedroom, one living room. We also have two other rooms, too. We use them as a dining room. Naturally, we have a kitchen, a bathroom, and a toilet. I live with my parents. In addition, our house has a little garden; my parents spend their time there to grow vegetables and fruit.

First, let’s see the order of the ideas:

  1. Where the house is ….(in Melaka)
  2. Type of the house ….(normal Malaysian house)
  3. The location …. (near the sea)
  4. The rooms in the house …. (one bedroom, one living room)
  5. The fact that he lives with his parents
  6. The garden

Thus, you notice that “I live with my parents” appears to interrupt the description of the house. It does not tell you about the house. Therefore, take that sentence out of the paragraph. Here is a BETTER version of that paragraph:

  • I live in a house in Melaka. It isn’t old or modern; it is a normal Malaysian house. It is near the sea; it takes about ten minutes to go to the seaside. In the house, there are two bedrooms, one living room and two other rooms that we use as dining rooms. Naturally, we have a kitchen, a bathroom, a toilet, and a little garden. My parents spend their time growing vegetables and fruit there.

(c) A good opening statement

Each of the body paragraph must begin with a good statement. It is inappropriate to start a paragraph by saying “One of the reasons is….” and so on. A new paragraph must contain a new topic sentence that tells the reader what the whole paragraph is about. That means each body paragraph must have a topic sentence as the first sentence of the paragraph.


Posted on July 20, 2009, in Writing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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