Writing

Subtitle

Writing Paragraphs

WHAT IS A PARAGRAPH?
WHY USE PARAGRAPHS?
HOW IS A PARAGRAPH STRUCTURED?
HOW DO YOU WRITE A PARAGRAPH?
HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR PARAGRAPHS FLOW?

                          Writing a paragraph is not a natural skill, but learned skill. Anyone can learn!

                          Simply follow the structure below.

WHAT IS A PARAGRAPH?

A paragraph usually contains a general idea in one sentence, and 4 - 5 supporting sentences which expand this idea by giving explanation, details and/or examples to support the main idea. Length can vary.

On the page, the paragraph is a solid block of writing (like this!) To start a new paragraph, you should leave a whole line and start at the beginning of the line after. You can indent - if handwriting (start about 2 cm from the left), but this is not necessary if you have left a line.

WHY USE PARAGRAPHS?

Paragraphs are used to separate main ideas. A new paragraph signals to the reader that a new idea is about to be discussed. The break between paragraphs gives the reader time to take in each idea

HOW IS A PARAGRAPH STRUCTURED?

There is no one correct structure. However, a useful structure is:

1. Topic Sentence

    

This is the first sentence and it expresses the main idea.

2. Supporting Sentences

 

details that expand your main idea.

3. Concluding Sentence

 

a rounding off, possibly by summarizing what has been said or drawing a logical conclusion from it.

(Note that in a piece of writing which is longer than one paragraph you should leave your conclusion to the very end!)

Another way of explaining the 3 parts of a paragraph is to describe these parts like this:

1. 

Say what you are going to say.

2. 

Say it.

3. 

Say what you've said!

CHECK YOUR UNDERSTANDING of paragraph structure.

Choose which of the following sentences is the topic sentence for a planned paragraph about Australian Government.
(Click on A, B, C or D)

A:The Commonwealth Government looks after areas of national importance.

B; There are three levels of government in Australia.

C: Local concerns, such as suburban streets and garbage services are looked after by Local Government.

D: The State Government's responsibilities include hospitals, schools and state police forces.

HOW DO YOU WRITE A PARAGRAPH?

Planning is essential. Even in situations where time is limited, you should plan by briefly noting your points.

A plan can look like this:

When you are planning, Jot down Just enough to remind you of your points.

Number your points so that when you write you know what order you are going to write them in.

WRITING...

For an assessment task, you will probably need to

 

Write one draft from your plan,

 

 

then make corrections (edit your draft)

 

 

then rewrite it.

 

Even professional writers do this!

Sample of the finished paragraph:

There are three levels of government in Australia. The Commonwealth looks after areas of national importance such as postal services, foreign affairs, and collecting and distributing taxes. It also supervises the armed forces. The State Governments' responsibilities include hospitals, schools and the state police forces. Local concerns, such as suburban streets and garbage services, are looked after by Local Government. So, in general, the responsibilities of each level of government are appropriate to the geographical area it serves.

HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR PARAGRAPHS FLOW?

Sometimes writing sounds jerky when read. You can make your paragraph more flowing by:

1. 

Using linking words and phrases such as: also, as well as, firstly, next, then, finally, so thus, as a result, because, therefore, for example, for instance, in contrast, on the other hand.

2. 

Using pronouns: Once mentioned, Jack Smith can become he, Dr. Susan Brown can be she, and the community can be called it, - as long as the meaning is clear.

3. 

Starting sentences in different ways. For example:

 

Draft sentence:
"In Australia, there are three levels of government"

 Instead, you could write...
"Government in Australia is on three different levels"

 or...
"There are three different levels of government in Australia."

Warning! Of course, the focus of the sentence may change if you start a different wall - be sure it is what you want!

FINALLY...

The paragraph is basic to most writing styles. It is worth spending some time getting it right.

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