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					Writing Effective Paragraphs

   A Learning Enhancement
      Center Workshop
This workshop is designed to give
students a better understanding of
     the basic structure of the
 We will cover the structure of a
   paragraph including the topic
sentence, support sentences, and
strategies for developing the main
       idea of a paragraph.
 Knowledge of the paragraph's
structure and form will help you
 learn to write more coherent,
  unified, and well-developed
Paragraph Checklist
  1. Make sure every paragraph has a main idea.
  2. Relate each sentence to the main idea of the
  3. Arrange ideas in a clearly understandable
  4. Link sentences by using pronouns, and by
  relating words, phrases, or ideas.
  5. Support ideas with examples.
  6. Describe to make a point.
  7. Compare and contrast to develop an idea.

Harbrace College Handbook, 12th Edition
Sentences in a Paragraph
1. Topic Sentence
   The topic sentence:
   a. announces the subject or topic
   b. makes a statement about that topic that all
   other sentences in the paragraph prove or support
   c. limits what the author can say in the paragraph
   about the subject - the controlling idea
   d. establishes a contract with the reader that the
   author must honor
   e. of all the paragraph's sentences, makes the
   most general statement about the subject
Sentences in a Paragraph cont’d…

2. Detail or Support Sentences
   Detail or support sentences answer the following
   questions about the subject:
       WHY? - reason
       WHEN? - time
       WHERE? - place
       HOW? - condition, circumstance, or situation
   or they may
Sample of Topic Sentence (1) and
supporting sentences (2-6):
   (1) The old horror movies attempted to create an
   atmosphere of terror; modern movies ignore
   atmosphere and focus on blood and gore. (2) In
   the early films starring Boris Karloff and Bela
   Lugosi, the right atmosphere was created by the
   sound of wild screams in the background. (3)
   Open windows revealed a pair of shadowed eyes
   or the weird smile of a madman. (4) Modern films
   concentrate on filling the screen with buckets of
   blood, and the audience doesn't hear screams
   anymore; instead, it witnesses brutal murders. (5)
   The old shots of wild eyes and crazy smiles are
   gone. (6) Now there are long close-ups of
   someone being stabbed to death.
Flemming. Reading For Results 3rd ed.
Writing a Topic Sentence
The following exercises are samples of supporting sentences.
  Please use the information given above to create an
  appropriate topic sentence to complete a paragraph.

    Exercise 1:
          a. Some fires are caused by careless people tossing
   matches out of car windows.
          b. A few are started when lightning strikes a tree.
          c. Some result from campers who fail to douse cooking
          d. The majority of forest fires are deliberately set by

Topic Sentence:
Writing a Topic Sentence cont’d…

Exercise 2:
       a. We had to wait a half hour even though we
  had reserved a table.
       b. Our appetizers and main courses all
  arrived at the same time.
       c. The busboy ignored our requests for more
       d. The wrong desserts were delivered to us.

Topic Sentence:
Writing a Topic Sentence cont’d…

  Exercise 3:
       a. My phone goes dead at certain times of the
       b. When I talk long distance, I hear
  conversations in the background.
       c. The line to the phone service center is busy
  for hours.
       d. My telephone bill includes three calls I
  never made.

Topic Sentence:

Langam. English Skills 4th ed.
15 Guides for Creating a Paragraph
  1. Think of a topic.

  2. Think about the topic.

  3. Think more about the topic.

  4. Pre-write about the topic.

  5. Let pre-writing rest; then read pre-writing.
15 Guides for Creating a Paragraph
  6. Throw our anything that does not relate directly
 to the topic.

 7. Create a general statement or point of view you
 want to express to your audience about the topic.

 8. Determine whether the items in your pre-writing
 support your point of view. Discard those that don't.

  9. Arrange or group pre-writing in an order.

 10. Construct sentences using the ideas from your
 pre-writing that will support a general statement
 about your topic.
15 Guides for Creating a Paragraph

  11. Arrange the sentences in paragraph form.

  12. Determine whether the sentences are in
 logical order. If they are not, then rearrange them.

  13. Read paragraph aloud, then let it rest.

  14. Read paragraph again.

  15. Make changes in word choice and word order
 if necessary.
After all this work, you’ll probably
     have a good paragraph.
Resources Available:
 Harbrace College Handbook, 12th ed.

 Tangan, English Skills with Readings, 2nd

 Fitzpatrick, Rusica; The Complete
 Paragraph Workout Book

 Foresman, Handbook for Writers, 4th ed.
The Learning Enhancement Center
 is designed to serve the students
    of CCC. We are eager to be a
 facilitator of successful learning.
   Please let us know what your
needs are, and we will design ways
    to meet them. Thank you for
      attending this workshop.

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