Paragraph - An Overview

What is a Paragraph?

A paragraph is a logically constructed passage organized around a central idea called a topic sentence. Unity, coherence and adequate development are its basic features. All the sentences in a paragraph are related to the same general topic; they are closely knit around a core idea. 

What are the Types of Paragraph?

Among the various types of paragraphs, below are the most frequently used:

1. Classification

This paragraph breaks down information into parts in order to simplify a concept or to explain a series of things by discussing the individual parts. 

  • Science has discovered that there are five types of human beings. Discarding for a moment their technical names, they may be called the fat people, the florid people, the muscular people, the bony people and the mental people. Each varies from the others in shape, size and structure and is recognizable at a glance by his physique or build. 

2. Comparison and Contrast

It is the type of paragraph that examines the similarities and differences.

  • When a terrier comes into the room you instinctively draw away unless you want to be jumped at and greeted effusively. But you make no such movement to protect yourself from a St. Bernard because you read, on sight, the different natures of these two from their external appearance.

3. Cause and Effect

A cause-and-effect paragraph shows how one set of circumstances leads to another outcome, the effect. 

  • Every individual owes it to himself to find the right work and the right mate, because these are fundamental needs of every human being. Lacking them, life is a failure; possessing but one of them, life is half a failure. To obtain and apply the very fullest knowledge toward the attainment of these two great requisites should be the aim of every person.

4. Definition

This paragraph explains the meaning of a concept or an idea by showing the details, giving examples, describing, analyzing using symbols, antonyms, and the like. 

  • Equanimity is a state of stability or composure arising from a deep awareness and acceptance of the present moment. It is a fundamental skill for self-exploration and emotional intelligence. It is a deep and subtle concept frequently misunderstood and easily confused with suppression of feeling, apathy or inexpressiveness.

5. Exemplification

This type of paragraph supports a topic sentence with specific examples drawn from personal observation or experience  or from research.

  • Clear thinking demands a clear stomach because an empty stomach means that the blood reserves so necessary to vivid thinking are free to go to the brain. Without good blood coursing at a fairly rapid rate through the brain no man can think keenly or concentratedly. This explains why you think of so many important things when your stomach is empty that never occur to you when your energy is being monopolized by digestion.

6. Narration

A paragraph that tells a story by presenting events in chronological order (beginning to end; first event to last). 

  • An then she took a long breath and looked behind her up the long walk to see if any one was coming. No one was coming. No one ever did come, it seemed, and she took another long breath, because she could not help it, and she held back the swinging curtain of ivy and pushed the door which opened slowly- slowly. Then she slipped through it, and shut it behind her, and stood with her back against it, looking about her and breathing quite fast with excitement, and wonder, and delight. She was standing inside the secret garden. (The Secret Garden - Storynory version)

7. Process

This type of paragraph describes definite steps in a strict chronological order similar to the sequential procedure followed in conducting a scientific experiment. 

  • There are four easy steps to buy or sell stocks in the Philippines. First, choose a stockbroker. Next, open a brokerage account. Then, place your order with your broker. Lastly, settle your transaction. 

References: 

  • Paragraph Power by Adele Fiderer (Scholastic, 2002) 

  • Advanced Communicative English (A Comprehensive Course for Undergraduate Learners) by Krishna Mohan and Meenakshi Raman (Tata McGraw Hill Education, 2010)
  • How to Analyze People On Sight by Elsie & Ralph Benedict (The Roycrofters at their Shops, N.Y., 1921)

Designed by Neil Yamit