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Planning Paragraphs

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Of course you know what a paragraph is, but have you considered what makes it work? Paragraphs are one of the fundamental building blocks of documents, so if you master the paragraph, you’re one step closer to writing more effectively.

Use topic sentences
Every paragraph has a topic sentence. I realize this likely is not an epiphany for you, but it is still an important fact worth repeating. The topic sentence frames the paragraph and lets readers know what information it will contain. It also guides the writer, dictating which information to include or leave out.

Ensure that each paragraph is only ONE idea
Limit each paragraph to one idea. Crafting your topic sentence first will keep the paragraph focused. Then, use transition words to create flow in the paragraph. Transitions enhance the flow of your paragraph and cue readers in terms of how they should make sense of the information. Not sure how to do this? Try reverse outlining: 
1. Number each paragraph
2. Read each paragraph one time
3. Write one sentence that articulates what each paragraph is about
If you’re unable to complete step 3, that probably means your paragraph has more than one idea.

Use the components of logic
Logic has three components: claim (the premise you want your readers to agree with), warrant (support for the claim), and reasoning (the “why”). If each of your paragraphs includes these elements, the paragraph should be easy to read and understand.

Practice writing topic sentences and using reverse outlining and logic, then read the resulting paragraphs with a discerning eye. You’ll soon be able to tell whether your supporting sentences are on track or veering down a different road. Your readers will appreciate your efforts! These paragraph writing tips should help you create well-structured paragraphs that are easy to read. 

Planning Paragraphs

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