Paragraphing

bricksThe paragraph is the building block of essay writing. The word itself, according to the Oxford Dictionary Online (2015), is defined as “a distinct section of a piece of writing, usually dealing with a single theme and indicated by a new line, indentation, or numbering.”

Paragraphs can be shown through breaks between lines or through indentations of the first line of the paragraph. Paragraphs are important for ease of reading; they help to offer ideas in “chunks” that the eye and brain can more easily comprehend (as opposed to offering information in one large block of text, which is hard to read).

Paragraphs are necessary in academic writing to show changes in ideas or further development of ideas. In academic writing, paragraphs present mini ideas that often develop out of the thesis sentence’s main idea. 

Example:

Thesis Sentence

  • A regular exercise regimen creates multiple benefits, both physical and emotional.

Beginnings of Paragraphs

  • One physical benefit of having a regular exercise regimen is longevity. Recent studies have shown that . . .
  • Exercise reduces heart and cholesterol rates when done at least three times per week . . .
  • Another physical benefit of regular exercise is that it results in stronger heart and lungs . . .
  • People who exercise regularly have less trouble with sleep disorders . . .
  • A benefit that spans the physical and emotional results of regular exercise is the release of endorphins, or substances produced by glands as a byproduct of exercise . . .
  • In multiple studies, regular exercise has been shown to reduce stress . . .
  • Because regular exercise often helps to slow the effects of aging and maintain a good body weight, people who exercise regularly experience the emotional benefits of good self-image and self-confidence in their looks . . .

Although all of these paragraph beginnings are related to the main idea of benefits of exercise, they all show a slight shift in content, as the writer moves from one benefit to another.

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