English Grammar Blog
Structuring a Formal Paragraph Correctly
A paragraph is the basic unit of written composition across numerous languages. A paragraph is composed of several sentences in one group, and these sentences focus on a central subject. Academic English in the United States have paragraphs with three main parts. The parts of a paragraph are a topic sentence, body of content, and a conclusion.
The topic sentence typically begins a paragraph, specifically being the first sentence in a paragraph of formal academic style. The topic sentence is usually the most general statement in a paragraph. There is not much in terms of detail in this sentence, although it introduces the overall idea that the paragraph discusses in succeeding sentences.
The first sentence, in terms of form, is commonly indented. This means it is located a number of spaces after the left edge or margin of the entire paragraph. All paragraphs written in the English language generally start with an indentation. With it being the most general sentence, it is distinct – the subsequent sentences have more specific information pertaining to the general subject of the topic sentence.
The Supporting Sentences
When your audience goes through your topic sentence, he or she expects the sentences that come after it to elaborate on the topic. The topic sentence usually creates a question in the reader’s mind, and the supporting sentences answer that question. The second sentence in the paragraph (or the first supporting sentence) explains the topic sentence, and the third sentence in the paragraph (or second supporting sentence) helps explain the topic sentence and the first supporting sentence.
The sentences after the topic sentence are the supporting sentences, which explain the concept of the topic sentence further. You will expectedly run across or encounter paragraphs written in English that have greater number of supporting sentences than discussed above. The least number of sentences in the paragraph should be around five or more.
Formal paragraphs will almost always contain a sentence at the end to encapsulate or summarize the information discussed in the paragraph. This closing statement is called the concluding sentence. A concluding sentence may be thought of as the mirror image of the topic sentence.
The topic and concluding sentences ‘capture’ the supporting sentences in an academic or formal paragraph. These also help to set the mood of the paragraph at the beginning and end. The concluding sentence, again, should summarize the paragraph’s information, while being similar to the topic sentence. However, these two are not exactly the same. The conclusion should, at the very least, be a reworking of the topic sentence.
Short academic paragraphs may not always contain concluding statements. Concluding sentences are recommended for long paragraphs.
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