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Tips for Writing a Paragraph

Characteristics of a good paragraph:

·       Topic sentence,
which includes the topic and a controlling idea.

·       Supporting ideas
(usually 3 – 6), which support the topic sentence

·       RENNS
(reasons, examples, names, numbers, senses), which give details for and further explain the supporting

·       Optional concluding sentence,
which leaves the reading with something to think about and may summarize
the supporting ideas if the paragraph is long.

·       Unity,
which means that all sentences in the paragraph directly support the topic

·       Coherenence,
which means that all the information of the paragraph is well-organized,
logically ordered and easy to follow. This is accomplished by:

o      Repetition of key words and phrases (often from the topic sentence)

o      Parallel grammatical structure

o       Transition words and phrases. 

Process of Writing a Paragraph:

1.    Compose your topic sentence. Think of a topic and a controlling idea that will narrow the
topic enough to support it well in one paragraph.

2.    Brainstorm supporting ideas. Choose 2 – 6 supporting ideas that do a good job supporting
your topic sentence.

3.    Write your paragraph in topic outline form as follows. Don’t actually write sentences in
the outline, except for the topic sentence.

Tips for Writing a Paragraph
Tips for Writing a Paragraph


4.    Put your supporting ideas in a logical order.

5.    For each supporting idea, think of RENNS that further explain the idea. For balance, each
supporting idea should have about the same amount of RENNS.

6.    Think of a concluding sentence.

7.    Write your paragraph using sentences. Use the coherence strategies to make your paragraph easy to follow.

Here is an example we did in class.

We came up with a good topic sentence and supporting ideas:


Topic sentence: Choosing a college or university can be difficult.
Supporting ideas: 1. Good Location, 2. Affordable, 3. Good preparation for major

We decided to order these supporting ideas according to importance as shown in the outline below.

Now we put this information iinto outline form and added some RENNS for each supporting

Topic sentence:
Choosing a college or university can be difficult.

A. Good preparation for your

1. thorough, solid curriculum

                                           2. qualified professors

B. Affordable

1. must be able to pay tuition
and living expenses

2. possibility of

C. Good Location

1. study environment

2. possibilities of parttime job in your major

Concluding sentence:
You should consider these points carefully so you can choose the most
appropriate college or university for you.

Finally, we wrote the paragraph using sentences and trying to make the paragraph coherent using different coherence strategies.

Choosing a college or university can be difficult. The most difficult part is
finding a university that prepares you well for your future career. In order to
get a good job, the curriculum that is taught must be thorough and up-to-date.
In addition, the professors must be highly qualified and respected in their
fields. Another difficulty in choosing a university or college is affordability.
You need to be able to pay the tuition fees and living expenses. Some
institutions might be able to offer you scholarships if you cannot afford the
fees. A good location is also very important when choosing a school. The
environment should be safe and quiet to facilitate studying. Moreover, there
should be possibilities near the school for parttime or summer jobs in your
major, so you can get some practical work experience. You should consider all of
these points carefully so you can choose the most appropriate college or
university for you.




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