Paragraph organization refers to how sentences are structured and arranged to create a unified and cohesive body of text.
Important characteristics to consider when organizing paragraphs are the subject sentence and main idea, supporting details, organization patterns, and keywords. Together, these functions develop a theme and connect ideas from one point to another, logically and fluidly. This resource explains these features and provides several examples of paragraph organization.
The thematic sentence and the main idea
Similar to a thesis statement, which establishes the focus or center of an entire text, a
Topic sentence works at the paragraph level to express a person's focus and overall point
Unit volume. A topic set consists of two parts: 1) the topic that is being discussed throughout
paragraph and 2) a main idea that narrows the focus of the topic to a point or idea. Every
an additional sentence in the paragraph develops or emphasizes that point with supporting details.
The following sample topic sentence is taken from a body of an informative essay.
Example Topic phrase and guiding idea
The economy is also playing a role in the increase in addiction to prescription painkillers.
The example subject sentence suggests that the subject of the paragraph is "the economy" and the main idea
In the economy, it plays a role in the increase in opioid addiction. The keyword "also" connects this problem as an additional example or co-causer of the opioid epidemic, which is the subject of this article. The following example shows the subject sentence in the context of the entire paragraph.
The economy is also playing a role in the increase in addiction to prescription painkillers. According to Jungeun Olivia Lee, a professor of social work at the University of Southern California, "The association between unemployment and substance abuse is strongest among people of low socioeconomic status, who may not be able to afford healthier forms of stress management." (2017, cited in Khazan, 2017, paragraph 8). Additionally, opioid-related death rates increase by almost 4% for every increase in the unemployment rate (Khazan, 2017). Unemployment not only makes it difficult for pain sufferers to purchase medication or healthy alternatives, it can also contribute to depression and, to varying degrees, self-medication and addiction.
A paragraph develops the topic and main idea with supporting details. Here are some types of supporting details found in paragraphs, along with an example of each in a sentence.
Facts: Statistics or research evidence that can be verified
- The office sold properties worth seven million dollars in the boom years.
Opinions: Statements, quotes or paraphrases from subject matter experts
- According to tea expert Millie Stoff, there are three simple steps to making tea.
Definitions: Explanations of what a term or concept means
- A crossover is a family vehicle with characteristics of a sedan, minivan and SUV.
Examples: parts, pieces, instances, resources, or specimens that illustrate the essence or character of a larger whole.
- Mario is a shy and introverted young man. For example, they have few friends and are generally reserved.
Anecdotes: Stories about a time or recurring events
- When I visited the Washington Monument, what I liked best was the 180-degree view.
Descriptions: A visual or sensory representation of a person, place, event, activity, or idea
- Frozen leaves crunched under our winter boots as we walked through the snow-covered trees.
Example paragraph and supporting detailed analysis
Hiking can be exciting in the snowy winter months. When my friend and I visited North Carolina last January, we hiked in the Blue Ridge Mountains near the highest peak, Mount Mitchell, which is 6,684 feet above sea level. We first cross a footbridge over a fast moving frozen river and then follow a tree lined trail to a waterfall. Frozen leaves crunched under our winter boots as we walked through the snow-covered trees. We saw deer and rabbits as we walked along the trail. I assure you, nothing beats breathing in the fresh mountain air, but the best thing about hiking in winter, aside from the beauty of the mountains, is exhaling and seeing my breath freeze when it hits the cold air.
The subject sentence in the example paragraph indicates that the paragraph is about "walking" and has an emphasis on how walking is "stimulating" in the winter. The paragraph sentences support and develop this idea with an anecdote from the author's experience of climbing a mountain in winter. An anecdote is a narrative that helps the reader understand an event or situation. If the author had said that walking was "dangerous" instead of "exhilarating," the anecdote would have been different alongside visual and sensory details, facts, and opinions about the experience. Additionally, although the sample paragraph is a personal account, writers in many professions use anecdotal evidence to report events from an objective point of view in which the writer is not a participant but a witness or observer.
In addition to thematic sentences and supporting details, paragraphs are also organized to achieve a specific goal. However, just as a paragraph can contain different types of supporting details, a paragraph can also contain more than one organizational pattern. Here are some common patterns for organizing a paragraph:
- cause and effectshow how one thing leads to another
- Chronological orderto narrate events that have happened over time
- classificationGroup things by their properties
- compare and contrastto show how things are similar or different
- definition and exampleto define a term or an idea and to expand it with examples
- Descriptionfor list details
- Consequenceto present details or information about a specific event or anecdote
- general/specific orderPresent a general idea followed by specific examples
- Generalization/Principleto make a general statement or to apply a broad principle to explain supporting details
- ListPresent ideas from least to most important
- order of importanceto build or move away from the most important point.
- problem and solutionrepresent a problem and a solution
- process/causeto explain what or how something happens and why
- spatial orderAsk directly for details
words of warning
Signal words are hints or clues for the structure of a paragraph. For example, when the word "type" is used in a sentence, it indicates that the ideas involve types or classifications, which is an organizational pattern. Signal words are contextual cues that provide clues as to what the paragraph is about and how it is structured.
Below are keywords associated with different types of paragraph organization.
- cause and effect: because, consequently, because of that, because of that and because of that
- Chronological order: later, finally, at (time), whenever, at the same time, as soon as, before, during, finally, finally, at (month or year), after, meanwhile, next, on (day or date), from , secondly, afterwards, then, until and when
- classification: categories, classes, classifications, elements, characteristics, groups, classes, methods, types, varieties and forms
- compare and contrast: other, both, but equally, a difference, on the other hand, on the contrary, similarity, similar, unlike, while
- definition and example: Term defined as, described as, for example, for example, that is, illustrates, is, is named, is stated, is known as, means, refers specifically to, as, term, and that it is
- Description: above, on the other side, along, seems to be, as in, behind, below, beside, between, below, behind, in front of, seems, beside, in, above, outside, above, as for example , right/left and below
- Consequence: a few days/weeks later, more or less simultaneously, as a result of, as it is said, began when consequently, therefore just, lasted, led to, soon after, there, after, it led to , and when
- general/specific order: for example, for example, actually, in fact, in other words, as, that is, as, and that
- Generalization/Principle: in addition, always, because of, clearly, conclusively, firstly, for example, for example, also usually but if... only... but also often secondly, i.e. thirdly, really and typically
- List: in addition to, also, and moreover, in addition to, in addition to, in fact, in addition to, or, more, and also
- order of importance: Central, Chief, Ending with, Ending with, Key, Last, Moll, Main, Main, Final, Primary, Main und Significant
- problem and solution: answer, challenge, difficulty, dilemma, riddle, indicate, improve, issue, need, plan, problem, suggest, solve, answer, solve and suggest
- process/cause: consequently, as a result of, because, begins with, consequently, effects of, finally, firstly, for this reason, as, as, if... , therefore, for what, steps involved, therefore, so, and when. . . .
- spatial order: above, below, behind, next to, below, east, feel, higher, look, lower, next to, north, smell, sound, south, know, below and west
Examples of paragraphs and organizational analysis
The sample paragraphs in this section provide topic sentences, supporting details, organizational patterns, and keywords in context. Read each paragraph to identify for yourself the way the paragraph is organized, and then proceed with the analysis to check your understanding.
Example for paragraph 1
- Lawrence started his real estate business in 1995 and has been extremely successful ever since. When Lawrence Real Estate opened its doors in Oviedo, Florida, it sold $7 million worth of real estate in the early boom years. In 2000, Lawrence decided to open two stores: one in Tampa in 2003 and one in Miami in 2004. By 2007, the headquarters and two stores had weathered the economic downturn, allowing Lawrence and his associates to expand their business in the Carolinas and an office opening in Charlotte in 2020. It is safe to say that despite economic hardship and real estate depreciation, Lawrence Real Estate has become a successful model.
Paragraph 1 Analysis: Based on the subject set, which contains two coordinating clauses and therefore two subjects and two subjects, this paragraph is about Lawrence and his real estate business and the central idea is that they were successful.
To understand how the supporting details are organized to present information related to this topic and idea, the reader can look at the supporting details. To do this, they look at the way sentences begin and any keywords that lead the reader to a particular train of thought. These are some keywords: "1995", "2000", "2007" and "2020". This data forms a pattern. They go back to 1995 and then in chronological order to the time when the company was successful.
This paragraph useschronological order. The reader will also notice that the last sentence returns to the original idea of 15 years ago. In this sentence, a final comment is made on the overall timeline related to the new information.
Example for paragraph 2
- Brewing a nice cup of tea is easy if you follow these three steps. First, heat a cup of water to a boil. Then put the tea bag in hot water and let it steep for at least three minutes. Finally add cream and sugar to taste. There is nothing more delicious than a cup of strong tea first thing in the morning.
According to the subject sentence, which is the first sentence of the paragraph, the subject is to make a cup of tea, and the main idea is that it is easy if you follow three steps. Signal words open the following sentences: "first", "then" and "finally". These indicate a sequence of steps, not times or dates as in a narrative story, but steps that occur in a specific order, as in the process of doing something or telling others how to do something.
This paragraph usesprocess order(or process/cause). The last sentence of this paragraph completes the process with a return to the original topic, a cup of tea, and a new comment on how a strong cup of tea is good in the morning, making these three steps not only easy, but well worth it.
Example for paragraph 3
- The Washington Monument is divided into three main areas. The lower part of the building houses the entrance, a gift shop and a restaurant. The middle section consists of elevators and stairs to the top. The top of the memorial includes an observation deck with spectacular views of the Washington D.C. area. When I visited the Washington Monument, I walked through all the sections, but what I liked the most was the spectacular 180-degree view.
Based on the phrase topic at the beginning of the paragraph, the topic is the Washington Monument and the central idea is that it is divided into three main areas. The paragraph contains information about the bottom section first, the middle section second, and the top section third. The last sentence comments on the best of all sections. This is an example ofspatial organization. The information is provided in the order you would see it if you were there.
Example for paragraph 4
- There are three types of family vehicles manufactured in the United States. The first type is the minivan. Every American automaker makes a version of the minivan. Some say the minivan's comfort and amenities are second to none. The second type of family vehicle is the SUV. Some SUVs offer four-wheel drive for navigating rough terrain and also offer seating for a large crowd. A third type of family vehicle is referred to as a crossover. These vehicles are said to have the best features of the sedan, minivan and SUV. They are easy to manoeuvre, look very much like a normal sedan and can accommodate six people. All of these vehicles are suitable for families; They offer safety, generous comfort and many additional features to meet the special needs of families.
This paragraph shows another way to organize the details of a topic. The phrasal theme of this paragraph is structured differently than the previous ones. Usually, the subject of a sentence is also the grammatical subject, but the subject in that sentence is “there,” a pronoun, and the subject that says what the paragraph is about, “family cars,” is in the predicate of to prayer. . The prevailing notion is that there are three types that are made in the USA.
The paragraph is organized according to these three types: the first type, the second type and the third type. Finally, a comment on “all these vehicles” or all these vehicle types. When information is organized by types or characteristics, the information is classified. This type of organization isclassification.
Example for paragraph 5
- Although twins share many physical traits, they behave differently in social situations. Mario is a shy and introverted young man. He has few friends and mostly keeps to himself. On the other hand, Gino is outgoing and life of the party. Unlike Mario, Gino has many friends and is perfectly comfortable in large crowds. The best way to tell these identical twins apart is to invite them to a party and see how differently they treat the other guests.
When the topic sentence is complex (having more than one sentence), as in this paragraph, there can be two topics and therefore two topics; however, here the subject of the first sentence is “the twin brothers” and the subject of the second sentence is “they”, so both subjects refer to the same subject: the twin brothers. The prevailing notion is that twins share many physical traits but behave differently socially.
The paragraph continues with descriptions of these similarities and differences. Idioms and signal words such as "although", "on the other hand" and "I don't like" form contrasts. Words like "apart" and "different" also indicate that the organizational pattern of this paragraph iscompare and contrast.
Example of paragraph 6
- There are many reasons why I like to do guided tours when visiting new cities. First of all, a stroll through a city allows the visitor to see the details of an area without rushing. This often leads to getting to know the locals and seeing their lives and traditions up close. Plus, walking tours are flexible and affordable as there are no rigid schedules or transportation fees. Travelers who join walking tours are rewarded with first-hand experience of the places they visit and the opportunity to personally connect with the people who live there.
Because the first sentence starts with "there is," the reader has to go beyond the subject and verb to find the subject. Also, this is a complex sentence with an independent and a dependent clause connected by "why" so there can be two themes. Looking at the subject matter of both clauses, the reader will find "many reasons" and "wanderings". These two themes are linked by the main idea: the author enjoys walking while visiting new cities for various reasons.
Keywords are based on this idea of "why" with terms like "results" and "why". The last sentence sums up the conclusion of hiking tours: Travelers are rewarded. This is an example ofcause and effectOrganisation.
Example for paragraph 7
- Hiking can be particularly exciting during the snowy winter months. When my friend and I visited North Carolina last January, we hiked in the Blue Ridge Mountains near the highest peak, Mount Mitchell, which is 6,684 feet above sea level. We first cross a footbridge over a fast moving frozen river and then follow a tree lined trail to a waterfall. Frozen leaves crunched under our winter boots as we walked through the snow-covered trees. We saw deer and rabbits as we walked along the trail. I assure you, nothing beats breathing in the fresh mountain air, but the best thing about hiking in winter, aside from the beauty of the mountains, is exhaling and seeing my breath freeze when it hits the cold air.
In the first sentence, the topic of the paragraph is "hiking" and the main comment or idea is that "it can be especially exciting during the snowy winter months". Based on this, the reader might expect supporting details to illustrate this enthusiasm, but won't know how it's organized until they see the keywords that help move the topic from one idea to another.
In the keyword inventory, the reader finds several time markers: "when" and "last January" locate the narrative in the past, while "first" and "after" develop a chronological sequence of events. The last summary sentence about hiking “in winter” reminds the reader of the station.
internallyChronology, the signal words are assignedspatialOrganization: "above", "above", "below", "through", "ranger" (sound), "saw", "feel" and "see". Narratives often contain descriptive elements about the environment. Also last thoughtIn contrast"inhale" to "exhale". The reader may therefore conclude that this paragraphdifferent organizational patternsthey are inextricably linked.
- Read all the sentences while trying to find the topic sentence. ...
- Decide on a second sentence by organizing the ideas logically through clues in context and sentence construction. ...
- Decide the order of the two remaining options.
In addition to having good topic sentences, paragraphs must have a clear and logical organization. There are many ways to organize paragraphs. The most common patterns are the following: classification, chronological sequence, evidence and illustration, contrast and comparison, and cause and effect.What are the three things a well organized paragraph should have? ›
In order for a paragraph to be effective, it must begin with a topic sentence, have sentences that support the main idea of that paragraph, and maintain a consistent flow. informs and entertains your reader about your paper's overall idea.Why is it important to organize sentences in writing a paragraph? ›
The way you organize your body paragraphs ensures you and your readers stay focused on and draw connections to, your thesis statement. A strong organizational pattern allows you to articulate, analyze, and clarify your thoughts.What is the organization of a paragraph? ›
In general, paragraphs consist of three parts: the topic sentence, body sentences, and the concluding or the bridge sentence to the next paragraph or section.What should a well organized paragraph look like? ›
Good paragraphs begin with a topic sentence that briefly explains what the paragraph is about. Next come a few sentences for development and support, elaborating on the topic with more detail. Paragraphs end with a conclusion sentence that summarizes the topic or presents one final piece of support to wrap up.What is the best way to organize the sentences? ›
A sentence follows Subject + Verb + Object word order. He (subject) obtained (verb) his degree (object).What are the three organizing paragraphs in an essay writing? ›
PARTS OF AN ESSAY. Most essays, and many other kinds of writing, are divided into three basic sections: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion.What are the 5 parts of a paragraph in order? ›
- topic sentences.
- supporting detail.
- transitions and conclusions.
- paragraph length.
For a text to be well-written, one must keep in mind these four properties: (1) Organization; (2) Coherence; (3) Mechanics; and (4) Language Use.
The following is a brief description of five qualities of good writing: focus, development, unity, coherence, and correctness. The qualities described here are especially important for academic and expository writing.What are three ways to organize ideas in writing? ›
The three common methods of organizing writing are chronological order, spatial order, and order of importance. You need to keep these methods of organization in mind as you plan how to arrange the information you have gathered in an outline.Why is it important to structure clear and concise sentences? ›
Writing clearly and concisely means choosing your words deliberately, constructing your sentences carefully, and using grammar properly. By writing clearly and concisely, you will get straight to your point in a way your audience can easily comprehend.What are the 4 ways to organize your writing? ›
- Chronological Order. ...
- Logical Order. ...
- Climactic Order. ...
- Random Order. ...
- Spatial Order.
Planning is useful because it can help you organise your thoughts and prioritise the way you present information. By planning your writing: It is more likely that you will end up with a coherent argument. You are enabled to work out a logical structure and end point for your writing before you start the process.What are the 3 types of organizations? ›
There are three main types of organization structure. 1) Line organization 2) Functional organization 3) Line and Staff organization. In this type of organization, the line of authority flows directly from top to bottom and the line of responsibility flows from bottom to top in opposite direction.What are the types of paragraph organization? ›
These five basic organizational models (sequence, description, cause and effect, compare and contrast, and problem and solution) may help you consider how to organize your essay or story. Sequence uses time or spatial order as the organizing structure.What are the example of organization? ›
There are a variety of legal types of organizations, including corporations, governments, non-governmental organizations, political organizations, international organizations, armed forces, charities, not-for-profit corporations, partnerships, cooperatives, and educational institutions, etc.Which is the best way to make sure your paragraph is effective? ›
- Have a topic sentence with a supporting detail.
- have topic and closing sentences that transition between the topics of paragraphs.
- End your paragraph with a supporting detail.
- Have several topics in one paragraph.
- Indent the last line of the paragraph.
A good paragraph should contain at least the following four elements: Transition, Topic sentence, specific Evidence and analysis, and a Brief wrap-up sentence (also known as a warrant) –TTEB! A Transition sentence leading in from a previous paragraph to assure smooth reading.
- Topic sentence. The topic sentence is the main idea of the paragraph.
- Body. The body is composed of the supporting sentences that develop the main point.
- Conclusion. The conclusion is the final sentence that summarizes the main point.
- Ensure the information within the sentence is clear. ...
- Make sure to use transitional words. ...
- Use care with subordinate clauses. ...
- Use active voice. ...
- Use active verbs. ...
- Follow traditional grammatical rules.
What is the structure of an essay? The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement, a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.What are the 3 types of paragraph formatting? ›
There are four types of paragraph alignment available in Microsoft Word — left-aligned, center-aligned, rightaligned, and justified.What are the principles of sentence organization? ›
There are two basic principles of sentence organization: Linear Order. Hierarchical Structure.How do you organize a 5 paragraph essay? ›
How is it structured? The five-paragraph essay structure consists of, in order: one introductory paragraph that introduces the main topic and states a thesis, three body paragraphs to support the thesis, and one concluding paragraph to wrap up the points made in the essay.What are the 4 steps to writing a paragraph? ›
- Step 1: Decide on a guiding idea for the paragraph and create a topic sentence. ...
- Step 2: Explain the guiding idea. ...
- Step 3: Give an example (or multiple examples). ...
- Step 4: Explain the example(s). ...
- Step 5: Complete the paragraph's idea or draw a conclusion.
In succession, the following paragraphs are narration, exposition, definition, classification, description, process analysis, and persuasion.How do you write an answer in paragraph form? ›
- Write a quick outline to organize your ideas.
- Remember to PQA (see the image to the left): Put the question in the answer (rephrase the question in your own words, so that it is clear how you are going to answer the question).
- Write in your own words instead of copying from the text.
- Step 1: Read the questions.
- Step 2: Unpack the questions.
- Step 3: Read the text.
- Step 4: Read for relevant information and techniques.
- Step 5: Answer the questions – Mulitple choice, or.
- Step 5: Answer the questions – written responses. Identify and restate the keywords in the question.
A paragraph should thoroughly explore one idea or aspect of a topic. Paragraphs in academic writing are usually a minimum of 4-6 sentences long with a clear focus, evidence, analysis, and mini conclusion.How do you find the answer to a paragraph question? ›
Reread the sentences or paragraphs that contain the question words. Look at the other words in the sentences or paragraphs to find the answer. Look for key words and clues in the question. Re-read that part of the text in which the author gives the clues needed to construct the answer.What are the 5 steps of paragraph writing? ›
- Step 1: Decide on a guiding idea for the paragraph and create a topic sentence. ...
- Step 2: Explain the guiding idea. ...
- Step 3: Give an example (or multiple examples). ...
- Step 4: Explain the example(s). ...
- Step 5: Complete the paragraph's idea or draw a conclusion.
- Review grammar and spelling basics. Grammar and spelling form the foundation of good writing. ...
- Read what you want to write. Knowing what a finished piece of writing can look like can guide your own. ...
- Proofread. ...
- Get feedback. ...
- Think about structure. ...
- Write. ...
- Know some common fixes.
Elements of a Paragraph A paragraph is made up of a topic sentence, the developing details, and a concluding sentence.What does it mean to answer in paragraph form? ›
The paragraph form refers to a group of sentences focusing on a single topic. There are three main parts of a paragraph: Topic sentence - it has the main idea. Supporting sentences - details that relate to and support the topic sentence. Concluding sentence - a brief reflection or statement about the main idea.How do you get full marks in comprehension? ›
- Eliminate the words or phrases. ...
- Find your strengths first. ...
- Improve Your Vocabulary: ...
- Use a pen while reading: ...
- Do a mental math quickly: ...
- Most Reading Comprehensions are complex: ...
- Focus: ...
- Improve reading Speed:
In academic writing, most paragraphs include at least three sentences, though rarely more than ten.What are the 5 sentences in a paragraph? ›
Five sentences is usually the maximum guideline for a good paragraph and includes an introductory sentence (or the main idea of a paragraph), one to three supporting sentences, and a concluding sentence.How many paragraphs is a short answer? ›
Typically, a shorter response will be one to two paragraphs and often your assignment or exam will give you a specific word limit. A key difference between an essay and a shorter response is length; this means you must be very concise and focused.
Each paragraph in the body of the paper should include a topic sentence, supporting details to support the topic sentence, and a concluding sentence. The paragraph's purpose and scope will determine its length, but most paragraphs contain at least two complete sentences.Where can I find question answer? ›
- Answers.com. User-powered question and answer platform. ...
- Ask a Librarian. Online reference desk service from the Library of Congress. ...
- Brainly. Post questions to a community of millions of students and teachers. ...
- Chegg Study. ...
- Dummies. ...
- eHow. ...
- PolitiFact. ...
Answer the question according to general rules of academic writing. Use indentations; begin each paragraph with a topic sentence; support the topic sentence(s) with reasons and/or examples; use transition words to show logical organization; write a conclusion. Use correct punctuation throughout.What is question answer format? ›
The question and answer format is an essay whereby a professor presents an inquiry, and the students write a solution to the query. In this format, you quickly provide valuable information by involving the readers when asking the question and proving your answer.