Senin, 28 Mei 2012

The Form of a Paragraph


The Form of a Paragraph

In English composition, the paragraph is the basic unit that is used to build longer pieces of writing. The paragraph itself usually consists of several sentences though it can also sometimes be just one or two sentences.

Study the following example of a short paragraph:

I like to stand at the seashore watching the waves and listening to their sound. Their never-ending movement makes me fell very peaceful. The sound of the waves is very relaxing. I also find the sea breeze and the scent in the air very pleasant.

      Notice the indented first line. In a handwritten paragraph, the indentation should be about one inch in from the margin.
Always remember to indent you paragraphs because the indentation tells your reader that this is the beginning of a new group sentences with its own main idea.


THE STRUCTURE OF A PARAGRAPH

A good paragraph in the kind of writing that students do for college courses (research papers, reports, essay exams) usually has a special structure and two special qualities. The structure is one which includes a topic sentence and development sentences. The special qualities are unity and coherence.

Topic Sentence

A paragraph consists of a topic sentence, which gives its main idea, and several other sentences, which give details about the main idea. The topic sentence usually comes near the beginning of the paragraph. The idea expressed in the topic sentence is more general than those in the other sentences. (Sometimes this important sentence is called the “controlling idea sentence” or “main idea sentence”).
Look again at the example paragraph below. Its topic sentence, the first one, has been underlined.
      I like to stand at the seashore watching the waves and listening to their sound. Their never-ending movement makes me feel very peaceful. The sound of the waves is very relaxing. I also find the sea breeze and the scent in the air very pleasant.


Development Sentences

In addition to the topic sentence, a paragraph usually has other sentences. These sentences, which develop the main idea with more specific details, are the development sentences. (Sometimes the development sentences are called the “support” or “supporting sentences”).


QUALITIES OF A GOOD PARAGRAPH

Unity

In the example paragraph, the ideas of the development sentences are all clearly connected to the main idea expressed in the topic sentence. This is called paragraph unity because all the details are relevant to the one controlling idea.


Coherence
In the example, the connections between sentences are made in three ways, called cohesive elements.
  1. Repetition of the key words.
  2. Use of a reference word (a word referring to another word; in this example, a possessive pronoun).
  3. Use of a transition word (a word that acts as a bridge between sentences).

These cohesive elements join the sentences in a meaningful way. When sentences follow other in such a way, they have the quality of coherence.
The repeated key words, the reference word, and the transition word are underlined in the example paragraph below:

I like to stand at the seashore watching the waves and listening to their sound. Their never-ending movement makes me feel very peaceful. The sound of the waves is very relaxing. I also find the sea breeze and the scent in the air very pleasant.

Answer these questions:

  1. What are the repeated key words?
  2. Which word is the reference word in the example?
  3. Which one is the transition word signaling that more information will be given?

EXERCISE

Exercise 1. For each of the following paragraphs, do the following :
Underlined the topic sentence.
Circle repeated key words.
List the reference words.
List the transition words.

1.      In the new park, there are some special services for the public. There is a cafeteria near the entrance. To the left of the cafeteria, there are benches. Near them, in the center of the park, there is a man-made lake in which people can swim and ride in small boats. In addition, there are picnic areas.
2.      Computers can be divided into three types. First, some are designed for use at home–the personal computers. They are usually small and a few are even portable. A second type, more powerful than the first, is for small businesses. The third type is very big and very powerful and is used by large organization such as corporations and universities.


Exercise 2. Write a topic sentence for each of the following paragraphs. The topic sentence should make a general statement that is suited to the specific details which follow.

  1. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________. Sometimes I eat at Chinese restaurants. At other times I go to an Indian restaurant. Occasionally. I have lunch at a Mexican restaurant. I never eat at the fast food places.

  1. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________. My friend Ali is studying. Jose is majoring in mathematics. Pierre is a graduate student in physics. Paul is studying computer science and business management as a double major.


COMPOSITION ASSIGNMENTS

In writing your composition assignments, remember that there are stages to go through in creating a paragraph or a longer composition. Do not try to write the final draft immediately!

Assignment 1. Write one paragraph describing the building which you are now in. start with a topic sentence expressing a general idea and then give some further details.

Assignment 2. Write one paragraph either about something that you like very much or about something that you dislike very much. Make your topic sentence the first or second sentence of the paragraph. 

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