WRITING PARAGRAPHS The aim of this unit is to help you in a systematic manner to write good paragraphs. We shall introduce you to the elements that go into the organization of a good paragraph,   such as

  1. the topic sentence,
  2. the development of the topic,
  • connection between the sentences, and
  1. the use of transitional
  • We shall also set exercises in reading comprehension and the use of the full

After you have completed this unit, you will be able to write well-organized paragraphs  of  your own.





To help you understand the paragraphs given as examples, we have provided a glossary at the end of each paragraph, as well as questions on reading comprehension and vocabulary. You should try to answer all these questions, as they will help you understand  the paragraphs better.           ·






Most pieces of writing require more than one paragraph. Mastering the art of  writing a paragraph is essential to success in any form of writing, whether it is a letter, a report, or a newspaper article, since all longer pieces contain a series of related paragraphs. In these longer pieces of writing, paragraphs generally introduce  new ideas to develop the central theme. The division into paragraphs also prevents boredom as it provides a physical break on the page.

In Units I and 2 we shall offer you some guidance in writing single paragraphs. In Unit I we shall discuss the organization of paragraphs and the elements that make a good paragraph. After you have developed your skills in paragraph writing, you  will

be able to use paragraphs successfully in order to write a longer   composition.                                                          7





You already know that any longer piece of writing is divided into a number of paragraphs.  Have you ever considered what a paragraph  is?

A paragraph is a piece of writing which is unified by a central, controlling idea or theme. This idea or theme is called the topic of t he paragraph. It is sometimes expressed at some place in the paragraph by one sentence, which is usually called the topic sentence. This topic sentence may be a statement, a generalization, or a problem. This sentence is most frequently found at the beginning  of the   paragraph,

but can sometimes come at the end or even in the middle of the paragraph. Very often there may not be a topic sentence at all, but it may be implied within the paragraph. However, at this stage, it may be useful for you to develop your paragraphs by writing out your topic sentence.


Example 1 {Topic sentence at the beginning)

The vast majority of people, wherever they live and whatever their occupation, come in contact with animals in one way or another and have to deal with them. It is obvious that the hunter has to know the ways of his quarry, that the farmer must be aware of the habits of his farmyard animals and of creatures that damage his crops; that the fisherman must know when and  where to find  his fish  and  how to  outwit  them.  Even the modern city dweller  meets  animals.  He  may  want  to  ward

off the roaches in his kitchen or he may keep a dog or a bird and grow familiar wit h the way his pet behaves. All over the world, among primitive tribes as well as in modern society, there are those who delight in the observation of animals, and

there is a growing awareness of the fact that sharing our world with our fellow creatures is like travelling together – we enjoy being surrounded by other beings who, like ourselves, are deeply absorbed in the adventure of living. There is a growing sense of marvel and also of affinity.

(from Niko Tinbergen (ed.) ‘An infant science’ in Animal Behaviour, Time-Life Books)




‘ contact (n.) : the condition of meeting or coming together ‘quarry (n.)/’ kwon /: an animal or bird which is being hunted out’wit  : win by being cleverer

‘city dweller  : one who lives in the city

‘ roaches : informal word for ‘cockroaclks’ ab’sorbtd : interested

‘marvel (n.1 : wonder

af ‘finity : close connection



. Noces: 1 In English words of two or more syllables, at least one sy\lable stands out from the rest and  we say·it  has  greater stres,. The mark  ‘  is placed  before the syllable that  carries the main  stress in the     word.


  • = noun; v. = verb; adj. = adjective.


  • The pronunciation of some of the words is indicated by the use of phonetic symbols between slantin.J. bars / / . The symbols used are the same as in Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, and the form of pronunciation indicated is known as British Received

Beginning a paragraph  with  a topic  sentence  helps  both  the  writer  and  the  reader. As a writer, you will bave less difficulty in constructing a unified paragraph because you will relate every sentence to the topic sentence and the central idea it eixpresses. And your  reader  will  know  immediately  what  the  paragraph  is  about  because  the opening

8                                                  sentence states the central  idea.




eek Exercise 1


‘ng Comprehension

Example l again and answer the following questions·: at title would you like to give this paragraph?

……….. ‘ . .. .. ……….. …. …….. .. …….. . . …. .. . .. …………..

  • by does the hunter need to know ‘the ways of his quarry’ 1




  • a Give two examples of how a modern city-dweller comes 1n contact with




Are animals always a source of pleasure for him? Which words tell you that sometimes they are not?





-check Exercise 2



d Example  1 again and answer the following questions :

Find two verbs meaning more or less the same as ‘take pleasure   (in)’.


  • t • • e e • I • I • • e I .. e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e • • e e e O • • • • • O • • • • e e e e e e e , e e e • e e e e e











  • Find an adjective which is equivalent to ‘belonging to the earliest stage of development’.




  • Find equivalents of the nouns



………… ………..‘l’    •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •  . •   ……………….. ………….. ..










  • ruthlessness with which the larger creatures eat the smaller

  • Illustration :The example of the
  • Summing Up :Only one sea creature in about ten million



When you write a paragraph of your own, choose the topic and write down all that you know about the topic. As you make your list, don’t stop to question whether a detail fits or not; any that don’t can be left out later. This will help you generate new ideas, and also give you something concrete to work   on.

However, when you start writing, see that every sentence contributes to the central idea, which may be contained in the topic sentence. Only then will your paragraph have unity.


Self-check Exercise 6

Reading Comprehension

Read Example 3 again and answer the following questions. This exercise will help you understand  the paragraph  bettt\r.

What are the ‘two circumstai1ces that govern the relationship of living things in the sea?





  • a) Under what circumstance!l would the Atlantic be packed with codfish within six years?



………….. ………. …….·- ……………………. …………. .

  1. b) How does nature prevent this from happening?

…………………   ..  ………………………………………..


  • Suggest a title for this paragraph .

……………………,;   ……….”  …. .. .. . .. .. .. …. .. . . . .. . ………. . . ..

…………….·- ………………… ·- ……….” ……. …….. ……..

  • Find the opposites of

barrenness     …………………. …………. ………………………

terrestrial very large’

Self-check Exercise 7

In the following exercise we have given you a topic sentence, the title, as well as some notes which might help you develop a paragraph. As you develop your paragraph, use only those points which will support the topic sentence and leave out the rest. Your paragraph should not be more than  100  words.


The Secret of the Cockroach’s Survival

Topic Sentence  : The cockroach is one of the earth’s oldest creatures, older than even the dinosaurs..

  • survived because it can live anywhere ……… from coldest to warmest climate . . . …… .. city as well as forest ….. … . . ..
  • • cockroach iis a clean insect
  • can eat anything, including {lowerbuds, paint, soap, wood
  • some specie:s a\re large, others are small
  • can even live: without food and water for months 13
  •  usually black or brown in colour.
  • keeps off predatory animals because of dirty snieh from scent glands

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