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The Paragraph

Also see ¶, coh, dev, and ¶u in Correction Symbols One and Correction Symbols Two.

A paragraph is a group of related sentences. A good paragraph is unified, coherent, and well-developed. Below are examples of awful, bad, fair, and good paragraphs.

A. Paragraph A below is awful. It has three serious problems: It lacks unity, coherence, and development. (It also has some other problems, but we wonít worry about those here.)

Paragraph A:

Shoes should be good-looking. They should also be durable. A jacket should be good-looking and durable too. The most important quality of shoes is comfort. Shoes should be inexpensive too.

B. Paragraph B below is a little better than paragraph A, but it is still a bad paragraph. It is unified (a topic sentence has been added; the sentence about a jacket has been deleted), but it still lacks coherence and development.

Paragraph B:

An ideal pair of shoes would have four qualities. They would be good-looking. They would be durable. Most important, they would be comfortable. They would not be expensive.

C. Paragraph C below is also bad, but it is much better than paragraphs A and B. It is unified and coherent (the sentences have been arranged in a logical order; transitions have been added) but it still lacks development.

Paragraph C:

An ideal pair of shoes would have four qualities. First, they would be good-looking. Second, they would be durable. Third, they would not be expensive. Fourth, and most important, they would be comfortable.

D. Paragraph D below is a good paragraph. It is unified (it has a topic sentence; all sentences are related to one idea); it is coherent (the sentences are arranged in a logical order; transitions have been used); and it is well-developed (details and a conclusion have been added).

Paragraph D:

An ideal pair of menís shoes would have four qualities. First, they would be good-looking. I donít like shoes with pointed toes, high heels, or a lot of unnecessary decoration. I like a plain brown or black shoe made of good leather. Second, they would be durable. I donít want a pair of shoes that will wear out in a few months. I expect a good pair of shoes to last a few years. When I buy shoes, I look for good materials (leather uppers, hard rubber soles and heels) and good workmanship. Third, they would not be expensive. Of course, I expect to pay for quality, but I donít think I should need to get a bank loan to buy shoes. I think the kind of shoes I like should cost around $120. Fourth, and most important, they would be comfortable. I spend a lot of time on my feet. Iím a teacher, and Iím usually standing or pacing around when Iím in the classroom. I also like to walk and I get most of my regular exercise by walking. An uncomfortable pair of shoes would make my life miserable. If I could find a pair of shoes with these four qualities, I might buy two or three pairs. Then I wouldnít have to buy shoes again for a long time.

 Updated Sunday, April 8, 2007 at 3:09:52 PM by John Fleming - flemingjohn@fhda.edu
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