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Paragraph Writing Guide: Paragraph Types, Topics, Examples, Format, Essential Elements

A. What is a paragraph?

A paragraph is a group of sentences related to one main topic or idea called the controlling or central idea of the paragraph. If you look at any printed piece of prose writing, you can see the prose is divided into several subsections. These subsections are called paragraphs. A paragraph can be written on any and every topic. A paragraph can be of any length. There is no hard and fast rule as to the length of an ideal paragraph. However 100-200 words paragraphs are the most preferred ones in most academic and competitive exams. If you are writing a book or an article, a paragraph can be of any length depending on your subject matter and presentation.

B. Examples of Paragraphs:

You can read examples of 100-300 Words Paragraphs on common topics here:

Paragraphs, Part 1

Paragraphs, Part 2

Paragraphs, Part 3

Paragraphs, Part 4

C. Types of Paragraphs:

Paragraphs  can be of four main types.

1. Narrative Paragraph: A narrative paragraph narrates an incident of everyday life such as an accident, journey or any other event.

2. Descriptive Paragraph: A descriptive paragraph describes something from our surroundings such as persons, places, things, trees, animals etc.

3. Expository Paragraph: An expository paragraph explains things. Here you use your critical thinking more than mere description or narration. Newspaper articles, critical pieces come under this category. Advantages and disadvantages of modern technology in our life, Future of English in India, How Science has changed our lives etc are example topics of expository paragraphs.

4. Imaginative Paragraph: An imaginative paragraph is based on imagination. We should use our imaginative thinking in such paragraphs. If I were a bird, If I won a lottery, If there were no trees on earth etc are example topics of imaginative paragraphs.

D. Some Simple Paragraph Writing Topics:

(In No Particular Order)

1. Discipline

2. My Best Friend

3. Save Water Save Life

4. Value or Importance of Time

5. My School

6. Value/ Importance of Trees

7. My Family

8. My Hobby

9. Summer Holidays or Vacation

10. Punctuality

11. Beauty

12. Your Idea of Best or Perfect Holiday

13. Rain

14. Sharing is Caring

15. My Favorite Season

16. Friendship

17. Pollution

18. Myself

19. Avoid Polybags.

20. Cruelty to Animals.

21. Tuitions: Modern Day Fashion.

22. Dignity of Labour.

23. Unemployment Problem.

24. Joys of Village Life.

25. My Daily Life.

26. My Aim in Life.

27. My Last Day in School.

28. Prize Distribution Ceremony in School.

29. Science in Everyday Life.

30. Women Empowerment.

E. Format of Paragraph Writing:

A paragraph generally has a three part structure.

1. One Topic Sentence:

It has one topic sentence followed by several supporting sentences and one concluding Sentence. The topic sentence introduces the central idea around which the rest of the paragraph is developed. The topic sentence is usually the first sentence. But it can also come after a few beginning sentences. The reader gets an overall idea of the subject matter of the paragraph from the topic sentence.

2. Several Supporting Sentences:

Next come a few supporting sentences. The topic or idea introduced in the beginning of the paragraph is described, explained and supported by the supporting sentences. The description or explanation can also contain the writer's comments, criticism or quotes and references from outside sources.

3. Conclusion:

The final part of the paragraph is the conclusion. The writer sums up the subject matter of the paragraph using one or two sentences.

F. Four essentials of a good paragraph:

A paragraph must have unity, order, coherence and variety.

1. Unity: There should be only one topic or controlling idea in the paragraph. The whole paragraph should be organized around this controlling idea.

2. Order: There should be a proper order of writing a paragraph. Sentences should be organized in order of importance or chronology.

3. Coherence: There should be a logical connection between the sentences so that the entire paragraph reads as a connected and complete whole.

4. Variety: Variety is also an important element in paragraph writing. It makes the paragraph interesting. Variety can be achieved by combining short and long sentences, using different types of sentences like positive, negative, assertive, interrogative, imperative, exclamatory or simple, complex etc.

To sum up,

A paragraph is a short essay or an essay in miniature form. Just like an essay, a paragraph too has an introduction, the main body and conclusion. But the most important point is that a paragraph can not have subsections like an essay. You have enough scope to elaborate things in an essay. But you must keep to the main point in a paragraph. You can write a lengthy introduction and conclusion for an essay but you can not do so while writing a paragraph. You can only write one or two sentences in the introduction and conclusion of a paragraph. Digression may sometimes be allowed in an essay but not in a paragraph.