I’m working on a Communications question and need guidance to help me study.
A paragraph is a group of sentences (and sometimes a single sentence) that is set off as a unit. A long piece of writing is built from paragraphs, each one focusing on a main point or idea. Of all the paragraphs in a piece of writing, none is more important than the first. In fact, outside a classroom assignment – in job applications, newspaper articles, and fund-raising appeals, for example – the quality of the opening paragraph often determines whether readers bother to read further. After you have caught their attention with your first paragraph, you signal to your readers that you are moving from one idea to the next by ending that paragraph and beginning a new one. Fitting your writing into paragraphs, then, send’s useful signals to your reader, who can tell from your paragraph breaks where you want him or her to shift gears from one train of thought to another. Also, as you work with paragraph form, you will find it helpful in your ongoing effort to think and communicate clearly. Some writers working at the drafting stage ignore paragraphs altogether; their drafts look like one big paragraph. Other writers actually draft their documents using paragraph breaks right from the beginning. But whatever their habits at the drafting stage, virtually all writers recognize that paying conscious attention to paragraphing is a vital part of the revision process. There are three qualities that all written paragraphs share: unity, coherence, and development. A paragraph is unified if it focuses on one main idea; it is coherent if the reader can easily see how all of its parts fit together; and it is developed if its main idea is supported with specifics. One good way to give unity to a paragraph is to include one sentence in which the main idea or topic is stated clearly. The other sentences then relate in one way or another to the topic sentence, often supporting it by adding examples and details. In coherent paragraphs, the sentences are related to each other not just by their content but also by their sentence structure and word choice. As a writer, you should be aware of four important techniques for creating coherence: repetition, pronoun usage, parallelism, and transitions. Repetition is the multiple use of key words or phrases. Consider the following: Why do some students succeed while others struggle? Some succeed because their educational backgrounds have prepared them for disciplined work. Others succeed because they are effective time managers while others are successful because they are motivated. In the example, an important noun phrase is student. Three pronouns – some, other, and they – consistently refer to students named in the topic sentence. This pronoun usage reminds readers that the paragraph is still addressing the subject it began with, another way writers can link ideas and create coherence.