Paragraph Development Lesson

Paragraph Development

Writing a paragraph may seem basic, but we often leave out integral information. Here, we’ll learn about  six elements of a paragraph:

  1. A topic sentence: Think of this as a sentence that points in two directions. First, it points to the direction your paragraph will take (i.e. what it will be about), and second, it ties back to the thesis statement (i.e. it advances your argument). For this assignment, it should do the following:

1) It should identify the literary device that the paragraph focuses on (forecasting what the paragraph will be about);

2) It should make an argument about that literary device (connecting back to the thesis statement); BUT

3) A topic sentence should never be summary of the story or passage

  1. A declarative/explanation sentence: This sentence allows you explain the topic sentence more fully. Ideally, this sentence will let you explain your thinking about the main topic of your paragraph.
  2. An example/proof sentence: This is where you’ll insert a quote from the story (or multiple ones!) that demonstrate your controlling idea. Always be sure to introduce the quote…always avoid dropped quotes:

1) Introduce the quote: In this passage, Poe describes the mental state of his narrator:

2) Give the quote with proper documentation: “TRUE! — nervous — very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am…” (Poe 1).

  1. An analysis sentence: This will often be more than one sentence. This is where close reading comes in: break the quote apart and explain exactly how it does what you said it did (in your topic/explanation sentences). Some useful ways to begin this sentence:

1) Here we see that…

2) In this quote, Poe…

3) With his emphasis on….

4) The particular words used here…

  1. Summing up/explanation sentence: Here, tell us exactly what the quote does, overall, to the reader. Use different words than your topic sentence and explanation sentence. Sum up your analysis.
  2. Concluding/transition sentence: A sentence where you sum up the paragraph and transition to the next one.

NOTE: Every time you have an example/proof sentence, it needs to be followed by an analysis sentence. So, if you give multiple quotes, you have to have multiple analysis sentences as well.


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