Are you struggling to learn how to write a paragraph? This guide will give you the details you need to do it well.
Writing a clear and concise paragraph is one of the signs of being a good writer. A good paragraph has coherence, proper grammar, and the right structure.
Yet writing the perfect paragraph doesn't happen by accident. You need to carefully plan everything from the first sentence to the last sentence to make it work.
This guide will teach you step-by-step how to write a paragraph, so you can start getting your points across to your readers well.
- How to Write a Paragraph? Start with Knowing What Makes a Good Paragraph
- Step 1: Brainstorm Your Topic
- Step 2: Write Your Thesis Statement or Topic Sentence
- Step 3: Write Supporting Sentences
- Step 4: Write Your Last Sentence
- Step 5: Know When to Start a New Paragraph
- Step 6: Use Transition Words
- Step 7: Check Grammar and Spelling
- Step 8: Read It Out Loud
- Step 9: Check for Consistency
- Step 10: Rewrite for Conciseness and Clarity
- Common Problems in Paragraph Writing
- Using Strong Paragraphs to Write Strong Essays
- A Final Word on How to Write a Paragraph
- FAQs on How to Write a Paragraph
How to Write a Paragraph? Start with Knowing What Makes a Good Paragraph
Before you can write a paragraph, you need to know its parts. A good paragraph will have:
- Topic sentence: This is the first sentence of your paragraph. It introduces your main idea of the paragraph.
- Supporting sentences: These support your main idea or argument. They need to be on-topic.
- Closing sentence: The closing or concluding sentence summarizes the idea. It also transitions to the next paragraph.
Learning how to write a good paragraph is one of the most important writing skills you can develop. It makes your piece of writing stronger and helps readers stay engaged. Here's how you can do it.
Step 1: Brainstorm Your Topic
The first step in writing, whether a paragraph or a paper, is brainstorming. Think about your ideas, your position on the topic, and what research supports your position. Always spend some time thinking before putting pen to paper to write.
Want to learn more? Read our guide to brainstorming tips.
Step 2: Write Your Thesis Statement or Topic Sentence
First, write your topic sentence. This sentence tells the reader what your point of view is and what the paragraph will tell them. It establishes the main idea or scenario for the following words.
Here is an example of a good central idea that can serve as a topic sentence:
- The Pilgrims faced many troubles when they took their trip across the Atlantic on the Mayflower.
This clearly states the purpose of the paragraph, to talk about the struggles on the Mayflower.
Step 3: Write Supporting Sentences
The majority of the paragraph is the supporting middle sentences. The number you include depends on your writing audience.
In academic writing, you can have long paragraphs with several supporting middle sentences. Each sentence should add support to the single topic in the topic sentence. They often include transition words to help them flow with the rest of the paragraph.
In the paragraph about the Pilgrims, these would work well as supporting sentences:
- First, they had little fresh water to drink.
- Not only that, but they also struggled with a number of diseases and fought seasickness.
- Third, the Mayflower ran into many winter storms over its 66 days at sea.
You could continue to add sentences until you have covered all of the supporting ideas.
In web writing, short paragraph construction works best. The middle sentences of the paragraph may just be a single sentence, so it needs to be strong.
Sometimes, each paragraph in web writing covers just one main supporting fact, with the first paragraph offering the topic sentence. This structure is different from traditional paragraph writing.
Step 4: Write Your Last Sentence
The last sentence of a paragraph does one of two things. Either it concludes the thought completely, or it transitions to the next paragraph.
If you have more to say on the topic but need to start a new paragraph, you can add transition words. If you have completely finished your thought, then any new thoughts need separate paragraphs.
Here is how you could conclude the Pilgrim paragraph and transition into a new paragraph on the troubles they faced at Plymouth:
- Due to these struggles, several of the Pilgrims died on the voyage, and when they saw Plymouth on the horizon they were definitely ready to get off the boat.
This opens up the next paragraph while concluding the reason the struggles were so important to the Pilgrims' story.
Step 5: Know When to Start a New Paragraph
One of the skills you need to write paragraphs is knowing when it's time to start a new one. Some signs that you need to start a new paragraph include:
- Introducing a new speaker in fiction writing
- Contrasting a new point of view
- Starting a new idea
Sometimes you need to start a new paragraph when your existing paragraph is getting too long. If you have many subpoints under your main topic, adding them into one large paragraph would not work well. Instead, use transitions to connect them to a previous paragraph as you develop the writing.
Keep in mind that English grammar does not have rules about the length of a paragraph. If it conveys the necessary thought, a single sentence can be a paragraph, but often you will need at least three.
Step 6: Use Transition Words
Transition words connect sentences within a paragraph and also connect paragraphs within a document. You can over-use these, but you should have some of them.
Transition words may include numbers, like first,second or third, or they may include connecting words. Some of these include:
- In addition
These words give your writing more cohesion and make it more interesting to read.
Step 7: Check Grammar and Spelling
Once you have your ideas on paper, make sure the grammar and spelling are accurate. A strong paragraph has good grammar and no spelling errors, as well as good ideas. If it helps, consider running your paragraph or entire piece through some software.
We've rounded up the best grammar checkers to help in this guide.
Step 8: Read It Out Loud
Once you have a single paragraph written, read it out loud. It should be cohesive in tone and style. Reading it to yourself will show you if it is not.
Make sure every sentence of the paragraph flows smoothly into the next one. Keep your point of view consistent, and use varied vocabulary when you can.
Reading the paragraph out loud will also help you spot typos and problems with wording choices that make it less effective.
Step 9: Check for Consistency
Consistency is the key ot a strong sentence. Things that need to stay consistent throughout your paragraph include:
- Verb tense: If you start in the present tense, write in the present tense throughout.
- Point of view: Keep the same point of view, and start a new paragraph if you need to change.
- Person: Write in first, second or third person, but keep it consistent throughout.
- Main idea: The paragraph needs to stay on the same main idea throughout.
- Use the active voice: The passive voice is common, but it weakens many pieces of writing
Step 10: Rewrite for Conciseness and Clarity
Finally, rewrite your paragraph to make sure it is concise and clear. Our original Pilgrim paragraph reads like this:
- The Pilgrims faced many troubles when they took their trip across the Atlantic on the Mayflower. First, they had little fresh water to drink. Not only that, but they also struggled with a number of diseases and fought seasickness. Third, the Mayflower ran into many winter storms over its 66 days at sea. Due to these struggles, several of the Pilgrims died on the voyage, and when they saw Plymouth on the horizon they were definitely ready to get off the boat.
You could rewrite this to be more concise like this:
- The Pilgrims faced many troubles when they crossed the Atlantic on the Mayflower. First, they had little fresh drinking water. They also struggled with disease and seasickness. Finally, the Mayflower hit many winter storms over its 66-day passage. Many Pilgrims died on the voyage, and when they saw Plymouth they were definitely ready to get off the boat.
This second paragraph is stronger because it has fewer words while still covering the same topics. It opens the door to write about them landing on Plymouth and starting a new colony in the following paragraphs.
Common Problems in Paragraph Writing
As you learn how to write paragraphs, watch out for these common problems:
- Lack of consistency: Keep things consistent throughout your writing.
- Lack of conclusion: Always conclude your paragraph with a conclusion sentence that either moves the reader to the next topic or concludes the overall thought.
- Too short: In most paragraphs, outside of web writing, you need three or more sentences. Four to five is ideal.
- Too long: Paragraphs should not ramble on. If yours is eight sentences long, it's time to start a new one.
- Lack of structure: Follow the suggested structure of introduction, support and conclusion for a strong paragraph.
- No topic sentence: Always introduce your paragraph with a topic sentence.
Using Strong Paragraphs to Write Strong Essays
Spending some time learning how to write paragraphs is wise because you will use paragraphs in all of your writing. Essay writing relies heavily on well-thought-out paragraphs. Typically, an essay is five paragraphs long.
In the first paragraph, create a strong paragraph that introduces your topic and your main points. Then, each of the three paragraphs that follow will expound on one of those points. Finally, your conclusion will wrap up your thoughts and arguments.
A Final Word on How to Write a Paragraph
Being able to write a paragraph is essential to being a good writer. Paragraph structure lets you assemble a group of sentences that cover a main point into one area of your writing. It guides the reader to know where your thoughts are and guides your writing so you do not ramble off-topic.
Yet writing a paragraph is not as easy as you might initially think. Learn the three basic parts of a paragraph, the opening, middle, and conclusion, and then learn to write them well.
With this skill under your belt, you will be a better writer.
FAQs on How to Write a Paragraph
How to write a paragraph?
To write a paragraph, first, decide on one main point. Write a topic sentence, then support it with additional sentences. Conclude the paragraph with a concluding sentence.
How to write a 5 paragraph essay?
Once you've mastered the basic paragraph, you are ready to combine paragraphs to make an essay. A 5 paragraph essay follows the same structure as a paragraph. It has an opening paragraph that introduces the main point, followed by three supporting paragraphs and one concluding paragraph.
Join over 15,000 writers today
Get a FREE book of writing prompts and learn how to make more money from your writing.