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Microsoft Word - PARAGRAPH HANDOUT_Unity_Order_Coherence.doc.pdf

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JOHNSONCOUNTYCOMMUNITYCOLLEGEWRITINGCENTERTheParagraph:Unity,Order(Emphasis),CoherenceDefinitionAparagraphisagroupofclosely-relatedsentenceswhichdealwithanddeveloponeidea.Thefirstsentenceofaparagraphusuallyintroducestheidea;itiscalledthetopicsentence.Allwritingofanylengthis,asyouknow,dividedintoparagraphs,andthefirstlineofanewparagraphisindented.StructureBythestructureofaparagraphismeantthebuildingorcompositionofit.Thedefinitionofaparagraphindicatesthatthesentencesmustberelated;theymusthaveaparticularstructure.Thisstructureisdeterminedbytherelationshipoftheideas,anditisbyconstructingtheparagraphproperlythatyoudeveloptheidea.Todevelopanideaistounfoldorrevealit.Forinstance,whensomeoneasksyouhowtodoamathematicalproblem,youexplaintheprocessbygivingthestepsinorder.Thelastsentenceofyourexplanationis,ofcourse,thelaststepoftheproblem.Thedevelopmentofanideainaparagraphfollowsthesameprocedure.Thetopicsentencemayinformthereaderthatwashingacockerspanielisaratherdifficultprocess.Fromthatpointyouproceedintheorderinwhichyouwouldifyouwere,infact,washingadog.Thefinalsentenceshouldbringtheparagraphtoacompleteend;thatis,itmustleavethereaderfeelingthatyouhavetoldhimallyouhavetosay.Suchanendingmaybe:“Nowthedogiscleanandshiny,allready,inhisopinion,togooutandrolloverinthedirt.”Ifyoufollowthismethodofdevelopingyouridea,yourparagraphwillbewell-organized.Notonlywillyourparagraphbewell-organized,itwillhaveoneofthemostimportantqualitiesofallparagraphs:COHERENCE.Coherencemeans“astickingtogether.”Acoherentparagraphhasallthesentencessowellarrangedthatnotonecouldbeinterchangedwithanother.Forexample,intheparagraphaboutwashingthecockerspaniel,youwouldnotputtheinstructionsaboutbrushingthedogaheadofthoseaboutdryinghim.Allfactsfollowinacoherentparagraph.EverygoodparagraphmusthaveUNITY.Unitymeans“oneness.”Thatis,aparagraphmustdealwithonlyoneidea.Intheparagraphaboutwashingacockerspaniel,youmightfeelthatyoushoulddescribethewayyourdogbehaveswhenyouwashhim;thisdescriptionbreakstheunityofyourparagraph.Althoughitmightbeentirelyappropriatetoexplainhowyoucontrolthedoginthebath,thatisnottheplacetotellastoryaboutyourdog.Whenyoufinishyourparagraph,lookitoverandcrossoutanysentencethatisnotdoingitswork–whichisdevelopingthetopicsentence.Thethirdandlastrequirementofawell-constructedparagraphisEMPHASIS.Emphasismeans“force”or“stress.”Youmayhaveafairlywell-organized,coherent,unifiedparagraphthatislackinginemphasis.ThemainideaoftheparagraphmustbestressedinC:\DocumentsandSettings\blove.JCCC-EMPLOYEE\Desktop\WritingCenter\PARAGRAPHHANDOUT_Unity_Order_Coherence.docRevisedJanuary18,2005
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Term
Fall
Professor
Karen Rucker
Tags
Writer, topic sentence, engineer

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