Developing Your Paragraphs
Writing Better Essays - A Rhetorical Guide to Writing and Revision (Second International Edition) - David L. Rogers
David L. Rogers [+]
Kingston University, London
Being able to develop good, coherent paragraphs is imperative for students, and, for that reason, Chapter 2, which focuses entirely on the nature of paragraphs and paragraphing plus strategies for ensuring students can make theirs complete and coherent, is the longest and arguably the most important chapter in the book. As both the Introduction and Chapter 1 explain, students do not need to worry about writing coherent paragraphs – or sentences – when they first draft their essays. They must, however, be able to develop coherent paragraphs as they revise. To ensure they can, students must therefore first know what qualities generally characterize good, coherent, well-developed paragraphs and, secondly, how to incorporate those qualities into their drafts during their stages of revision. To this end, the chapter first transforms an example of a two-sentence paragraph into a well-developed, coherent one of an appropriate length by adding supporting sentences using the principles of specification, explanation, and reiteration, which the book endorses throughout. It next develops a short essay from a long, apparently well-developed but insufficiently supported paragraph by creating separate paragraphs from each of the sentences in the original. It then explains the characteristics that distinguish topic sentence and generating paragraphs and analyses sentence by sentence an example of each type to demonstrate the difference between the ways their respective sentences relate to the ones before and after them in the two models. The chapter’s exercises ask students to generate paragraphs from a list of individual sentences before having them develop an existing too short or underdeveloped paragraph, either from the draft they may have created in an earlier exercise or from a previous essay that have written.