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Most of us use the "logical" way to compose a paragraph: begin with a topic sentence and/or transition, then provide support for the topic sentence. Though straightforward, this approach often leads to a weak paragraph, because it does not force the writer to focus on STRONG SUPPORT. A more effective way to write a paragraph is in this order, assembling afterward according to the ASSEMBLING section below:

1) Find a quotation that provides an example that answers the assigned question. Copy the quotation exactly word for word and write down the citation:

 

2) Write a sentence that introduces the quotation. Identify some of the following: the speaker, the listener, the tone, the setting, the time, and/or some plot details.

 

3) Write a sentence that paraphrases the meaning of the quotation in your own words.

 

4) Explain in 1 to 3 sentences how the quotation answers the assigned question.

 

5) Create a Topic Sentence that summarizes the paragraph and links or transitions the paragraph to the previous paragraph.

 

ASSEMBLING the Paragraph

After writing, put the sentences in this order:

 

A) Topic Sentence/Transition (#5 above)

B) Introduction to quotation (#2 above)

C) Quotation (#1 above)

D) Paraphrase (#3 above)

E) Explanation (#4 above)

 

EDITING the Paragraph

 

1) Look carefully for repetition and redundancy and remove these.

 

2) Read aloud and be sure that each sentence flows properly into the next.

 

3) Carefully search for and fix any spelling and grammatical errors.

 

4) Be sure that the paragraph is placed properly into the essay and has transitions that help it to flow smoothly into the paragraphs that surround it.