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Unit 1 Paragraph Writing
1 Types of Paragraph

What are the basic requirements of an effective sentence?
? The Irish countryside is very beautiful. There is a popular Iri

sh song which says that there are 100 different shades of green in the Irish landscape, and this is no exaggeration. Thanks to generous rainfall, much of the countryside is covered in rich green vegetation, which is why Ireland is also known as the Emerald Isle. It also has a varied landscape with dramatic mountains, rocky coastlines and rolling hills.

What can you find from the paragraph?
Three fundamental features: ? a central idea; ? a topic sentence; ? close connection between the sentences.


For generations the kitchen of the vast majority of our homes have acted as living room kitchens. The sitting room is reserved for Sunday afternoons and special occasions. All the week – day activities have to be carried out in the kitchen. Meals are prepared , cooked and eaten there; washing, drying, ironing and sewing--- all are usually carried on in it. It is in the kitchen that the children must do their homework while father sits with his paper by the fire, and mother gets out the darning.

? 1.1 Topic Sentence ? What is a topic sentence? It summarizes the central theme in a paragraph. ? How do you write a topic sentence? It has essential parts: topic + controlling idea. Eg. Topic + Controlling idea Winter is the most boring season in a year. Topic + controlling idea The average American teenagers consume enormous quantities of junk food.

? ? ? ?

Three important points to remember about the topic sentence It is a complete sentence. It contains both a topic and a controlling idea. It gives only the main idea. Please analyze the following topic sentences. 1. How to register for college classes. 2. Driving on freeways. 3. My hometown is a famous because it is located by Wheaton River, which is very wide, and because it is built near an unusually steep hill called Wheaton Hill. 4. There are two reasons why some people like to buy cars with automatic transmission and two reasons why others like cars with manual transmission.

1.2 Position of Topic Sentence
? Topic Sentence First Though yo-yos are no longer popular, they were once a terrific form of childhood amusement. Today’s kids would rather sit indoors playing video games, but in my childhood, summer meant that most kids would be out in the street completing with one another to amaze with yo - yo tricks such as “walk the dog”, “rock the cradle”, and “ around the world ”. A true yo- yo master could put on show that would draw crowds on a street corner and make him the envy of every kid in the neighborhood.

1.3 Supporting Sentence
? Eg. My hometown is famous for several amazing natural features. First, it is noted for the Wheaton River, which is very wide and beautiful. Also, on the other side of the town is Wheaton Hill, which is unusual because it is very steep. The third amazing feature is the Big Old Tree. This tree stands two hundred feet tall and is probably about six hundred years old.

Make some comments on the two italicized sentences.
? Chimpanzees may be one of the most intelligent animals in the world. They are very smart. There are chimps that have been trained to ride bicycles and to eat with forks. They are clever to invent all kinds of ways to get their food. Chimps have been known to pile boxes on top of each other to reach food left in high places. Even though they are just animals, they are really very intelligent. Some chimpanzees have been taught to communicate with people through the use of hand signals. Chimpanzees often surprise humans with their ability to learn.

1.4 Concluding Sentence
? My hometown is famous for several amazing natural features. First, it is noted for the Wheaton River, which is very wide and beautiful. Also, on the other side of the town is Wheaton Hill, which is unusual because it is very steep. The third amazing feature is the Big Old Tree. This tree stands two hundred feet tall and is probably about six hundred years old. These three landmarks are truly amazing and make my hometown a famous place.

2. Effective Paragraph
? 2.1 Unity Paragraph unity means that one paragraph is about ONLY ONE main topic. Unity of a paragraph is connected with
its content. If all the sentences in the paragraph lead to one central theme, the paragraph is unified. The central theme is usually summarized in what is called the topic sentences.


Not knowing a language well can sometimes cause a problem in communication. One word in a language can have different meanings, or two words can have the same pronunciation but have different meanings. About two years ago, one of my friends told me an embarrassing story. The first year she was in the United States, she had a job at a dry-cleaning establishment. One day a customer came in to pick up his clothes. After he had paid for the cleaning and was ready to leave, he suddenly turned back to my friend and asked, “Do you dye here?” Thinking that she had understood his question, my friend got upset and answered , “ No, I won’t die here. I want to die in my own country!”

Each of the Russian manned space exploration projects had specific major goals. For example, the Vostok project was designed to test whether or not human beings could survive and function in outer space. For another example, the Voshkhod project was intended to find out whether people could work in the weightless environment of space. One Voshkhod cosmonaut experimented with weightlessness by taking a “spacewalk.” That is, he floated in a spacesuit outside his Voshkhod spacecrat, connected to it by a tether. The cosmonaut to do this was Alexei Leonov. Several weeks later, Leonov’s spacewalk was followed by that of U.S. astronaut Ed White. Finally, the Soyuz project, with three cosmonauts, had goals of testing spacecraft and spaceflight skills so that people could fly long missions in Earth orbit.



The sentences in a paragraph should be arranged in a clear, logical order, and the transition should be smooth and natural. As a result, the reader finds it easy to follow the writer’s training of thought and understand what he is talking about.

There is some feeling that reading is not as necessary as it once was. Radio and especially television have taken over many of the functions once served by prints, just as photograph has taken over functions once served by painting and other graphic arts. Admittedly, television serves some of these functions extremely well; the visual communication of news events, for example, has the enormous impact. The ability of radio to give us information while we are engaged in doing other things---- for instance, driving a car---is remarkable, and a great saving of time. But it may be seriously questioned whether the advent of modern communications media has much enhanced our understanding of the world in which we live.

2.3 Transition
? Using parallel structures; ? Replacing words or word groups; ? Using pronouns to refer to nouns in the proceeding sentences; ? Being consistent in the person and number of nouns and pronouns, and the tense of verbs

Using transitional words
? To show addition besides; further; moreover; what’ more; furthermore; in addition; To show an example for example; for instance That is, to illustrate; To show emphasis in particular; above all; most importantly

? To show contrast
although; even though; despite; in contrast; nevertheless; otherwise; on the other hand; still; though; and yet To show logical relation as a result; consequently; for this reason; accordingly; because; otherwise; thus;

3 Ways of developing paragraphs
3.1.1 Planning a paragraph think of a central idea; think of the details or examples; work out an outline Eg. Write a paragraph about caring for the old The generation gap is a reality of modern times. (1) In the past, old people were taken care of by their children. (2) Old people used to be respected by the younger generation. (3) The things are very different now. (4) Many old people are left alone to look after themselves. There is no doubt about it: the generation gap is a reality of modern times. In the past an old person could expect to be cared for by his children. It was customary for an old parent to move into the home of one of his married daughters. Here he would be loved and honored until dying day. Nowadays, this is by no means the natural progression of life. Many old people are left alone to fend for themselves , abandoned by their children..

3.1.2 Development by Time
The first railroads were developed in Europe in the 16th century. They looked nothing like those of today. The rails were of wood, and the cars, small wooden which hauled coal, were drawn by horses. By the early 19th century, railroad technology had advanced considerably. Steam locomotives had been developed, and cast iron was used for tracks. In 1825 a railroad line began carrying passengers as well as freight. That same year American’s first known steam locomotive was run on a circular track at Hoboken, New Jersey . Soon American locomotives and railroads were multiplying rapidly. Many short rail lines were laid during the 1830s. These short lines were then linked with one another, and by the early 1840s networks of rails connected all the eastern cities.


I walked through the school-gates with butterflies in my stomach. Would I like this school? Would my classmates like me? Would the teacher be strict? All these thoughts were buzzing in my head as I mounted the stairs to my new classroom. I stood by the teacher’s desk facing the class, and was introduced. I trembled as I felt their eyes all gazing critically at me. The teacher seemed kind and slipped her arm around my shoulder as I faced the stare of the class. Then classes began. I listened to the teacher’s words, concentrating on my work, and forgetting my apprehension and fears. During the recess the girls crowded round me to find out all about me. They all seemed good-natured and I soon found myself accepted as their friend. At the end of the day I walked home happily as all my worries of the morning has dissolved to nothing. This new school would be a happy place for me.

Questions for Discussion
? How are the two paragraphs arranged respectively? ? What is the point of each paragraph? ? What details are used? How do they appeal to your sensation? ? Are there any transitional words or phrases that are used to help the flow of the narration or description?

3.1.3 Development by example
? Knowledge often results only after persistent investigation. Albert Einstein, after a lengthy examination of the characteristic of matter and energy, formulated his famous Theory of Relativity, which now acts as a basis for further research in nuclear physics. Using plaster casts of footprints, fingerprints, and stray strands of hair, a detective perniciously pursues the criminal. After years of work Annie Jump Cannon perfected the classification of the spectra of some 350,000 stars. Investigation into the causes of polio have provided us with the means for prevention and cure of this dreaded disease only after many years of research. As students, we too are determined in our investigation to find , retain, and contribute to the store of human knowledge.

Time communicates in many ways. In the Unite States, it is not customary to telephone someone very early in the morning. If you telephone him early in the day, while he is shaving or having breakfast, the time of the call shows that the matter is very important and requires immediate attention. The same meaning is attached to telephone calls made after 11:00 p.m. if someone receives a call during sleeping hours, he assumes it is a matter of life or death. The time chosen for the call communicates its importance.

Questions for Discussion
1. What is the central idea of each sample paragraph? 2. Is each paragraph based on a single example or several examples? 3. How does the author make his idea concrete in the first sample ?

3.1.4 Development by Comparison and Contrast
Life in a big city has become more and more difficult for people to copy with. In a big city, stress is caused by daily having to contend with crowds of people and restricted space. Travel in rush hour can be a real headache. pollution of various kinds is the result of industrialization. Cars spew toxic fumes into the atmosphere. Noise bellows out from every side. All these factors add to the pressure of daily existence in a big town. In contrast, life in a country village is much more attractive. Here the pace of life is gentle. There is time to reflect on the beauty of the world. In a village, life is closer to nature. The changing seasons can be clearly observed. There is ample space for everyone, and fresh air to breathe.

Jogging is ,in many ways , an ideal form of exercise. After all not much learning is required to learn to run. No expensive equipment is needed. Roads are available everywhere. No special kit is needed; Jogging can be done in designer shorts or tatty jeans. No other people are needed, unlike many sports where an opponent is needed. A jogging session can be fitted into the daily schedule at any time to your convenience. Like jogging, the ancient Chinese form of exercise Taiji requires little facilities. No equipment or kit is necessary and it can be practiced alone and in any place. It is not uncommon to see elderly people, in group or separately, practicing their Taijji in the park in the early morning. They use Taiji to warm up their muscles, slowly encouraging their joints to unstiffen.

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