Tuesday, September 18, 2007

3.0--The Paragraph

A. Here’s the problem:

The argument or interpretation you advance in an essay is built on a series of paragraphs, each serving a definite purpose. For that reason, you spent the first quarter of your ninth-grade year practicing how to write strong, effective paragraphs. Later, you began to assemble series of paragraphs into expository essays. I’m not going to speak here of first and last paragraphs; I’ll save those thoughts for the fourth section of this text. My purpose in this third chapter is to remind you of things you already know about the paragraphs that comprise the middle of your essay but sometimes forget to use.

B. What to do:
Practice the basics. Look at the topic sentences you’ve written for each of your body paragraphs as you revise. See if you’ve fully supported and developed key ideas. Ask yourself if you’ve provided smooth transitions between your statements. Remember the difference between detail and commentary and look for ways to sharpen and expand your commentary sentences. End paragraphs with clinchers, strong sentences that draw the most logical conclusions from the evidence you’ve presented.

C. Chapter Outline:

3.1 Topic sentences
3.2 Plot summary
3.3 Coherent, unified focus
3.4 Transitions
3.5 Development of focus
3.6 Evidence
3.7 Commentary I
3.8 Commentary II: Balance
3.9 Clinchers