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Paragraph Structure--lecture notes

Paragraph Structure: Lecture Notes

Understanding the Paragraph Structure:

point + support

Topic sentence supporting details

Topic + treatment major details & minor details

Read the sample paragraphs and try to understand:

1.the function of the first sentence of each paragraph: topic sentence

2.the inner structure of the first sentence: topic + treatment

3.the selection of the other sentences in the paragraph

4.the relationship between the first sentence and the other sentences: point + support Sample paragraph I: Japanese women have changed since the war.

The paragraph is expected to explain how “Japanese women”“changed”.

The question is answered in a number of aspects: looks, character, sense of value. Comment: the idea in the topic is too general to be developed in a paragraph; Solution to the problem: specify one change and explain it more thoroughly with details.

Sample paragraph II: The saying “One picture is worth 1,000 words” suggests the importance to a writer of thinking by examples.

This paragraph is expected to explain one way to understand the saying “one picture is worth 1,000 words”.

Comment: a large portion of the paragraph is about how to use example to explain a point, rather than the “importance” of explaining with examples.

Solution to the problem: either change the topic sentence and make it imply the “techniques” of using examples or change the supporting details so that they explain the importance of the use of examples.

Sample paragraph III. However, the first time I voted I became very frustrated. This paragraph is expected to explain in what way the first voting experience was “frustrating”.

The writer follows the chronologically order to show the frustration in every step of the experience.

Comment: this paragraph is better organized for a
number of reasons: 1. It is about a specific event; 2. the writer follows a logical order;

Comment: this paragraph is better organized for a number of reasons: 1. It is about a specific event; 2. the writer follows a logical order;

Problem: This paragraph contains a number of less relevant details. They should be taken out.

Sample paragraph IV: Vocational training has gone through many stages of development in American history.

This paragraph is expected to explain the “stages” of the development.

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