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Paragraph Structure: Lecture Notes

Understanding the Paragraph Structure:

+ 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:

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: “One picture is worth 1,000 words”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. 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.

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;

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

Sample paragraph IV : has gone through many

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

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