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Academic Essay Tips: Divide Your Writing into Paragraphs

Learning to write good paragraphs is an essential skill that will help you stay on track while you’re writing your drafts and revising your final piece. Paragraphs are basically a collection of sentences that relate to a single topic. Well-written paragraphs will improve your writing by guiding your readers throughout your essay. Without good paragraphs you will have jumbled mess that will cause you to confuse and lose your readers.

Here’s how to effectively divide your writing into paragraphs:

Keeping one idea per paragraph. Developing an outline before starting your drafts will help you keep a single idea per paragraph. If you find yourself drifting into a new concept, idea or topic then you need to start a new paragraph. There’s no rule on sentence or word length but it’s generally a good idea to stick to 3 – 5 sentences of evidence related to the topic sentence.

Writing a topic sentence. This is usually the first sentence of a paragraph and clearly states what the idea will deal with. As your writing improves you may find reasons to move your topic sentence to other parts of the paragraph, but you generally want to have single sentence that lets your reader know what you are discussing. A great way to develop your topic sentence is to summarize the content of your paragraph. If you find that your summary discusses two separate ideas then you should write two separate paragraphs.

Adequate development with supporting evidence. Whatever the topic of a paragraph is, it should be discussed adequately. Be sure to examine all details and ideas, as well as analyze and describe the topic at length. You can always edit unnecessary content later. Again, there are no rules regarding sentence count, but you should be a little worried if your paragraph, including your topic sentence, is on the short side. A great paragraph will not leave any room for the reader to question the topic, or you will have a transition signaling to the reader that you are continuing the discussion in the following paragraph.

Transitioning to the next paragraph. When you are ready to begin a new idea it’s time to start a new paragraph. This could be contrasting information or ideas or when you sense there must be a logical pause in your writing. Whatever the reason you should practice your transitions so that your reader knows they are about to switch topics. Transitions help one paragraph flow into the next without confusing a reader, as well as help maintain structure in your paper.

Students usually demonstrate poor paragraphing when they are unsure of what they are trying to say. As mentioned before, an outline helps a writer organize thoughts. If you find yourself having trouble with your paragraphs it’s a good idea to revisit your assignment plan to clarify your thoughts and progression.

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