A valuable skill I learned during my college days was how to structure an essay, and write paragraphs. It may sound simple, but isn’t so for students with English as a second language. Even native speakers, if they haven’t devotedly read Strunk and White, would feel as if they had been asked to climb an insurmountable cliff.
College students usually go wrong with this aspect of writing. It’s easy to learn, and here is a simple trick on how to write a clean paragraph, whether the writing is academic or corporate and business communication.
But first, let’s brush up on some basics.
What is a paragraph: It’s a unit of thought (not length). One paragraph details exactly one main idea.
Why are they important: Misunderstanding happens when unrelated ideas get connected, or the reader entirely misses your point. And in the age of social media, clear writing can prevent much…[damage].
Writing clean, logical paragraphs
Weak writing can be easily spotted by looking at how sentences connect with and flow into each other. On the other hand, clear writing neatly connects one sentence with another to create a logical chain.
To form a coherent paragraph, use this structure: subject (A) + something new (B). Subject (B) + something new (C).
Let’s consider the following paragraph:
- Writers often use sentences without any order. Misunderstandings are usually a result of disconnected sentences. Readers can quickly scan text that is logically in order.
There is nothing seriously wrong with this paragraph, and we can understand the writer’s point perfectly well. But write-ups like these are prone to be misunderstood when complex topics and opinions are written out.
If we analyze the above sentence, here is how it looks:
The text in grey (‘without any order’) is the new information. But it is not connected with the subject of the following sentence (‘misunderstanding’).
This revised version makes the connection clear:
This is a simple way to write better, with unity and coherence in your paragraphs. If you notice, in the first sentence the new predicated information (‘without any order’) is what the next sentence talks about (‘this’). And so is the case in the second sentence as well.
- Easy read and well explained: Making complex writing intelligible with the known-new contract