Students often overlook paragraph writing in their preparations for the CSEC English A examination; however, paragraph writing is one of the most important aspects of your exam preparation. This is due to the fact that paragraphs are the building blocks to your CSEC English essays; therefore, without proper paragraphs there will not be proper essays.
What is a paragraph?
A paragraph is a series of related sentences developing a central idea, called the topic. Therefore, a paragraph is a group of sentences that supports one central idea.
Parts of a Paragraph
- A paragraph consists of a topic sentence, a main idea, and supporting sentences.
- A topic sentence states the main idea of the paragraph (the main idea is what the paragraph is about)
- The supporting sentences make up the body of the paragraph
- Concluding sentence is used to end the paragraph
Read the following paragraphs and circle the topic sentence and underline the supporting ideas
Aspirin can be a fatal poison. People are used to taking aspirin whenever they feel pain. It is true that aspirin is an efficacious pain-killer for example in headache cases. However, aspirin is like any other medicine can be dangerously harmful. Any unregulated use of it may result in the damage to the lining of the stomach, prolonged bleeding time, nausea, vomiting, ulcers, liver damage, and hepatitis. It is scientifically proven that excessive use of aspirin turns it into a toxin. Its toxic effects are Kidney Damage, severe metabolic derangements, respiratory and central nervous system effects, strokes, fatal haemorrhages of the brain, intestines and lungs and eventually death. Thus, the careful and regulated use of aspirin is most advisable so as not to turn into a deadly poison.
Steps to Writing a Paragraph
Step 1-Decide on a Paragraph Topic
Before you can begin writing, you need to know what you are writing about. First, look at the writing prompt
or assignment topic. As you look at the prompt, note any key terms or repeated phrases because you will
want to use those words in your response. Then ask yourself:
• On what topic am I supposed to be writing?
• What do I know about this topic already?
• If I don’t know how to respond to this assignment, where can I go to find some answers?
• What does this assignment mean to me? How do I relate to it?
Step 2- Develop a Topic Sentence
Before writing a paragraph, it is important to think first about the topic and then what you want to say about
the topic. Most often, the topic is easy, but the question then turns to what you want to say about the topic.
This concept is sometimes called the controlling idea.
Strong paragraphs are typically about one main idea or topic, which is often explicitly stated in a topic
The topic – The main subject matter or idea covered in the paragraph.
Step 3-Develop your Supporting Details
After stating your topic sentence, you need to provide information to prove, illustrate, clarify, and/or
exemplify your point.
• What examples can I use to support my point?
• What information can I provide to help clarify my thoughts?
• How can I support my point with specific data, experiences, or other factual material?
• What information does the reader need to know in order to see my point?
Step 4-Conclude Your Paragraph
After illustrating your point with relevant information, add a concluding sentence. Concluding sentences
link one paragraph to the next and provide another device for helping you ensure your paragraph is unified.
While not all paragraphs include a concluding sentence, you should always consider whether one is
Concluding sentences have two crucial roles in paragraph writing:
First, they draw together the information you have presented to elaborate on your controlling idea by:
• Summarizing the point(s) you have made.
• Repeating words or phrases from the topic sentence.
• Using linking words that indicate that conclusions are being drawn (e.g., therefore, thus,
Second, they often link the current paragraph to the following paragraph. They may anticipate the topic
sentence of the next paragraph by:
• Introducing a word/phrase or new concept which will then be picked up in the topic sentence of
the next paragraph.
• Using words or phrases that point ahead (e.g., the following, another, other).
Write a paragraph based on one of the following:
- Your country
- Your favourite sport
- Your favourite food