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Old Sunday, January 11, 2009
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Default Paragraph Writing

A paragraph is defined as a group of sentences that develops one main idea; in other words, a paragraph develops a topic sentence.

A Topic is the subject of the paragraph; it is what the paragraph is about. Read the following paragraph, which is a part of the main topic, “The habit of smoking cigarettes” and develops one topic, i.e., smoking cigarettes is an expensive habit.

“Smoking cigarettes can be an expensive habit. Considering that the average price per pack of cigarettes is about twelve rupees, people who smoke two packs of cigarettes a day spend Rs.24.00 per day on their habit. At the end of the year, these smokers have spent at least Rs.8760.00. But the price of the cigarettes is not the only expense cigarette smokers incur. Since cigarette smoke has an offensive odor that permeates clothing, stuffed furniture, and carpet, Smokers often find that these items must be cleaned more frequently than those belonging to non-smokers. Although it is difficult to estimate the cost of this additional expense, one can see that this hidden expense does contribute to making smoking an expensive habit."

Pre-writing: Planning

When one is assigned topics to write about, one will often be too general to be developed adequately in one paragraph. Therefore there is a need to restrict topic; that is, one needs to narrow down his topic to a more specific one. For example, one is asked to write about one’s favorite place and one chooses a city such as Lahore. Although one could easily write several sentences naming all the things one like about Lahore, it would be more interesting for one’s reader if one narrow down the topic.


Historical places

Lahore fort

Badshahi mosque

The Topic Sentence

The topic of a paragraph is usually introduced in a sentence; this sentence is called the topic sentence. However, the topic sentence can do more than introducing the subject of the paragraph. A good topic sentence also serves to state an idea or an attitude about the topic. This idea or attitude about the topic is called the controlling idea; it controls what the sentences in the paragraph will discuss. All sentences in the paragraph should relate to and develop the controlling idea. To illustrate, look at the following topic sentence to identify the topic and the controlling idea:

Smoking cigarettes can be an expensive habit.

In this sentence, the topic is the habit of smoking cigarettes; the controlling idea is that smoking can be expensive. A paragraph that develops this topic sentence should demonstrate that smoking cigarettes can indeed be an expensive habit. Reread the paragraph given above on smoking cigarettes and see if it develops the idea of expensive.

Of course, there are many other controlling ideas one could have about the topic of smoking cigarettes. Indeed, one of the most popular is that smoking is hazardous to health.

Improving the Topic sentence

As indicated, a topic sentence introduces the topic and the controlling idea about the topic. However, it is not enough merely to have a topic and a controlling idea. The controlling idea should be clear and focused on a particular aspect. For example, consider the following topic sentence:

Drinking coffee is bad.

This sentence has a topic-drinking coffee- and a controlling idea-bad- but they are vague. In what way is coffee bad? For whom or what is bad? Is drinking a little coffee is bad or a lot of coffee bad? As one see, this topic sentence opens a lot of questions that probably can not be answered effectively in one paragraph. The sentence needs more focus, and that focus can come from the controlling idea:

Drinking over four cups of coffee a day can be harmful.'

In this version, the topic sentence itself is narrowed down some more and the controlling idea is more precise.

Formulating the Topic sentence

Once one have selected a manageable topic, one need to examine the topic more closely to determine ones feelings or attitude about it.

To decide on the controlling idea and what one want to say about a topic, begin by using one or more of the pre-writing techniques for generating ideas one learned in the first article, "how to generate ideas." For example, one is asked to write about a place in one’s country and one narrows that broad topic down to a certain resort. The following is one example of a brainstorm on the topic.

Topic: Gilgit

Resort Notes:

Crystal Clear water lakes, Gorgeous mountains, Tourists swarming every place, new hotels cropping up every year; growing tourist shops. Resort provides many jobs, brings in $1 million in the revenue from tourists, has attracted some new companies to the city.

Of course, the list could be expanded. Once one has brainstormed one’s ideas, look through the list for something striking. For example, one might realize that the resort has provided economic benefits to the local area. Or one might find that one wants to write about the beauty of the resort area.

Now formulate a topic sentence from one’s ideas and support the topic sentence with the supporting statements.


Each sentence within a paragraph should relate to the topic and develop the controlling idea. If any sentence does not relate to or develop that area, it is irrelevant and should be omitted from the paragraph. Consider the topic sentence discussed earlier in this article.

Smoking cigarettes can be an expensive habit.

If a sentence in this paragraph had discussed how annoying it is to watch someone blow smoke rings, that sentence would have been out of place, since it does not discuss the expense of smoking. A paragraph that has sentences that do not relate to or discuss the controlling idea lacks unity.


We have seen that a paragraph must have a topic sentence and a controlling idea, support and unity. Another element that a paragraph needs is coherence. A coherent paragraph contains sentences which are logically arranged and that flow smoothly.

Logical arrangements refer to the order of one’s sentences and ideas. There are various ways to order one’s sentences, depending on one’s purpose. For example, if one want to describe what happens in a movie-that is, the plot- one’s sentences would follow the sequence of the action in the movie, from beginning to the end.

A paragraph can be incoherent even when the principle for ordering the ideas is logical. Sometimes, as we are writing we remember something that we wanted to say earlier and include it as we write. Unfortunately this sentence ends up out of place.

Smooth flow refers to how well one idea or sentence leads into another. Smooth flow can be achieved through sentence combining and through the use of certain expressions, called transitions that provide the link between ideas. Some transitional expressions are: for example, to begin with, in contrast, however and also; there are many others too.
If the sentences are not logically arranged or if they do not connect with each other smoothly, the paragraph is incoherent.
"A man can be as great as he wants to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive and if you are willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done."
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Old Sunday, January 11, 2009
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Default Handy Info

thanks for providing such a handy detail about paragraph expansion. As far as i know a quotation or proverb explained must contain the following elements in the following format to get the attention of the reader:

1- convey the meaning in easy and clear words of the given proverb, quotation and sentence. If u know the reference then provide it: that it is a verse from Holy Bible or saying of Bernard Shaw or William Shakespeare.

2- after conveying the meaning, you can provide 3-4 sentences in its brief explanation. it depends on you to agree or disagree the given statement. But for that u must have strong logic and arguments

3- after that provide relevant example from the history, any incident that expresses that saying well and relevant to it

4- its better to provide example from your own society. If saying is about poverty or corruption or any other background then relate it to your own country

5- in the end, you can conclude it with ur own conclusion. in the background of arguments u have provided.

best of luck
"Rishtoon ki khoobsurti aik dosry ki baat ko bardasht kerna hay.
Be-aib insaan talaash mat kero, warna akele reh jao gay."
Hazrat Ali (R.A)
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