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How to write a paragraph that makes sense

  • It’s the building blocks of any writing. It’s what you need to lay your points. It’s the perfect structure that holds your arguments. Yet, many students don’t know how to write a good paragraph that clarifies their message.

    More than a headline or lead or thesis statement, a paragraph is the flesh and bone of your writing. Remove one, and your message jumbles, your article dissolves. To begin with, writing a 100+ words paragraph in your essay doesn’t make it perfect.

    Quantity doesn’t matter in an essay writing. Quality does. The words in your paragraph don’t have to be too much; they just have to make sense.

    So, how do you write a paragraph that makes sense? First, understand the elements of a good paragraph.

    The elements of a good paragraph

    A good paragraph comprises of 5 basic elements:

    1. Topic sentence
    2. Explanation of the topic sentence
    3. Example (to clarify the topic sentence)
    4. Use of transitional words
    5. Conclusion (that justifies the topic sentence)

    Let’s explain how to use them to write a great paragraph that makes sense.

    1. Topic sentence

    This is the first sentence that explains the main theme of your paragraph. Like a title of a book, the topic sentence tells the reader what to expect in the book (paragraph). Because it’s a summary of the entire theme of the paragraph, a topic sentence is usually short, succinct, and direct, written just like a headline of a book or an article.

    For example, let say your professor gives you an assignment to write on the following topic, “Is Nigeria a Rich Country?” Your topic sentence, if you’re writing in support of the argument, should read like this:

    • “Without doubt, Nigeria is a rich country.

    Notice that it’s brief (the sentence has only 7 words), it’s direct, and it’s succinct. In addition, you tell the reader your point of view, which adds clarity to your message.

    2. Explanation of the topic sentence

    The explanation serves as the body of your topic sentence. This is where you’ll discus your points and present your arguments using data, statistics, and case studies to back them up.

    Using our earlier example, your explanation of the topic sentence – “Without doubt, Nigeria is a rich country,” should be written along these lines:

    • “It’s one of the top oil-producing countries in the world and one-fifth of the oil produced in Nigeria is exported to the U.S. In fact, the Citigroup projected that “Nigeria will top the world in average GDP growth between 2010 and 2050.”

     3. Example (to clarify the topic sentence)

    To add more clarity to the topic sentence, you need to garnish it with an example. The goal is to make your points vivid and simple for your reader to fathom. Let’s continue with our example in the earlier sections. You can exemplify your topic sentence this way:

    • “This is no coincidence. The country, for example, has mass deposits of natural resources in almost all its 36 states – including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT); human resources that are second to none in the continent, and a vast areas of land suitable for agricultural produce. In addition to its rising population, youthful population is increasing in Nigeria. World Economic Forum (WEF) recently projected that Nigeria’s working age population, (adults ages 15 to 64), is expected to grow by 2 percent by 2050. Last year, the IMF rate the “Africa’s giant” as the “biggest economy” in Africa.”

    4. Use transitional words

    These words connect sentences with each other in your paragraph. Think of them as the bridge that connects one road to another. Common transitional words we used in our previous example include:

    • In fact
    • For example
    • In addition

    The transitional words will make your points flow well and help your reader sail smoothly as they go through your adventurous words.

    5. Conclusion

    This is where you wrap up your paragraph by justifying your topic sentence. For example, going by our earlier example, you can wrap up your argument that Nigeria is a rich country by summarizing the whole point in terse words as follows:

    • “With all this great economic outlook, Nigeria can be said to be a very rich country.”

    Bringing it together

    Going by our example, this is how your paragraph will look like:

    Is Nigeria a Rich Country?

    Without doubt, Nigeria is a rich country. It’s one of the top oil-producing countries in the world and one-fifth of the oil produced in Nigeria is exported to the U.S. In fact, the Citigroup projected that “Nigeria will top the world in average GDP growth between 2010 and 2050.” This is no coincidence. The country, for example, has mass deposits of natural resources in almost all its 36 states – including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT); human resources that are second to none in the continent, and a vast areas of land suitable for agricultural produce. In addition to its rising population, youthful population is increasing in Nigeria. World Economic Forum (WEF) recently projected that Nigeria’s working age population, (adults ages 15 to 64), is expected to grow by 2 percent by 2050. Last year, the IMF rate the “Africa’s giant” as the “biggest economy” in Africa. With this great economic outlook, Nigeria can be said to be a very rich country.

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