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The Paragraph

The proper construction of paragraphs is also of great importance. The following rules will serve as guides for paragraphing. They should be learned and the pupil should be drilled in their application.

1. A sentence which continues the topic of the sentence which precedes it rather than introduces a new topic should never begin a paragraph.

2. Each paragraph should possess a single central topic to which all the statements in the paragraph should relate. The introduction of a single statement not so related to the central topic violates the unity.

3. A sentence or short passage may be detached from the paragraph to which it properly belongs if the writer wishes particularly to emphasize it.

<a name="Page_22">[Pg 22]4. For ease in reading, a passage which exceeds three hundred words in length may be broken into two paragraphs, even though no new topic has been developed.

5. Any digression from the central topic, or any change in the viewpoint in considering the central topic, demands a new paragraph.

6. Coherence in a paragraph requires a natural and logical order of development.

7. Smoothness of diction in a paragraph calls for the intelligent use of proper connective words between closely related sentences. A common fault, however, is the incorrect use of such words as and or but between sentences which are not closely related.

8. In developing the paragraph, emphasis is secured by a careful consideration of the relative values of the ideas expressed, giving to each idea space proportionate to its importance to the whole. This secures the proper climax.

9. The paragraph, like the composition itself, should possess clearness, unity, coherence, and emphasis. It is a group of related sentences developing a central topic. Its length depends upon the length of the composition and upon the number of topics to be discussed.