Help for dummies: writing simple essay paragraphs

So how do you start a new paragraph?

There are a few reasons you should start a new paragraph. They include the following:

  • When you start a new idea. A new idea should be the start of a new paragraph. If you are extending an idea into multiple paragraphs remember that every new point must start with a new paragraph.
  • When you are contrasting information or ideas. Separate paragraphs are a great way to show different sides in a debate or an argument.
  • When you readers are in need of a mental pause. A paragraph can act as a short mental break which will make longer text seem more readable. If your material is complex or quite long and you need to break it up you can do that with a new paragraph.
  • When you want to end the introduction or start the conclusion. Both the introduction and the conclusion should have a different paragraph. It is not uncommon for longer pieces to have introductions or conclusions that are multiple paragraphs.

Transitions in your essay paragraphs

There are two key elements in writing your body that you should review. They are:

  • Signposts
  • Transitions

Signposts are there to help your reader. They are often a few sentences or a paragraph that outline things covered in your article or where your article will be headed. A transition is often a single sentence that transitions from one idea to another. These are often used at the end of a paragraph to help it flow onto the next.

Remember that paragraphs are units of thought that you use to develop one idea. Below are some rules that you should adhere to for your essay paragraphs:

  • Only place one key idea per paragraph
  • Try and keep each paragraph between three and five sentences
  • Include between two or three paragraphs per page
  • Make sure the paragraphs are proportional to the paper. If you have a short essay then your paragraphs should be short. If you have a long essay your paragraphs should be longer
  • If you have a few short paragraphs you might consider combining them with another paragraph or adding more details so that it is more fully developed

You can look at the physical layout of your paper to determine if there is a nice balance.