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Module 1: Grammar Module 2: Sources Module 3: Structure
Home » Module 3 Unit 2: Structuring paragraphs » Typical structure of a paragraph - page 1/4
Unit 1: Planning your essayUnit 2: Structuring paragraphsUnit 3: Introductions & conclusionsUnit 4: Writing persuasivelyUnit 5: Writing cohesively

Typical structure of a paragraph

This section introduces you to the components of a typical paragraph and demonstrates how effective paragraphs are constructed. You will see how the component parts of the paragraph work together to provide both internal consistency and the linkage of ideas and arguments across a text.

A paragraph typically contains the following three components. While the first two of these components are always present, not every paragraph has a concluding sentence.

Component Function
Topic sentence(s)
  • To introduce and clearly state the main idea/point that you intend to develop
  • To preview for the reader the kinds of information that the rest of the paragraph is likely to contain
  • To link back to your thesis or the immediately preceding argument
Development or elaboration of ideas
  • To elaborate the new idea or point that you have introduced. Elaboration may include analysis, exemplification and persuasion, or any combination of these.
Concluding sentence(s)
  • To round off what you have said so far in your paragraph
  • To qualify the views expressed
  • To link the current paragraph to the next paragraph

So, you can see that paragraph structure is like a mini-version of other writing structures, with an introduction, a body and a conclusion.