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Paragraph Unity and Coherence - Time4Writing

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Paragraph Unity and Coherence
Time4Writing provides these teachers materials to teachers and parents at no cost.More presentations, handouts, interactive online exercises, and video lessons are freely available at Time4Writing.com.Consider linking to these resources from your school, teacher, or homeschool educational site.The rules: These materials must maintain the visibility of the Time4Writing trademark and copyright information.They can be copied and used for educational purposes. They are not for resale.Want to give us feedback? We'd like to hear your views:info@time4writing.com
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What is a Paragraph?
It's a group of sentences organized aroundonecentral topic.These sentences followoneclear path through the topic,without detours.Use these four elements to createunifiedparagraphs that don't wander.
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Elements that make forgreat paragraphs:1.Unity2.Order3.Coherence4.Completeness
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Element #1: Unity
Start with the topic sentence.Every other sentencesupports this one idea with information that points back to it, or explains it!The paragraph isunifiedaround that one idea.
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Example: No Unity
The start of this paragraph isincorrect:"Sunday is my favorite day, because I can watch football with my dad.There are other sports on other days to watch on TV."The second sentencedetoursfrom the main topic: how watching football with dad makes Sunday your favorite day.
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Don't include unrelated details
Sentences like these don't relate to the main idea in the topic sentence:"There are other sports on other days to watch on TV."OR"Some days my dad doesn't make it home from work until after I'm in bed."
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Example of Unity
This is a better start to the paragraph:"Sunday is my favorite day, because I can watch football with my dad.He spends the whole day watching football on TV with me, since he doesn't have to work that day."The second sentenceelaborateson the main topic. This is a unified start.
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Element #2: Order
You can order your supporting sentences in different ways:1.by chronology: the order of events in time2.by importance: the order of most to least important, or least to most important3.by logic: the order that makes the most sense based on the topic
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Why is order important?
Random sentences cause confusion.Without organization of your sentences, it's hard to tell what your main idea is.Order helps you make your point, and helps the reader follow along from one idea to the next one, until you prove your conclusion.
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What is the correct order of these sentences?
And if I'm really late, I even miss the school bus.If I forget to set my alarm, I get up late and rush through everything.As a result, I often have to gulp my breakfast.It's always much better if I remember to set the alarm, so I have more time to get ready.I also might rush out and forget my books.Can you see why order is important?
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Element #3: Coherence
This is how you make your writing understandable to the reader.You make your paragraph coherent byconnectingideas to one another.
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Two Ways of Creating Coherence:
1.Usetransition wordsto create bridges from one sentence to the next.2.Beconsistentin using verb tenses and point of view.This makes the paragraph work as a whole unit, with everythingworking together.
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1. Types of Transition Words:
words that show order:first, second, thirdwords showing spatial relationships:above, below, besidewords showing logical order:furthermore, in fact, in addition
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2. Verb Tenses and Point of View:
Verb tensesshould all be consistentlypresent tense, or consistentlypast tense."Sundayused to be[past]my favorite day, because Icould[past]watch football with my dad. Hespends[present]the whole day watching football on TV with me, since hedoesn't have to[present]work that day."This is not unified in tense!
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2. Verb Tenses and Point of View:
Point of View:write from the point of view ofthe same personthroughout the whole paragraph."Sunday ishisfavorite day, becausehecan watch football withhisdad.Ihave lunch withmydad whilewewatch a game together."Point of view changes from "he/his" to "I/my" in the second sentence -- not good!
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Element #4: Completeness
For a complete paragraph, you need enough information to support the main idea, or prove your thesis.If all sentences clearly and thoroughly support the main idea, the paragraph is complete.
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Main parts of a Complete Paragraph
1.Topic sentence: an interesting subject and its controlling idea2.Supporting sentences: usually at least three, to develop the main idea thoroughly3.Concluding sentence: to summarize the main idea and reinforce the topic sentence
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Sample Paragraph with all 4 Elements:
"Sunday is my favorite day because I spend the day watching football with my dad. On Sunday, unlike the other days of the week when he works, my dad spends the whole day with me watching football on TV. We even eat lunch together while watching. The highlight of the day is watching the Dolphins game. Dad and I get so excited, we yell and cheer together. On Sundays, I get to combine watching my favorite sport and spending time with my favorite person—what a great day!"
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The end.
More free PARAGRAPH WRITING resources:the topic sentencesupporting detailsthe concluding sentencetypes of paragraphsEight-week PARAGRAPH WRITING courses:elementary schoolmiddle schoolhigh school
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Paragraph Unity and Coherence - Time4Writing