A PARAGRAPH is a group of sentences that work together to explain or support one main idea, which is often stated in the first sentence. The rest of the paragraph contains enough sentences to develop the main idea.

    A TOPIC SENTENCE is usually the first sentence in a paragraph and introduces its subject. It is a general statement that is interesting enough to capture the reader"s interest but narrow enough in scope to be developed in one paragraph. All of the sentences in a unified paragraph relate directly to the topic sentence. Details, facts, examples, incidents, or definitions can all be used to develop a topic sentence.

    NARRATIVE PARAGRAPHS relate events in chronological order. In a first-person narrative, the writer is telling his own story, using first-person pronouns (I, we, us, me, my, mine, our). A third-person narrative is a story that the writer tells about another person or persons, using third-person pronouns (he, she, they, his, her, him, them).

    A DESCRIPTIVE PARAGRAPH attempts to paint a picture with words by appealing to the senses, especially sight or sound. Information is arranged in some logical order, often describing one part of the scene with reference to other items in the same area or space.

    An EXPLANATORY PARAGRAPH tells how, what, or why. To support a topic sentence, this paragraph states or interprets facts, gives directions, or provides reasons.

    A PERSUASIVE PARAGRAPH expresses the writer"s opinions and contains specific information to help influence the reader to adopt an idea or take action. The acronym D.A.R.E. outlines the steps for writing a persuasive essay.

      Develop an opinion (topic sentence).
      Add support (predictions, statistics, observations, expert
      testimony, comparison).
      Reject an argument for the other side.
      End with a conclusion.

    A Guide to Communication:The Grosse Pointe Public Schools Style Sheet
    © The Grosse Pointe Public School System, 2000