Writing Paragraphs: Building Blocks of Prose


While words can be considered the individual units that make up sentences, sentences themselves are the components that comprise paragraphs. As the building blocks of prose, whether it be of the nonfiction, memoir, autobiography, flash fiction, short fiction, or novel genre, they have form, structure, and purpose. This article will examine all three.


Visually, a paragraph appears as a block of sentences, usually with the first line indented. That indentation signals the beginning of each subsequent one within the text.

“As a reader, you identify the paragraph at a glance, just by its appearance,” according to Carol Pemberton in her book, “Writing Paragraphs” (Allyn and Bacon, 1997, p. 1). “Paragraphs vary considerably in length because they vary in content and purpose.”

Organizationally, they enable the writer to focus on a single main idea, which can be both clarified and supported by one or more relevant points. Linked by a second or related idea, the succeeding paragraph does the same, and collectively they illustrate a longer, more encompassing idea or theme, as would be expressed in an essay, a term paper, or a nonfiction book’s chapter.

Paragraphs can contain both general pay for essay reddit and specific statements, such as the following.

General: Movies can be suspenseful.

Specific: Movies, such as Die Hard and Die Hard 2, with their fast-paced action, can be suspenseful.

The second example is specific because it names two movies and explains why they are suspenseful.

General statements, which are prone to reader interpretation, can summarize the main idea in each paragraph, but specific ones enable him to focus on a specific feature of the main idea.

Properly structured paragraphs contain two integral elements.