Paragraphs

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Hi. I’m Theresa Krier from the English Department and I want to speak a good word about paragraphs especially the paragraphs that work well in essays about the arts and humanities. A paragraph exists in order to unfold a single thought. So state that thought or idea right at the start directly. A paragraph proceeds by supporting, exploring, and complicating its chief thought. It offers evidence and analyzes that evidence, but above all it seeks relationships among concepts and the data or materials that you’re studying. A paragraph is a community of sentences. They love and thrive on sentence diversity. So try writing three long, complex sentences and then a short direct simple sentence or vice versa. Tune up your ear to enjoy the rhythms and swings of sentence variation. A paragraph works with strong linkages from sentence to sentence. You might use logical connectives. You might repeat key terms from time to time. But you always want some kind of link between each sentence and the one that precedes it and the one that follows it. You want a paragraph to be tight in the sense that we mean when we say a great band is tight. Writing paragraphs as tight as the early Beatles, that’s my aspiration. Good luck, and write well.