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Hi, it's Cecilia again. In this video,
I'm going talk about paragraphs. Learning how to successfully
construct paragraphs is vital for any academic writer. A good thing is that the basic internal
architecture of the paragraph, no matter what the writing task,
remains pretty much the same. So knowing about paragraph
structure will be useful whatever type of text you need to write. If we go back to basics and
look at the architecture of an essay, it will be obvious that it's not
just one continuous stream of text. Instead, the essay is divided into blocks,
what we call paragraphs, and they are the building bricks of the essay. But what goes into making
one of these bricks, and how should you stack them together? Firstly, it's important to remember
that each paragraph should only deal with one separate topic or idea. The breaks between paragraphs represent
a natural pause in place for your reader. By ending one paragraph and beginning
a new one, you are signalling a shift or progression of ideas. All paragraphs need a topic
sentence containing the main idea to be communicated within the paragraph. It makes sense in most cases for the topic sentence to be the first sentence of your paragraph. The topic sentence acts like
a thesis statement of sorts for the particular unit of ideas. And if we zoom in, we see that the topic
sentence has its own microstructure. Firstly, a topic sentence has to
state what the paragraph is about. Secondly, the topic sentence needs
to say something about the manner in which this topic will be approached,
and this is called the "controlling idea". Let's look at an example
of a topic sentence. "The study of language and
its origins has a long and colourful history extending
over thousands of years." In this example,
the topic is "the study of language and its origins", and the controlling idea
is the remainder of the sentence, "the colourful history of those
origins over thousands of years." Once you have your topic sentence, you can work on reinforcing your argument
in the form of supporting sentences. Supporting sentences can take a number of
forms, such as examples or illustrations, explanations, definitions, comparisons or
contrast, or some form of causal analysis. However, you must make sure that
the paragraph forms one coherent whole. If we use a building brick metaphor, the clay out of which the brick
is made must all stick together. The basic rule is that each supporting
sentence should be clearly connected to the topic sentence, and
there are various ways of doing this. One method is to make sure
that all supporting sentences relate directly back
to the topic sentence. An alternative is for each sentence within the paragraph to be
related back to the previous sentence. By this I mean that the second sentence
should be directly connected to the topic sentence, the third sentence
to the second, and so on. You can also use a combination
of the two methods. To round off your paragraph,
you need a concluding sentence or perhaps one which provides
a transition in to the next paragraph. As well as paying attention to the
internal architecture of the paragraph, each block of text needs to be considered
carefully in relation to the whole. If we use the metaphor of
a paragraph as a brick, the text as a whole is
the entire building. Whether this is a simple brick wall or
a complex fort, the bricks need to be of the necessary shape and
size to fit together effectively. Although each paragraph in itself
should develop just one idea or unit of thought, when these bricks
are combined, they form the basis for a potentially complex
development of ideas. So mastering the paragraph is
key to mastering the whole. [MUSIC]

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