Paragraphing (Length Consistency)
The purpose of this handout is to give some basic instruction and advice regarding the creation of understandable and coherent paragraphs.
Contributors:Dana Lynn Driscoll, Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2013-03-01 09:23:09
Paragraphs are units of thought with one adequately developed idea. Listed here are some rules of thumb to use when paragraphing. As your writing improves, you'll be able to break these "rules" to meet your own needs. Until then, these suggestions can be helpful.
- Put only one main idea per paragraph.
- Aim for three to five or more sentences per paragraph.
- Include on each page about two handwritten or three typed paragraphs.
- Make your paragraphs proportional to your paper. Since paragraphs do less work in short papers, have short paragraphs for short papers and longer paragraphs for longer papers.
- If you have a few very short paragraphs, think about whether they are really parts of a larger paragraph—and can be combined—or whether you can add details to support each point and thus make each into a more fully developed paragraph.
You can check on whether your paragraphs are balanced by looking at your paper.
Some balanced pages:
Unbalanced pages with ideas not equally developed:
Use the following graphics as a tool to organize your paper with one main idea in each box. Use as many pages and boxes as needed.