29 Jan 2014

When to change paragraph?

When should I change paragraph?
Roughly every five or six lines as a guide, you should start a new paragraph. This means about the length of your thumb.

How to use paragraphs:
Each paragraph should be about a strong, separate idea. If you're finding it hard to figure out when to change paragraphs, it might be because your ideas aren't strong enough or clearly separated enough. When you start a paragraph, get a clear idea in your head what it is about.

How should I show paragraphs
        If you're writing by hand in class or exams, indent by the width of your thumb. Like the paragraph I've just written here. Don't leave a line break. It wastes paper.
        If you're typing a story, you should still indent. It makes punctuating dialogue a lot easier, which is why novels use this format.

How to paragraph stories:
For example, for a story about a cat:
  1. When the character first enters a room, describe why they went in and how it makes them feel.
  2. When the cat jumps on their head, how do they react?
  3. What the cat does next.
If you're writing a story, you can use the end of a paragraph as a mini-cliffhanger, and have something dramatic happen at the end.

How to paragraph essays
Each paragraph should start with a strong statement which you will then explore. This is called a thesis statement. Each statement should be a strong, separate way of exploring the question. For example:
What do we learn about loneliness in Of Mice and Men?
  1. Of Mice and Men shows the lonely world of migrant workers during the Great Depression.
  2. Curley's wife is married, and surrounded by men, but is still desperately lonely.
  3. George and Lennie stand out because they are the only characters who aren't lonely.
What are PEE / PEA / PQC / TEA* paragraphs?
The names are different, but each of the above includes:
  • statement or point;
  • quotation or evidence;
  • analysis, explanation or interpretation.
*TEA means 'technique, evidence, analysis'. It's meant to make students pick up on things like metaphors, similes, onomatopoeia etc.

This might make you think each paragraph only needs one point, one piece of evidence and what explanation. This is OK for C grade essays at GCSE. For higher grades, each paragraph should make several sub-points, each backed up with its own evidence. Then explore the connections.

Paragraphs should link to the bullet points you made in your plan. If you're writing about a character, these might be:
  1. The way other people react to a character.
  2. How the character acts, looks and behaves.
  3. How the character links to the main ideas or themes in the book.

In exams:
In an emergency (exam) situation you might realise you have totally forgotten to include paragraphs. Beware: no paragraphs will force the examiner to hit you with a low grade.

Put paragraphs in fast by using the rule of thumb. Where you want to 'add' the new paragraph, insert two long slashes after a full stop, like this // 

To show your skills, sometimes you may like to use very, very short paragraphs for dramatic effect. This can be a sentence.
Or fragment.
Like this.