Kinds of Paragraphs

Paragraphs are the building blocks of every essay, story or thesis. Many paragraphs have the basic structure of a topic sentence, supporting sentences and a concluding sentence. Different kinds of paragraphs express different meanings and cause different emotional responses in the reader. Using different types of paragraphs when writing a story helps structure your writing and make the story more interesting.


An expository paragraph explains information. It may compare, contrast, list, summarize or discuss different types of information. For instance, you can write a paragraph explaining friendship or contrasting a book and a movie. Your topic sentence should clearly state the main point of the paragraph. In the next sentences, support or expound upon the topic sentence. If you're writing about friendship, for example, you might include sentences showing how friends are encouraging, uplifting and understanding.


When writing descriptively, engage as many of the five senses as possible. Using vivid and vibrant vocabulary, a descriptive paragraph should paint a mental picture of the person, object or situation, including the emotions involved. Identify the focus of the paragraph in the topic sentence. For instance, if you are describing the girl next door, your topic sentence should say so. Supporting sentences should give your reader a mental picture of what kind of person the girl next door is, what she looks like or her state of mind.


A narrative paragraph helps tell a story. It should express the chronology of a specific event and give enough information that the reader can understand not only the order of the event but the entire event itself. Using a narrative paragraph, you can fill in the gap between describing the girl next door and explaining the value of her friendship. You might use a narrative paragraph to tell about yesterday in the park when you fell off your bike as you tried to do a trick and the girl encouraged you to try again.


Persuasive paragraphs are intended to gain the reader's support concerning a specific topic. They support your argument and draw the reader to your conclusion. If you are running for president of the homeowners association, for example, you might write a paragraph telling the reader why you are the best candidate. Your supporting sentences might including evidence of your attention to yard care, your ability to handle money and a counter to the idea that you are disorganized. Your concluding sentence tells the reader what action she should take.

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