Characteristics of a good paragraph:
Topic sentence, which includes the topic and a controlling idea.
Supporting ideas (usually 3 - 5), which support the topic sentence
RENNS (reasons, examples, names, numbers, senses), which give details
     for and further explain the supporting ideas.
Optional concluding sentence, which leaves the reading with something to
     think about and may summarize the supporting ideas if the paragraph is long.
Coherenence, which means that all the information of the paragraph is
     well-organized, logically ordered and easy to follow. This is accomplished by:
    Repetition of key words and phrases (often from the topic sentence)
     Parallel grammatical structure
 
1. Compose your topic sentence. Think of a topic and a controlling idea that
    will narrow the topic enough to support it well in one paragraph.
2. Brainstorm supporting ideas. Choose 2 - 6 supporting ideas that do a good job     supporting your topic sentence.
3. Write your paragraph in topic outline form as follows. Don't actually write     sentences in the outline, except for the topic sentence.
 
Topic sentence:
A. Supporting idea 1.
1.
2.
3.

B. Supporting idea 2.
1.
2.
3.

C. Supporting idea 3.
1.
2.
3.
Concluding sentence:
 
4. Put your supporting ideas in a logical order.
5. For each supporting idea, think of RENNS that further explains the idea. For     balance, each supporting idea should have about the same amount of RENNS.
6. Think of a concluding sentence.
7. Write your paragraph using sentences. Use the coherence strategies to make     your paragraph easy to follow.
 
Here is an example we did in class. We came up with a good topic sentence and supporting ideas:
 
Topic sentence:     Choosing a college or university can be difficult.

Supporting ideas:  1. Good Location, 2. Affordable, 3. Good preparation
                                         for major.

 
We decided to order these supporting ideas according to importance as shown
in the outline below. Now we put this information into outline form and added
some RENNS for each supporting idea.
 
Topic sentence: Choosing a college or university can be difficult.

A. Good preparation for your major

1. thorough, solid curriculum
2. qualified professors

B. Affordable
1. must be able to pay tuition and living expenses
2. possibility of scholarships

C. Good Location
1. study environment
2. possibilities of part-time job in your major

Concluding sentence:
You should consider these points carefully
so you can choose the most appropriate college or university for you.
 
Finally, we wrote the paragraph using sentences and trying to make the
paragraph coherent using different coherence strategies:
 
Choosing a college or university can be difficult. The most difficult part is finding a university that prepares you well for your future career. In order to get a good
job, the curriculum that is taught must be thorough and up-to-date. In addition,
the professors must be highly qualified and respected in their fields. Another
difficulty in choosing a university or college is affordability. You need to be able to
pay the tuition fees and living expenses. Some institutions might be able to offer
you scholarships if you cannot afford the fees. A good location is also very
important when choosing a school. The environment should be safe and quiet
to facilitate studying. Moreover, there should be possibilities near the school for parttime or summer jobs in your major, so you can get some practical work experience. You should consider all of these points carefully so you can choose
the most appropriate college or university for you.
 
 
 

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