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Interactive Rubric for Written Communication: 4.2. Paragraph

This guide will help you understand common conventions of academic writing and the application of marking rubrics



Definition (formal)

Paragraphs are groups of sentences that are united by a common theme or idea related to the overall topic or purpose of the writing. The structure of paragraphs varies greatly.  Many paragraphs in formal writing include (a) a topic sentence to identify the main idea or theme of the paragraph, (b) supporting sentences to provide elaborations, evidence, and/or examples for the idea, and (c) linking sentences that connect the idea to the main thesis and/or the next paragraph.

Definition (informal)

Paragraph: Which sentences go together?


For example, the the Persuasive Essay Example includes four paragraphs.  The second paragraph begins with a topic sentence:

The dichotomy between nature and nurture is arguably false because the concepts are relative and mutually dependent categories.

It continues with some supporting sentences which include examples:

For example, a society that values and nurtures logico-mathematical intelligence due to selection pressures in a particular environment (e.g., how to engineer and throw a spear to kill a woolly mammoth) may select genes related to intelligence that appear natural to successive generations.

And, it ends with a linking sentence that relates to the overall thesis:

Thus, the dichotomy between nature and nurture only appears when the concepts are compared in a single generation.

Resources (textbook)

Refer to the textbook pages and sections to improve your knowledge and understanding of the criterion.

Resources (web)

Click on the links to access online resources to improve your knowledge and understanding of the criterion.

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