Paragraph Structure

Learning Objectives

  • Identify strategies for revising for paragraph structure

Most formal writing will require you to organize information in paragraphs. There are many strategies for composing paragraphs, but most boil down to a similar formula that includes a key sentence, evidence, and author commentary on that evidence. If you already have these elements in a paragraph, you’ll want to focus on the organization of ideas within a paragraph. Creating a reverse micro outline or cutting up the sentences of an individual paragraph, along with strengthening transitions within a paragraph, can help you as you revise for paragraph structure.

In general, if you feel your readers may have a hard time making connections, providing transition words (e.g., “due to” or “on the other hand”) can help lead them. Transitions between paragraphs may appear at the end of the first paragraph, at the beginning of the second paragraph, or in both places.  If the transition introduces new ideas, it usually appears at the beginning of the second paragraph.

Below is a chart of transition words that are useful for linking ideas within a paragraph:


Select the most appropriate transitions in the following passage:



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