Structure and Organisation

A well-written paragraph has three indispensable parts — topic sentence, developers and terminator. The capability of exploiting these elements much helps the writer develop a paragraph in an effective and efficient manner. Let us now have a look at these basic components of a paragraph.

1. Topic sentence: The topic sentence is usually the first sentence in a paragraph. It is the single most important sentence through which the writer tells the reader what he/she is developing in the subsequent sentences excepting the last one in a paragraph. That is, the topic sentence:
(a) starts a paragraph,
(b) contains the writer’s specific attitudes towards the subject or topic,
(c) conveys some clear and concrete message,
(d) demands subsequent development through supporting sentences, and
(e) makes the reader eager to learn what is being developed.

Therefore, to write a good topic sentence we have to:
(a) narrow down the topic,
(b) concentrate it on some specific aspect of the topic,
(c) state the topic in a clear and unambiguous manner,
(d) consider the expectation of the target reader, and
(e) avoid unnecessary and irrelevant elaboration of the topic sentence.

2. Developers: The developers consist of the sentences placed between the topic sentence and the last sentence in a paragraph. They develop the topic sentence through “elaboration, exemplification, classification, and so forth. That is, they detail, expand and support the idea put forward in the topic sentence. To write appropriate and adequate developers, we have to consider several factors such as:
(a) being confined to the idea set forth by the topic sentence,
(b) detailing the idea put in the topic sentence to a possible extent,
(c) supporting the topic sentence by necessary facts and examples,
(d) exhibiting causes and effects, comparison and contrast to expand and explain the specific idea the topic sentence contains,
(e) maintaining coherence and cohesion, and so on.

3. Terminator: The terminator is the last sentence in a good paragraph. It logically concludes the ideas developed through the developers of the paragraph. In other words, the terminator:
(a) can restate the ideas put in the topic sentence,
(b) can present a quick summary of what has already been discussed,
(c) helps the writer pass some constructive comments,
(d) contains the writer’s suggestions, and/or
(e) naturally completes the writer’s description of the subject or topic concerned.


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