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Theory of paragraph structure

Read about proper paragraph structure for clarity.
© University of Southern Queensland

Much like essay structure, paragraph structure is an essential component of good communication.

If you have clear, concise, and well-evidenced paragraphs, your reader will come away with a clear, concise, and well-evidenced interpretation of your message.

Consider the classic paragraph structure outlined below.

Paragraph structure

Look at one of the paragraphs from the example essay and see how you can apply this structure to make it better.

Example paragraph structure

In the example above, the paragraph is unbalanced, as it has three topic sentences and is missing a comment and a link/conclusion. To balance this out and create a clearer structure, condense the topic sentence and add comment and concluding sentences.

Example paragraph structure

Now, the paragraph is more balanced, purposeful, and clearer to read. It also has a sentence that links the overall argument with the main point made in the first main paragraph. In this case, it was possible for the evidence and comment to be combined into a single sentence.

When it comes to the body paragraphs, you may need multiple idea and evidence sentences to build out your argument.

Here’s an example of what that might look like:

Example paragraph structure

Now that you’ve seen how paragraph structure is applied generally in essays, take a closer look at how this affects professional communication.

Note: All the examples in this step are attached as a PDF in the “Downloads” section if you prefer to read them without the colours.

© University of Southern Queensland
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Effective Communication Skills for Professionals

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