Whether you are trying to put together a few sentences about a family vacation or construct a long essay detailing your family history, you need to know the basics of writing a good paragraph. A paragraph can express a single theme or idea that describes your family or tells a story about them. You can write a descriptive paragraph to provide the reader with specific details that create a clear picture of your family, or write a narrative paragraph to tell about an event. Writing a good paragraph takes practice. Following the steps of the writing process and taking the time to plan and get organised can make this task easier.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Writing materials (paper and pencil or computer and word-processing software)
Choose a subject and think about what you want to say about your family. Do you want to write about your whole family or just one person? Do you want to write about a place or event associated with your family?
Plan your paragraph according to the specific family topic you want to write about. Write a narrative paragraph to tell a story about a family trip, event, or tradition or anecdote. Write a descriptive paragraph to describe your immediate family, extended family or a particular family member or how you feel about your family.
Identify and consider the audience and purpose of the paragraph. For example, is this a school assignment, admissions essay or journal entry?
Take notes on observations you have made about your family pertinent to the specific topic you have chosen.
Brainstorm ideas for your paragraph based on what you want to say about your family. If you want to describe your family or how you feel about them, make a list of descriptive words. If you want to write about a family event or tell a family story, clearly state your point of view and write down the sequence of events to help you get organised.
Use a graphic organiser such as a concept web, or main idea and supporting details tree, or make an outline to organise your ideas.
Write a topic sentence to state the main idea that you want to communicate about your family. The topic sentence may appear anywhere in the paragraph, but putting the topic sentence at the beginning lets the reader know right away what the paragraph is about.
Write supporting sentences based on the notes from the graphic organiser or outline. These sentences should focus on the main idea in the topic sentence.
Use the last sentence to tie the paragraph together. This sentence should relate to the topic sentence and connect all the supporting ideas in the paragraph. The closing sentence should not present a new idea about your family that you did not already write about.
Read the paragraph. Does the topic sentence state the main idea you want to communicate about your family? Do all the sentences support the topic sentence? You may need to add or delete words or sentences, or change the order of the sentences.
Proofread the paragraph for spelling, grammar and punctuation and make any necessary corrections.
Prepare a final, neat copy of your paragraph for presenting to your readers.
Revising, Editing and Publishing
Tips and warnings
- Depending on the audience and purpose, consider giving the paragraph humorous or serious treatment.
- Write the details in a logical order when writing a narrative paragraph about a family event. Use transition words such as "first," "next," "then" and the like to help the sentences flow.
- Let a friend read the paragraph and give you feedback to help you revise and edit.
- Try not to choose a topic that is too broad to write about effectively in one paragraph.
- Do not rush through proofreading. You are less likely to miss errors if you take your time.
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- Purdue University Online Writing Lab; Introduction to Prewriting (Invention); Allen Brizee; April 17, 2010
- Purdue University Online Writing Lab; The Descriptive Essay; Jack Baker and Allen Brizee; April 17, 2010
- Purdue University Online Writing Lab; The Narrative Essay; Jack Baker and Allen Brizee; March 23, 2011
- Purdue University Online Writing Lab; On Paragraphs; Dana Lynn Driscoll and Allen Brizee; April 17, 2010
- BrainPOP Jr.: Writing a Paragraph
- Purdue University Online Writing Lab; Where Do I Begin?; Jaclyn M. Wells, et al.; April 17, 2010