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Definition of a Paragraph and Its Function

Almost all pieces of writing, regardless of their nature, are divided into smaller elements called paragraphs, which help a reader to understand the flow of ideas easier. There are no specific rules about the length of each paragraph, but generally accepted academic writing standards state that paragraphs should not be too long (e.g., a page or half of a page) or too short (one or two sentences only, which will not show any informative or argumentative nature). Every paragraph should introduce a new idea or an opposing/contrasting one to the previous paragraph.

Apart from presenting a new idea, a writer should clearly understand why this specific paragraph should be placed here. There is a need to make a question, “Why I should introduce this particular paragraph here? “How should I express my ideas in it?” “Will I oppose a previous idea?” “Should I continue discussing the previous idea from a different perspective?” “Should I support a previous argument by introducing new examples?” “Do I want to inform or persuade readers?”

Every paragraph can reflect different purposes of writing, depending on the writing task you have.

Please check the list with the basic definitions:

  • To state an idea implies presenting an assertion of writer’s ideas.
  • To support an idea suggests incorporating specific evidence to back up a writer’s main idea.
  • To analyze means dividing a notion or assertion into several smaller components in order to evaluate them.
  • To expand implies extending a previous idea by adding new elements.
  • To qualify means specifying an idea or an assertion.
  • To concede means presuming the existence of an idea or presenting a hypothesis in relation to the suggestion of another researcher.
  • To restate means to paraphrase a previously introduced idea, assertion, adjusting it or amending it according to specific requirements.
  • To compare and contrast means evaluating similar and opposing features of specific notions, evaluating them, defining their obvious features while discussing similarities and differences.
  • To negate means denying an existence of the idea and presenting specific evidence in support of a writer’s idea; in other words, it implies suggesting that a specific claim is invalid.
  • To define means explaining a notion, process, or assertion that was introduced in the previous sentence.
  • To concur means to confirm or agree that someone’s ideas are correct and valid.
  • To describe implies presenting a definition or significant features of the notion, which will help readers understand or visualize an idea.
  • To exemplify means presenting pieces of evidence in support of the previously made claims; a writer is to provide illustrations or examples that will show credibility and validity of his/her claims.
  • To summarize means collecting the main ideas and paraphrasing/restating them in different words.
  • To narrate means presenting a story or a sequence of events.
  • To synthesize presumes collecting information from different paragraphs and combining them into the whole. In this way, a writer will be able to present the issue from a different angle.
  • To evaluate implies analyzing or judging an idea that was previously introduced.
  • To make a transition presumes providing connection or links that will guide the reader from one side of idea to another.