how many words should be in a paragraph
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Simply put, a paragraph should be as long or as short as it needs to be to develop a main idea. As Barry J. Rosenberg says, “Some paragraphs should weigh a skimpy two or three sentences, while others should weigh a robust seven or eight sentences. Both weights are equally healthy” (Spring Into Technical Writing for Engineers and Scientists, 2005).
In composition, technical writing, and online writing, the term paragraph length refers to the number of sentences in a paragraph and the number of words in those sentences.
- The Topic Sentence
- The topic sentence is usually the first sentence in a paragraph. It is introductory, meaning it should not include details, rather, it should introduce the main idea which will be supported by the rest of your paragraph.
- The Supporting Sentences
- This is where the detailed sentences go to support the main idea in the topic sentence.
- The Transition Sentence
- This is where the writer relates the ideas in the current paragraph to what is coming in the next. Transition words like “next,” “however,” “first,” “second,” and “in addition” are useful.
- Paragraph hooks – which are finding a keyword or phrase in the current paragraph and “hooking” or linking it to a similar word or phrase in the next – can also be useful.
The parts of a paragraph normally include: