Writing | Steps to Writing Effective Paragraphs

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What is this episode about?

Learn the four important steps to writing effective paragraphs and the four main bases you need to cover to write great paragraphs in this new episode from the writing series by English Plus Podcast.

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Disclaimer

I am using an automatic transcript service as it is not possible for me to do it on my own and I cannot afford human transcription at the moment. The service claims to have about 95% accuracy, which means there will still be some mistakes, so my apologies for having a less than perfect transcript, but I hope I can afford human transcription soon and I will solve this problem. However, the service is pretty good, and the transcript is almost perfect.

Transcript

Welcome to a new episode from English plus podcast. Today’s episode is about writing. And in this episode, we will talk about the steps we need to writing effective paragraphs. This is going to be another episode where we’re not going to get our hands dirty and talk about the details and very specific things.

[00:00:24] We will talk about things a little bit in general. But we will be as comprehensive as we can be. It is important for you to understand or to see the big picture before you dig in. And that’s what we’re trying to do. Starting from next time, we’ll get our hands dirty and we will talk about the nuts and bolts of writing.

[00:00:42] And we will have a lot of exercises. To help us understand and improve our writing. So now without further ado, let’s start talking about the steps we need to write effective paragraphs now to write an effective paragraph, you should begin by making a point and then go on to support that point with specific evidence.

[00:01:01] Finally end your paper with a sentence that rounds of the paragraph and provides a sense of completion. So here, as we said, we start with making a point. What does that mean? It is often best to state your point in the very first sentence of your paragraph. Now, the sentence that expresses the main idea or point of a paragraph is called the topic sentence.

[00:01:25] Your paragraph will be United if you make sure that all the details. Support the point in your topic sentence. Now let’s talk a little bit more about the topic sentence to understand what that is. But again, let me remind you that we will dig in deeper and talk about the topic sentence in more details with a lot of exercises in the episodes to come.

[00:01:45] What we’re trying to do now is just to get ourselves acquainted with those steps. We need to write. Good paragraphs. So the topic sentence and effective topic sentence does two things. First, it represents the topic of the paragraph. And second it expresses the writer’s attitude or opinion or idea about the topic.

[00:02:06] For example, we say professional athletes are overpaid in the topic sentence. The topic is professional athletes. The writer’s idea about the topic is that professional athletes are overpaid. So now that we have our topic sentence, We have our point. We can move to step two, and that is back up your point.

[00:02:27] We need to back up our point to support your point. You need to provide specific reasons, examples, and other details that explain and develop it. The more precise and particular your supporting details are, the better your readers can see, hear, and feel them. Now, as we’re talking about this, we need to understand the general versus specific ideas.

[00:02:49] A paragraph is made up of a main idea, which is general and the specific ideas that support it. So to write well, you must understand the difference between general and specific ideas. It is helpful to realize that you use general and specific ideas all the time in your everyday life. For example, in choosing a film to rent, you may think which should I rent an action movie, a comedy or a romance in such a case film is the general idea and action movie comedy or romance are the specific ideas, or you may decide to begin an exercise program.

[00:03:26] In that case, you might consider walking Pilates or lifting weights. In this case, exercise is the general idea and walking, Pilates and lifting weights are the specific ideas. So here, I know it might sound like second nature or very simple to say that, but when we dig in deeper and talk about general ideas versus specific ideas, that will turn out to be very important.

[00:03:52] So that’s why I’m just noting here that we need to understand the difference between general ideas and specific ideas. And now that we’re done with the second step, which is to support our main idea, we have now step three, which is to organize the support. It’s not enough just to have good supporting ideas, to support our topic sentence or our topic in general.

[00:04:16] It is also useful. To organize the support in a logical way, and you will find it very helpful to learn two common ways of organizing support in a paragraph. We have two common ways and we have other types we will learn about when we talk about different kinds of paragraphs and essays in the coming episodes.

[00:04:35] But for now, let’s talk about to the listing order and the time order down before I talk more about listing order and the time order, you should also learn the signal words known as transitions. That increased the effectiveness of each method that transitions are words and phrases that indicate relationships between ideas.

[00:04:54] They are like signposts that guide travelers, showing them how to move smoothly from one spot to the next, uh, be sure to take advantage of transitions, they will help organize and connect your ideas and they will help the readers follow the directions of your thoughts. So now let’s have these two examples about the listing order and the time order, and we will talk about transitions used.

[00:05:16] With the listing order. And with the time order now using the listing order, our writer can organize supporting evidence in a paper by providing a list of two or more reasons, examples or details. Often the most important or interesting item is saved for last because the reader is most likely to remember the last thing grid.

[00:05:35] So of course more details will come and a lot more examples. But that is the listing order, but let me tell you about some transitions words that indicate listing order. We can say like one for one thing, first of all, second, third next, also another in addition next, moreover, furthermore, last of all. And finally.

[00:05:55] All of these are transitions. We use when we have the list order. And what about the time order then when a writer uses time, order supporting details are presented in the order in which they occurred. First, this happened next this after that this and so on many paragraphs, especially paragraphs that tell a story or give a series of directions are organized in a time order.

[00:06:18] We use transitions like first, next, before, during soon after now later often, finally until then, et cetera. So with that being said, that will be the third step. And I told you about four steps. The first step was making a point. The second step was supporting this point. The third step was organizing the support and the final step is to write clear error-free sentences.

[00:06:42] If you use correct spelling and follow the rules of grammar, punctuation, and usage, your sentences will be clear and well-written, but by no means, must you have all the information in your head. Even the best writers need to use reference materials to be sure their writing is correct. So when you write your papers, Keep a good dictionary and grammar handbook nearby in general.

[00:07:04] However, save them for after you’ve gotten your ideas firmly down in writing, you will find as you write paragraphs that you will make a number of centers errors. Simply ignore them until you get to a later draft of your paper. When there will be time enough to make the needed corrections. So here we have four basis for revising writing.

[00:07:26] We have the four steps and we have the four basis. Now the four steps are, if you make one point and you stick to that point, you need to revise this after you’re done with your paragraph, ask yourself this question. Have I made one point and stuck to that point? And that is the first base. That means your writing will have unity.

[00:07:45] If the answer is, yes, your writing will have unity. Now the second step, have you backed up the point with specific evidence? If the answer is yes, your writing will have support and that is the second base. Now the third step, have you organized and connected the specific evidence if you’ve done that? And the answer to that question is yes.

[00:08:06] Then your writing will have coherence. And finally, have you written clear error, free sentences? And if the answer to that is a yes. So your writing will demonstrate effective sentence skills and that will be your fourth base. So going back to the basis, let me talk a little bit more about those four bases now based one is unity.

[00:08:27] What is unity and why is it important to be achieved in our writing not to achieve unity is to have all the details in your paper related to the single point expressed in the topic sentence, which is the first sentence. Usually each time you think of something to put in, ask yourself whether it relates to your main point.

[00:08:46] If it does not leave it out, even if it is important or you think it is important to mention, but not in this paragraph. It belongs to another paragraph. Write another paragraph about it. If you think it is that important. For example, if you were writing about a certain job as the worst job you’ve ever had and spent a couple of sentences talking about the interesting people you met there, you would be missing the first and most essential base of good writing.

[00:09:13] So to check a paragraph for unity, ask yourself these questions. Is there a clear single point in the first sentence of the paragraph and is all the evidence on target in support of the opening point? If both answers are yes. So you will have covered your first base and that is unity. Now what about the second base?

[00:09:35] And that is support. The second base of effective writing is support and it provides specific examples that illustrate the main point of a paragraph as readers. We want to see and judge for ourselves, whether a writer is making a valid point about a subject, but without specific details we cannot do so.

[00:09:55] So all your paragraphs should include many vivid details. Using ample support will help you communicate more clearly and effectively in your writing. And to check your paragraph for support, ask yourself these questions. Is there specific evidence to support the opening point? And is there enough specific evidence?

[00:10:16] If both answers are yes. So then you will have covered your second base and that is support. Don’t worry about the third base. And that is coherence. Once you have determined that a paragraph is unified and supported check to see if the writer has a clear and consistent way of organizing the material.

[00:10:35] As the third base of effective writing is coherence. The supporting ideas and sentences in a composition must be organized in a consistent way so that they cohere or stick together. Okay. Key techniques for tying materials together are choosing a clear method of organization, just like the time order or the order of importance that we talked about.

[00:10:56] And of course use transitions and other connecting words as signposts. So here to check a paragraph or coherence, ask yourself these questions. Does the paragraph have a clear method of organization are transitions and other connecting words use to tie the material together? If both answers are yes, that means you have covered your third base and that is coherence.

[00:11:20] And now for the last base, and that is sentence skills. No error in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, mechanics, and even formatting can detract greatly from your writing. The fourth base sentence skills requires that you identify, fix and avoid these types of mistakes. Error, free sentences. Allow readers to focus on the content of a paragraph as a whole poor grammar and sentence skills can be merely distracting or they can change the meaning of a sentence entirely.

[00:11:49] They also lessen the writer’s credibility, for instance, a potential employer. My thing, if he can’t spell the word political, does he really have an interest in working on my campaign? If you have taken care of your grammar, punctuation, and other sentence skills, you will have covered your force base and your paragraph will be perfect.

[00:12:10] It will be unified. It will be supported. It will be coherent and it will be error-free. So that will be all for this episode. We have covered the main steps to write an effective paragraph. And of course, in the coming episodes, we will dig in, we will get our hands dirty and we will talk about details, how to achieve each one step and how we can achieve these steps in different types of paragraphs.

[00:12:37] And later on, of course, we will talk about essays when we are done with paragraphs. With that being said, I would like to remind you that you can find the transcript of this episode in a link. I will leave in the description and you can also find the link that will take you to Patreon. Or you can take this link and become a patron English plus podcast.

[00:12:55] And this way you will support us and you will receive a PDF practice worksheet with every single episode we release. This is your host, Danny. Thank you very much for listening to another episode from English plus podcast out. See you next time.

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