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Definition of Paragraph

Definition of Paragraph

According to Richards and Schmidt (2002:382), paragraph is a unit of organization of written language in many languages which serves to indicate how the main ideas in written text are grouped. Savage and Mayer (2005:2) state that paragraph is a group of sentences about a topic. There is normally only one main idea in each paragraph and this is expressed in a topic sentence, the other sentences support and expand on the idea in topic sentence in different way (Svobodova et al., 2000:7). A paragraph is a group of five to ten sentences that give information about a topic (Zemach and Rumisek, 2005:5)

As quoted from Duigu (2002:4) a paragraph consists of three major parts, such as topic sentence, supporting sentences, and concluding sentence. A good paragraph is the paragraph in which the writers put one main idea and it is developed by adding supporting ideas which support the main idea. Commonly the main idea is placed in front of the paragraph that is followed by some supporting ideas and concluding sentence at the end of the paragraph.

Topic sentence is the most essential part in a paragraph. Galko (2001:51) states that topic sentence tells the readers about the main idea of the paragraph. It is the key sentence because it names and controls the idea, the writers’ main idea, opinion or feeling about the topic. As stated by Cargill and O’connor (2009:36) that the first sentence in a new paragraph introduces of what you will be talking about and relate to what it has gone before. In paragraph, topic sentence will be developed into some supporting sentences; thus, there will be only one main idea in a paragraph. The topic sentence is commonly written in the first sentence.

Supporting sentence is the sentence that supports the main idea. In supporting sentence the more information usually given through the use of examples, description and explanations. Savage and Shafiei (2007:8) state that the supporting sentences add the information about the topic and the controlling idea; in addition, the supporting sentence could be the definition, explanation and example. Commonly there are five or six supporting sentences in a paragraph.

The last one is concluding sentence which concludes the whole content of a paragraph; in addition, it is put in the last part of a paragraph. The concluding sentence restarts the main idea; furthermore, to restart the idea, the concluding may warn the readers, make a prediction and give an opinion about the topic which has been stated before (Savage and Shafiei, 2007:9). In the relation to this study, the paragraph that will be taught by the researcher is the descriptive paragraph which consists of identification and description.


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