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How to Begin and End Paragraphs

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We should pay more attention to paragraphs. I know that sounds obvious, but what I’m fretting about is the advice that beginning writers get to begin paragraphs with topic sentences and end with summary sentences. Such a topic sandwich—filled in with subpoints, supporting sentences, and examples—lends itself to formulaic writing. This strategy of tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them can be useful for public speaking, where listeners don’t have a text to follow. But in written exposition, readers don’t need you to be quite such a tour guide. They can refer back to the previous text. They can read slowly when they need to, or skim or skip ahead when they get bored. And if you bore them, they will skip ahead. Designing good paragraphs is not about talking people on a walk, but about treating them to an experience. So paragraphing is less about being a tour guide than it is about being the conductor of a symphony. A paragraph can end in a. . .

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News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

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