Business Writing Tip #98—Organising Your Paragraphs

Way back in Tip #45 I talked about paragraphs and how they help make your text more readable. They organise the text for the reader.

I wrote that paragraphs are a collection of related sentences dealing with a single topic, and in that post I talked about topic sentences.

Today I want to talk about how you can organise your ideas within a paragraph. It is important to organise the details that support your topic sentence. Four common ways of organising details are:

  1. Comparison/contrast—the writer provides details which show similarities and/or highlight differences
  2. Examples—the writer uses an example or illustration in support of the main point
  3. Emphasis—the writer organises the details in order of their importance, or from the most general to the most specific
  4. Chronological—the writer orders the events in the order in which they occurred

Some useful words and phrases for each category

Compare/ContrastComparison: in the same way, similarly, likewise, also, by comparison, in a like manner, as, with, as though, both, like, just as
Contrast: but, in contrast, despite, however, instead, nevertheless, on the contrary, in spite of, still, yet, unlike, even so, rather than, otherwise
ExamplesTo illustrate this point, let’s take the example of, for instance, for example, such as, in particular, particularly, especially
EmphasisMoreover, furthermore, in addition, not only...but, above all, indeed, naturally, clearly, obviously, needless to say
ChronologicalWhen, as soon as, the moment, on hearing ..., from the beginning of the year, throughout the life of the project, to start with, up to that time, first of all, first, in the first place, after this/that, afterwards, then, next, secondly, thirdly, finally, next, last but not least

Next time I’ll post a checklist to help you make sure you have planned and organised your writing appropriately.



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