Forever Grammar is a series on Forever Endeavour which will iron out all of your grammar woes. It will ensure your writing is spick and span, to match the brilliant ideas you have, and boost your confidence. We will cover everything from the basics of punctuation to the common errors in spelling. If you have any questions, be sure to leave a comment, and we will always get back to you.
One of best things about reading is getting lost in the words and the world on the page. This is difficult when the flow of the writing is lacking structure and, therefore, hard to read. By understand how, when and why to use paragraphs, you can improve the structure of your writing to ensure your ideas take the spotlight.
What are paragraphs?
Paragraphs are a collection of sentences that all centre around the same person, place, topic or time. A new paragraph should be used to introduce new ideas and themes, while making it easy for your readers to follow. By using paragraphs to break up the text, your readers can follow the writing easier and understand when the story is shifting in time, place, topic or person. A new paragraph should be put on a new line in your writing.
How to use paragraphs
A handy phrase to remember when creating paragraphs is TiP ToP.
This stands for:
This means that when your focus shifts between any of these, you need to start a new paragraph. You may cover different ideas or points within the same paragraph, but they will all revolve around one central theme, and recognising when this changes will help you to identify when you need to create a new paragraph. For example, if you are writing about a character’s day and then shift to a flashback, the change in time means that you will start a new paragraph.
When writing a story, you will find yourself using narrative paragraphs, through which you break up the events that are unfolding in to easy-to-read paragraphs that your reader can follow. This means you will likely start a new paragraph for each segment of the action, and the reader will be able to keep focused on the plot as each paragraph leads into the next sequential event.
When writing dialogue, you will also need to start a new paragraph with every new line of speech. This means every time a different character speaks, you will put this in a new paragraph. For example:
“I’ve always loved you,” James said.
“I know,” Ella began, “I just don’t think that’s enough.”
Here you can see that Ella’s speech is on a new line to James’s speech, to show a clear shift in who is speaking. If James were to speak after Ella, his dialogue would be on the next line, and so on. This makes it easier to track who is talking, and also means you can begin to omit ‘he said’ or ‘she said’ once it is clear who the conversation is between.
Writing in clear paragraphs can be the difference between your story being clear and engaging to confusing and overwhelming, so this is definitely a side of grammar you want to nail down as soon as possible. As with anything, keep practicing and get someone to read your writing back to you if you need help with putting in paragraphs, or any other grammar concerns.