Essay How Many Words Per Paragraph

Usually authors here make an enforced ‘emergency stop’, and then commonly write up what should have been the wrap sentence as the beginning of the next paragraph.The first paragraph then has a sequence of Topic, Body, Tokens but no wrap sentence.The effect is again to bury the real topic sentence one or two sentences deep in the paragraph.

Short paragraphs happen because an author is unsure what to say, or has not properly thought through how a point or a set of points fit together or can be sequenced into the overall argument.

Some reflect miscellanies of points that the author has not acknowledged as such.

They mistakenly believe that this way of proceeding will convince readers that they have closely read the literature.

But when the first words of a paragraph are someone else’s name, the author is inadvertently signalling: ‘Here follows a completely derivative paragraph’ — or section if this pattern is repeated.

Readers may conclude that this is simply ‘more of the same’ and so skip onwards to the next paragraph.

Even those who persist may become confused — what is the paragraph really about? Or the different point given in the now ‘submerged’ topic sentence that comes second? For instance authors might begin by discussing a caveat, a definition, a difficulty or a methods issue that form part of the provenance of the argument to be made.

When and if they look more closely inside the body of the paragraph, readers may also initially skip across token sentences.

And they will normally put off digging into ‘hard’ formulae or tough exposition materials in search of a more intuitive (if approximate) understanding gleaned from the sentences that precede or follow them.

But because of their partly digressive character the author is reluctant to recognize the need to create separate paragraphs to handle them.

Especially when they discuss attention points or exhibits that are complex and not designed to be self-contained and easily understood, body and token sentences may blur together, creating text where the mainstream argument becomes hard to distinguish.


Comments Essay How Many Words Per Paragraph

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