Paragraph can be developed in a number of ways, depending on your purpose, the topic, and the kind of reader you have in view. The different method of paragraph development can be considered in terms of two broad categories:
- Those which stay strictly within the scope of the topic example ; illustration, description, definitions, as well as cause ad effect.
- Techniques which involve a second topic example ; comparison and contrast.
The method of development that you choose should be the one that will most effectively put across the point that you want to make: the point you have stated in your topic sentence. There are no rules about the kind of development to be adopted in any writing situation, although some topic lend themselves more readily to certain kinds of development than they do to others. It must be realized, however, that you can combine more than one technique in composing a paragraph.
Development Of A Paragraph By Illustration
Giving examples is one of the easiest ways of developing a topic. When a writer gives examples in his Paragraph, he helps the reader to understand a rather difficult and abstract generalization which may be contained in the topic sentence. He is also able to persuade the reader that the generalization is correct because there are examples to support it. Examples also add to the readers interest.
We often introduce examples or illustrations by using expressions like : for example, for instance, an example, etc.
Example 1 :
All warm-blooded animals are incredibly helpless at first. Young birds and young bats must be taught to fly. Thousands of young seals and young sea Lions are drowned every year. They never learn to swim ‘naturally’, the mother has to take them out under her flipper and show them how. Birds sing without instruction, but they do not sing well unless they have had opportunity of hearing older and more adept members of their species. Older harvest mice build better nests than beginners. It is said that the young elephant does not seen to know at first what his trunk is for; it gets in his way and seems more of a hindrance than help until his parents shows him what to do with it. Insects, indeed, seems to start life completely equipped with all necessary reflexes, but even then the concept of ‘ instincts ‘ seems fitrequire some modification, for they improve their talents with practice. Young spiders, for example, “begins by making quite primitive little webs, and only attain perfection in their art in course of time;” and older spiders, if deprived of their spinnerets, will take to hunting.
When giving examples in paragraph to support your topic sentence, keep in mind that;
- There should be enough examples to support your point;
- Each example should be logically related to your main idea
- Examples should be developed with interesting details as the above examples the writer of the paragraph above does not merely list the examples, but tells us in what way each of these animals is helpless, the results of their helplessness and how they become self-sufficient.
- The examples should represent a reasonable cross-secrion of the group you are dealing with.
Development Of A Paragraph By Description
You may never have to write descriptions which are complete in themselves, but you may need to include descriptions in other pieces of writing, examples personal letters, narratives, reports and travelogues. You may like to describe people, places, objects, habits and conditions, as well as scenes such as accidents.
Since descriptions are connected with detail, the larger and more precise your vocabulary, the better your descriptive writing will be. The following items are usually included in descriptive writing:
- Place and position; direction;
- Measurements: weight, size, volume, distance;
- Shapes and patterns;
- Colours and textures;
- Materials and substance.
Of the more than 20 species of small whales, our 300-pound Playboy is identified by his gunmetal hide, his 8 to 12 foot length and his laughing face. The porpoise has no teeth at birth; they begin to appear (from 44 to 50 in each jaw) a few weeks later. Though he sickles for about a year and half, he begins to munch small squid at four months. He breaths through a single nostril, a crescent-shaped blowhole in his head that close upon contact with water. This is also the source of his ‘voice’, and he can vibrate it like a human lip. His eyes, set just back from the mouth, are like a human being capable of ranging. He hears through a cushioned inner ear and periodic bone, and has the keenest auditory sense of any animal. His brain weights about 3.7 pounds, which in cell count per cutic centimetre is the same as man’s . Some Marine biologists believe that porpoises may have a higher potential of IQ than man, but have never had to develop it because they are so perfectly adapted to their environment .
This description of the porpoise is a good example of the type of writing that seeks to create a clear and accurate word picture of a subject without specifically mentioning the author’s feelings about it. Notice the way in which the writer has built up a picture of the porpoise. The first sentence gives the general characteristics of the porpoise. The rest of the sentences add details to develop the subject. These details are concerned with the physical appearance of the subject, such ad it teeth, nose, eyes, ears and brain. Most good descriptions follows this progression from the general to the more specific.
When you write a description, keep in mind that you must:
- Begin with general appearance;
- Sleet such physical details as will support the description of general appearance you have given in your first snetence;
- Describe each object by giving characteristics such as size, color, design, weight, and material;
- In some description, especially of scenes and landscapes, arrange your details in a definite order, such as near to far, high to low, left to right, etc. Some of the words used to indicate position are:
To the right
To the left
In the centre
To the east/west/north/south
On the eastern end