Breaking text into paragraphs (paragraphing) is an essential skill to learn. This holds equally true for creative writing, such as narrative or persuasive writing, as for practical forms of writing, such as the explanatory. Paragraphs link one idea to another, guiding your reader from the introduction to the conclusion. Good paragraphing shows that you are in control of your writing and know exactly what you want to say.

Check your knowledge of this fundamental skill with this English quiz.

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  1. The sentences which follow the topic sentence in a paragraph may contain...
    All of the sentences in a paragraph must be related to each other and to the topic sentence
  2. What is a paragraph?
    A paragraph starts on a new line and should be indented. Although indentations are often omitted in work which is word-processed, essays should continue to follow this rule
  3. To ensure that paragraphs are well-organised and cohesive, their sentences should include...
    Well-chosen connectives or conjunctions link your ideas together and help your writing to flow (in an essay, they help the reader follow your argument)
  4. What is the purpose of a paragraph?
  5. The following sentences are from the same paragraph in George Orwell's essay, 'Notes on Nationalism'. Identify the topic sentence.
    The topic is that nationalists cannot see the similarities between opposing sides - the first answer explains the main point, while the third and fourth provide further evidence
  6. The final sentence in a paragraph should...
  7. How many main ideas does a paragraph have?
    A paragraph will have only one main point
  8. In writing, a new point requires...
    If you wish to make a new point, you will need a new paragraph
  9. Three of the following sentences are from the same paragraph in George Orwell's essay, 'In Defence of English Cooking'. Identify the sentence which does NOT belong with the others.
    'Sauces' are a new topic
  10. The following sentences are from the same paragraph in David Crystal's book, The Story of English in 100 Words. Identify the sentence which concludes the paragraph.
    If you have worked out the order of the sentences, you can see what a beautifully-constructed paragraph it is. The order of the sentences above should be 3rd (Grammar is glamorous?), 1st, 4th, 2nd. The last sentence leads the reader to expect the next paragraph to be about people who had the misfortune not to learn grammar at school

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