Understand what makes a good paragraph by University of Sydney

Use this sheet to help you:  understand what makes a good paragraph  and write paragraphs that are unified, coherent and clear.

This helpsheet provides advice concerning paragraphs for academic work. Specifically, it is designed to help you produce better essays, reports, literature reviews and short answers to questions. Please note, however, that paragraphs in different genres (such as newspaper articles and novels) may not follow the principles described below.

university-of-sydney-logoIt is also worth noting that not every important writer writes well-structured paragraphs, and that a lot of academic texts are actually bad examples of academic writing style. That is, while many texts may be notable for containing great insights, they are not always models of good writing that you should try and emulate. As you read the helpsheet, remember this too: while learning about paragraphing is easy, writing good paragraphs is difficult—difficult for native English speakers as well as for people whose first language is not English.




Avoiding the challenge of writing a good paragraph is a mistake given that paragraphs are the building blocks of almost all written genres. If you can’t produce a good paragraph, you won’t be able to produce a good essay, report or literature review, or almost any other type of text.

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