What is a Paragraph? Definition, Examples of Paragraphs

Paragraph definition: A paragraph is a unit of writing in a larger body of work. A paragraph expresses a particular topic or theme.

What is a Paragraph?

A paragraph is a component of fictional prose and non-fiction writings.

When writing essays, research papers, books, etc., new paragraphs are indented to show their beginnings. Each new paragraph begins with a new indentation.

The purpose of a paragraph is to express a speaker’s thoughts on a particular point in a clear way that is unique and specific to that paragraph. In other words, paragraphs shouldn’t be mixing thoughts or ideas. When a new idea is introduced, generally, a writer will introduce a new paragraph.

Basic Paragraph Structure: How to Layout a Paragraph

In non-fiction writing, a body paragraph is any paragraph that comes between the introduction and the conclusion.

A good body paragraph will have the following:

Topic Sentence

define paragraph writing What is a topic sentence? A topic sentence is the first sentence of the body paragraph. Simply put, the topic sentence introduces the topic of the paragraph. A good topic sentence will be broad enough to allow for explication but narrow enough that it does not require a paragraph that is too long.

Supporting Sentences

What is a supporting sentence? The supporting sentences of a paragraph are the sentences between the topic sentence and the concluding sentence. The supporting sentences “support” the topic sentence. That is, they explain and elaborate the point of the paragraph.

Concluding Sentence

what is a conclusion paragraph What is a concluding sentence? The concluding sentence is the last sentence in the paragraph. It should succinctly end the paragraph and transition to the next paragraph, if appropriate.

Other Features of Paragraphs

A good paragraph contains many elements. Here are just a few of them.

Unity, Coherence

what is an introduction paragraph As mentioned above, the ideas in a paragraph should logically fit together. Furthermore, they should flow from one idea to the next.

A paragraph should be organized in a way that it builds appropriately. This could be by sequence of ideas or events. Additionally, transitions should be used from one sentence to the next that connect the ideas and concepts.

Adequate Development

In order for a paragraph to be considered “adequate” or “sufficient,” the paragraph should be well-developed. The reader should not be left wanting more information.

Similarly, the paragraph should include enough evidence to support its topic sentence.


what is the purpose of a conclusion paragraph Good paragraphs have transitions between preceding and proceeding paragraphs. These transitions are logical and verbal.

One paragraph should logically flow to the next. The ideas in a body of work should be organized so each paragraph transitions well to the next. It should not be choppy.

Additionally, verbal transitions within and between paragraphs should help the reader move seamlessly through the piece of writing.

How Long is a Paragraph?

how long should a paragraph be There is no set length to a paragraph. Some paragraphs are only one sentence in length. However, a short paragraph like that should be left only to the expert writer—or a specific style of writing. You wouldn’t find a single-sentence paragraph in a research paper or academic journal.

Paragraphs need to be long enough to express any given idea (long enough to thoroughly explain the topic sentence).

Research papers may call for paragraphs ten sentences or longer.

The overall topic of the writing and content will determine the length of a paragraph. Unfortunately, there is no single number of sentences to a good paragraph.

A general rule of thumb is to begin with a topic sentence; develop that topic well with evidence, examples, and explanations; and conclude the paragraph appropriately.

Summary: What are Paragraphs?

Define paragraph: the definition of paragraph is a group of sentence in which a single topic is developed.

In summary, a paragraph is:

  • a unit of writing
  • used in non-fiction and fictional prose
  • a part of writing that expresses a certain topic