Paragraphs should contain a complete idea. Not three ideas, not one and half. It should just be one complete idea. When you are done with that idea, move on to the next paragraph. It’s okay if your first draft isn’t terribly cohesive. But, before you turn in a final draft, you should make sure that each paragraph is devoted to only one idea.

Example of a Cohesive Paragraph: Notice that this paragraph fully develops a single idea that is introduced in the topic sentence. Also, observe that the paragraph doesn’t just repeat the idea in the topic sentence. It expands upon the idea and offers specific evidence and explanation.

The new dress code is flawed because it makes it harder for girls to comply than boys. According to the rules, all students (boys and girls) have to wear polo shirts tucked into khakis. This rule is easier for boys to follow because the popular style is longer shirts and baggier pants which makes it easier for tucking in. Girls, however, typically can only buy shorter shirts and tighter pants which makes it more difficult to tuck in and follow the dress code.

Example of a Scattered Paragraph: Notice that this paragraph jumps from one idea to another. Although all of the sentences talk about the dress code, they address such different aspects of the dress code that it doesn’t address any in depth.

According to the new dress code, all students have to tuck in their shirts, including girls. Also, we have to wear khakis which doesn’t make sense because gangsters wear khakis. We should be able to wear jeans and black pants too. In addition, girls shouldn’t have to tuck in their shirts because most girls shirts aren’t long enough to be tucked in. Also, the pants typically aren’t loose enough to tuck anything in.


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