Paragraph Development and Forms of Discourse Essays

2617 Words 11 Pages
Seven Types of Paragraph Development by Gerald Grow, PhD
Division of Journalism
Florida A&M University

In their pursuit of clear, concise writing, journalism students sometimes develop the habit of writing everything in short, choppy paragraphs that are unrelated to one another. Reviewing any good high school writing handbook will remind you that considerable thought has been given to how longer paragraphs can be developed into well focused presentations of single units of thought.

What follows is an (imaginary) article invented to illustrate many of the "modes of discourse"--the traditional methods by which writing is developed. In succession, the following paragraphs are narration,
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Exposition can be an incidental part of a description or a narration, or it can be the heart of an article 3. Aside from clarity, the key problem with exposition is credibility. What makes your explanation believable? Normally, writers solve this problem by citing authorities who have good credentials and good reason to be experts in the subject.
This paragraph also happens to serve as the justifier or "nut graf" for the little article: the paragraph that, after an indirect opening, specifies the topic of the article, why it is important, and what is to come.


"Park" is difficult to define in Florida, because there are so many kinds of parks. Basically, a park is a place to go for outdoor recreation-to swim, picnic, hike, camp, walk the dog, play tennis, paddle your canoe, and, in some places take rides in miniature trains or swish down a waterslide. Florida has a rich variety of parks, ranging from acres of RVs ringed around recreation halls, to impenetrable mangrove wilderness. To make things more complicated, not all of them are called "parks," and even the ones called "parks" come in several varieties.

Comments on definition:

1. Never define anything by the "according to Webster's" method. Meaning is found in the world, not in the dictionary. Bring the world into your story and use it to define your terms. 2. Saying what something is NOT can help readers; but make a strong effort to say what it IS.


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