September 01, 2016

Connectivity: The Construction of the English Paragraph, Part III

In order for us to follow a paragraph from beginning to end, without stumbling, each sentence must be connected smoothly and firmly to both of its neighbors.

George D. Gopen

A unit of discourse is any group of words that has a beginning and an end. A sentence begins with its capital letter and ends with its period: As readers, we know how to take a mental breath to summon the “sentence energy” that we will use in making that journey from beginning to end. A paragraph begins with an indentation (or a doubled space from the previous paragraph) and ends when its last sentence is visually separated from the paragraph that follows: In order for us to follow the paragraph from beginning to end, without stumbling, each sentence must be connected smoothly and firmly to both of its neighbors. Taking care of those connections gives the writer greater control over the reader’s journey.

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