Academic English on the “Paragraph Level”
Some time ago, I showed that a combination of correctly spelled English words (“word level”) does not automatically generate a good sentence (“sentence level”). This time, I will broaden the scope even further by discussing the “paragraph level”. With respect to paragraph structure, several languages are less restrictive than academic English. I often observe that speakers of these languages mistakenly transfer the freedom of their own language to texts written in academic English. A paragraph almost always starts with a topic sentence, which expresses a single controlling idea. This sentence is followed by supporting sentences, which explain the idea of the first sentence. A paragraph typically ends with a concluding sentence, which summarizes the current paragraph and/or transitions to the idea of the next one. The web page of the Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill provides further information on paragraph writing, including examples.