Paragraph Support, Unity, & Coherence

By Jalesa Campbell

Take a minute to read the paragraph below...

A positive leader is someone who leads by example, is willing to assist others, and is merciful to others. My manager, Don Richardson, exhibits these qualities. He follows through on what he says, he willingly lends a hand when needed, and he is understanding when others miss the mark.

What did you guys think of that paragraph?

What was the topic that the writer was writing on?

Was anything missing or lacking about the paragraph?

Supporting your paragraphs

  • Without beams to support a bridge, it's going down - and a lot of people are likely to be in trouble
  • You must provide reasoning or support for the topic that you are writing on
  • Otherwise, your reader may say, "So what?" and may lose interest in reading further

Types of Support

  • Provide support through examples - these help to bring your main point to life through illustration

Types of Examples You Can Use

  1. Short Examples
  2. Sentence-Length Examples
  3. Extended Examples

Short Examples

Provide several brief illustrations (usually in a list)


Compulsive shoppers can curb their bad spending habits by replacing the habit of shopping with another hobby, creating & sticking to a budget, and using a list instead of perusing stores.

Sentence Length Examples

When providing more than a list is appropriate for your topic.


Eric was one of the best players on our team, though several of our teammates teased him. He made several touchdowns last season and turned the game over when we were on the verge of losing.

Extended Examples

When you want to illustrate in more detail and your example takes up the majority of the paragraph

*See pg. 90 (textbook) for an example or the example used in the “Structure of a Paragraph” PowerPoint

Another quick read, take a minute to read the paragraph below...

If a leader doesn't keep his word, why should others trust him? But there are some leaders, like my manager, who are willing to lend a helping hand to others. However, if a subordinate makes a mistake, then a leader should be willing to give him or her a second chance

Did this paragraph make sense?

What were some issues with that paragraph?


  • Make sure that each of your sentences are well-connected
  • Also be sure to stay on topic - don't veer off into another direction

To help make sure your ideas are unified, here are some tips...

  1. Ideas must be presented in a logical manner (that's why prewriting first is important)
  2. Use transitioning words and phrases to help guide your reader along as you move from 1 idea to the next

Transitioning Words & Phrases


  • First
  • Next
  • After
  • Before
  • Often


  • Although
  • Even though
  • However
  • On the other hand
  • Instead

A Few Words of Caution

- Avoid using transitioning words mechanically (like "First, Second, and Third")

- Instead, switch them up (like "First, Additionally, and Lastly")

- Don't pepper transitioning words throughout your paper because it looks good --- it might not be so palatable to your reader because they may throw off the flow of your paragraph

Any Questions?

Created By
Jalesa Campbell


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