Writing a Paragraph
There is a lot more to painting a room than simply slapping up some paint on the wall.

Writing a Paragraph

This English Language quiz is called 'Writing a Paragraph' and it has been written by teachers to help you if you are studying the subject at middle school. Playing educational quizzes is a fabulous way to learn if you are in the 6th, 7th or 8th grade - aged 11 to 14.

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Narrative, descriptive and expository are all styles of paragraphs. During classes, you most likely learned that there are three different types or styles of paragraphs. It is a good time to revisit what you learned as you will soon have to draw upon that knowledge in order to start creating many of your own written pieces of work.

The three different types or styles of paragraphs include the following: the narrative, the descriptive and the expository.

A narrative paragraph will tell the reader about an event or scene.

A descriptive paragraph will try to create (through the use of words) a vivid image by providing very detailed descriptions on one subject.

An expository paragraph just simply gives the reader basic information.

Whether you are writing a narrative, a descriptive or an expository paragraph, each of those paragraphs should contain three parts, i.e., a topic, supporting information to address the topic and a concluding sentence to reinforce or clarify the topic.

Topic: A writer’s first and perhaps most important goal is to grab a reader’s attention at the very beginning to the point that the reader wants to read more. Because the goal is to capture the reader’s attention, the first or opening sentence of any paragraph is critical. That first sentence must alert the reader as to what information they will learn about. For example, let’s look at the following topic sentence:

Would you like to know how you can get a college degree without ever attending college?

With this topic sentence the reader immediately knows the writer is going to talk about getting a college degree without ever having to attend college. What middle-school and/or high-school student wouldn’t want to know how to do that? In fact, what parent wouldn’t want to know how to do that? So right away the reader’s attention has been grabbed. The reader is probably thinking, “How do you do that?”

Supporting information: After you have captured your reader with an amazing opening line, you have to keep them going by now supporting what you told them you would do. To do this, the body of the paragraph needs to provide solid, documented supporting information. The supporting information is the meat and potatoes of your writing. It is there to fuel the interest of the reader to make your supporting material plentiful without overstuffing the reader with too much information. For example, let’s look at the following sentences that would come after our introductory sentence mentioned above:

Let’s face it, not everyone can afford to go to college. If you are fortunate enough to attend, who wants to graduate with a mountain of debt that will take you 20 to 30 years to pay off? Not me, that’s for sure. So that piqued my interest. I wanted to see if it was at all possible to get a degree without ever having to step foot onto a college campus or into a college classroom. What I learned was astounding and I bet many colleges don’t want you to ever know about these methods. I have done two solid years of study and talked with countless professors, educational boards and many Presidents and CEOs of a conglomerate of companies. I learned that it is not only possible to get a degree – but you can get that degree for free!

The supporting sentences tell the reader that the writer did some research on how to get a college degree without having to attend college. It tells the reader that there is more than one method to getting a degree and, perhaps most importantly, that you can get that degree for free! With the supporting information given, the reader is most likely interested, if not even more so, and that will keep them reading on.

The final sentence of a paragraph is the concluding sentence. It can either sum up the entire paragraph by making the point of the topic or it can lead the reader onward to the next paragraph. Let’s look at the following concluding sentence to our paragraph above:

Sounds impossible, I know, but after you finish reading this book you will become a true believer and you’ll wonder why anyone is paying for a college degree.

This concluding sentence refers back to the topic, i.e., getting a college degree. It then directs the reader to read the book to become a believer in being able to get a college degree for free. With this concluding sentence, our paragraph is now complete.

Beware of the run-on sentence! What is a run-on sentence? It is a sentence that has two or more independent clauses or, in other words, it contains two or more complete sentences that can stand on their own. However, the clauses are not properly joined together with an appropriate punctuation or conjunction. This does not mean that because a sentence is exceptionally long that it is a “run-on” sentence. A run-on sentence MUST contain at least two clauses improperly joined. As long as the clauses are properly joined, the sentence, though long, is not a run-on. Below are two examples of run-on sentences:

Grace went to the store she bought an outfit that was too small she thinks she is smaller than she is she will have to return it and get the proper size.

Stanley drove Penelope walked.

In the first sentence there are several clauses. They include: “Grace went to the store,” “She bought an outfit that was too small,” “She thinks she is smaller than she is,” and “She will have to return it and get the proper size.” As you can see, there are four clauses or separate independent sentences. There are no punctuation marks or conjunctions used anywhere to join these sentences so this is a clear run-on sentence. To make it a proper sentence it would have to read:

Grace went to the store where she bought an outfit that was too small because she thinks she is smaller than she is and she will have to return it and get the proper size.

In the second sentence we have two independent clauses, i.e., “Stanley drove” and “Penelope walked.” Even though this is a very short sentence, the two clauses are not properly linked. Because they are not properly linked, it is a run-on sentence. To make it a proper sentence it would have to read:

Stanley drove and Penelope walked.

For each of the sentences listed below, determine if it is a topic sentence, a supporting sentence(s) a concluding sentence or a run-on sentence.
1.
Have you ever wondered how people are able to create and sign all those amazing and entertaining computer games?
Topic
Supporting
Concluding
Run-on
Reading this sentence the first thing the reader can determine is that the writer will be discussing the creation and design of computer games. In today’s technologically advanced world, this is a great “topic” sentence! Answer (a) is correct.
2.
Boris Karloff was not the only monster character that frightened many for generations, there were others, some even more horrific and definitely more gruesome but you’ll have to read on to learn who they were and what made them so special.
Topic
Supporting
Concluding
Run-on
The first phrase in this sentence (Boris Karloff was not the only monster character that frightened many) gives the reader an indication that something more will be forthcoming. The sentence appears to conclude that there are other characters who were also frightening, even more frightening, and then it leads the reader to continue to read on to learn about those other characters. This sentence is clearly a concluding sentence to a paragraph making Answer (c) correct.
3.
Have you ever wanted to become an extra in a Hollywood movie?
Topic
Supporting
Concluding
Run-on
With this sentence the first thing the reader comes to know is that the writer is going to write about being able to appear as an extra in a movie! Just about anyone has probably wanted to do this at one time or another in their life so it is a great “topic” sentence. Answer (a) is the correct answer here.
4.
She sang he danced.
Topic
Supporting
Concluding
Run-on
This sentence contains two clauses, i.e., “She sang” and “he danced.” However, there is no proper punctuation mark or conjunction used to join the two clauses together. When this happens, the sentence is known as a “run-on’ sentence. Answer (d) is the correct answer here.
5.
There is a lot more to painting a room than simply slapping up some paint on the wall. Although it may not seem fun, if you do not prepare your walls for the proper kind of paint, or use the proper brushes, you will find yourself facing a disaster. So if you want to have a showpiece of a room, be patient. By following the guidelines provided here - your room will look professional.
Topic
Supporting
Concluding
Run-on
Here we have a series of sentences that are giving the reader information that appears to be supporting a topic, i.e., painting a room. This portion of a paragraph is providing the reader with information regarding the fact that there is a proper way to paint that involves preparation first. There is no concluding sentence nor does it lead the reader on to a new paragraph. This series of sentences are simply supporting a topic and shows that Answer (b) is correct.
6.
Waterfalls are an amazing testament to the beauty Mother Nature has to offer us. They are found in almost every country in the world. This book will focus on the top ten largest waterfalls known to man. Among the top ten are the Angel Falls in Venezuela, the Inga Falls in the Dominican Republic, the Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River and the Niagara Falls in North America.
Topic
Supporting
Concluding
Run-on
We have a series of sentences here that are giving the reader information about the topic of waterfalls. In this portion of a paragraph the reader is given information about where waterfalls can be found and directs the reader that the book will be about the top ten waterfalls. However, there is no sentence that provides any conclusion nor does it lead the reader to a new paragraph. This series of sentences is, therefore, an example of supporting sentences. Answer (b) is correct.
7.
So, if you are not very easily frightened, then come along on this adventure through the most dangerous places that can be found on Earth!
Topic
Supporting
Concluding
Run-on
The first word in this sentence, i.e., “so,” gives the reader a clue that the sentence is going to be wrapping something up and/or directing the reader to move forward to find out more information. It is, therefore, a concluding sentence making Answer (c) the correct answer.
8.
Sarah packed her bags for her trip to Europe, Africa, South America and Australia she included plenty of books to read on the flights they would be longer than she wanted to think about the excitement she felt now was sure to wear off.
Topic
Supporting
Concluding
Run-on
This sentence contains multiple clauses, i.e., “Sarah packed her bags for her trip to Europe, Africa, South America and Australia,” “She included plenty of books to read on the flights,” “They would be longer than she wanted to think about,” and “The excitement she felt now was sure to wear off.” Each of these clauses can stand alone as separate sentences but in this sentence, none of them are linked to each other using either punctuation marks or conjunctions. When two or more independent clauses are included within a sentence without the use of the proper punctuations and/or conjunctions, the sentence is a “run-on” sentence. Answer (d) is the correct Answer.
9.
Peter and Albert went to the baseball game James and Harold went to the hockey game.
Topic
Supporting
Concluding
Run-on
This sentence contains two clauses, i.e., “Peter and Albert went to the baseball game” and “James and Harold went to the hockey game.” However, there is no proper punctuation mark or conjunction used to join the two clauses together. When this happens, the sentence is known as a “run-on’ sentence. Answer (d) is the correct answer here.
10.
Now that you have a list of the steps needed to build a go-cart, we can move forward with each of these steps and actually build your dream!
Topic
Supporting
Concluding
Run-on
The first phrase in this sentence (now that you have a list of the steps) gives the reader an indication that something is being concluded, i.e., the steps to building a go-cart. The sentence also leads the reader to read on to learn how to put those steps into action. Answer (c) is the correct sentence type used here.
Author:  Christine G. Broome

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