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Paragraph Form


A paragraph has a special physical shape. You should be able to see where a paragraph begins and ends just by looking at it on the page.

Look at these models of a paragraph shape:

The following paragraphs show you what a paragraph looks like. Read the paragraphs for information about how to write a proper paragraph.

     A paragraph has a special shape. There are two basic rules for the shape of a paragraph. The first rule is that each paragraph is separated from the other paragraphs. The second rule is that the sentences in a paragraph follow each other on the same line. The following paragraphs tell you more about these rules for the shape of a paragraph.

     There are two ways to separate paragraphs from each other. One way is for the paragraph to begin with an indented line. Look at the first sentence in this paragraph. You can see that it begins away from the edge of the paper. This is called indenting. Not all paragraphs indent the first line. If you do not indent the first line, you must skip a line between paragraphs. This is the second way to separate paragraphs. Look at the next paragraph and you will see that there is a space -- an empty line -- between the two paragraphs.

     The second rule for the shape of a paragraph is that all the sentences must follow each other. Each sentence begins on the same line as the sentence before it. When you are writing a list of sentences, you write each new sentence on a new line. Sentences in a paragraph do not start on new lines. This sentence started on the same line as the last sentence. This is an important rule for paragraph writing.