Questions from Students


Here’s a great question on paragraphs from one of my students:

Hello Professor Palmer, 
I am working on editing the final draft for the Short Fiction essay and a question has come up. 
I have three main points in the paper and three supporting evidences per point. As a result, the paragraphs are long. 
Should I break up each jumbo paragraph into three smaller ones? (Discussing one evidence per paragraph)   

My response:

This is a great question! I wrote a paper on this topic once upon a time. 😉 Paragraphs are like sentences in a way. There are guidelines for a good paragraph, but how long or how short they are depends a lot on the author and the purpose. Paragraphs that are too long tend to feel dense to the reader, particularly in shorter papers, while too short paragraphs make a point seem flimsy. If your paragraphs are moving toward a page or more in length, I would say that breaking up into smaller chunks is probably a good idea. Just make sure that you have solid transitions that show that you are continuing the thought so that your readers stay focused on your argument. ie Another example of the use of imagery…