300 Days of Better Writing

May 19, 2010

Typical Paragraph Length

A paragraph discusses only one idea and has three basic components:

  • context (why the paragraph is relevant and what it’s about),
  • content (the discussion of the idea), and
  • conclusion (impact/action and transition).

Generally, a well-written paragraph has 3 to 10 sentences. However, if you have 3 or fewer sentences, read it critically to ensure that it has the three components. Also, if you have more than 7 sentences, make sure you are only discussing one idea. You might need more than one paragraph. In most cases, though, you can discuss your idea, and address the three components in 3 to 10 sentences.

(If you examine the prior paragraph, you will see that all 3 parts are represented and that the paragraph only discusses one idea.)

(This is the tip for day 132 in 300 Days of Better Writing, also available at Hostile Editing in PDF and Kindle formats.)

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