Search for...

English Grammar and the Structure of a Narrative Paragraph

by Kathryne Bradesca, Demand Media

    People say that "you are what you eat," but you are even more closely defined by the way that you write or speak. Using correct grammar and writing conventions is very important in today's fast-paced world, and nowhere more so than in a personal story such as a narrative. A narrative paragraph tells a story with a beginning, middle and end. It is often a personal story that expresses a point or teaches a lesson.

    Sentence Structure

    Good writing commands the use of strong sentences. Your sentences must have a subject and a predicate. Each sentence should feature an action verb and vivid adjectives. Narratives most often use past-tense verbs and adverbs. They feature proper nouns to describe specific people and places, as well as first-person personal pronouns since the story is so intimate to the author.

    Paragraph Structure

    You should begin a narrative paragraph with a topic sentence. This sentence introduces your story and gets the reader interested. You should then add at least three clear, descriptive ideas as body sentences. Some ideas can be developed in one sentence, but some will need two descriptive sentences. Writing specific details in chronological order makes the most sense. The conclusion sentence completes the paragraph with a link back to the beginning, a line of dialogue or a glance toward the future. For example, if you are writing a personal story about how your trip abroad affected your life, end with a sentence that talks about future plans to travel abroad or how you will keep that spirit of adventure intact now that you are home.

    Grammar Conventions

    Other elements of grammar are important for polished writing. Start each sentence with a capital letter and end with concluding punctuation. Check the spelling throughout the essay. Use first-person point of view for your narrative, and maintain a consistent voice throughout. Keep sentence structure parallel structure, and maintain subject-verb agreement. Connect your ideas through the use of transitions.

    Troubleshooting

    Avoid fragments and run-on sentences when you are creating strong sentences. Stay away from cliches, slang, and redundancy in your narrative. These tendencies will distract your reader. Other common errors include a topic or conclusion sentence that does not relate to the entire narrative or detail sentences that are not fully developed.

    Style Your World With Color

    About the Author

    Kathryne Bradesca has been a writing teacher for more than 15 years. She has also contributed to newspapers and magazines such as "The Morning Journal" and "The Ignatius Quarterly." Bradesca received a master's degree in teaching from Kent State University.

    Photo Credits

    • Rayes/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    Watch An Education Video!