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The Proper Paragraph Structure for the GED

by Flora Richards-Gustafson, Demand Media Google

    The essay section of the GED Language Arts writing test assesses your ability to organize your thoughts, focus and develop your ideas and structure your sentences. The writing prompt in the test asks you share your experiences, opinions or knowledge about a subject. By structuring your paragraphs well, you’ll properly support your argument and have a better chance at receiving a passing score.

    Paragraph Structure Basics

    The traditional GED essay is a five-paragraph composition that consists of an introduction, three body paragraphs and a conclusion. Each paragraph within the essay should have at least three sentences. A paragraph can have more than three sentences, but keep in mind that you only have two lined pages on which to write.

    Brainstorming and Organization

    To ensure the proper structure of your paragraph, brainstorm some ideas about the main argument that you want to present and ways to back it up. For example, if the essay topic is about your dream vacation destination, you may write down the name of a place that you’d like to visit and reasons you want to go there. After you have a few ideas, create an outline to organize your list into a five-paragraph essay. If you state that your dream destination is New York, for example, your body paragraphs may list three main reasons why.

    Introduction

    Your essay’s introduction gives readers an idea about your topic and the arguments that you’ll present. Use the first sentence or two to catch a reader’s attention and introduce your thesis. For example, you may say that New York is your ideal vacation spot because of its world-famous attractions. Then provide a preview of the arguments that you plan to present and add a transition sentence at the end.

    Three Body Paragraphs

    The first sentence of each body paragraph, the topic sentence, supports your main argument. As an example, you may include a paragraph that states that you can only see a true Broadway show on Broadway in Manhattan. After you write the topic sentence, add details, examples or information about personal experiences. Use a transition sentence at the end of each body paragraph so your essay has a natural flow. For instance, at the end of your paragraph about Broadway plays, you may state that New York’s indoor attractions are as great as its outside attractions before moving on to a new paragraph about Niagara Falls.

    Conclusion

    The essay’s concluding paragraph brings your composition to a natural end. Use this paragraph to restate your main topic and briefly review the arguments that you made. Then wrap up the paragraph by adding a final statement that’s interesting or explains why a reader should share your opinion.

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    About the Author

    Flora Richards-Gustafson has been writing professionally since 2003. She creates copy for websites, marketing materials and printed publications. Richards-Gustafson specializes in SEO and writing about small-business strategies, health and beauty, interior design, emergency preparedness and education. Richards-Gustafson received a Bachelor of Arts from George Fox University in 2003 and was recognized by Cambridge's "Who's Who" in 2009 as a leading woman entrepreneur.

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