The Importance of a Correct Paragraph Sequence in an Essay

The most important person to consider when choosing a sequence for your paragraphs is the reader.
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An essay writer's job is to present content to a reader in a way that is easy to understand. Organizing the essay into a clear, logical sequence of ideas makes it easy for the reader to learn new information, and is therefore a critical aspect of the writing process. There are a variety of correct ways to sequence, according to which type of essay you are writing.

1 Which Sequence is Right For You?

When deciding which sequence is best for your essay, always consider the reader. What sequence will best fit your reader's needs. If that reader is your teacher, she may have provided you with some instructions on how she expects you to organize your essay. Follow them. If you are writing for publication, consider the writer's guidelines, which may outline specific organizational patterns they consider best for their readers. If you are writing for yourself, imagine your own readership. Picture what your perfect reader would need, but balance it against what your harshest critic might need to change his mind about your essay.

2 Introduction Paragraphs

The introduction of your essay should do two main things: introduce the topic of your writing and entice your reader to finish your essay. The topic is usually explained in a sentence or two known as a thesis statement. It is important to put this in the introduction because it clarifies your intent and/or position to the reader.

It is important to include an attention getter at the beginning as well. This item, sometimes known as the hook because it hooks the reader's interest, will create curiosity, empathy or entertain the reader causing them to continue reading the piece. Some ways to do this are to begin with a shocking statement, an emotional story, or humor. Without this, the reader may lose interest and quit reading before they have even begun.

3 Body Paragraphs

Body paragraphs are found in the middle of the essay and include the important information and details. When it comes to organizing body paragraphs, there are several appropriate ways.

You might begin with your most important piece of information and organize your paragraphs down to the least important. This pattern is sometimes called the inverted pyramid, and is employed by journalists and persuasive writers. They use this style because their readers are most likely to stop reading before the end of the piece. If they organize it with the most important first they have a better opportunity to get information across to the reader.

Creative writers will often apply the opposite order, beginning with their least important detail, and building up to a strong finish. This style works well for humor columnists, critics, bloggers, and writers with a fan following. They can rest assured that their reader is going to finish the piece, therefore they can build the essay up to a dramatic conclusion.

Some topics will require a chronological, or time ordered, sequence. If you are writing a how to, it is irrelevant how important step three is, but it is important that your reader does it third in a sequence. If your essay is on topics related to history or literature, you may also choose a chronological sequence.

4 Conclusions

When you get to the end of your essay there should be a note of finality. Include something here to make your reader feel complete. As always, the conclusion needs to fit your essay and reader. Call your reader to action if you are writing a persuasive or how to essay. Finish with a concise summary of a report. Humorous essays need to end with a punchline. No matter which type of conclusion fits your essay, remember it is there to give the reader a sense that your work as a writer is done.

Based in central Florida, J. Jeremy Dean has written for 16 years and has written news and entertainment articles for "The Daily Commercial" in Leesburg, Fla. In 2002, he won the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors award for criticism. Dean holds a professional writing bachelor's degree from Glenville State College and a master's of education degree from National Louis University.