Contact Us How long should an essay or research paper be?
There is no set length for a paragraph. It is possible, however, to have your paragraphs too long or too short. There are some guiding principles that will help you to get your paragraphs right.
The entire paragraph should concern itself with a single focus. If it begins with a one focus or major point of discussion, it should not end with another or wander within different ideas. This is one reason why paragraphs can become over-long. More will be said later about maintaining focus in your writing.
A paragraph should usually begin with an introductory sentence, which sets out the subject of that paragraph. The remainder of the paragraph should go on to explain and 'unpack' that initial sentence.
If you find that you are writing about something different from your initial sentence, your paragraph is probably too long and your focus has wandered. If you find that your paragraphs are too long: Consider splitting a single long paragraph into two shorter ones.
It is perfectly acceptable to begin a paragraph with a sentence connecting it to the previous paragraph. Try to organise your writing so that your ideas are developed logically and sequentially.
If you find that a paragraph contains more than one idea, you may need to reorganise your essay so that your ideas are developed more logically. Look at the other paragraphs in your essay.
Paragraphs should all be of roughly similar length. If you find that you have one or two paragraphs that are much longer than all the others, read them carefully and try to find out why. If a paragraph is too short, it may be because the initial idea has not been developed sufficiently.
To some extent, the level of development is dependent on the writer's purpose and the overall length of the essay. However, you should beware of paragraphs of only two or three sentences. Read them carefully and consider if your idea has been sufficiently developed.
If you think that an idea requires further development, consider some of the following strategies: Use examples and illustrations Cite data facts, statistics, evidence, details, and others Examine testimony what other people say such as quotes and paraphrases Use an anecdote or story Define terms in the paragraph Compare and contrast.Anytime a paragraphs looks or “feels” too long – while there is no definitive rule for paragraph use, if any single paragraph is a page or longer, there is probably a place where it can and should be broken.
So, make three subpoints in a minimum of three sentences. That would make the minimum length of your paragraph 5 sentences. As paragraphs go, that is rather short.
Consider using 6 sentences in the middle. That would make your paragraph at least 8 sentences long. Some of the text books I taught out of stated to make your paragraphs 12 sentences max. Many students define paragraphs in terms of length: a paragraph is a group of at least five sentences, a paragraph is half a page long, etc.
In reality, though, the unity and coherence of ideas among sentences is what constitutes a paragraph. Dividing a Long Paragraph "[S]ometimes you may discover that a particular point in your essay is so complex that your paragraph is growing far too long—well over a typed page, for instance.
If this problem occurs, look for a logical place to divide your information and start a new paragraph.
A paragraph should consist of six to seven sentences. No, it should be no longer than three sentences long. Actually, it should include a topic sentence, several supporting sentences, and possibly a concluding sentence. I like to write long paragraphs.
I think that too many people try to break long paragraphs into a number of shorter ones far too often. There is just something special about reading a long paragraph that conveys the essence of the story.
People shouldn’t try to make their paragraphs too short. Long paragraphs are just so wonderful.