How long is a paragraph? Paragraphs are the fashion models of writing. They used to have rules that they had to abide by, but now it is more about looks and feels than rules. Now a paragraph is less like a measuring stick and more like a runway fashion model.
How Long Is A Paragraph
Oh, sure it used to be the rule to not allow your paragraph to be any shorter than three sentences. Like a fashion model can’t be any shorter than 5’9″. A paragraph also couldn’t be any longer than six sentences.
Keep Your Paragraphs Trim
Many models hardly eat. They have to stay trim. Paragraphs don’t eat, of course, but they need to keep their size down, all the same. When paragraphs start getting bulky, it is hard to keep readers’ attention. The words begin to look like a solid block on the page, rather than words.
After you are done writing, look at your page. If your paragraphs are more than an inch and a half wide, consider putting your paragraph on a diet. One popular diet is the—
Like a model who has had too many meals, you have to make sure your paragraph doesn’t have too many topics. Talk about one thing, then begin a new paragraph. Like a fashion model, your paragraph doesn’t need two meals at a time. Split those topics.
We will move the piano tomorrow. It will be put in the back room so we can have a music room. Moving the piano will also help the students concentrate on their lessons.. If you would care to help with the piano moving, we would sure appreciate any time and assistance you could render.. We know you are busy, though, so don’t worry if you can’t make it. // We will also be painting the front of the house. The house painting should take place Thursday or Friday. New shutters will be put on at that time, as well. We are very excited.
A paragraph is one of the best tools for getting a point across. It is done by the drama created by its placement and timing, again like a fashion model. Often a photographer will tell a model to use a scarf or other object to cause the person looking at the final photo to feel an emotion. Paragraphs are great for eliciting emotion.
It is all in the placement and timing. Don’t be afraid to break a paragraph up in order to grab attention.
Rita knew it was John’s birthday. She just didn’t know what present to get for him. Figuring a walk might clear her head, she went outside. John wouldn’t be home from work for several hours yet, any way.
When John came walking in from the bus stop that night, Rita had dinner on the stove. John could smell his favorites cooking as he opened the door. “Hi, John,” Rita called from the kitchen. “The ham is almost done.” John could see corn on the cob cooking. His mouth was watering.
“Before we eat, I thought I would show you something,” Rita said. “Come outside for a second.” John put his lunch bag on the counter and followed Rita to the side of the house. He knew she enjoyed doing things for his birthday, so he kept quiet except to say, “Where are we going?”
Rita just kept walking, taking off her cooking apron as she went. When she arrived at the vegetable garden, she said, “Turn away, please..” John could tell by the sparkle in her eyes that she was excited, so he did as she said. “Okay, turn back around,” Rita said. John turned and looked.
Then he fell into the tomato patch, unconscious.
Are you curious about what Rita had out by the vegetable garden? The paragraph was broken up at just the right moment to create drama and mystery.
Naturally, in an academic setting, a writer needs to have clarity with the head of the class about what rules they want to follow. There are some who still follow the very strict “No less than three sentences, no more than six sentences” rule for academic essay writing. However, 99% of the time, if a paragraph is treated as a model, how long is a paragraph won’t be an issue.