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SH1635

Paragraph Development
I. Definition
The topic is developed by defining a term connected to the topic.
a. Defining a term may be divided into three parts namely:
1. Term – which is the word to be defined;
2. Genus – where the term belongs and can be classified; and
3. Differentia or differentiation – which includes the remaining parts and other
information revolving on the term that is defined. It also states the factor that
distinguishes an entity, state, or class from another; a characteristic or trait
distinguishing a species from other species of the same genus.

Example:
A gene is a chemical unit of atomic proportions buried in every living cell. It determines
the structure of an organism and frequently its ways. It is capable of self-production,
and is inheritable. The gene develops as the determinants of life, in all probability, in
the long beginnings of Pre-Cambrian simplicity, but genes are required to handle the
complexities of higher animals. And mutation is the abrupt change in the character of a
gene in a productive cell resulting in an abrupt and usually disastrous change in the
character of the descendant organism. And while one might think that the change of a
single gene among, say a thousand, would have a small consequence, still is not so, for
genes modify the value of other genes.

The first sentence shows the term (gene), genus (a chemical unit), and differentia (the
remaining parts).

b. It is the method of trying to understand the meanings of a word or an expression. It is


analyzing, delineating, exploring, and discovering the different aspects of a particular
concept. It is also knowing what concepts are associated with a word and what are not,
what is it like, what are its causes and effects, and what some examples of it are. The two
(2) important concepts most often associated with defining are denotation and connotation.
1. Denotation – is the primary, explicit, or literal definition of a word. It is the meaning
of a word based on a dictionary.
2. Connotation – is the secondary meaning of a word. It is not necessarily included in the
dictionary, rather, it is how people understand a word based on their own personal
or consensual experiences and not based on a dictionary.

Example:
Denotation:
Rose is any of a genus (Rosa of the family Rosaceae, the rose family) of
usually prickly shrubs with pinnate leaves and showy flowers having five
(5) petals in the wild state but being often double or partly double under
cultivation.
Reference:
Rose. (n.d.) Retrieved on July 26, 2016 fro m http://www.merria m -webster.com/dictionary/rose

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SH1635

Connotation:
A bouquet of roses is usually what a person gives to his/her beloved one. Beyond
its scientific name, a rose can also connote love and romance.

II. Example, Illustration, or Exemplification


a. This is the method that illustrates the idea being developed. The statement that gives
example helps reinforce the statement or makes the ideas clear.

Example:
Today, men and women of all ages undergo surgery to achieve the looks they desire.
Cosmetic surgery is so common that to some it is a lifestyle. Some of the most popular
procedures are breast implants, liposuction, facelifts, and hair transplants. Because
many prefer fuller, bigger breasts, a good number of women from all walks of life
undergo the painful and costly procedure of breast implants. Even though the risks are
well-known, many still take their chances. And what goes better with bigger breasts
than a flat abdomen? Liposuction is a quick fix for those who find good diet and
exercise ineffective and time-consuming. Another popular procedure for both men and
women is the surgical facelift, this process promises men and women a younger and
fresher look. For men who are worried about baldness, there is hair replacement. Thanks
to medical advances, men can avoid the harsh reality of balding by undergoing a long
lasting hair transplant procedure. Many value plastic surgery even though it’s costly
and can have a number of negative side effects. In spite of the many plastic surgery
disasters, those obsessed with having the perfect face and body will keep the business
alive and well.

b. Exemplification is the method of listing, enumerating, and giving examples to elaborate


a topic or a subject. This is useful in discussing complex topics by listing subtopics that
are considered familiar to the target readers. Exemplification can also provide specific
instances to support a claim.

The following are some techniques that you can use to establish credibility in your
arguments.
1. Visual illustrations – It appeals to the sense of sight. Since eyesight is given primacy
over the other human senses, making it the foremost used sense among the five senses,
you can use visual illustrations to concretize abstract concepts like poverty. In case of
poverty, you can show pictures of beggars on the streets knocking on car windows when
the traffic light is red, of malnourished people in rundown houses, or of tall commercial
and residential buildings juxtaposed with a multitude of shanties cramped so closely
together that even motorists would have a hard time passing through.
2. Facts – These are concepts, ideas, and statements that are generally assumed to be true,
real, and/or existing. Facts given as examples are useful in supporting your point as
most people accept these facts as already a part of reality that they are almost always
uncontested.
3. Anecdotes – These are brief narratives within a piece of writing. They don’t necessarily
serve as the focus, rather, as supporting points or claims that explain or elaborate the
author’s intended argument.

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SH1635

4. Details – It entails analyzing. Analyzing is the process of breaking down a concept or


idea into its constituent parts. When enumerating details, you are zooming in your focus
on the minute parts, as opposed to zooming out when you see the big picture.
5. Opinions – As opposed to facts, opinions are individual interpretations of people on
certain events, situations, ideas, and/or concepts, opinions naturally vary from one
person to another due to people’s different backgrounds and personalities. While not as
pertinent support as facts, opinions can still have the power to make a claim well-
founded as these are the first-hand reactions or reviews from people.
6. Observations – Similar to describing, observations also make use of description –
appealing to the five (5) human senses. Observations can be done anytime. All you need
are your five (5) senses and nothing more.

III. Persuasion
a. Persuasion is always coupled with argumentation. Argumentation makes use of these three
(3) appeals to strengthen its claim:
1. Logos – or appealing to the audience’s logic, i.e., when you argue, you use facts, well-
supported and well-developed claims to support and argument.
2. Pathos – or appealing to the audience’s emotions
3. Ethos – the appeal to credibility. Having ethos means that, as a source of information,
you are credible, reputable, and respectable. You build your reputation through honesty
and sound judgment.
b. When in the position of defending a stance, keep in mind that you have to cater to three (3)
types of audience. These types are supportive, wavering, and hostile audience.
1. Supportive audience
The supportive audience means you have spectators who are already briefed on the
issue at hand. You no longer need to tackle the nitty-gritty of your topic since your
audience is already informed. Also, you can assume that there is a big possibility that
they will side with your claims and arguments; hence, they are supportive. Logos is not
much needed in this kind of situation. Instead, maximize your pathos to drive your point
home.
2. Wavering audience
The wavering audience means you have spectators who are not readily accepting your
ideas. They may listen to you but that does not necessarily mean they automatically
believe what you are saying. Unlike with your supportive audience, brief the wavering
audience with the issue at hand. Make use of your logos to win their support. And since
your audience’s belief in you is wavering, you may want to build up your ethos as well.
Establish yourself as a credible, reputable, and respectable source of information.
3. Hostile audience
This type of audience is the most difficult to please and to win. You can even assume
that they represent the opposing stance of the issue you are about to tackle. Make no
mistake in your claims and arguments as your audience not only is hard to please, but
also averse to your side of the story. Lessen the use of pathos on this type of audience
as it is quite difficult to do so given that they are antagonistic. Stick to your logos as
you have a good chance of being somewhat believed – but not necessarily sided with –
by the hostile audience.

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IV. Analogy, Comparison and Contrast


a. Analogy for citing similarities; Contrast for citing differences of either object to make the
idea clear; and Comparison for comparing object or idea to another by pointing out
similarities and differences.
b. Writers opt to use comparison and contrast when they want to do an unbiased discussion
or give an attempt to persuade a reader into believing particular perspectives about the
world we live in.
1. Analogy – is a common technique that writers use to demonstrate comparison and
contrast. It delves beneath the surface differences of at least two (2) subjects expose
unperceived and unsuspecting similarities and/or differences. It is often used when a
foreign or abstract concept is compared with a much more tangible or more familiar
term for readers to better understand the author’s intended meaning.
2. Simile and Metaphor– Simile is done when there is a direct comparison between or
among objects. Expressions with Similes are always done with the use of the words like
and as. As opposed to a Simile, a Metaphor is done when there is an indirect comparison
between or among objects.
3. Oxymoron – happens when two (2) seemingly opposite terms are juxtaposed net to or
near – each other in a single expression.
4. Personification – is done when non-humans are assigned human characteristics and/or
actions.

V. Cause and Effect


a. This is usually adopted in dealing with events or issues. Here you may present the causes
towards the effects or begin with the effects and proceed towards causes. You may not have
an expressed topic sentence when you use this method of paragraph development.
b. Causal analysis means identifying the causes and effects of a particular situation, event, or
phenomenon. A cause is what prompted something to happen and an effect is what was
yielded after something else took place. One practical application of Causal analysis as a
mode of paragraph development is a problem-solution type of paper. In this example, the
problem is usually the cause and the solution is the effect. In other instances, the problem
could also be the effect of another event and/or the solution could be the cause if another.
In either case the situation can result in a causal chain in which the multiple sets of cause
and effect are somehow connected to each other.

Causal chains are common in an essay that uses causal analysis as one of its modes of
paragraph development. They are the paths of influence running from a root cause to
problem symptoms. Each link in the chain represents something in the real world. At one
end of the chain is the root cause. At the other end are the symptoms it causes. The many
links between the two (2) ends are the intermediate causes. However, it is important to
identify first the primary and secondary causes and effects of the situation. This is to
maintain order and coherence in your essay, and also to avoid losing focus.

VI. Explanation or Discussion


a. This aims at the reader’s understanding. This has a variety of functions: giving directions,
explaining a process, comparing or contrasting two (2) objects or ideas, interpreting a
statement or explaining a theory.

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Example:
To start a car you should follow certain definite steps. Take your seat behind the wheel.
Shift the selector to neutral. Turn on the ignition. Press the starter button. When the engine
is running smoothly, release the break; check if no one is behind you. If you need to back
up, shift the selector to reverse. If you do not need to back up, shift it into drive. Apply the
accelerator very slowly until you are in the main line of traffic. Then proceed cautiously.

VII. Classification
a. This is done by grouping items into categories, such as characteristics, types, factors, and
other classes or divisions. A classification paragraph describes various classes related to
one category of things. The paragraph’s main subject appears in the paragraph’s topic
sentence.
b. When dealing with complex and messy topics, authors turn to the mode of paragraph
development of classification and division to create an air of systematization and order in
their writing. Division works hand-in-hand with analysis, wherein one breaks down a
concept into its constituent parts. Classification entails categorization which enables one
to group together items according to their similarities.

Consider these following principles to make your writing more orderly and systematized:
1. Consistency
It is characterized by having parallel similarities in the divisions you make in your
writing.
2. Exclusiveness
It means there is no overlapping between or among the items divided and classified
together.
3. Completeness
It means that no important part is omitted from the writing.

References:
Bargo, D. D. (2014). Writing in the Discipline. Quezon City. Great Books Publishing.
Causal Chains. (n.d.) Retrieved on August 9, 2016 from
http://www.thwink.org/sustain/glossary/CausalChain.htm
Rose. (n.d.) Retrieved on July 26, 2016 from http://www.merriam-
webster.com/dictionary/rose
Synonym. (n.d.). Retrieved on July 26, 2016 from http://classroom.synonym.com/write-
classification-paragraph-4712.html
Tiongson, M.T. & Rodriguez, M. R. C. (2016). Reading and Writing Skills. Manila. Rex Book Store.
Inc.

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