What Are Four Types of Paragraphs?

By Beth Wankel
your writing
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Paragraphs are very important tools for writers. Having logical and well planned paragraphs helps keep a story readable and interesting, and allows your readers to easily follow along with your story or essay. Each paragraph in your writing serves a specific purpose in the larger picture that is a novel, story or essay, and there are a few main categories that paragraphs may fall into.

Descriptive Paragraphs

A descriptive paragraph is one that is describing a person, place, thing, animal, theme or idea to the reader. Descriptive phrases make use of the five senses: how something feels, smells, sounds, tastes or looks. The more descriptive that you can get, the better picture you're providing your reader. A good descriptive paragraph will make them feel like they were there experiencing everything you're talking about. Descriptive paragraphs are powerful tools for fiction writers, as these paragraphs are responsible for setting the stage and telling the story.

Narrative Paragraphs

A narrative paragraph helps tell the story and keeps the story moving. Narrative paragraphs will include action, events and exciting descriptive words. These paragraphs help keep the reader engaged in the story. Narrative paragraphs are similar to descriptive paragraphs (and a paragraph may actually be both at once), but a narrative paragraph tends to offer the reader more background information, such as past events that lead up to or cause events in the story. These are also very important paragraphs for fiction writers, as they help the reader to see the whole picture.

Persuasive Paragraphs

A persuasive paragraph is one in which the writer is actually giving his own opinion on a certain subject or topic. Persuasive paragraphs will also include facts and information that help to back up the writer's opinion. These paragraphs often show up in speeches or editorial essays and other forms of writing where the main goal is persuasion. In fiction, use these paragraphs to convince the reader to feel a certain way toward a character, place or event, perhaps a different way than they may have felt earlier in the story.

Explanatory Paragraphs

An explanatory paragraph offers the reader information on a certain subject. These paragraphs may contain directions or might describe a process in a logical, linear manner. Explanatory paragraphs are also factual in nature and are not a common tool for fiction writers. A how-to article is an example of a piece of writing that would use these paragraphs.