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Lesson 24: Put Your Paragraphs in a Logical Order

It's time now to organize your paragraphs in some sort of logical order. Often, it doesn't really matter. But sometimes it does, so here are two principles to keep in mind.

Save Your Best for Last

Imagine that you have written a paper which argues that Syria is a horrible place to visit, and your main arguments are:

Obviously, the last paragraph seems trivial compared to the first two; if you leave it last place, your reader may feel let down. The following sequence of paragraphs would be much better.

  1. A shortage of cows in Syria has caused the price of milk to skyrocket.
  2. Syria is in the midst of a dangerous civil war.
  3. Tourists are often kidnapped and held for ransom.

Keep Your Paragraphs in Chronological Order

If your paragraphs include dates, make sure they are in chronological order. For example, imagine that you have written a paper that argues that President Harding was a terrible president, and your three main points are:

Leaving these paragraphs in the above order would be jarring to the reader, as she would be forced to make a mental leap backward in time. It would be much better to organize your paragraphs in strict chronological order, like this:

Sequence Words

Having decided the order in which you want to present your three main arguments, add some sequence words to your paragraphs in order to make them stand out. Here is a complete list of transition words, but I recommend the following three because they are simple and direct:

Lesson Steps

 
1.

Put your three body paragraphs in a logical order.

2.

Add sequence words to your paragraphs. The following transition words are recommended for their simplicity:

  • First,
  • Second,
  • Third,
3. Congratulations! You're done with this lesson.