What’s the Rule About Paragraph Length?
What Is the Purpose of a Paragraph?
Paragraphs represent ideas, and ideas come in many sizes. The most important point should be at the beginning of a paragraph—often, that point is called a topic sentence—and you use the rest of the paragraph to develop the point further.
How Long Should a Paragraph Be?
Both the Yahoo! Style Guide and the popular college handbook A Writer’s Reference (originally written by Diana Hacker, and often referred to as simply Hacker) recommends an average paragraph length of 100 to 200 words, but both also note that good writers treat this as a suggestion and not a hard-and-fast rule. For example, Hacker notes that in essays, introductory and concluding paragraphs are often shorter than other paragraphs, and that in scholarly works, paragraphs are often longer, suggesting “seriousness and depth.”
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