A Well-Built Paragraph
A well-built paragraph moves smoothly from one statement or fact to the next. It makes the argument clear, and it's easy to follow. It also links well with the paragraphs before and after it. In this way, the whole argument flows clearly and convincingly, and is easy to follow. Here's one example of a well-built paragraph. It is from a history book about the Russian Revolution of 1917. This particular paragraph is discussing the Russian Revolution, comparing and contrasting it with other European revolutions. Don't worry if you don't know much about history - it's the structure of the paragraph that's important here, and you don't need to know about its content.
This is quite a long paragraph, but its structure is basically simple. The first sentence is a general statement. There isn't a link back to the sentence before, because this paragraph is the opening paragraph of a Chapter in the book. The general statement in the first sentence is followed by six more sentences which give examples to support the first sentence. So the paragraph forms a kind of list - the first sentence says what the paragraph is a list of, and then you get the detailed examples which form the actual items on the list. The individual items are in a logical order, too. They go like this:
(1) General statement.
It's a straightforward sequence, with a little bit of complication in sentences (4) and (5) so that it doesn't get boring or read like a shopping list. The final sentence is part of the list, and it also has another function. It introduces a difference between the Russian Revolution and the others. It does this by beginning with 'But'. This difference is a new idea, but it isn't left floating about in the air. It forms the starting point for the next paragraph, which begins:
This new international consciousness was the legacy of Karl Marx and the First International (1864-72).
So the paragraph is clear in itself, and it connects clearly to the next one. It's a well-built paragraph.