Terrific explanation of a stand-alone paragraph


WHITE LINE BREAK
THE PARAGRAPH:
Gold, a precious metal, is prized for two important characteristics. First of all, gold has a lustrous beauty that is resistant to corrosion. Therefore, it is suitable for jewelry, coins, and ornamental purposes. Gold never needs to be polished and will remain beautiful forever. For example, a Macedonian coin remains as untarnished today as the day it was minted twenty-three centuries ago. Another important characteristic of gold is its usefulness to industry and science. For many years, it has been used in hundreds of industrial applications. The most recent use of gold is in astronauts’ suits. Astronauts wear gold-plated heat shields for protection outside the spaceship. In conclusion, gold is treasured not only for its beauty but also its utility.

In the table below, I’ve analyzed this paragraph in terms of the “TEE” approach to writing paragraphs.

T = Topic (or Topic sentence)
E = Explanation or elaboration (or discussion)
E = Example or evidence

Don’t worry about the difference between example/evidence or explanation/elaboration. Inside a paragraph, evidence and examples serve roughly the same purpose, as do explanation and elaboration:

  • Explanation and elaboration tell your reader ‘more’ about the topic. (Say a lot about a little, not a little about a lot.“)
  • Evidence and examples give the reader specific details that “support” your topic — that “prove” your claim about the topic is true.

Don’t think of “TEE” as a rule. “TEE” is a guide, not a rule.

the
TEE
paragraph
T = Topic
E = Examples or Evidence
E = Explanation or Elaboration
Topic
sentence
Gold, a precious metal, is prized for two important characteristics.
Elaboration First of all, gold has a lustrous beauty that is resistant to corrosion.
Elaboration Therefore, it is suitable for jewelry, coins, and ornamental purposes.
Evidence Gold never needs to be polished and will remain beautiful forever.
Example For example, a Macedonian coin remains as untarnished today as the day it was minted twenty-three centuries ago.
Elaboration Another important characteristic of gold is its usefulness to industry and science.
Evidence For many years, it has been used in hundreds of industrial applications.
Example The most recent use of gold is in astronauts’ suits.
Explanation Astronauts wear gold-plated heat shields for protection outside the spaceship.
  In conclusion, gold is treasured not only for its beauty but also its utility.

AND SEE:
The TEE formula for paragraphs & the exit exam
NV’s perfect paragraph

How many sentence fragments do professional writers use?

Excerpt from “A Fresh Look at Sentence Fragments” by Edgar H. Schuster”:

Sentence fragments have long been a form that most teachers try to eradicate from student writing. However well intentioned this may be, does it help students become better writers of nonfiction? Partly to answer this question, I examined the fifty essays reprinted in The Best American Essays 2001 (Norris and Atwan) and The Best American Essays, 2003 (Fadiman and Atwan).

It was exciting to observe the range of the syntactic resources these writers called on and used effectively. They include some things we English teachers commonly teach against, such as comma splices, single-sentence paragraphs, even occasional rambling sentences. But what struck me far more forcefully was the extent to which these essayists used sentence fragments. At the outset, it should be said that the backbone of virtually every essay in these collections is the complete, well-formed English sentence. Nevertheless, I found 505 sentence fragments in the fifty essays.

Schuster, Edgar H. “A Fresh Look at Sentence Fragments.” The English Journal 95.5 (2006). Print. (78-83).