Paragraph Writing for Technical
Paragraph Writing for Technical: Definition
The etymon of the word paragraph is basically rooted in the Greek language, composed of two fragments, viz., paragraphos meaning ''written alongside" and graphein meaning "to write" respectively. In the Middle Ages, it carried the connotation of a sign U,and, now, it has undergone a considerable semantic change and has become a paramount segment of any kind of writing. According to J.E. Morris, "A paragraph is a unit of coherent ideas studded in various sentences."'* Theodore A. Sherman says, "The function of a paragraph is to group together sentences that concern the same topic and combine to form a thought unit."4 "A paragraph should embody," write Charles William Strong and Donald Edison, "one stage of the development of an idea. The standard paragraph begins with a topic sentence, a sentence that tells the reader what idea is to be developed in the paragraph. The idea is developed by logical division into its parts, by definition, by analogy with similar ideas, by comparison or contrast with other ideas, or by giving concrete examples of the idea.
Thus a paragraph is a combination of many sentences in the form of an independent unit, pregnant with meaning, having to borrow a sentence from Aristotle, the old Greek philosopher, though spoken of in respect of a tragedy, "a beginning, middle, and an end." In technical writing, which is now chiefly objective and which has very little to do with the fond likes or the visceral dislikes or the hubiristic arrogance of a writer, paragraph writing is of vital significance. However, where sentences alone in themselves form paragraph, objectivity is in itself bound to emerge. But such independent single sentence paragraphs rarely occur.
In any form of concerted and sustained writing such as essay, treatise, thesis, reports, etc., every paragraph epitomises a minutia of a big idea or complex theory. Every paragraph stands as a cog in a vast machine and helps the reader understand the complete idea bit by bit. Generally speaking, a paragraph has three inseparable constituents; first, a topic sentence that stands as a minor for the whole idea in the paragraph; second, connectives, which create proper subordination of ideas and clauses; and third, development, which includes the facts in a logical manner.
Methods: Inductive, Deductive, Chronological, Spatial, Linear and Interrupted
A technical writer is naturally expected to have much artifice and expertise to write effectively. Proper paragraphing is one of the devices which help him achieve this goal. Some quite feasible and well-known methods frequently used to organise a paragraph on logical and scientific lines run as under:
- Chronological method
- Spatial method
- Inductive method
- Deductive method
- Linear method
- Interrupted method
Chronological method implies exposition or organization of a paragraph in such a way as tells the historical background of an idea; spatial method stands for a detailed description of some idea; inductive method proceeds from a particular case to a general conclusion; deductive method tells about an object starting from a general proposition to its particular consequences; linear method deals with a case in a family-root-pattern; and, interrupted method skips over a detailed presentation of the past and exclusively deals with the synchronizing event.
Diction, Syntax, Tangibles, Connectors for Argumentative and Expository Writing: While organising a paragraph, proper care is also to be taken of other aspects, which not only embellish it but also make it meaningful and logical. Punctuation and syntax, diction, tangibles, connectors and classification are such essential aspects of a sentence as require an assiduous practice to write a paragraph. Good punctuation is vital to all good writing ; and for technical writing, it is paramountry needed, for it classifies the relationship between ideas is intimately linked with the use of connectives—conjunctions, prepositions, and other segments that closely bear this proximity, as has been made sufficiently clear in the preceding chapter. Syntax deals with the structure of sentences in to simple, compound and complex pattern, parallel structure, introductory elements, restrictive modifiers, dangling modifiers (modifying wrong words), agreement and voice, already dealt with in foregoing account. For diction, a technical writer should inevitably follow the Fowlerian prescription, viz., CFS:
c—prefer concrete to abstract word;
f—prefer familiar to the far-fetched word;
s—prefer short to the long word;
s—prefer single to the indirect expression. But the above Fowlerian prescription is not sufficient to write effectively. In addition to the above, one has to know the following formula also:
C J' W wherein
c—avoid cliches (dead words);
j—avoid jingles (tongue twisters);
w—avoid wrong words. Tangibles are composed of the following:
O C P E wherein
e—emphasis. For achieving the desired effect of tangibles, constant practice of writing is needed on the part of the students.
In a chiselled and poised type of technical and scientific writing, connectors serve as an embellishing device. They become of different kinds as and when they are used in different situations. However, in their normal position, such connectors as—namely, specially, haplessly, eventually etc., are illustrative connectors; while, whereas etc., are contrastive connectors; hence, therefore, thereby etc., are consequential connectors; likewise, similarly etc., are connectors of contrast; equally, indeed, in fact etc., are emphatic connectors; in spite of, after all, yet, however, nevertheless etc., are connectors of contrast; shortly, presently, permanently etc., are connectors of time; and firstly, secondly, thirdly, finally etc., are enumerative caonnectors. Students arc advised to use them accurately and meaningfully.