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The Writer’s Reference Book


Module F – Adequate Development – Hint Sheet

Adequate Development means to communicate a single idea fully, clearly, and effectively.

  1. Length and complexity may vary in adequately developed writing.
    Adequate development depends on
    1. Complexity of the central idea
    2. Place and Purpose – The length of paragraphs in newspapers, magazines, books and essays reflect the specific purposes of each.
      1. Newspaper – short 20 to 75-word paragraphs
        Reason: to break up a narrow column of writing for reader convenience (has nothing to do with adequate development)
      2. Magazines and Books – 100 to 250-word paragraphs
      3. Essays – 100 to 250-word paragraphs, or about 6 to 10 sentences a paragraph
    3. Audience’s needs – The length of a paragraph is sometimes determined by your reader's needs:
      1. How much does the reader know about the subject?
      2. How much does he need to know to understand my central idea?
  2. Beginnings and Conclusions – A paragraph or theme should have:
    1. A brief beginning that introduces the topic (The purpose of an introduction is to is to tell the reader what you are going to say and to interest (hook) him into reading further.)
    2. A longer middle that discusses and develops the topic (The middle of the introductory paragraph is the “line” that leads from the “hook” to the thesis statement. It consists on generalizations that relate to the topic and to the thesis.)
    3. A brief conclusion that completes the discussion of the topic
      An adequately developed conclusion should contain:
      1. a transitional word that signals the end,
      2. a restatement of the thesis,
      3. a summary of implications, and
      4. a clincher.
  3. Middles and Details – Middles are developed with details which complete ideas.
    The most commonly used details:
    1. Descriptive details – tell how something looks, feels, sounds, smells or tastes.
    2. Narrative details – show how things happen in sequence (may include description.)
    3. Expository details – explain and clarify (may include description and narration)
    4. Persuasive details – provide evidence or proof to convince the reader of something. (They may include other types of details.)
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