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How Many Sentences Your Essay Paragraph Should Contain

The answer to this could very easily be “how long is a piece of string?” because the ideal length of a paragraph can be so very subjective. In some settings a paragraph may be described as between 7 and ten lines long. A writer who straddles several types of writing will know that creativity requires more variation than that. Here are some different paragraph length and the situations in which you would use them.

One to three sentences

This would be considered a short paragraph and more often than not it is used to create impact. You see this often in novels or other creative pieces of writing when the author has used the previous writing to set the scene or frame whatever comes next. Too many sentences and the impact gets lessened or even lost amid the clutter.

Four to six sentences

This would be a medium length paragraph. It is too long to create dramatic impact but just a little bit shorter than the standard length of a paragraph in academic writing. You will see this length of paragraphs often in articles and business writing.

Seven to ten sentences

Academic writing is known for longer paragraphs particularly as each paragraph is intended to explain a particular point in detail most of the time. You may also notice that the longer pieces of work that go into hundreds of pages in length will have the longer paragraphs as well. This is partially because shorter paragraphs seem too plentiful in long academic papers while long paragraphs can encompass the entirety of a short piece of work and tire the reader out.

Ten sentences and more

Paragraphs this long are rarely ever used but they may be necessary stylistically in some academic papers. A good way to decide if this length of paragraph will suit your work is to check through published papers in the field you will be writing in. Are they of similar length or shorter? Once you know the answer to this question you can progress confidently in your own writing.

The length of a paragraph depends on the number of sentences as well as sentence length. With the many variations in word count possible for paragraphs containing the same number of sentences it’s important not to get too caught up in this single aspect of your writing. Write well and keep paragraph length in mind, just don’t make it your main focus.

 

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