Q:

What is a process paragraph?

A:

A process paragraph either describes how to perform a certain task or describes the process of something happening. Examples of the task-oriented type include how to sell a car and how to give a dog a bath. An example of the second type describes how a hurricane develops.

A process paragraph typically begins with a topic sentence, which clearly labels the process and explains its relevance to readers. Any materials needed are listed, followed by the stages of the process; most of the time, this is in chronological order. Each step is typically numbered and includes examples and elaboration with specific details. This is particularly important for task-oriented process paragraphs so that a reader can duplicate the process.

Process paragraphs should provide the rationale for each step and provide warnings when necessary. Terms that might be unfamiliar should also be explained. A task-oriented process paragraph should end with a way for readers to know if they have successfully duplicated the process.

Editing is important when writing a process paragraph; some writers may skip a step that seems too obvious to need explaining. One way to test a process paragraph is to see if someone unfamiliar with the process is able to do it using the paragraph.


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