Rhetorical Patterns of Paragraph Development

Read and compare the following paragraphs in terms of their structure. To do this, recall what you did in the previous lesson, that is, to look for textual evidences that will help you identify the general format of the paragraphs.

My trip to the United States and Canada last summer was truly memorable. First my family and I visited our relatives who live in Seattle, Washington, the place where my siblings and I were born. After that we went to Capilano Suspension Bridge in Canada. The suspension bridge, which was shaking as we walked, was scary because we were high above the ground and my dad said we needed to be careful while crossing the bridge. As soon as we crossed the bridge we reached the forest and saw trees as high as the heavens. Then we went to Grouse Mountain a popular place for snowboarders and skiers, but before we could go to the top of the mountain we had to ride a cable car. Once we reached the top, we saw snow and the cabin lodge. After our trip we went to the airport and went back home. Though our trip wasn’t that long we were happy we got to spend time with each other and with our relatives as well. (Johan Ysrael, student)

My paper focuses on analyzing the different social issues or subthemes presented during the time of Sol King’s stay (around 1950’s-60’s) in America as a Filipino “exile” by making use of certain literary fragments—bits and pieces of poetry, conversations, and even excerpts of informative essays. I wish to point out that the literary fragments in the novel do not only serve as an impressionistic touch on Santos’ writing, but that they are also used to bring together a larger image of the reality of the existence of a fragmented Filipino exile identity that exists in order for them to learn how to survive. In order for me to show this, I have chosen to write a four-part mini graphic novel series that will indirectly discuss the subthemes in the novel. (Sylvelyn Almonzor, student)


Considered by many people as the easiest rhetorical pattern, narration is very similar to telling a story, which is very familiar to almost all people. How easy or difficult is it for you to write narrative paragraphs? What topics can be developed using narration? Share your answers in class. Below are some writing tips on how to write effective narrative paragraphs.

  1. Plan very well how your plot will develop. This is what makes a paragraph narrative.
  2. Remember Oedipus Rex? The story started in the middle. This should remind you that your narrative need not always start at the beginning but in medias res.
  3. Decide on the best point of view for your narrative. It may be first, second, third, and it may even change at certain points in the text.
  4. The ability of your readers to follow your narration is affected by your choice of verb tense.

Illustration and Example

One important way of making your writing reader-friendly is to supply your work with good examples and illustrations. This is why, more often than not, this is used together with the other types of paragraph in discussing a particular topic. Be reminded, however, to choose illustrations and examples that are interesting and very much related to the topic, but these should not distract readers from the main idea and the important points of the paragraph.

How easy or difficult is it for you two write illustrative and example para-graphs? What topics can be developed using these patterns? Share your answers in class.


Description is an organized account of vivid sensory details that appeal to the reader’s senses. Good description focuses on a dominant impression, which calls for a clear organization of the details. Static description is used to describe a person, an object, a place, etc., while process description is used to describe an event or a procedure.

How easy or difficult is it for you to write descriptive paragraphs? What topics can be developed using description? Share your answers in class.

Comparison and Contrast

This type of paragraph focuses on the ways things or ideas are similar and/ or different from one another. You have a choice whether you want to organize your points subject by subject (AAA-BBB) or point by point (AB-AB-AB). Either way, you are expected to go beyond literal/obvious comparisons and contrast and be more critical and evaluative with the points you make.

How easy or difficult is it for you to write comparison and contrast para-graphs? What topics can be developed using this pattern? Share your answers in class.


This paragraph is also called an extended definition sentence. To clarify the definition of the topic (usually a concept or an idea) and to make it distinct from other related concepts and ideas, descriptions, anecdotes, examples, and non-examples are used. The definition given in the dictionary may be your guide at the start, but what should be highlighted is your own definition of a term based on your own understanding, experience, and/or observation.

How easy or difficult is it for you to write definition paragraphs? What topics can be developed using definition? Share your answers in class.

Cause and Effect

Causes are the reasons, while effects are the results of something that happened. When it comes to writing this type of paragraph, you may either focus on just the causes or just the effects unless you are instructed to discuss both. When you discuss both, remember that you don’t have to present the same number of causes and effects, and you have to decide whether you will present all the causes first, or all the effects first, or you will do it alternately.

How easy or difficult is it for you to write cause and effect paragraphs? What topics can be developed using cause and effect? Share your answers in class.

Argumentative and Problem-Solution

The argumentative pattern is used when the topic to be discussed is an issue; therefore, the writer discusses the issue and takes a stand. In examining the issue, the writing presents his/her arguments and the counter-argument with ample details and support for each.

The problem-solution pattern, as the name implies, presents a problem and possible remedies for it. Enough details are also needed in discussing the topic.

What topics can be developed using argumentation and problem-solution? Share your answers in class.