Points to check in your own writing

Here are some simple tasks for you to see if you are constructing paragraphs properly.

■ Take one or two pages of your academic writing. Do a 'visual' check on the length of paragraphs - does the text look too heavy or too 'bitty' or about right?

■ Check whether the average length of the paragraphs is between 7 and 14 lines (3 to 7 sentences)

■ Count the number of words in randomly selected sentences. Does the average number of words come to between 15 and 25? If so, this is about right.

■ Do the 'skim' test: read through the first sentences only of your whole text and see if you can follow the gist of your argument. If you can, you are writing your topic sentences well.

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