Effective Technical Writing in the Information Age

Writing Paragraphs That Flow


The best stylists are those whose writing can be read fluidly, and they compose so that their paragraphs are manageable in size and unambiguous in meaning. Stylistically, paragraph flow is usually accomplished by concrete topic sentences and smooth logical connections among ideas. Within paragraphs, writers connect ideas and foster coherence by exploiting the four methods described below. Those words highlighted in color help to establish the connections between sentences.

  • Link the subjects of juxtaposed sentences.

To heat the sample, tungsten-halogen lamps are used below and above the fused silica tube. These lamps contain a tungsten filament and bromide gas inside a quartz bulb. By resistive heating alone, the lamps can attain temperatures of 300 °C to 400 °C.

  • Link the end of one sentence to the beginning of the next sentence.

The film is not completely oriented in a single direction, and the system includes a number of entanglements. These entanglements become frozen into position as the film crystallizes.

  • Link sentences through implicit similarity, repetition, contrast, or causality.
When a subject views an object initially as a circle, that image becomes imprinted on the brain. Even when the eye and brain can distinguish an ellipse from the circle, memory tricks the subject into seeing a circle.
The addition of oxygen promotes soot formation, particularly at low temperatures. On the other hand, oxygen also removes aromatic rings and active intermediates by oxidation, thus suppressing soot formation at high oxygen concentrations.

Because the wire is flexible, the sonde can rely on its own weight to pull it down the hole, essentially doing a free fall. Therefore, the sonde tends to get stuck easily in highly deviated holes.

  • Establish a particular order and then follow through with that order.

Norris describes three forms of exit morphology. In the first form, development has spread to both sides of the intersecting road, but is still limited to one side of the interstate. In the second form, development exists on both sides of the highway. In the third form, which Norris labels full development, services are located along both sides of the intersecting roads and along ancillary feeder roads.

Of course there are other ways of linking sentences, such as by time, and the preceding four methods are not meant to suggest that writing a sound paragraph is a purely mechanical act—a matter of just plugging in transition words or giving juxtaposed sentences similar subjects. But well-written paragraphs tend to rely on the four methods detailed above, and writers consciously used these methods to be certain they’re communicating clearly. As you write and revise your paragraphs, especially when you sense that flow is needed, look for opportunities to exploit the above methods judiciously and you will be improving your style.