When do you need a new paragraph?

When do you need a new paragraph break ?

Image: iClipart

There are two basic rules for paragraph breaks:

  1. New speaker = new paragraph
  2. New subject = new paragraph

The first one, new speaker = new paragraph is for writing dialog (the part where characters talk). That’s pretty straightforward.

When Percy Jackson talks, he gets his own paragraph. When Annabeth talks, she gets her own paragraph. It’s as simple as that.

For the second rule, if you’re writing an essay, imagine you’re the camera operator in a documentary film; if you’re writing a story, imagine you’re a camera operator in a Hollywood movie.

Whenever the camera angle changes, that’s when you need a new paragraph.

This way of thinking about it seems to help my students know when it’s time to start a new paragraph. Hopefully it will help others who read this post too.


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