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ERIC Number: EJ776454
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-May
Pages: 26
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0994
Whatever Happened to the Paragraph?
Duncan, Mike
College English, v69 n5 p470-495 May 2007
For the last several years, composition scholarship has unfortunately neglected the paragraph. Theories about it, however, have a rich history. Eventually, it involved conflicts between prescriptivists and descriptivists, as well as between members of the latter group and the branch of descriptivism called functionalism. In this article, the author gives a chronological overview of how paragraph theory began, flourished, and then declined in composition studies. He also argues that paragraph theory should be revisited and reclaimed by composition, because the result of that abandoned past scholarship is an uneasy symbiosis of prescriptive and descriptive theory that is far from satisfactory. Even with the welcome addition of advances in cognitive research, there are still questions to be resolved. Furthermore, teachers of paragraphs are badly in need of fresh, practical terminology for paragraphs and their ilk, especially in the area of macrostructures and "flow." More empirical study on the teaching of paragraph structure and an increased focus on all approaches to the paragraph in textbooks would not be out of place, also. (Contains 16 notes and a list of 97 cited works.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A