To narrate means to tell or give an account of an event that has already occurred. A narrative paragraph is a story, usually about a significant event that has happened to you, the writer, or to someone you know. The purpose of a narrative is to inform, entertain, make a specific point, or evoke a certain emotional response from the reader. Above all, a narrative, like good storytelling, should capture the reader’s interest with clearly defined characters, setting, and a time frame. The details should create images in the reader’s mind so the reader can “see the events” unfold, Action verbs help move the story along and keep the reader involved in the event.
In writing a first person narrative, you tell a story about a specific event that happened in your life, an event that left a lasting impression or emotional memory. Your goal is to convey the feelings or emotions of that situation clearly and vividly and evoke the same emotional response from your reader.
In writing a third-person narrative, you tell a story about a specific event that happened to another person. A thid-person narrative may be about an event you personally witnessed, or it may be an account of an event you know about from reacting or from the media but did not personally experience. Throughout a third-person narrative, use the pronoun he, she, or they. You become the observer who reports the story but does not refer to yourself in the story. As with a first-person narrative, the story should make a specific point and evoke an emotional response from your reader. The character, the setting, and the time frame should be specific.
The Structure of a Narrative Paragraph
In earlier article, you learned that a paragraph is a well-organized series of sentences that develops one main idea about a specific topic the writer wishes to convey to a reader. The topic sentence, which has been narrowed, states the main idea of the paragraph (the controlling idea). The body of the paragraph provides the reader with carefully selected supporting details that develop and support the topic sentence with the controlling idea. A concluding sentence signals the end of the paragraph.
Developing the Topic Sentence
Use the following guidelines to write an effective topic sentence with a controlling idea that reveals your point of view, opinion, or attitude towed the subject of your paragraph.
- Clearly identify a specific topic for your narrative paragraph. In order to stay within the scope of a pargraph, use one setting and one event that occurs in a relatively short time frame.
- Use th topic sentence to show the reader the purpose or the intent of your paragraph by providing a glimpse or a hint about the significance of the event or the emotion you experienced. Is the controlling idea (Your point of view, opinion, or attitude toward the subject) clear to your reader? Will your reader be able to predict the subject of the paragraph and possibly some of the details.
- Reword or revice the topic sentence to attract the reader’s interest. An effective sentence entice the reader to continue reading.
Developing the body of the paragraph
Use the following guidelines to develop the body of your paragraph and the controlling idea stated in your topic sentence.
1. Create unity by selecting a sequence of events that develops or supports the topic sentence.
- Eliminate details that are insignificant or nonessential ti telling of the story. Each sentence in the body of the paragraph should be essential to telling of the story.
- Do not sidetrack from the main sequence of action in the story. Eliminate sentences that do not contribute to the development of the controlling idea.
- Do not mix first person (I or we) and third person (be, she, or they).
2. Create coherence by writing the sequence of events in chronological order, which means that the story will be told in order in which individual actions occurred.
- If you need to give brief background information before beginning the main sequence of action, place the background information after the topic sentence.
- Generally, you should avoid shifts in time. Strive to tell the story without jumping back in time after you begin the main action of the narrative.
3. Use transition words and conjunctions that show time and create coherence. Examples of transition words:
|Type of relation||Examples of transition words|
|enumerate||and, first of all, also, another, furthermore, finally, in addition|
|cause||because, so, due to, while, since, therefore|
|comparison/ contrast||same, less, rather, while, yet, opposite, much as, either|
|conclusion||as a result, hence, consequently, therefore, in conclusion|
|fuzzy signals||seems like, maybe, probably, almost|
|emphasis||most of all, most noteworthy, especially relevant|
4. Use verbs in the simple past tense to show that the event or the story has already taken, place. (See the Grammar and Usage Tips at the end of this chapter.)
5. Select descriptive words to create a strong visual image for the reader. Your goal is to re-create the event for the reader by activating his or her imagination. Use a thesaurus or a dictionary to locate precise words to express your ideas and emotions clearly to the reader.
- Keep the story moving by using action verbs instead of linking verbs. For example, saying I wandered to the back of the store is more effective than saying was in the back of the store. Remember that a reader will lose interest in the story if the controlling idea is not developed at a reasonable pace,
- Create a vivid image e of the story by selecting words that create a “movie in the mind of the reader.” Carefully select adjectives and adverbs that describe the details and the action as precisely as possible. Your goal is to recreate the situation, the emotions, and your overall impressions for your reader,
- Select words that are consistent with the emotion or the mood of the paragraph. Avoid using words that convey a different or an opposite impression. For example, in the story about the voodoo shop, saying that a warm feeling swept over me would be inconsistent with the emotion of fear. Using the .words an eerie, chilling feeling crept over me is consistent with the purpose of the paragraph and contributes to the development of the controlling idea that is stated in the topic sentence.
6. Include adequate development in your paragraph by selecting sufficient details to develop the story and re-create the experience for your reader.
- Few details will distance your reader from the experience, its significance, and the emotions that you want to convey. The reader will not understand or have an adequate sense of the character, the setting, the time frame, or the significance of the narrative.
- Excessive details clutter the story, slow the story down, distract your reader, and weaken the emotional response and interest in the story.
Developing the concluding sentence
- Write a concluding sentence that echoes the topic sentence. A concluding sentence that varies too much from the topic sentence often signals that you got sidetracked and that the paragraph lacks unity and coherence.
- Use the same emotion and sense of significance that. you stated in the controlling idea and expressed throughout the paragraph.
- Check that your concluding sentence comfortably flows from the body of the paragraph and does not give your reader the sense that it was tacked on as an afterthought.
Writing process of narrative paragraphs
Using the process details in Chapter 1 and the list below, create a narrative paragraph, recording your process on paper. At the end of the process, you will have several pages of notes, a draft, revisions, and a final version. Pick a topic appropriate to this type of paragraph. Your instructor may assign or suggest topics ‘as well.
- Decide on a narrative that proves your point. This can be one of your personal experiences or someone else’s.
- Gather information about the events and time period of the narrative.
- Organize. the information into groups.
- Create an outline with a topic sentence, generalizations, and supporting details.
- Write a first draft from your outline.
- Revise, revise, revise.
- Edit for mechanical errors
- Print/type and turn in.
Examples of Narrative Paragraphs
Three forms of hepatitis, a contagious liver disease, are common in the United States. ‘Hepatitis A commonly strikes children under the age of fifteen. This form of hepatitis is contracted by eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated by human excrement. Many children, of course, never contract Hepatitis A in school or at home. Two of my friends once contracted this form of the virus and found out about it when they went to the doctor with flulike symptoms. Hepatitis 13 is more frequently contracted through direct contact with bodily fluids that contain the virus. ‘Hepatitis B is most commonly spread during intimacy and through shared needles that are contaminated with the virus. ‘However, because the Hepatitis B virus can live outside the body on dry surfaces for several days, it can be spread from hand to mouth. I think this is the form of hepatitis that is combated by a vaccine. ‘°Some states require children to get vaccinated for hepatitis before beginning school. “Hepatitis C is spread by contact with infected blood, contaminated needles, or by sharing drug-snorting instruments. Hepatitis C, for that reason, is similar to HIV, which may lead to AIDS. M1 three forms of hepatitis attack the liver and cause inflammation, swelling, and tenderness.
Job Application Cover Letter
‘Writing an effective cover letter for a job application can be done by following six basic steps. 2First, carefully examine the job description or the classified ad and plan how to compete on paper for the job. 3Highlight all the desired qualities and skills that are stated in the job posting. 40n a separate ‘Title of paper, ls the qualities and skills under two categories. ‘Title the first category job-related skills; title the second category personal qualities. Across from each item in your list, jot down specific skills or experiences you have that relate to the items. Try to read between the lines” to predict what the employer wants from his or her employees. Add these items to your list and your related qualifications. 9Next, use a standard business letter format. Write a draft with individual paragraphs to present yourself to the employer. In the first paragraph, identify the position and tell where you saw the job posting. In the next paragraph, emphasize the job-related skills you have that qualify you for the position. °Include work experience and course work. Be sure to put your address and the date en the top of the paper. Then include the inside address of the business. The salutation, or greeting, should address the person by name if it is known or by position, such as “Personnel Director. In the third paragraph, list the personal qualities that make you a worthy, desirable employee. You can include words such as responsible, attentive to .details, friendly, team player, and conscientiozz. Finally, close with a short paragraph that tells your availability, interest in an interview, and a contact phone number. Next, revise the draft of your letter. Look for ways to strengthen the content. Finally, sign the letter, make a copy of the letter for your files, and mail the letter without delay using these six steps for an effective cover letter, you have greatly increased your chances of being considered for the job. Because the employer will first “meet” you on paper, be sure the letter is neatly typed and free of grammatical and spelling errors.
In many traditional Asian and African societies, the typical family is often an extended family. A newly married couple lives with either the bride’s or the groom’s family. The couple¬ raises their children under the same roof as their own brothers and sisters, who may also be married. The extended family is a large, three- or four-generation clan, headed by a patriarch or perhaps a matriarch. The extended family encompasses everyone from the youngest infant to the oldest grandparent. Every family member has a place in the extended family from cradle to grave. This tradition of extended families, however, is diminishing as newly married couples now tend to move to new locations for greater economic opportunities. The traditional extended family is being replaced by nuclear families that establish their own homes and create their individual identities.