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Book: Understanding the Paragraph and Paragraphing

Chapter: Editor's Preface

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.33983


Understanding the Paragraph and Paragraphing is a work of wide-ranging and in-depth scholarship on the nature of the paragraph and the factors involved in making paragraphing decisions when constructing written text. Its comprehensive scope includes discussion on the origin of the paragraph and its nature as explored in centuries past and in recent work in discourse analysis and corpus linguistics, with implications drawn for pedagogy and future research. McGee profiles the work of key figures who helped to set traditional notions of the paragraph, and then turns to recent and contemporary empirical research and theorizing, including his own, on paragraph structure and on writing process activity related to paragraphing decisions. The extensive review and close analysis of sources, combined with the author’s knowledge of research traditions and methodologies, provides a strong foundation for McGee’s probing study of the paragraph and the resulting enlightened understandings of it that the book provides. Given that what the general public and indeed most teachers know about paragraphs and paragraphing does not represent actual paragraph structure or paragraphing practice, the pedagogical guidance which the author provides based on a thorough review of existing research makes this an especially useful book.

Chapter Contributors

  • Martha Pennington ( - marthapennington) 'SOAS and Birkbeck College, University of London'