Logical Order Example Paragraph Essay
- Understand how and why organizational techniques help writers and readers stay focused.
- Assess how and when to use chronological order to organize an essay.
- Recognize how and when to use order of importance to organize an essay.
- Determine how and when to use spatial order to organize an essay.
The method of organization you choose for your essay is just as important as its content. Without a clear organizational pattern, your reader could become confused and lose interest. The way you structure your essay helps your readers draw connections between the body and the thesis, and the structure also keeps you focused as you plan and write the essay. Choosing your organizational pattern before you outline ensures that each body paragraph works to support and develop your thesis.
This section covers three ways to organize body paragraphs:
- Chronological order
- Order of importance
- Spatial order
When you begin to draft your essay, your ideas may seem to flow from your mind in a seemingly random manner. Your readers, who bring to the table different backgrounds, viewpoints, and ideas, need you to clearly organize these ideas in order to help process and accept them.
A solid organizational pattern gives your ideas a path that you can follow as you develop your draft. Knowing how you will organize your paragraphs allows you to better express and analyze your thoughts. Planning the structure of your essay before you choose supporting evidence helps you conduct more effective and targeted research.
In Chapter 8 “The Writing Process: How Do I Begin?”, you learned that chronological arrangement has the following purposes:
- To explain the history of an event or a topic
- To tell a story or relate an experience
- To explain how to do or to make something
- To explain the steps in a process
Chronological order is mostly used in expository writing, which is a form of writing that narrates, describes, informs, or explains a process. When using chronological order, arrange the events in the order that they actually happened, or will happen if you are giving instructions. This method requires you to use words such as first, second, then, after that, later, and finally. These transition words guide you and your reader through the paper as you expand your thesis.
For example, if you are writing an essay about the history of the airline industry, you would begin with its conception and detail the essential timeline events up until present day. You would follow the chain of events using words such as first, then, next, and so on.
Writing at Work
At some point in your career you may have to file a complaint with your human resources department. Using chronological order is a useful tool in describing the events that led up to your filing the grievance. You would logically lay out the events in the order that they occurred using the key transition words. The more logical your complaint, the more likely you will be well received and helped.
Choose an accomplishment you have achieved in your life. The important moment could be in sports, schooling, or extracurricular activities. On your own sheet of paper, list the steps you took to reach your goal. Try to be as specific as possible with the steps you took. Pay attention to using transition words to focus your writing.
Keep in mind that chronological order is most appropriate for the following purposes:
- Writing essays containing heavy research
- Writing essays with the aim of listing, explaining, or narrating
- Writing essays that analyze literary works such as poems, plays, or books
When using chronological order, your introduction should indicate the information you will cover and in what order, and the introduction should also establish the relevance of the information. Your body paragraphs should then provide clear divisions or steps in chronology. You can divide your paragraphs by time (such as decades, wars, or other historical events) or by the same structure of the work you are examining (such as a line-by-line explication of a poem).
On a separate sheet of paper, write a paragraph that describes a process you are familiar with and can do well. Assume that your reader is unfamiliar with the procedure. Remember to use the chronological key words, such as first, second, then, and finally.
Order of Importance
Recall from Chapter 8 “The Writing Process: How Do I Begin?” that order of importance is best used for the following purposes:
- Persuading and convincing
- Ranking items by their importance, benefit, or significance
- Illustrating a situation, problem, or solution
Most essays move from the least to the most important point, and the paragraphs are arranged in an effort to build the essay’s strength. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to begin with your most important supporting point, such as in an essay that contains a thesis that is highly debatable. When writing a persuasive essay, it is best to begin with the most important point because it immediately captivates your readers and compels them to continue reading.
For example, if you were supporting your thesis that homework is detrimental to the education of high school students, you would want to present your most convincing argument first, and then move on to the less important points for your case.
Some key transitional words you should use with this method of organization are most importantly, almost as importantly, just as importantly, and finally.
Writing at Work
During your career, you may be required to work on a team that devises a strategy for a specific goal of your company, such as increasing profits. When planning your strategy you should organize your steps in order of importance. This demonstrates the ability to prioritize and plan. Using the order of importance technique also shows that you can create a resolution with logical steps for accomplishing a common goal.
On a separate sheet of paper, write a paragraph that discusses a passion of yours. Your passion could be music, a particular sport, filmmaking, and so on. Your paragraph should be built upon the reasons why you feel so strongly. Briefly discuss your reasons in the order of least to greatest importance.
As stated in Chapter 8 “The Writing Process: How Do I Begin?”, spatial order is best used for the following purposes:
- Helping readers visualize something as you want them to see it
- Evoking a scene using the senses (sight, touch, taste, smell, and sound)
- Writing a descriptive essay
Spatial order means that you explain or describe objects as they are arranged around you in your space, for example in a bedroom. As the writer, you create a picture for your reader, and their perspective is the viewpoint from which you describe what is around you.
The view must move in an orderly, logical progression, giving the reader clear directional signals to follow from place to place. The key to using this method is to choose a specific starting point and then guide the reader to follow your eye as it moves in an orderly trajectory from your starting point.
Pay attention to the following student’s description of her bedroom and how she guides the reader through the viewing process, foot by foot.
Attached to my bedroom wall is a small wooden rack dangling with red and turquoise necklaces that shimmer as you enter. Just to the right of the rack is my window, framed by billowy white curtains. The peace of such an image is a stark contrast to my desk, which sits to the right of the window, layered in textbooks, crumpled papers, coffee cups, and an overflowing ashtray. Turning my head to the right, I see a set of two bare windows that frame the trees outside the glass like a 3D painting. Below the windows is an oak chest from which blankets and scarves are protruding. Against the wall opposite the billowy curtains is an antique dresser, on top of which sits a jewelry box and a few picture frames. A tall mirror attached to the dresser takes up most of the wall, which is the color of lavender.
The paragraph incorporates two objectives you have learned in this chapter: using an implied topic sentence and applying spatial order. Often in a descriptive essay, the two work together.
The following are possible transition words to include when using spatial order:
- Just to the left or just to the right
- On the left or on the right
- Across from
- A little further down
- To the south, to the east, and so on
- A few yards away
- Turning left or turning right
On a separate sheet of paper, write a paragraph using spatial order that describes your commute to work, school, or another location you visit often.
Please share with a classmate and compare your answers.
- The way you organize your body paragraphs ensures you and your readers stay focused on and draw connections to, your thesis statement.
- A strong organizational pattern allows you to articulate, analyze, and clarify your thoughts.
- Planning the organizational structure for your essay before you begin to search for supporting evidence helps you conduct more effective and directed research.
- Chronological order is most commonly used in expository writing. It is useful for explaining the history of your subject, for telling a story, or for explaining a process.
- Order of importance is most appropriate in a persuasion paper as well as for essays in which you rank things, people, or events by their significance.
- Spatial order describes things as they are arranged in space and is best for helping readers visualize something as you want them to see it; it creates a dominant impression.
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Here are four ways to organize your main points:
Ideas that must be explained in a certain order — for example, one point must be explained before another point — are in logical order. Cause-and-effect essays are often written in logical order as one point must be explained before the next point can be understood.
The points must be told in the correct sequence; otherwise, the readers may be confused.
The steps described in this paragraph must be in logical order, otherwise, it makes no sense.
Insert your ATM card into the machine. Then, punch in your personal identification number. Next, push the button for “withdrawal”. After you have entered the amount of cash you want, push the button for the account that you want to use. Then, collect the cash and take your card and your receipt. Finally, count the money to make sure that the amount is correct.
Ideas that are presented in order of time, from first to last, are in chronological order, such as the ordering in a process essay. When the sequence of time is important to the topic, chronological order is the best way to organize your points.
In this paragraph the process of a how a hurricane develops. It follows the chronological order of the steps that lead up to the creation of a hurricane.
Hurricanes are high-speed windstorms that start over the ocean and can have winds as fast as 250 kilometres per hour. Hurricanes usually happen over oceans, near the equator. They are formed when warm, wet air is forced upward by heavier, cool air. The air pressure drops quickly from the outer edge towards the centre. This causes the wind speed to rise. The winds move in a circular pattern around the centre, "eye", of the hurricane. In the "eye", the winds stop and the clouds lift, but the ocean below remains violent. The average hurricane covers an area of at least 240 kilometres. When the storm is over land, these winds destroy life and property.
When you present your most important point last, or at the climax, your essay or paragraph is in climactic order. This type of organization is often found in persuasive, classification, comparison, or contrast writing. With the most important point last, the next most important point leads the essay, and the other points are arranged in the middle part of the essay.
In this paragraph, the “punch line” or climactic point comes at the end.
Is there such a thing as being given too much of what we want? Most people would answer no, that if we want something, and especially if we are paying for it, we should receive as much as possible. However, when it comes to our automobiles, there is one thing that is over-supplied to us by manufacturers: speed. It is so overabundant that it is a danger to us and to others; excessive speeding leads to more traffic accidents and fatalities. Another less tangible but equally serious and harmful result is an increased dependence on oil. One way to get away from these harmful effects would be for the manufacturers to install in every car a governor, a mechanism that regulates the speed of the car. This should be done so as to create a maximum speed for all cars on the road.
Ideas that can be presented in any order without affecting the reader’s understanding are in random order. This type of organization is very rare and can only be used when all the main points are of equal value and are not linked together logically or chronologically.
Visiting Victoria is a wonderful experience because you can see both historic buildings and beautiful nature. The city is surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean, so it has many protected harbours, secluded bays, and fascinating beaches. Many postcards from Victoria show the busy Inner Harbour in the centre of town. From the Tourist Office at one end of the harbour you can go down to the walkway and look at the sailboats moored at the wharves. One stairway on the walkway leads to the Empress Hotel, while the other leads to the Parliament Buildings. This combination of interesting architecture and natural beauty makes a visit to Victoria a satisfying experience.