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Patterns of Development Learning Resources

Grammar Guide IconThis link takes you to a drop-down menu titled "Patterns of Composition."  The links take you to pages on various methods of development that would be useful at the level of the essay, and at the level of the paragraph. Examples and "do's and don'ts" are provided on each page.  The patterns include narration and description, process analysis, comparison & contrast, exemplification, classification & analysis, cause & effect, and definition.

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Here are two quizzes from Mary Nielson, Professor of English at Dalton State University, on identifying patterns of organization used in sentences and paragraphs.  Useful practice to help you get familiar with these patterns.

Quiz 1

Quiz 2

Purdue OWL iconPurdue offers students some good material on development patterns, and on related grammatical issues.  Separate links to pages on different patterns of development and relevant grammar lesons are listed below:



Narration: controlling verb tense shifts

Transitional Devices

LEO iconLEO, or "Literacy Education Online" is maintained by St. Cloud State University in Minnesota.  The site offers some great handouts on patterns of development.  Links to the pages on each individual pattern are provided below.  Note: the emphasis in these handouts is on essay length works, but the principles discussed are useful in writing paragraphs as well.




Process Description


u nc logoLengthy discussion of paragraph development.  Includes a five-step plan for writing strong paragraphs and several useful examples.

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