Process paragraph

Process paragraph

     When supporting sentences are arranged in a step-by-step sequence which tells Us how something is made or done, this development is called process. Process development is in fact, a kind of enumeration, but here we are usually dealing only with steps or stages (and not, for example, with kinds or types).

A model paragraph

     In his will, Alfred Nobel left specific instructions as to how the winners of the science awards he endowed are to be selected. First, each year the Swedish Academy of Sciences (physics and chemistry) and the Caroline Medical Institute (physiology and medicine) solicit nearly two thousand recommendations from past laureates, university professors, and other experts from all over the world. The second step is the review of recommendations received and the selections of preliminary candidates by special committees within the two Swedish institutions.
The committee members are specifically instructed that those chosen “shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind,” and that no consideration be given to the candidates’ nationalities. Next, after lengthy investigation and discussion, the final choices are made for each discipline. Finally, telegrams informing them of their awards are sent to the new Nobel laureates about one month prior to the award ceremony.

sequence signals

  • First, second, third, next,  last, and finally.
  • The first one is, the second one is, the next step is, the fourth phase is, the last stage is, and so on. 

Some examples:

First, Fill out the form. (imperative form)

First, You must fill out the form. (must, should, can + the verb)

First, you fill out the form. (simple present tense)

First, the form is filled out by you. (passive form)

The first step is filling out the form.

The first stage is that you fill out the form.

Time clues, repetition, and pronoun reference

In addition to sequence signals, there are other indicators which a writer can use to develop a process paragraph. They are TIME CLUES
1. Time clues, which include choice of verb and tense
2. Repetition, which provides links between your sentences, thus helping the reader following your train of thought
3. Pronoun reference, which provides still another kind of link between your sentences

Time clues

  • Some verbs that show the sequence of actions in process paragraphs include start, begin, continue, become, proceed, follow, remain, develop, end, finish, and culminate.
  • Time clauses can be used in process paragraphs, too. The most common time words used to introduce time clauses are before, after, when, while, as, and until.

Some examples for simultaneous actions:

While/as the butter is melting, break three eggs into a bowl.

As you are boiling the eggs, peel the potatoes.

Some examples for sequential actions:

When you start college, you have to take a placement test.

You can’t leave the room until everyone has finished the test.

Before you attend college, you have to fill out an application.

He goes to school after he finishes work.

The teacher stopped talking as soon as I entered the room. 

It has been an hour since the test started. 

Participial phrases

Sometimes time clauses may be reduced to participial phrases( while,, when, after, before) Take a look at these examples:

While melting the butter, break three eggs into a bowl.

Starting the college, you have to take a placement test.

Before attending college, you have to fill out an application.

He goes to school after finishing his work.

Sentence connectors of time

Sometimes instead of making one of the sentences into a time clause, we can join the two sentences by a sentence connector of time. Notice the use of semicolon. Sentence connectors of time include during this period, at the same time, meanwhile, afterwards, after that, then, following that, at that point, etc.

Some examples:

Melt the butter in the pan; during this period, beat the eggs.

Note: after during this period, at the same time, and meanwhile, you need a comma.

Beat the eggs well; afterwards pour them into the pan.

Repetition and pronoun reference

Notice that words are often repeated to add continuity to a paragraph. They are repeated either in their original form or in pronoun form. Pay attention to these sort of clues when you write your paragraph. It also adds continuity and cohesiveness to your paragraph. 

A model paragraph

     Even if you don’t know how to cook, you will never starve to death if you know how to prepare scrambled eggs. You begin by melting one tablespoon of butter in a frying pan over low heat. While the butter is melting, break three eggs into a bowl. Add one fourth teaspoon of salt, one fourth teaspoon of paprika, and 3 tablespoons of milk to the eggs in the bowl and mix them for about a minute. Pour the mixture into the frying pan. As the eggs begin to thicken in the pan, break them into shreds with a fork, or stir them with a spoon until they become solid. When they are cooked, serve them with lightly buttered toast.

A model paragraph

     In order to find a suitable apartment, you must follow a very systematic
approach. First, you must decide which neighborhood would be most convenient for you. Then you must determine how much rent your budget will allow. Utility bills for apartments average between fifty and seventy dollars per month. Your next step is to check the classified ads in the newspapers. Be sure to check these ads regularly, since new listings appear each day. After you have telephoned the apartments which seem likely choices, you must begin your long journey t0 inspect each one of them.

A model paragraph

     Changing a flat tire is really not a very complicated process. When you have removed the hubcap from the wheel which has the flat, the jack should be correctly placed so as to be able to lift the car off the ground. Jack up the car high enough for the tire to clear the ground; at that point, carefully loosen the nuts that hold the tire and rim in place by using your lug wrench. Proceed by removing the flat tire and put the spare tire in its place. Now you are ready to put the nuts bad on the wheel and tighten them well with the lug wrench. All that remains is to replace the hubcap.


A. It is possible that there is an actual emergency or that the alarm is signaling a practice evacuation.

B. When you hear the school’s emergency alarm, follow the required safety procedures.

C. First, take all of your personal belongings with you.

D. Quickly put everything into your bag or backpack.

E. In either case, you and your classmates must exit the building.

F. Second, find the nearest stairway and go down the stairs to the first floor lobby.

G. Finally, you can reenter the building as soon as the police and fire department have announced that, in fact, there is no danger.

H. Do not use the elevator. 

I. Even if it is your first emergency situation , stay calm.

J. Don’t run.

K. After you leave the building, follow the instructions of the safety leaders who are outside.

Read these sentences and answer the following questions.

  1. Order the sentences to make a complete  paragraph. 
  2. Which sentence is the topic sentence?
  3. What type of paragraph is it?
  4. How many steps are there?
  5. What are the signal words? Does it have a conclusion?
  6. Do the supports have details?
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