Patterns of written prose. When writing you may choose to describe the facts or events, to tell a story about them, to argue about them or to explain them according to your understanding. These verbs correspond to four basic forms of treating a topic: description, narration, argumentation, and exposition (explanation).
Paragraph is a single sentence or a group of related sentences expressing and developing a basic idea, or a particular phase of thought. The paragraph is a practical device in writing. Its purpose is to indicate the beginnings and endings of a thought unit. The beginning of a paragraph is indicated by beginning a line a little in from the margin.
Here is a short paragraph describing a well-known portrait: "Mona Lisa (Gioconda) isrepresented sitting in front of a marble balcony. The left arm rests on the arm of the seat, and the fingers fold over the end of it. The right hand, perhaps the most perfect hand ever painted, lies lightly over the left hand and wrist. On sleeves and bodice the pleats of the satin dress take the light" (From "Leonardo de Vinci" by E. Mc. Curely)
The author presents his impressions of the portrait and describes it in detail.
Here is another example of a paragraph telling a story: "A rather dreadful thing happened in the car as they were driving up from the beach to the ancient town, once a Norman port, but now left high and dry by the receding sea." (From "The Wind" by A. Bennett)
Here is an example of a paragraph of argumentation: "I am here to say a very few words or» the whole question of the treatment of animals by our civilized selves. For I have no special knowledge, like some who will speak to you, of the training of performing animals. I have only a certain knowledge of human and animal natures; and a common sense which tells me that wild animals are more happy in freedom than in captivity — domestic animals are more happy as companions than as clowns." (From "On Performing Animals" by J. Galsworthy)
The author tries to convince the reader of his point of view: he dislikes the idea of turning domestic animals into performers in the circus.
The expository paragraph below makes it clear what politeness is: "It isn't only with acquaintances and friends that politeness counts so much. Half the trouble in marriage and other family relationships begins with the throwing of politeness overboard. Politeness is often little more than the exercise of self-control, which is as valuable a quality in friendship as kindness itself." (From "Effective English and Personal Efficiency Course")
Note: These patterns of writing seldom occur alone, more often they are joined together.