NCO Primary Leadership Subjects
Arranging Paragraphs Logically
A simple, easy flow of ideas will help get your message across to your readers.
You can achieve this flow by arranging paragraphs so that each one prepares the
reader for what follows.
The text of most military writing has three elements:
Elements of a
Closing or action portion.
The introduction consists of one or more paragraphs that tell what the paper is
about. They may state a problem, give background information, or cite the
authority for the paper. The introduction should be short and to the point.
The body is the main portion of the text. Regardless of the pattern and number of
paragraphs used, the body is where you make your case. Present the facts, criteria,
and related data. Follow with an analysis of the facts and an explanation of your
The closing or action portion summarizes the important points of the paper or
recommends a specific course of action. If the paper is directive to lower echelon
Closing or action
units, identify a point of contact at your headquarters and set a date for completed
As you develop your paragraphs, make sure they are consistent with the intended
organization of your paper. Be slow to make changes in your outline. Think each
change through so that it does not upset the overall packaging or omit vital
information. But if a change will improve the presentation, make it even if you
have to rewrite portions of the text.
Review and rework paragraphs until they satisfy you. As you review, ask yourself:
Is the meaning clear?
Do thoughts flow naturally from one paragraph to another?
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