Describing a Process - Seattle Central College

Example Paragraph
Ways to make Breaking up Easier
Breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend can be easier
said than done, but here are five steps that may help the
breaking up process. First, try to distance yourself by
suddenly becoming busier than usual. The next step is to
calmly tell the other person how you are feeling. Then gently
let him or her know that you do not want to be together
anymore. Then make sure to be sensitive of his or her
feelings and answer any questions that he or she may have.
For example, if the person starts to cry, use kind words to
help comfort him or her. After everything is said and
done, take some alone time for your self because everyone
has feelings to sort out after a break up. Finally, go out with
friends and meet new people. With these five steps it will
make the breaking up process smooth for both parties.
~© Sara Bedwell~
Characteristics of Process
Are usually organized chronologically
(by time order).
 Follow a logical order (first things
 Give all the necessary steps.
Topic Sentence
A topic sentence tells the reader the
main topic and how the topic is going
to be discussed or organized.
 In a process paragraph, it tells you
what the result of the process will be
and may mention the number of steps.
Topic Sentence
What is the topic sentence in the
example paragraph?
Breaking up with a boyfriend or
girlfriend can be easier said than
done, but here are five steps that
may help the breaking up
To write a good process paragraph, good
use of transitional expressions is
necessary. They alert the reader that a
new step is coming. They also help the
reader to find and remember the
information more easily.
Some common transitions useful for
process writing: first, next, then, firstly,
secondly, finally, after that, . . .
Transitional Expressions
What are the transitional expressions
in the example paragraph?
 First
 The next step
 Then
 Next
 After everything is said and done,
 Finally
Transitional Expressions
Beginning a Process (at)first,
initially, begin by
 Continuing the Process second,
third step, until, after(ward), then,
next later, before, when, while, as soon
as, as, upon, during, meanwhile
 Ending a Process finally, at last
A process paragraph or essay:
 explains how to do something in a
series of steps
 explains how something works
Checklist: The Topic
You don’t have to limit your topic to
concrete practical subjects such as
building a doghouse or installing
 You could explain how to plan a
budget holiday, prepare for final
exams, get a deal on a used car, or
revive a romance
 Pick a subject you know about and
explain the process in logical steps.
Checklist: The Topic
Consider all the information your
reader would need in order to follow
your instructions.
 Avoid topics like how to tie your shoes
or how to bake an apple pie which are
unlikely to excite a reader.
Checklist: The Topic
If you work out regularly, you might
write about the steps to improve
physical fitness. If you fish, you might
offer advice on how to prepare
yourself for a fishing trip.
 Write about what you know, and
search for a unique slant on your
Before and As you Write
Narrow the topic. Think of whom you
are writing to.
 Make a topic sentence that clearly
states what your process result will be.
 Free write or brainstorm some ideas
that might help with the process.
 Drop information that is not necessary
in the process.
Before and As you Write
Make an outline with the steps of how
you will write it.
 Write a draft of the process and use
transition expressions to indicate
 Revise.
 Proofread to make sure that you have
no errors in grammar or spelling,
punctuation, or mechanics.
Write a process paragraph. Choose a topic
that interests you and that you know
How to do something
 How to reconcile your checkbook
 How to select an apartment
 How to travel successfully with children
 How to quarrel and win
Read & Deconstruct
Read the following paragraph. Create
PowerPoint slides that illustrate the
process. (Do not copy each sentence;
use phrases. You may add images if
you finish early.
Example Paragraph
See teacher handout:
How to Prepare for a Race
How to shop for a used car
 How to quit smoking
 How to deter a mugger or attacker
How to make something
 How to sculpt something in clay
 How to make a dress
 How to build a deck, bookcase, or
How something works
 How data is transmitted by computer
 How a solar heating system works
 How a piano works
 How a bad habit develops
 The way children learn to talk
Your process must include at least five
 Your process must include instructions
for WHAT to do, HOW to do it (if
necessary), and WHY to do it (if
 Your process must show the complexity
of the topic. Don’t be simplistic.
Begin Writing!