How Many Sentences Are There In A Paragraph Of Writing?

how long is a paragraph

How many sentences are in a paragraph?

If you think ten sentences is a good formula, it’s time to think again. Today’s readers prefer much more space.

Short paragraphs are becoming the standard online because they help keep readers’ attention.

It doesn’t matter if it is a blog post or a Kindle ebook; splitting your paragraphs makes reading much easier.

How long is a paragraph?

how long is a paragraph today

Your English teacher in high school probably told you the general rule of thumb for how many sentences make a paragraph.

It was a distinct section of a piece of writing that dealt with a single theme and was somewhere around five sentences long.

But it was not unusual to write ones that occupied a whole page.

A good paragraph can use as many sentences as necessary to cover a topic in full. It applies to both fiction and academic writing.

Start with a sentence that introduces the topic.

The sentences after it expand on the topic until the last. However, the sentences together deal with only one idea per paragraph.

For fiction, educational, academic, and business writing, construction is often between 3 and 8 sentences long.

You could say that it is around 100 to 200 words long. Another measure is about a third or half a page.


How many sentences constitute a paragraph?

how long is a paragraph in a book

The definition by the Cambridge Dictionary makes it clear when it comes to how many sentences are in a paragraph. One sentence can qualify as a complete paragraph.

A short part of a text that begins on a new line. It consists of one or more sentences dealing with a single idea.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary gives us a similar definition of the number of sentences in a paragraph.

A subdivision of a written composition that consists of one or more sentences. It deals with one point or gives the words of one speaker, and begins on a new usually indented line.

You can see that both dictionaries make the point that the only essential feature is that it starts on a new line.

It means that there is no hard and fast writing rule for how many sentences are in one paragraph. Single sentences can be, by definition, paragraphs.

How many words are in a paragraph? You could even say that one word can be defined as a sentence and, therefore, a paragraph.


You could classify this one-word sentence as a paragraph.

It depends on what and where you are writing. Your decisions will be quite different for an academic essay, a business report, a blog post, or an email.

Newspapers have always used much shorter paragraph lengths than, say, magazines. News readers tend to scan, while magazine readers look for more depth in what they read.

How long should a paragraph be? You might be a purist, but very short paragraphs are becoming more prevalent because they are much easier to read and understand.

For online readers, a long sea of text in a very long paragraph can be difficult to read and follow on a screen.


Readers like short paragraphs

please give me short paragraphs

The topic sentence that you so carefully wrote will be lost in a lump of text. It will be almost impossible to digest on a screen. Long paragraphs are difficult to read and understand. A huge number of words tend to merge together in a sea of blocked text. It makes comprehension difficult. It requires far more concentration to read. Start a new paragraph and space out your text to make it easier for your readers. It might be okay when students write essays. But for screen reading, you should always avoid using a lot of sentences without adding line breaks. How many sentences you use should be about how readable your text is for a reader and not about old-fashioned rules.

writing assistant paragraph warning

You can see the word count warning above. The writing assistant program I use when I write blog posts doesn’t like that last long paragraph.

It pops up a warning for me anytime I exceed ninety words. But I am always surprised that it says that it should typically be one to five sentences.

How can you possibly fit five sentences into a paragraph with only 90 words?

But that is today’s rule for online writing.

Keep your paragraphs short and readable.


Paragraphs and screen reading

The attention span of readers is the key to online screen reading.

Reading on a screen has changed the way people read and understand a text.

You can measure a good piece of writing for online reading by how many words are in a paragraph and the number of sentences you link together.

Too many sentences in one solid block of text can be challenging to read.


Paragraphs in ebooks

short paragraphs in ebooks are better

You can breathe a sigh of relief if you write and publish paperbacks or hardcover versions of your book.

Reading on paper is different from online reading. It is the same as it has been for centuries. You can use 300 words in a paragraph, and your readers will love you for it.

Nothing has changed for readers who like to crack the spine of a good read.

But when you are publishing an ebook, you might think about changing your formatting to help your readers.

You should give careful thought to how many sentences you group together in one paragraph.

Give your ebook readers plenty of space. Break up your text into smaller and more digestible chunks.

Add more line breaks than you would usually do for a paperback. It will make your ebook much easier to read on any screen or device.

Reading ease depends on the device or app a reader uses to read your book.

People read ebooks on many devices, ranging from quite small to medium screens. Your text will flow to suit the size of a screen.

They might need space to scroll down a page with their thumb as they read or to tap to turn pages.

You will certainly have long compound sentences in an ebook manuscript. But try to limit them to only one or two sentences per paragraph.

As a guide, limit a paragraph in an ebook to no more than six to eight lines of text.

Before publishing an ebook, you should check how your book looks and reads on a small screen.


How many sentences are in a paragraph of article writing

Sentence paragraphs or two-sentence paragraphs are now almost the norm for web pages, blog posts, and online news articles.

I am sure you have noticed this when you are online reading.

Popular mainstream newspapers are following the rule. Look at this article in the New York Times. Not one is more than two sentences long.

example article from the New York Times

As you can see, this news article uses a collection of sentences that look like paragraphs. But at most, there are only two sentences.

Let’s go to the other side of the Atlantic. The Independent newspaper uses similar formatting, and again, it writes most of its articles using one sentence paragraphs.

article example from the independent

Another excellent example is Deutsche Welle in Germany.

It breaks up text in its articles into small one or two-sentence chunks. It also uses left and right-aligned images to break up the text even more.

As you can see from the image below, it is an excellent example of easy screen reading.

Article from Deutsche Welle in Germany

Blog writing

Take a look at some of your existing blog posts and check how you format your text.

It will only take a few minutes to add more line breaks and perhaps insert a few headings.

One other factor to consider is your font selection. You should use a standard serif or sans serif font.

Also, set a size that is easy to read on a laptop or phone screen. Arial and Times in 15 or 16px or 12 to 13pt are always easy to read fonts.

Most newspaper websites use serif fonts. For blogs and content articles, sans serif is often the preferred choice. But there is no right or wrong choice.

But if you are curious, I use Raleway, a Google Font, which is similar to Arial and Helvetica. The font size I use for content text on this blog is 17px.

Once you make these simple changes, you can quickly republish your post or article. It will be much easier for your blog visitors to read on any device.


The new short paragraph rule

One of the best writing tips for online writing is to use a heading to help group your information.

A good heading briefly introduces the topic. After that, you start with a topic sentence.

You can follow this with related single sentences and separate them with line breaks. But, only group two sentences as long as they are relatively short.

Sentence spaced paragraphs are still concentrating on a single theme and should always have a concluding sentence.

Good construction for online reading makes it much easier for a reader to absorb and understand what you write.



How many sentences make a paragraph? Not as many as was the case years ago.

The long form might not be dead yet, but it is definitely going out of fashion. Or perhaps, it has been refashioned.

Check your online article and blog post reading ease.

Write paragraphs that are split into small sentence chunks under a new heading.

The sentences can then develop the topic just the same as an old-fashioned boxed paragraph.

The only difference is that a good piece of writing for screen reading gives readers much more white space because it helps their eyes navigate the text more easily.

When writing blog posts, online articles, or ebooks, always think about your readers and your formatting.

Make it as easy as you can for them to read and enjoy your writing.

Give your readers the space they need to read comfortably on any size screen or device.


Related Reading: Cleft Sentences And Examples Of The Most Common Uses

3 thoughts on “How Many Sentences Are There In A Paragraph Of Writing?”

  1. I concur with most of your thoughts. However, for me to shorten a paragraph or sentence would and can interrupt my thought purpose. It is far easier for me to keep writing, and not stopping to see if my paragraph is or is not the right length.
    John J McCarrick

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