Practice in Organizing a Descriptive Paragraph

Composition and Revision Exercises

candle on windowsill
(Shubham Verma/EyeEm/Getty Images)

After studying our basic model for organizing a descriptive paragraph, you may find it helpful to apply the strategies in this short exercise.

Directions

Here is the topic sentence of a descriptive paragraph titled "The Candle":

I treasure my candle not for its beauty, its sentimental value, or even its usefulness, but for its simple, stark ugliness.

The rest of the paragraph appears below. However, the sentences have been rearranged so that the descriptions appear in no logical order.

Reorder the sentences to create a clearly organized paragraph.

 

  1. Rising crookedly out of the cup and collar is the candle, a pitifully short, stubby object.
  2. Abandoned by a previous occupant of my room, the candle squats on the window sill, anchored by cobwebs and surrounded by dead flies.
  3. This ugly little memorial consists of three parts: the base, the reflector, and the candle itself.
  4. This aluminum flower is actually a wrinkled old Christmas light collar.
  5. The base is a white, coffee-stained Styrofoam cup, its wide mouth pressed to the sill.
  6. And by lighting the wick, any time I choose, I can melt this ugly candle away.
  7. From the bottom of the cup (which is the top of the base) sprouts a space-age daisy: red, green, and silver petals intended to collect wax and reflect candle light.
  8. The candle is about the same size and color as a man's thumb, beaded with little warts of wax down the sides and topped by a tiny bent wick.

     

    Suggested answers are on page two.

     

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    Suggested Rearrangement of Sentences: Organizing a Descriptive Paragraph


    Here is how the nine sentences in "The Candle" were originally arranged.

    I treasure my candle not for its beauty, its sentimental value, or even its usefulness, but for its simple, stark ugliness.

    (2) Abandoned by a previous occupant of my room, the candle squats on the window sill, anchored by cobwebs and surrounded by dead flies.

    (3) This ugly little memorial consists of three parts: the base, the reflector, and the candle itself.

    (5) The base is a white, coffee-stained Styrofoam cup, its wide mouth pressed to the sill.

    (7) From the bottom of the cup (which is the top of the base) sprouts a space-age daisy: red, green, and silver petals intended to collect wax and reflect candle light.

    (4) This aluminum flower is actually a wrinkled old Christmas light collar.

    (1) Rising crookedly out of the cup and collar is the candle, a pitifully short, stubby object.

    (8) The candle is about the same size and color as a man's thumb, beaded with little warts of wax down the sides and topped by a tiny bent wick.

    (6) And by lighting the wick, any time I choose, I can melt this ugly candle away.