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Unity: One thought = one paragraph

For a reader-friendly text, make sure that you deal with only one topic per paragraph. This is known as paragraph unity.

In a paragraph, you should follow the principle of one thought = one paragraph. Sentences should not deviate too far from the topic of the paragraph – if they do, it might be best to write a separate paragraph on another topic. The paragraph in (1) focuses on inventory management and demand forecasts. It has also many other important elements of a reader-friendly paragraph, such as a topic sentence , repetition of key words , and given-to-new information structure .


The main challenge for inventory management is creating a system with high availability and low inventory (Hu et al., 2018). Because shortage costs for spare parts are usually high, demand forecasts are essential to set an optimal level of spare part safety stock (Zhu et al., 2020). However, achieving perfect stock control is not possible in practice as long as inventory models rely on completely accurate demand forecasts. Demand forecasts are only probability distributions and will therefore always hold some level of uncertainty (Prak & Teunter, 2019; Cohen et al., 2006).

How many sentences does a paragraph need?

As long as you follow the principle of “one thought = one paragraph”, a paragraph can be of any length. (If you have written a very long paragraph, there is a good chance that you are in fact dealing with more than one topic, and that the paragraph should be split into two.) However, you should try to avoid one-sentence paragraphs – that is, a sentence that stands on its own on the page, for instance with a blank space before and after it. If you have a one-sentence paragraph in your text, you should check: does this sentence belong to the paragraph above or below? Do you need to expand the single sentence into a paragraph with more detail?

What does a paragraph look like?

A new paragraph should be marked by a blank line or an indent. Check your assignment instructions, department guidelines or thesis template to see whether you must follow a certain principle. Do not mix styles in the same document.

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