A paragraph is nothing but a group of sentences that collectively express a specific concept. Journals, books, novels, academic writings, and such are composed of consecutive paragraphs. A highly controversial question regarding writing paragraphs is that how long a paragraph should be. There are debates about whether a paragraph should contain only three sentences, or it should be longer than five to six sentences; some linguists also recommend that a paragraph should be one to two hundred words long.
Actually, a paragraph cannot be measured by characters or words or even by sentences. The actual length of a paragraph is solely the idea that the paragraph is trying to convey. Although there may be some differences followed to write different sorts of articles, the length of an academic paragraph is not the same as the technical paragraph. Here are a number of well-established principles on the length of a paragraph.
Paragraph Length in Academic Writing
Like all the other writing, academic writing has no absolute rule for the length of a paragraph. In such writing, a paragraph should begin with a topic sentence, then comes the supporting sentence. Add as many supporting sentences it requires to illustrate the main idea, and lastly finish it with the concluding sentence. Thus, short paragraphs are pretty rare in academic writing.
Moreover, in academic writing, it is appreciated if all the paragraphs of an essay match the lengths. That means, if the length of the first paragraph is half of a page, try to make all paragraphs the same length, half of a page.
Paragraph Length in Technical Writing
Technical writing is the most formal way of writing. Again, there are no written rules for technical writing as well. Yet, paragraphs usually consist of three to four sentences which more or less contain 100 to 120 words.
Here, long paragraphs are highly discouraged. The main idea supposed to be written very precisely and specifically. If one paragraph goes further than one-third of the page, it is usually considered too long for technical writing.
Paragraph Length in Novel or Book of Stories
When it comes to the novel or storybooks, a paragraph can be a hundred lines long to one word. Such as if a writer starts a paragraph with - wait, and then starts another paragraph, here this one word "wait" refers to one single paragraph.
Again, in novels or storybooks, not every paragraph needs equal lengths. Generally, all these types of write-ups are combined with short and long length paragraphs, because, in novels or storybooks, paragraph lengths can be made arbitrarily.
In conclusion, there are no certain rules for the length a paragraph. A paragraph should be long enough to elucidate writer's main idea. Above all, a writer is independent in formatting a paragraph how long he or she wants it to be. Nevertheless, since different writing follows different criteria, writers should keep the pattern in mind before they start writing a paragraph.