Would you indent in the first paragraph of a essay?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by JohnDR, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. JohnDR Senior Member

    If I am going to write five-paragraph essay, should I indent in the first paragraph?

    I read some articles that they only indent in the 2-5th paragraph.

    Thank you!
  2. cropje_jnr

    cropje_jnr Senior Member

    Canberra, Australia
    English - Australia
    Feel free to choose either way, JohnDR.

    Most people won't even notice whether you indent or not.
  3. Cagey post mod

    English - US
    Speaking only for myself, I do not indent the first paragraph of an essay. The purpose of indenting is to show that you have started a new paragraph, which isn't necessary at the beginning of an essay.

    (This is one generally accepted way to do it. There may be others, of course.)
  4. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It depends.
    Long ago, we were taught to indent the first line of every paragraph.
    That still happens in some current styles.
    In others, there is no indenting.
    I haven't noticed a mixed style - with the first paragraph indented and others not - but that doesn't mean it isn't common.

    Can you find out from wherever the essay is going what is expected of you?
  5. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    Will you be writing with pen and ink, John, or typewriting? I think it is unusual now to apply indents to printed text at all.
  6. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    This is one of the issues that style guides address. If your school or department has a style guide, you should follow it. If it doesn't you should ask the teacher what he prefers. If it is for your own pleasure, choose a style you like and be consistent in applying it.
  7. piggy94 Banned

    I asked my student to indent the first line of the paragraph, but the problem is the student does not understand what it means by ' indent'. What is the easy way to explain indent?
  8. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    American English
    Hit your Tab key. :) Assuming a word-processing program, of course.
  9. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    Quote the WR Dictionary, definition #2. :)
  10. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I just wanted to say that the lack of indentation after a heading is a common publication style. In an article I just wrote, the publisher (Taylor & Francis), got me to download set 'styles' into my system, and they had something called a 'First paragraph style' and a 'Follow-on paragraph style'. No indentation for the former and indentation for the latter.

    JohnDR - I don't know why you say that the indentation is only for the 2hd-5th paragraphs. Does that mean that you don't indent the 6th paragraph? That sounds rather bizarre.
  11. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    JohnDR began his question, in September 2008, with "If I am going to write five-paragraph essay". There wasn't going to be a 6th paragraph :)
  12. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    :eek: Oops. Sorry for not having read it carefully.

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