Flow redux

As a writing instructor, I’ve been chronically frustrated by the fact that composition textbooks use words they don’t define.

Flow, for instance.

What is flow?

Or paragraph.

What is a paragraph apart from a list of sentences separated by white space from a bunch of other lists of sentences inside a longer text?

The answer the books give is that a paragraph has a topic (what’s a topic?) and the sentences about the topic have flow.

But that’s no help because now we’re back to flow, and the books don’t tell us what flow is.

Then there’s the universal awkward, awk for short. 

What is an 18-year old college freshman who writes awkward sentences to make of the word awkward?

Not much.