In typography, any block of text ending with a hard, or carriage, return. The first line may or may not be indented. The paragraph is the basic unit of English composition, and research has found that frequent paragraph breaks—in contrast to long unbroken blocks—are important for good legibility. Paragraphs should also contain only one particular thought or subject; each new thought should be a new paragraph.
An alternative means of distinguishing text blocks involves using additional line spacing between paragraphs. In this case, the use of an indent at the beginning of subsequent paragraphs is redundant. Another means of visually separating text blocks is to run all the paragraphs together, separating them from each other only with a special character, such as the pilcrow (¶), also referred to as a "paragraph symbol."
A short line at the end of a paragraph, if less than one-third the line length, is called a widow. Alternately, widow may also refer to the carry-over letters of a hyphenated word to the next line if there are no other characters on that line. A widow carried to the top of a column or page is called an orphan, which should be avoided. Similarly, a new paragraph should never begin as the last line of a column or page.