# Procedures - COBOL

A procedure comprises a paragraph, a group of successive paragraphs, a section or a group of successive sections within the Procedure Division.If one paragraph is in a section, all paragraphs must be in sections.A procedure-name is a word used to refer to a paragraph or section.It consists of a section-name, a paragraph-name, or a paragraph-name qualified by a section-name.

A section consists of a section header followed by zero or more paragraphs.A section ends immediately before the next section or at the end of the Procedure Division or, in the declaratives portion of the Procedure Division, at the keywords END DECLARATIVES.

A paragraph consists of a paragraph-name followed by a period and a space and by zero or more sentences.A paragraph ends immediately before the next paragraph-name or section-name or at the end of the Procedure Division or, in the declaratives portion of the Procedure Division, at the keywords END DECLARATIVES.

In a Procedure Division that is not divided into sections, a paragraph-name may be defined more than once.In a Procedure Division that is divided into sections, a paragraph-name may be defined more than once in the same section.Such nonunique paragraph-names may not be referenced.

A statement is a syntactically valid combination of words and symbols beginning with a verb.The word THEN may be used as a statement separator within the Procedure Division.It has no effect on the meaning of the statements.