When writing an essay, do you ever get confused about how to use paragraphs? It is so important to plan the structure of your essay and then follow with good use of paragraphs.
In academic writing, a paragraph usually starts with a topic sentence. This is a sentence containing the main idea for that paragraph. Normally, one main idea per paragraph works best. For example, a topic sentence for an essay paragraph on the advantages studying abroad might be:
One of the main benefits of studying abroad is the development of independence.
This a clear topic sentence for the reader. The paragraph can now be developed by giving an example or illustration of this topic. It does not need to be statistical and can be from your own personal experience or knowledge. Sentence two might be as follows:
Students have the responsibility not only to study hard, but also they may need to develop domestic skills such as cooking, ironing their clothes and doing housework.
The example gives more strength to the observation about increased independence. It is okay to mention a difficulty or negative aspect next in this paragraph, but remember that overall, the ending of the paragraph should be on a positive note to match the topic sentence. The third sentence to close the paragraph could be like this:
Although learning to cook, doing shopping and other daily chores can take up students’ study time, these things are key to developing as an independent adult.
By putting these three sentences together you have developed a logical paragraph, with a clear topic sentence followed by examples and rounding off on the same topic of independence. This helps coherence and cohesion, which are included in the marking descriptors of the examiners.
Try planning a few paragraphs on an IELTS essay topic and see if you can follow those logical steps as described above. Happy writing!