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Paragraph Structure for IELTS

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When learning to write an essay, you must think about how to structure each individual paragraph. This lesson teaches the basics of internal paragraph structure, including unity and coherence.

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Paragraph Structure for IELTS

  1. 1. How to write effective paragraphs Paragraph Structure
  2. 2. The Basics An Overview of how Paragraphs Function
  3. 3. Writing an Essay Write sentences Write paragraphs Write essay When learning to write essay, these are the steps you should follow:
  4. 4. What is a Paragraph A paragraph consists of some sentences (the number may vary, of course) focused on one idea. You should always plan an essay before writing so that you don’t stray off-topic.
  5. 5. How to Structure a Paragraph Like an essay, a paragraph needs a beginning, middle, and end. More specifically, it needs:  A topic sentence – a very general sentence which explains the main idea of the paragraph  Supporting sentences – any number of sentences which provide details or examples to support or explain the main idea  Concluding sentence – one final sentence to summarize and, possibly, further connect the topic and supporting sentences
  6. 6. Topic Sentence This sentence is usually the first in a paragraph and it will present the main idea in general or vague terms. It could be as simple as:  A lot of people enjoy classical music. It should not contain any specific information, and rather than a definite number you might want to say words like “several” or “many.”
  7. 7. Supporting Sentences This is the meat of the paragraph, and it provides all the necessary detail to support the idea expressed in the topic sentence.  These will include evidence, explanation, or examples.  They may involve facts, figures, or other particular details.  They may tell a story, connect ideas, or express degrees of importance.
  8. 8. Supporting Sentences An example, carrying on from the previously stated classical music topic sentence, could be:  In fact, songs classified as “classical music” were downloaded over twenty million times on Spotify last month.
  9. 9. Concluding Sentence In this final sentence, you need to restate the main idea without repeating any part of the paragraph. You will want to allude to or reference ideas from the supporting sentences while paraphrasing your topic sentence. An example, continuing from the previous ones:  It is clear, then, that classical music enjoys a high degree of popularity.
  10. 10. Looking Deeper How to Develop and Build Strong Paragraphs
  11. 11. Although they are beloved by many, tigers face many dangers that are driving them to extinction. All across Asia, their natural environment is being destroyed the expansion of agriculture, as the human population continues to grow. They are also being hunted and sold for Chinese medicine. Logging is another big problem, as we cut down the forests where they used to live. For these reasons, it is clear that humans are causing tigers to become increasingly endangered. Topic sentence Concludin g sentence
  12. 12. Overview Main idea: tigers are endangered because of people Support: 3 examples - agriculture - Chinese medicine - logging We could easily expand this further to make a more complex paragraph.
  13. 13. Developing Agriculture - why expanding - how damaging - example Chinese medicine - why used - how damaging - details Logging - why it happens - how damaging - example Remember to plan your essay in advance to avoid straying off- topic.
  14. 14. Although they are beloved by many, tigers face many dangers that are driving them to extinction. All across Asia, their natural environment is being destroyed the expansion of agriculture, as the human population continues to grow. As jungles are cut down for farmland, tigers lose their home and often starve to death. In China, over the past 40 years, 99% of the tiger’s forest habitat has been destroyed for this reason. They are also being hunted and sold for Chinese medicine. Poachers kill tigers and sell their body parts on the black market, where wealthy Chinese will pay vast sums of money for them. This multi-million dollar trade has decimated the tiger population of Southeast Asia. Logging is another big problem, as we cut down the forests where they used to live. This pushes tigers into conflict with human settlements as resources became scarce. When this happens, the tiger is usually killed. For these reasons, it is
  15. 15. Developing a Paragraph After the topic sentences, you will use supporting sentences to give:  Examples  Explanations  A story  A chronology  Quotations  Evidence  Argumentative reasoning
  16. 16. Developing a Paragraph My hometown is famous for several amazing natural features. First, it is noted for the Wheaton River, which is very wide and beautiful. Also, on the other side of the town is Wheaton Hill, which is unusual because it is very steep. The third amazing feature is the Big Old Tree. This tree stands two hundred feet tall and is probably about six hundred years old. Topic Sentence Supporting Sentences
  17. 17. Unity Every sentence in a paragraph should support the main idea expressed in the topic sentence. This means:  Each supporting sentence develops and supports the topic sentence.  All sentences are relevant to the focus of the paragraph and the overall essay.
  18. 18. Coherence This means that all ideas in the paragraph should not only be linked, but should flow logically from one to the next. The order of sentences, then, is of utmost importance. There should be no jumps or gaps in the flow of sentences.
  19. 19. Concluding Sentence This sentence must also relate to the rest of the paragraph. It should restate, summarize, and reinforce the main idea of the paragraph. We’ll look at an example built on an earlier paragraph:
  20. 20. My hometown is famous for several amazing natural features. First, it is noted for the Wheaton River, which is very wide and beautiful. Also, on the other side of the town is Wheaton Hill, which is unusual because it is very steep. The third amazing feature is the Big Old Tree. This tree stands two hundred feet tall and is probably about six hundred years old. These three landmarks are truly amazing
  21. 21. Transitions within Paragraphs chronological order first meanwhile later afterwards finally objects in relation to one another next to in front of beside between behind in order of importance however furthermore as a result in fact yet Common transition words
  22. 22. Thanks and Good Luck  If you enjoyed this lesson, take a look at www.ted-ielts.com and www.davidteaching.blogspot.com for more IELTS and ESL materials.

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