Cambridge Exams: How to Write Essay Paragraphs

Writing Paragraphs

Paragraphs are a very important part of writing essays and other forms of writing . They help us to communicate information more clearly to a reader. This diagram shows how we organise our ideas in and how to write essay paragraphs, in English.

writing paragraphs infographic

Topic Sentence
The topic sentence is the introduction to the theme of a paragraph. By reading a topic sentence a reader should have a good idea what to expect in the paragraph. The choice of topic sentence is very important in writing paragraphs.  If it is too general then it may be more difficult to develop our ideas as well as being unclear to the reader. Take a look at our two examples below.

Topic Sentences
Too much sugar is bad for you.
A lot of health issues are directly linked to eating too much sugar.

The first example is very general and it is not very obvious what the paragraph might be about. The second example is much more specific and is clearly going to focus on health problems.

Supporting Ideas
When we create our topic sentence we need to provide ideas or information to support it. This helps to make the main idea we are trying to communicate clearer and more convincing. It’s not enough to present an idea, we need to provide more details.  Using our example above we could write the following.

Supporting Ideas
A lot of health issues are directly linked to eating too much sugar. Recently the WHO suggested that it is a major international problem. Furthermore, it’s not just about health. 

Once we have added our ideas, there are a numbers of ways for us to show why these ideas are important and to develop them. To do so we can use examples, explanations or a mixture of both.

Examples
Examples are a very good way to show why the ideas you have chosen are important or true. They also give you an opportunity to present real situations that the reader can relate to. If we continue with the paragraph above we could say.

Using Examples
A lot of health issues are directly linked to eating too much sugar. Recently the WHO suggested that it is a major international problem. Furthermore, it’s not just about health. In Britain, for example, the annual health cost is more than for any other illness.

Explanation
Explanations help us give a lot more details and give the reader a better understanding of what we want to say. Continuing with the example we have used so far we could add the following.

Explanation
A lot of health issues are directly linked to eating too much sugar. Recently the WHO suggested that it is a major international problem. Furthermore, it’s not just about health. Because of illnesses like diabetes there is also a direct effect on  quality of life and on the lives of families.

What is essential in essay writing and other forms of writing is organisation. Getting it right in writing paragraphs is part of that organisation and planning.

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