Archive Lessons Series

IELTS Lessons, written by Sam Morgan and Tom Speed

​Last time we looked at how to write an introduction paragraph so today we’re going to take a look at how to write a good body paragraph. This will help you with Academic or General IELTS Writing Task 2 and more generally with your school or university writing.
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First let’s review what is in the introduction paragraph.

A good introduction…
  1. introduces the general topic.
  2. introduces the specific topic.
  3. gives the writer’s position.
  4. tells us how many paragraphs / main ideas there are (optional).

IELTSTutors Body Paragraph Advice

Follow our advice below to write good body paragraphs.
  1. Make sure you plan the essay before you write anything. In the test you can plan your essay on the question paper. Note down your main ideas and the supporting reasons for them.
  2. Every paragraph should contain one main idea relating to the position (opinion) you gave in the introduction. 
  3. You should have no more than three body paragraphs in your IELTS Writing Task 2 essay because you don’t have time to write more. Usually 2 body paragraphs will be enough.
  4. Start your body paragraph by giving an idea which relates to the position (opinion) you gave in the introduction. This sentence is called a topic sentence because it tells the reader the topic of the paragraph.
  5. After you give the topic sentence you need to give supporting examples. These could be from personal experience or from things that you have read or seen.


An IELTS Body Paragraph Example


Look at the example below.
Some experts believe that it is better for children to begin learning a foreign language at primary school rather than secondary school.

Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?



This is our introduction and first paragraph model answer:​
Most young people around the world have to learn a second language but the age at which they start doing so varies. Some specialists believe it is better to start at primary school while others suggest it is better to start later. I believe the advantages of starting to learn a second language at primary school outweigh the disadvantages for 3 main reasons.
 
The first reason is that children learn and remember new words more easily at a young age than when they are older. As a teacher I notice my young students have much better memories for new words than older students even though they often struggle to understand the complex rules of grammar which the older students are better able to cope with. Studies have been done which support this and show children who start studying a second language at elementary school absorb new words much faster than older students and in the long term are more likely to achieve a higher level in the second language than students who only start studying a second language at high school. However, these studies also suggest that complex grammar should be left until students are older and more able to deal with such complex concepts.

Does it follow our advice? See if you can find the answers in the example, then check them by clicking on the questions below.
Can you find the topic sentence in this paragraph?

The first reason is that children learn and remember new words more easily at a young age than when they are older.
Can you find a supporting idea from my personal experience?

As a teacher I notice my young students have much better memories for new words than older students even though they often struggle to understand the complex rules of grammar which the older students are better able to cope with.
Can you find a supporting idea from something I have read?

Studies have been done which support this and show children who start studying a second language at elementary school absorb new words faster than older students and in the long term are more likely to achieve a higher level in the second language than students who only start studying a second language at high school.


Common IELTS Paragraph Mistakes

Here are some common errors which you should check your writing for.
  1. There is no clear break in the essay. You should leave a line between two paragraphs. 
  2. There is no clear main topic for the paragraph. People sometimes try and cover more than one main idea per paragraph. This can be confusing for the reader. 
  3. There is no topic sentence at the start of the paragraph. 
  4. Sentences do not follow on from each other logically. 
  5. There is no use of discourse markers such as ‘for example’, ‘for instance’ or ‘such as’ to introduce examples or ‘however’, although’ or ‘though’ to demonstrate contradiction
  6. Some of the information in the paragraph does not relate to the main idea of the paragraph and so is pointless. 
  7. There is not enough supporting evidence for the writer’s main idea. 
  8. People who don’t plan their essay often write too much in the first body paragraph and then not enough for the second body paragraph because they run out of time – plan your essay first!
​Follow the tips and check your writing for the common errors shown above and you will see a big improvement in the Coherence and Cohesion of your writing. If you have any other tips or questions, please leave them in the comments below.

For our guide on how to write a conclusion, click the button below.