Exercise 1 | Introduction Paragraph Review
Remember, the first sentence of the introduction should state the topic of the essay. The second sentence should provide the writers opinion and an indication of how the essay will be organized (this is the thesis statement).
It is clear that for the majority of people around the world living standards are at their highest level ever, however, there are those whose standard of living has been negatively affected by scientific development.
Exercise 2 | Introduction Analysis
True or False
- The first sentence of the essay must state the topic.
- You can use a few words from the question. Often key words such as living standards don’t have synonyms and so must be used. Candidates often try to paraphrase everything in the question and this creates unusual sentences that often fail to give the real topic of the essay. Don’t be afraid to use some of the keywords from the question.
- If you copy more than a few words from the question, then the examiner will delete them from the essay. This will affect the word count and coherence of your essay. Only use one or two keywords from the question.
- The use of the word ‘however’ shows that the writer wants to show a contrast in this essay. Both agreement and disagreement will be shown.
- There will be two body paragraphs. The second sentence of the introduction the thesis statement shows us this. If the writer wanted to write a third paragraph, then he or she would have to mention the topic of it here at the end of the thesis statement.
- This is mentioned in the first part of the thesis statement (for the majority of people around the world living standards are at their highest level ever) and so will be the first body paragraph
- This is mentioned in the second part of the thesis statement (there are those whose standard of living has been negatively affected by scientific development) and so it will be the second body paragraph.
A well written paragraph should have one main topic. The first sentence of a body paragraph should start with a sentence that tells the reader the topic of the paragraph. We call this a topic sentence.
A topic sentence should…
- clearly and simply state the topic of the paragraph
- use vocabulary from the thesis statement and keywords from the question to further build cohesion within your essay.
A topic sentence should not…
- be too long
- contain argument or examples.
Exercise 3 | Topic Sentence Examples
Body Paragraph 1 Topic Sentence
- a) This is the best answer as it matches the statement in the thesis statement and it uses the key phrase ‘living standards’.
- b) This is a poor topic sentence because it includes an example. Supporting ideas and examples should follow the topic sentence.
- c) This sentence does not follow the structure indicated in the thesis statement in the introduction. The thesis indicates that the first body paragraph will be about people who enjoy a higher living standard than in the past. This sentence also fails to use the key vocabulary – the topic of the essay – living standards.
Body Paragraph 2 Topic Sentence
- a) This sentence is about the wrong topic! The thesis statement indicates that the second body paragraph should be about people who don’t have a better standard of living than in the past.
- b) This topic sentence is clear and short. The use of ‘On the other hand’ shows the reader that the content of the paragraph contrasts with the topic of the previous paragraph. The examiner will be looking for these linking phrases. Correct use of linking phrases will boost your score for coherence and cohesion.
- c) This sentence is too long and contains too many ideas. The three supporting ideas should form the content of the body paragraph. Many IELTS candidates think that all the sentences in an essay must be long and complex but this is not true. A topic sentence should be clear and simple to understand.
To what extent do you agree or disagree?