The most important point to make here is that of having a strong first sentence which presents the main idea of your paragraph. This sentence is often called your topic sentence.
Example essay title: “The government’s relaxed approach to immigration is storing up problems for the future.” How far do you agree with this view?
Example paragraph with a topic sentence at the start:
One of the strongest arguments in favour of a relaxed approach to immigration is that the UK benefits economically from immigrant labour. Research shows that countries with high levels of immigration are economically successful and that there is a correlation between a mobile labour force and economic prosperity. Immigration serves as an important source of both skilled and unskilled labour in the UK which has come to depend on migrants to plug gaps in its skilled professions and to do jobs that the local population are unwilling to do.
This is a good topic sentence because it:
1. puts forward an argument
2. it uses some words from the title (which means you are hopefully answering the question!)
3. it tells you what the rest of the sentence is going to be about.
After this sentence you need to support what you have said. That means giving evidence which justifies what you said in your topic sentence. Often this is when you will bring in your sources from your wider reading.
More example paragraphs with topic sentences:
Online learning has its problems. Although student surveys always show students like to have access to materials online, the take up of purely online courses is low. When questioned, students find that studying online can be a lonely and unsatisfying experience. Not only do students miss the human interaction with other students, they also find the time lag in getting answers to their questions very frustrating.
One of the most important factors leading to the outbreak of World War One was the arms race between Britain and Germany. Britain had an empire at this time and Germany wanted a similar role in the world. This meant having a strong navy so the Germans spent a considerable amount of time and effort building up its naval force. Britain responded to this threat to its dominance by strengthening its navy even further. This ‘naval race’ contributed to the increase in tension between the two countries.
Margaret Thatcher’s policies were dominated by the philosophy of individual freedom and self-reliance. During the years of the Thatcher governments Britons experienced cuts in welfare payments and drastic legal restrictions on trade unions. Public industries were sold off to private investors in the belief that the free market would deliver prosperity to all …………
Generally speaking, topic sentences are:
• Give a strong idea
• Often use phrases such as:
One of the main reasons for …..
One of the major factors in ………… is…………….
Generally speaking, ………
One of the strongest arguments against/ in favour of………is ….
One of the main advantages / disadvantages of ………….is ……
Why not post your sentence at the Correct My Sentence Forum to get some feedback on it?
For more reading on topic sentences see:
Andy Gillett’s UEfAP site: http://uefap.com/writing/
The OWL at Purdue: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/606/01/