Writing the main paragraphs of your essay

This post is about writing your main paragraphs and 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. In an argumentative essay this sentence will present a strong argument. Look at the last post to see the plan and the introduction for the essay title:

“Is the present level of immigration in the United Kingdom beneficial to the country?”

This is the start of my first main paragraph after the introduction:

There is a widespread perception shared by big business and the government that the United Kingdom has benefited from immigration because these new workers firstly take certain low paid jobs which the existing population decline to take, and secondly, and more importantly, they help to overcome skill shortages in the country.

This is a good topic sentence because it:
1. puts forward an argument
2. it uses 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 and refer to other people’s work and this is where referencing is so important (see “Referencing” post).

I would like to direct you to Andy Gillett’s site at the University of Hertfordshire which has some good exercises on topic sentences. Of course the danger of sending you there is that you won’t come back here! When you get to the writing page following this link click on TOPIC at the top of the page for topic sentence exercises.

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