IELTS TASK 2 WRITNIG: STRUCTURING PARAGRAPHS

Today we will continue with a description of how to structure a TASK 2 paragraph. The first thing to understand is that there is no rule about this. A good paragraph will have a TOPIC SENTENCE that describes what the paragraph is about and it will be highly focused but there are actually many different ways that paragraphs can be written.

Here is one possible outline for a paragraph:

Topic sentence (a short sentence which says specifically what the paragraph is about)
main point 1 (first point supporting the topic sentence)
– support sentence 1 (explain what is meant by main point 1)
– support sentence 2 (explain what the consequences are of support sentence 1)

main point 2 (second point supporting the topic sentence)
– support sentence 1 (explain what is meant by main point 2)
– support sentence 2 (explain what the consequences are of support sentence 2)

There are many other structures that could be used. The point is that the paragraph expands and develops the arguments related to whatever the topic is that you are responding to.

Here is how such a paragraph might look for the previous post related to the use of mobile phones:

To begin with, it is argued by some that cell phones cause some problems. (The topic sentence-it tells you what this paragraph is about) Face-to-face communication is a case in point. (This is the first main point: it just means face-to-face communication is an example.) When people go to dinner, for instance, everyone sits around the table using their mobile phone, ignoring their friends sitting right in front of them. (That is support sentence 1 that explains main point 1). This can lead to a breakdown in the relationships between people if they feel offended and hurt when their friends show no interest in talking to them. (This extends the argument by showing a consequence of the previous sentence – it is support sentence 2 for main point 1. Now we add main point 2.) In addition, mobile phones can be very expensive. (second main point.) The problemĀ  is that the cost of a smart phone is often very high and models come out frequently. (first support sentence explaining the problem) When young people are lured into constantly updating their phone, the financial burden can be enormous leading to significant stress and pressure on the individual, which may have a detrimental effect on their daily life. (Second support sentence that shows the consequence of expensive phones.)

This is only one possible way to structure the paragraph. There really is an unlimited number of ways this can be achieved. The KEY POINT is that the paragraph is targeted on the topic that has been asked, it extends and develops the argument and DOES NOT simply list some main points without support sentences.

EXTENDING AND SUPPORTING the main points is critical. Essays which simply list a number of main points without developing these arguments cannot achieve a high score. Look at what the Public Band Descriptors say about this:

Band 7 (Task Response): presents, extends and supports main ideas

Clearly, if this is not done, it is impossible for the candidate to be awarded Band 7.