In today's lesson I'll try to explain what makes a good paragraph. We'll analyse a paragraph that I wrote with some of my students.
Paragraph about the purpose of prisons:
On the one hand, criminals do need to be punished in some way. A person who commits a crime must learn that unlawful actions have consequences. Prison sentences punish offenders because they lose their freedom, and are separated from family and friends. In this way, prison acts as a deterrent to make people think carefully before breaking the law. Last year in the UK, many people were given a prison sentence for rioting, and hopefully this punishment will deter them from similar behaviour in future.
- The paragraph contains 5 sentences, with a total of 85 words. This is the kind of length I suggest aiming for.
- The first sentence is short and simple. We often call this type of sentence a 'topic sentence' because it introduces the topic of the paragraph.
- Sentences 2, 3 and 4 develop the main idea in a logical, step-by-step way: crime has consequences - loss of freedom is the punishment - this stops people from breaking the law.
- Sentence 5 contains a real example.
- Remember that good vocabulary is the key to a high score. I've underlined the best words and phrases in the paragraph.