Top Tips for IELTS

Linking paragraphs in an essay

This is a quick lesson to remind you that linking paragraphs in an essay is a key skill in task 2. The idea is that the examiner should immediately understand the structure of your essay as s/he reads it. The skill you need is to show how your topic paragraphs relate to each other. My tip is not to try to be clever, but make the obvious obvious. Don’t let the examiner misunderstand you!

How do you do this? I’ll give you three examples of my own below. But first here are the key skills you need:

  1. make it clear what each topic paragraph is about
  2. use simple language to express the main idea
  3. re-read your first topic paragraph before you write the second
  4. borrow language from one paragraph in the next

Make it clear what you want to say in BOTH paragraphs

The first skill you need is to make it clear what you want to say in each paragraph. Normally, you want to do this in the first sentence of the paragraph. The reason for doing this is that it allows the examiner to follow the structure of your argument. Look at one of my examples. You should see immediately what the paragraphs are about and how they relate to each other.

One reason why the loss of print books would be a step backwards is that people would probably just read less.

A second reason for believing that it would not be beneficial for the internet to replace traditional books relates to quality.

I hope it is clear that the two paragraphs balance each other by giving two different reasons why the internet should not replace books. How have I done this? I kept it simple – all I’m trying to do here is be clear about what I will say.

Don’t be afraid of using simple language to express the main idea

In some ways this is just to repeat what I have just said. But I do want to emphasise how simple language can be very effective and get you band score 9.0. I have many different ways to talk about advantages and disadvantages. But sometimes it is better not to show off. Here all I’m trying to do is show the examiner how my two paragraphs relate, so I use simpler language:

The clearest advantage of this new technology is that it enables people to read at their own convenience and whenever they want.

There are of course some disadvantages to this technology.

This one is of course an advantage/disadvantage essay. So here I just concentrate on showing the examiner what each paragraph is about and how they relate to each other.

Read your first topic paragraph before you write the second topic paragraph

This is I believe a top tip. It is very easy to get lost in writing your essay when you are under pressure. I suggest you stand back a little – give yourself little breaks. One time you could do this is when you start a new paragraph. Don’t start writing immediately. Rather I suggest you go back and read what you have just written first. If you do this, you are much, much more likely to link your paragraphs together. See this example:

There is some reason to believe that newspapers and books will not survive into the future in their current form.

Despite this, it is still likely that traditional print media will not completely disappear for a variety of reasons.

This time I simply start my second content paragraph with a reference to what I have said in the first. How can I do that? By knowing what I have just written.

Don’t be afraid to borrow/repeat language

This is where I believe some candidates – especially high level ones – go wrong. They believe that they need to use new and different words all the time. In fact, it helps your coherence and cohesion if you repeat words some of the time. One place to do this is when you are trying to show how your writing links together. Look again at my first example where I repeat the word “reason”. I do this on purpose to show the examiner how the two paragraphs link.

One reason why the loss of print books would be a step backwards is that people would probably just read less.

A second reason for believing that it would not be beneficial for the internet to replace traditional books relates to quality.

An exercise in linking paragraphs in an essay

Look at these very similar task 2 questions. They are all about the same topic, but the task in each case is slightly different.

What is the task in each case? Try and say in your own words what the question is asking you to do.

Some people believe that the internet will replace traditional books in the future. Do you believe this would be a positive or a negative development?

As technology progresses, so has the way we read books and many people now prefer to read using new forms of technology such as e-readers. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this new form of publication?

Some people believe that newspapers and books will eventually be replaced by new forms of technology such as the e-reader and the internet. What is your opinion?

Linking paragraphs

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How to link paragraphs (2792)

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One Response to Linking paragraphs in an essay

  1. zara March 4, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

    Thanks for this useful lesson ! I was really looking forward to it.

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