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A paragraph is a group of sentences that develop one topic or idea. It has three main parts. The first part is
the topic sentence. It is called the topic sentence because it states the topic or the subject of the paragraph.
The second main part is the supporting sentences. The supporting sentences develop the topic. This means
that they explain the topic sentence in detail. The last part is the concluding sentence. The concluding
sentence summarises the paragraph and/or adds a final comment. A clear academic paragraph requires all of
these parts.
Read and examine the sample paragraphs below and discuss their structure with your teacher.
Sample Paragraph 1:
Problems in Big Cities
(1) All around the world living in big cities creates serious




problems for people. (2a) The first problem is air pollution. For
example, in Istanbul, many people have cars and cars are one reason
why the air is polluted. (2b) Secondly, traffic is an important problem for
the people living in big cities. Nowadays there are more and more cars on
roads, and this causes traffic jams in many parts of the cities. For this
reason, many inhabitants waste their time in traffic, and they are
negatively affected by this situation. (3) To sum up, air pollution and
traffic jams are two important problems that people living in big cities

Sample Paragraph 2:
Bicycles are popular today in many countries for three reasons. First, most of the people use bicycles to exercise.

Topic Sentence

Supporting Sentence 1

To illustrate, in Holland, people think riding a bicycle is a better way of keeping fit and staying healthy than other
sports. The second reason is money. Generally bikes are not expensive to buy, and they are quite cheap to fix.

Supporting Sentence 2
Finally, they are suitable for city life. In cities, many people prefer bikes to cars because unlike cars, with a bicycle,

Supporting Sentence 3
they never have to wait in traffic. In brief, having a bicycle is beneficial for people for different reasons.

The Concluding Sentence

Bicycles are popular today in many countries for three reasons. First, most of the people use bicycles to exercise. To
illustrate, in Holland, people think riding a bicycle is a better way of keeping fit and staying healthy than other
sports. The second reason is money. Generally bikes are not expensive to buy, and they are quite cheap to fix.
Finally, they are suitable for city life. In cities, many people prefer bikes to cars because unlike cars, with a bicycle,
they never have to wait in traffic. In brief, having a bicycle is beneficial for people for different reasons.

A topic is the general idea of a paragraph. It is what gives the answer to the question What is the paragraph
about? For example, Biochemistry, Physiology and Anatomy are all examples of the topic Medical subjects.
Exercise 1: Circle the topic of the words below.







Exercise 2: Find the topic of words below.

1. elephants
2. modem
3. jazz
4. snowy
5. circle
6. leak
7. Kocaeli
8. bedroom
9. texting
10. skirt


mobile phone

The topic is


The topic sentence is usually the first sentence of a paragraph. It contains the main idea which is developed in
the rest of the paragraph. A topic sentence must be a complete sentence, a statement of intent, opinion or a
mixture of both. It should be neither too broad (Football is very popular in the world) nor too narrow (Gold is
very valuable). The topic tells us the subject (what the paragraph is about) and the controlling idea makes a
specific comment about the topic (what the paragraph is going to say about the topic / the writers attitude or
idea about the topic). In other words, the controlling idea shows the reader what the rest of the paragraph will
say about the topic; it limits the topic to a specific area to be discussed in a single paragraph.
A topic sentence has two main parts: topic and the controlling idea.
Topic Sentence = topic + controlling idea
Caffeine has several harmful effects on health.

Controlling Idea

Topic Sentence

In this example the topic is caffeine. A specific comment is then made about the topic: it has several
harmful effects on health. From this topic sentence, the reader immediately knows that the supporting
sentences will explain or prove how harmful caffeine can be.
e.g. Students who are studying abroad may face many difficulties.

Controlling Idea

e.g. There are two main advantages of working at home.

Controlling Idea


The controlling idea may be found:

at the beginning of the topic sentence

There are two main advantages of working at home.
Controlling Idea


at the beginning and at the end of the topic sentence, separated by the topic
The two main advantages of working at home are its flexible hours and its comfort.
Controlling Idea


Controlling Idea

at the end of the topic sentence

Working at home is advantageous because of its flexible hours and its comfort.

Controlling Idea

Exercise 3: Underline the topic and the controlling idea of each topic sentence below.
1. When people divorce, children often have problems.
2. Walking is good for your heart.
3. Watching TV is a good way to learn spoken English.
4. Technology spoils the traditional way of life.
5. Nuclear power is our greatest hope for solving the energy crisis.
6. Nuclear power is the greatest threat to life on the planet.

Exercise 4: Which alternative can be the topic sentence of the paragraph below?
a. Skiing is expensive.
b. Skiing is a popular sport despite its disadvantages.
c. Skiing has many disadvantages.
______. Many people enjoy it although it is expensive and dangerous. Also, the severe cold doesnt keep
skiers away from the slopes. It is clear that a lot of people spend every winter weekend skiing, and many
families go on winter ski holidays regardless of these drawbacks.

Exercise 5: Write a topic sentence for the paragraph below.

_______________________________________________________. First of all, you must consider the
quality of the universitys academic program. The universitys size and location should also be given a careful
thought. Finally, you must always be sure to consider the tuition before you decide which university to attend.
In short, a good education is important, so before choosing a university, the quality of the education given,
the size, the location and the tuition of a university should be taken into consideration.


The supporting sentences in a paragraph explain or develop the topic sentence. The supporting part can be
narratives, details, facts, examples, explanations or statistics. All of the supporting sentences relate to the
main idea stated in the topic sentence and show why it is true.
Exercise 6: Write a list of things that fit each of the topics below.
Reading Materials: _____________




Monetary Units

: _____________




Public Holidays

: _____________




Mass Media

: _____________




Exercise 7: Read the topic sentences below and think of suitable supporting sentences to complete each
1. Wearing a school uniform has certain drawbacks.
a. _________________________________________________
b. _________________________________________________
c. _________________________________________________
2. You can improve your English in several ways.
a. _________________________________________________
b. _________________________________________________
c. _________________________________________________


The conclusion of a paragraph signals the end of the paragraph; summarizes the main points of the paragraph
and relates them to the topic sentence; gives a final comment on the topic and leaves the reader with the
most important ideas to think about; can make a suggestion or a prediction.
A concluding sentence is not absolutely necessary, but it is very helpful to the reader since it signals the end
of the paragraph and reminds the reader of the important points. The concluding sentence often closes the
paragraph by returning the main idea of it. They do this by repeating a keyword or phrase from the topic

Topic sentence: There are many good reasons for why people live in the country but not in cities.
: In conclusion, living in the country is much better than living in the city.
Topic Sentence: Forests are important for life on earth.
: To sum up, if there were no forests, there would be no life on this planet.
Topic Sentence: There are some important qualities of a good boss.
: All in all, a qualified boss should be fair, should be a good leader and should act with


SUPPORTING DETAIL 1 (+ Minor Detail 1)
SUPPORTING DETAIL 2 (+ Minor Detail 2)
SUPPORTING DETAIL 3 (+ Minor Detail 3)

Wilma likes travelling by bus better than travelling by boat for many reasons (TS). Firstly, it costs less (SD1).
For example, she can ride by bus from New York to Miami for $85, but the boat trip between the two cities is
$200 (MD1). In addition, travelling by bus gives her a closer look at the cities and countryside than she could
get from a boat. (SD2) Finally, she thinks that the passengers on the bus are often closer to her own age, so
they are easy to talk with. (SD3) In conclusion, she believes travelling by bus is an ideal form of transport for
her (CS).

Exercise 8:
a. These are mixed sentences of a paragraph. Put each sentence below in the correct place in the
chart to form the paragraph. The topic sentence is h.
a) Thirdly, because of financial problems, some students fail university classes.
b) For example, students who have to take jobs dont have as much time to study, so they may fail classes.
c) The first reason is that they fail because their academic background is weak.
d) Finally, there are students who fail because their energies are not directed toward their classes.
e) For example, one student might not have had enough mathematics course at high school, so he fails his university
math class.
f) The second reason is that most of the students dont understand the importance of regular attendance.
g) Others may worry because they have too little money, and they may not be able to concentrate on their studies.
h) There are some reasons why a lot of students fail in college.
i) Because some students dont attend classes regularly, they may not be able to pass the test in class because they
dont know the answers.
j) In conclusion, due to all these problems, numerous students fail in college every year.
k) For example, some of these students are not interested in college and they spend their day doing other things.

Topic sentence

Supporting idea 1

Minor detail 1

Supporting idea 2

Minor detail 2

Supporting idea 3

Minor detail 3

Minor detail 3

Supporting idea 4

Minor detail 4


b. These are mixed sentences of two separate paragraphs. Put each sentence below in the correct
place in the chart to form the paragraphs. The topic sentences are b and j.
a) In addition, boat trips are often cheaper than other forms of travel.
b) The boat is a rather old fashioned way of travelling, but it has certain advantages.
c) In conclusion, travelling by boat isnt a very enjoyable experience.
d) Finally, boats are a safe alternative to cars and planes.
e) Secondly, boat trips can be very unpleasant when the weather is bad or the sea is rough.
f) Firstly, it takes much longer than other forms of travel.
g) For example, there are fewer accidents at sea than in the air or on the roads.
h) First of all, boats are usually more comfortable than planes or cars.
i) Instead of sitting in your seat for the whole journey, you can go for a walk on the deck, even go for shopping.
j) Travelling by boat has its disadvantages.
k) For example, a boat ticket usually costs less than a plane ticket.
l) Thirdly, boat trips may be very tiring especially for old people.

Topic sentence

Supporting idea 1

Topic sentence

Supporting idea 1

Minor detail 1

Supporting idea 2

Supporting idea 2

Supporting idea 3

Minor detail 2


Supporting idea 3

Minor Detail 3

c. Put each sentence below in the correct place to form two different paragraphs.
a) Firstly, it is always sunny and warm all around the year.
b) All in all, I do my worst not to do my homework.
c) So, you can sunbathe on the beach in summer or enjoy a walk in the warmth of winter breeze.
d) To sum up, Hawaii is an ideal place for a good holiday.
e) For instance, whenever the phone rings or there is someone at the door, I rush to answer before anybody else in
the house.
f) Secondly, the beaches are gorgeous with soft white sand and beautiful blue water promising everyone different
water sports.
g) I also stop studying to investigate any noise I hear while studying.
h) There in the kitchen I make myself an omelette or a cheese sandwich and eat it very slowly.
i) I usually have several reasons to stop doing my homework.
j) In addition, nearly all of the hotels offer cheap accommodation and various Hawaiian food, along with terrific
k) There are several reasons why I usually go to Hawaii on holiday.
l) First of all, as soon as I begin to do my homework, I always start to feel hungry and go into the kitchen to eat
m) While Im studying, I try to listen to music on my walkman or watch television too.
n) For instance, you can not help windsurfing or sailing. You would also enjoy swimming or building sand castles like



Topic sentence

Topic sentence

Supporting idea 1

Supporting idea 1

Minor detail 1

Minor detail 1

Supporting idea 2

Supporting idea 2

Minor detail 2

Minor detail 2

Supporting idea 3

Supporting idea 3




When moving from one idea to the next, the change should not be too sudden. Study the following examples:
Too sudden: People who lose their temper often become irrational. A wrong person may be victimized.
Smoother : People who lose their temper often become irrational. As a result of this, a wrong person may be
To avoid sudden changes, you can use transitional words. However, you should not overuse them. You should
them only when needed for clarity.



An Addition

in addition, besides, moreover, also, furthermore

An Example

for example, for instance, to illustrate

A summary

In conclusion, in summary, in short, in brief, to sum up, to conclude, all in all, on the whole


so, as a result (of this), therefore, consequently, thus


In contrast (to), but, however, on the other hand, yet, whereas, on the contrary, nevertheless,
although, even though (despite, in spite of),


That is, namely, in other words, that is to say, to put it in a different way


Indeed, in fact, truly, as a matter of fact, actually


So that, in order that, in order to, so as to

Exercise 9: Complete the chart with the suitable transitional words.

Topic sentence

Supporting idea 1 firstly,

Supporting idea 2 secondly, in addition,
Supporting idea 3 thirdly, also,
Minor details

for example,


in conclusion,

Exercise 10: Read the texts below and circle the correct linking word.
In recent years, the Internet has become a great part of our lives. More and more people have access to it
and have discovered many benefits from using it.
To begin with, the Internet offers us unlimited information and knowledge on just about every topic and
access to the Net is easy and fast. 1In spite of this / Therefore, schoolchildren regularly use the web to
research school projects or to browse just for fun.

What is more / For this reason, people can

communicate with people all over the world with a system called e-mail. Finally, they can view products from
different countries and use their credit card to do their shopping from the comfort of your own home.

Even though / However, surfing the Internet is not the best way of spending all your free time. Too many

hours in front of the screen can damage your eyes. Studies have

on the other hand / also shown that

people who prefer to spend their evenings in front of their PCs tend to become antisocial.
result, there are some concerns about security on the Internet

Besides / As a

because / so hackers can easily steal

valuable personal information such as bank account numbers, etc.

In conclusion, I believe that 7despite / although their disadvantages, the Internet has certainly made life
easier and, if used properly, it may make our lives better, too.

Although it is difficult to ride a bike if you live close to the city centre, there are many good reasons for
using it. To begin with, it is environmentally friendly. Pollution is one of the biggest problems in the world and
using a bike can definitely help to reduce it. 1________, using a bike everyday helps us to save money. Just
think about how much money we spend on petrol every month! Riding a bike can also help us keep fit. It is
great exercise for the legs as well as the heart. Thats why, a lot of people find bike riding the ideal pastime.

it is a great way to relax.


it may not always be so easy to ride a bike in a city 4________ drivers do not always respect

riders. 5________, it would be a good idea for the government to educate everyone about the importance of
bike riding and make them change their attitude towards it. In conclusion, riding a bike is cheap, healthy and
fun. So, get on your bikes!
1. a) For this reason

b) Besides

c) On the other hand

d) For example

2. a) Whats more

b) Although

c) In spite of this

d) Unlike

3. a) Despite

b) Even though

c) As a result

d) However

4. a) so

b) but

c) because

d) also

5. a) Therefore

b) In addition

c) In contrast

d) Similarly

Some people think living in a city has many advantages. First of all, it is often easier to find work, and
theres usually a choice of public transport. 6________, you dont need to own a car. 7________, there are a
lot of interesting things to do and places to see. 8________, you can eat in good restaurants, visit museums,
and go to the theatre and to concerts. City life is full of bustle and variety and you never feel bored.

other people say that city life has some disadvantages. For one thing, you might have a job, but if

it isnt well-paid, you will not be able to afford many of the things that there are to do,
city is often expensive.



living in a

public transport is sometimes crowded and dirty, especially in the rush

hour. Last of all, even though it is crowded, it is still possible to feel very lonely in a city.
I think that city life can be particularly appalling to young people, who like the excitement of the city and dont
mind living with the noise and pollution.
6. a) Therefore

b) In addition

c) In contrast

d) Similarly

7. a) Although

b) In spite of this

c) Whats more

d) Unlike

8. a) Despite this

b) In conclusion

c) On the other hand

d) For example

9. a) Even though

b) However

c) As a result

d) For this reason

10. a) so

b) but

c) because

d) also

11. a) Consequently

b) Besides

c) As a result of

d) Despite

Exercise 11: Study the analysis and write a paragraph about the general subject.
General Subject: Needs of learners of English
Specific (Supporting Details)

More Specific (Minor Details)

Improving listening skills

Watching programmes in English

Learning new vocabulary

Doing crossword puzzles in daily news papers

Developing reading skills

Reading short stories or newspaper articles

Most specific

Soap operas
News programmes
The Daily Mirror
The Sun
Story books
Readers Digest
Womens/Mens magazines





If all the sentences in a paragraph are about a single idea, and if the sentences are closely related, the
paragraph will be unified. (For instance, if your paragraph is about the advantages of higher education, you
should only discuss that and you shouldnt include any sentence that is about the disadvantages of higher
education.) Any sentence that doesnt support the topic sentence is irrelevant.
Exercise 12: Cross out the word that doesnt belong to the group, and write a topic for each list.
1. ____________

2. ____________

3. ____________

4. ____________

Exercise 13: Cross out the irrelevant sentence in each group.

1. Topic: It is interesting to visit foreign countries.
a. You can meet new people.
b. You can eat different kinds of food.
c. It is expensive.
d. You can see the way other people live.
2. Topic: People prefer small cars for a number of reasons.
a. They are cheaper to buy.
b. They use less gas than bigger cars.
c. They are easier to park.
d. Some small cars do not have enough legroom.
3. Topic: Different people spend their free time in different ways.
a. A lot of people spend their free time going to movies.
b. The price of movies has increased recently.
c. Some people like to read.
d. Many people enjoy sports.
e. Some people prefer to listen to music.
Exercise 14: Read the paragraphs below and cross out the irrelevant sentence in each group.
(I) I love the location of my new house for many reasons. (II) First, it is a very safe neighbourhood, and
there is almost no crime and most people dont even lock their doors. (III) Second, there are many stores,
schools, restaurants, a library, a health and fitness centre and a movie theatre nearby. (IV) Third, I really
dislike the people in the neighbourhood because they are unfriendly and have different life styles. (V) Some
people say location is very important when you are looking for an apartment and I agree.
(I) Margot is an old woman about 95 years old. (II) She has so many friends and too much money to
spend. (III) Some people have no money problems. (IV) She lives in a big house near Cardiff and she likes
travelling abroad, shopping, visiting and also helping the poor. (V) She will leave all her money to the people
who are in need.
(I) Stress can be put into one of two categories: mental or physical. (II) Mental stress is characterized by
such things as worries over money or a loved ones health, loss of a loved one or losing a job. (III) Physical
stress reasons include lack of sleep, poor diet or the effects of an illness. (IV) If you are experiencing both of
these types, you really need help. (V) Therefore, third category is believed to be the most dangerous one.


(I) Africa is a very interesting and natural continent. (II) My favourite animal is the cheetah. (III) It is truly
an amazing creature and it can run at a top speed of 60 mph! (IV) I have always wanted to go to Africa to see
the cheetah in action. (V) I think it will be a wonderful experience looking at those cheetahs when they are
(I) Picasso was a very talented painter. (II) He was born in Malaga in 1881 as the son of a painter. (III) The
name of his opera is still unknown. (IV) When he was thirteen years old, his teachers said that he was very
good at drawing. (V) At the age of thirty, he was a great artist but not a modern painter yet.
(I) I think speaking languages is important nowadays. (II) There are more than two thousand languages in
the world. (III) When you speak more languages, it is better, especially for your career. (IV) If you know a
foreign language, it puts you in touch with other life styles and cultures. (V) So, it could change your life in
some positive ways.
(I) Volleyball is a game in which a large ball is struck by hand across a net without being allowed to touch
the ground. (II) The game is played between two teams, each of them consisting of six players. (III) So,
compared to golf and tennis, volleyball is a much cheaper sport since its equipment doesnt include those
expensive materials. (IV) A team has to take three periods of five periods in order to beat the other team. (V)
A volleyball match is usually played in five periods, but sometimes it can be played in three periods.

a. Read the paragraphs below and cross out the irrelevant sentence in each one.
Boston High School is Americas oldest and one of its finest public schools. Boston is a city with a large
black population. Sarah Wessmann, who is 14, wants to go there. She applied last autumn and was rejected.
The students in my class come from many different parts of the world. Some are from European countries,
such as France, Spain and Italy. Others are from Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel. Still
others were born in Asian countries, including Japan and Korea. Korean people are very friendly. The largest
number of students is from Latin American countries like Mexico, Venezuela and Peru. In brief, the class is an
interesting mix of people from many different countries.
There are many examples to show that failure in school does not always predict failure in life. Albert
Einstein, one of the worlds geniuses, failed his university entrance examinations on his first attempt. Sir
Winston Churchill, who is considered one of the masters of the English language, had to have special tutoring
in English during elementary school. Dorothy Parker, who is a remarkable poet, used her famous sense of
humour to write some very good short stories and poems when she was a student. William Faulkner, one of
Americas noted writers, never finished college because he could not pass his English courses.
A curriculum vitae, or C.V., is a necessary document for anyone in search of employment. It includes
essential information such as the persons qualifications, work experience and other relevant details. For many
jobs, employers wish to see that candidates have at least one leisure time activity which can be incorporated
into their work. As it is so important, it is best to make sure that it is properly laid-out and presented.
Youth hostels are dormitory-like shelters that provide inexpensive overnight accommodations for travelling
young people. Many serve meals as well, or they have kitchens in which guests can prepare their own meals.
Eating out poses few problems for traveller who speaks the language of the country, but menus in another
language can be confusing and frustrating. The primary advantage of hostels is, of course, expense.


b. Write a topic sentence for this paragraph.

Firstly, most people try to keep fit by taking exercise two or three times a week. For example, they go for a swim,
jog in the local park, or play active games like tennis or squash. Secondly, people know that being overweight can be
harmful to health; so many people decide to go on a diet to lose weight. Finally, a lot of people use some relaxation
techniques to reduce stress. To give an example, people do yoga or meditation to cope with this problem which
affects their health. To conclude, an exercise, a balanced diet and a relaxed life style are all important for our health.

c. Which can be the concluding sentence of the paragraph?

California is the most wonderful place to visit because of its weather and its beautiful nature. Visitors to California
can find the weather they like; cool temperatures in the summer and warm weather in the winter. They can also find
the nature they like. They can see high mountains and green lands. Visitors can enjoy a huge forest and a beautiful
coast at the same time. _________________.
a) So, Californias weather and beautiful nature make it a fantastic place to visit.
b) So, you can do different activities in the winter in California.
c) So, the high mountains and forests affect the weather of California a lot.
d) So, the warm weather and beautiful coasts in California help you have the best summer holiday.

In my opinion, travelling by plane cannot be compared with any other type of transportation. To start with, there
is no faster way to travel. You can go from one country to another in a few hours. Also, you always feel well looked
after on a plane. You are served drinks and meals and offered newspapers and blankets, which will make the journey
more comfortable. However, air travel can be expensive and there are often long delays in airports, which can be
tiring. Whats more, many people are afraid of flying and turbulence, so they think travelling by plane is unsafe.
a) To sum up, although it has some negative points, air travel will always remain popular because of its speed and
b) In conclusion, air travel has always been a second or third choice for people because of its many disadvantages.
c) All things considered, different types of transportation have both good and bad points.
d) In conclusion, few people will continue to prefer air travel because of its cost and turbulence.

New York City is a great place because there is a lot to do there. It is the cultural centre of the USA, so it attracts
many foreign and local tourists. In fact, there are many museums and buildings to visit in New York. One of them is
Metropolitan Museum, and people can find the works of many famous artists there. In New York visitors can spend a
wonderful time at the restaurants and bars. They offer different food from all over the world. __________________.
a) In short, New York is a cultural and historical city.
b) In short, New York is famous for its museums and parks.
c) In short, New York is a great city with a variety of activities.
d) In short, New York is a great place if you like trying different kinds of food.

d. Read the texts below and circle the correct linking word.
The purpose of this report is to learn about the facilities and the services provided at the Bridge Hotel for our travel
agency. First of all, the hotel offers a variety of facilities. Theres a cosy caf, a dinner hall, a large pool, a tennis
court, and a luxurious spa. There is 1_______ a shop on the hotel premises where you can buy souvenirs and small
gifts. 2_______, the hotel offers a variety of activities, especially during winter months. But, the basic problem is
that both the spa and the tennis court are closed to the public 3_______ there isnt enough equipment and staff. As
far as the staff is concerned, they are very friendly and ready to help guests with any problems that might occur.
_______, they dont always know exactly what they should do because they dont have enough experience.
_______, sometimes the meals are served late or the rooms are cleaned up at inconvenient times. 6_______ it has
some problems, Im sure that with a few training seminars, these minor problems will be overcome. The hotel will be
a good place in a short time and it will be successful.

a) unlike
a) Consequently
a) because
a) Even though
a) In contrast
a) Likewise


Despite this
For this reason
In conclusion


whats more
As a result of
As a result


on the other hand

for example
In spite of this


In order to have coherence in writing, the movement from one sentence to another must be logical and smooth.
There must be no sudden jumps. That is, the reader should understand when a supporting sentence starts and
which sentences are the details that support it; or which sentence concludes the paragraph. Generally, there are
two basic ways to achieve coherence: To make a simple outline and to use transitions to show how one idea is
related to the next.
In addition to transition signals, we can achieve coherence by combined use of key words (those nouns and
phrases that represent the topic of the paragraph) and reference words (pronouns/determiners, such as this
or synonyms). Key words are very important, for they represent the topic; however, the overuse of the key
words in the paragraph makes it boring, impairing the flow of ideas, and therefore, making the paragraph less
coherent. In order to avoid this problem, you should sometimes replace the key words with determiners,
pronouns or synonyms.

Exercise 15: The paragraph below lacks coherence simply because its key word has been used too many
times, leading to repetition. Try to make the paragraph more coherent by replacing the key word with a pronoun
/ determiner / synonym when necessary.
Monticello- a famous site
One of the most famous houses in the United States is Monticello. Monticello was the home of Thomas Jefferson,
the third president of the United States. Located on a hill in Virginia, Monticello has a beautiful view of the
surrounding countryside.

Monticello is famous, first of all, because Monticello belonged to a president.

Monticello is also a fine example of early nineteenth-century American architecture. Jefferson designed
Monticello himself in a style he had liked in Italy. Perhaps, these two reasons make Monticello a very much
appreciated house.
Exercise 16: The following paragraph also lacks coherence because it overuses the pronouns so much that it
may cause some difficulties in comprehension. Try to replace pronouns that refer to the key word with the key
word wherever you feel it is necessary.
The Benefits of Running
Running has many positive effects on the body. First of all, it increases the efficiency of the heart and lungs.
For example, it helps lower blood pressure and prevents heart attacks. As another example, thanks to it, lungs
deliver more oxygen to the cells and breathing is easier. Secondly, it helps people lose fat and become fit. To

illustrate, it allows a person to burn 100 calories each mile he or she runs. Finally, it helps the body
become more mechanically efficient. For example, it helps to develop and tone muscles in the arms,
legs, back, neck and shoulders. In summary, it results in people being healthy.
The use of pronouns can lead to another coherence-related problem if not used properly. That is, when you
use pronouns instead of key nouns, make sure that you use the same person and number throughout your
paragraph. Dont change from you to he or she (change of person), or from he to they (change of
Exercise 17: In the following paragraph, the pronouns are not consistent. Correct them being careful with
subject-verb agreement.

Many students feel that learning to write is a useless, time-consuming task that has little to do with
real life- that is, with their future occupations. These may be true if he/she plans to become car
mechanics or waiters or waitresses, but it is certainly not true if you plan to have a white-collar job.
No matter what profession you choose- business, engineering, government- you will have to write.

Exercise 18: Study the analysis and write a paragraph about the general subject.
General Subject: Major Social Problems of Big Cities in Turkey

More Specific (Minor Details)

Most specific

1 Accommodation

Not enough housing for constantly growing population

High rents

Rent of average flat in Kocaeli: 500TL

2 Unemployment

People not find jobs easily (too many people, limited

number of jobs available)

Unemployment rate in big cities:


3 Lack of proper
health care

Expensive (not everybody can afford it)

Medical Staff not give service needed (workload too

Doctors in state hospitals examine

30 patients a day on average




What is an essay?
A paragraph develops only one idea. Similarly, an essay, which is a piece of writing with several paragraphs, is
also about one topic. Often, topics are too complex and too broad to be developed in a single paragraph. In
this case, you have to divide the topic into several paragraphs, one for each major point. Writing an essay
isn't more difficult than writing a paragraph except that an essay is longer. The chart below shows you how
the parts of a paragraph correspond, to the parts of an essay.








Topic Sentence+Supporting Details (+conclusion)




General Statements + Thesis Statement

Topic Sentence+Supporting Details (+conclusion)


Topic Sentence+Supporting Details (+conclusion)

Restatement of the main points; final comment


The essay is controlled by one main idea which is called the thesis statement. The thesis statement is similar
to the topic sentence in paragraph, but it is broader and gives a general idea about the subject of the whole
essay. it is usually the last sentence of the introductory paragraph. Each of the topic sentences in the body
paragraph should relate to the thesis statement.
Always remember that a thesis statement
a. must be a complete sentence:
The benefits of the computer. (not a thesis statement)
The computer can help students do research in many ways. (thesis statement)
b. cannot be a question:
What are the advantages of credit cards? (not a thesis statement)
Credit cards are convenient to use for two main reasons. (thesis statement)
c. should be an opinion rather than a fact, because facts cannot be argued.
Water consists of hydrogen and oxygen. (not a thesis statement)
The water in our homes may contain harmful chemicals. (thesis statement)
d. should not be a detail or an example.
In Hong Kong, number eight is lucky. (not a thesis statement)
There are many superstitious beliefs about numbers around the world. (thesis statement)
e. may state or list how it will support an opinion.
Television has a bad influence on children for three reasons. (thesis statement)
The choice of food we eat during our New Year's festival in India is influenced by tradition and religion. (thesis
f. contains a single topic / one main subject.
Radioactive waste from nuclear power has several destructive effects on people, on plants and on our
environment in general. (thesis statement)
Radioactive waste from nuclear power and burning of fossil fuel have several destructive effects on people, on
plants and on our environment in general. (not a thesis statement because it has two subjects and you cannot
develop both of them successfully in one essay.)
g. is neither too general nor too narrow to be covered in an essay:
The Civil War had a tremendous effect on the American culture. (this is too general, it should be the topic of a
report or a research paper)
Meat is the most important source of protein. (this is too narrow for an essay. You can write one paragraph
about this, so it could be a topic sentence.)
h. is precise and clear. Vague words like fun, important, wonderful, terrible should not be used
because they do not give clear information.
A hobby is fun. (how?)
Money is important. (in what ways?)
Smoking is unhealthy. (why?) (these are not thesis statements)
A hobby can be an extra source of income.
Smoking is unhealthy because it can cause several different diseases. (these are thesis statements)
i. often includes specific aspects of what you will discuss.
Smoking is unhealthy because it can cause several different diseases.
Smoking is unhealthy because it can cause narrowing of the arteries, heart problems and lung cancer. (this is
better because the writer gives more specific information about the causes that lead to being unhealthy.)


Analysis of a good thesis statement

The thesis statement is made up of two parts: the topic and the specific points you want to make about your
topic. These specific points may be given in such a way that the organization of the composition is made clear.

The burning of fossil fuel has several destructive effects on people, on plants and on our environment in general.


specific points

Exercise 1: Divide the following thesis statements into their parts. Can you tell how many body paragraphs
there will be in the essays?

1. The main causes of traffic accidents in Turkey are the attitude of Turkish drivers, the poor state of the
roads, and the poor condition of vehicles.
2. Several things make me adore Izmir: its friendly atmosphere and people, the cheap prices and its
convenient location.
3. There are four major reasons for absenteeism among students in the prep classes including over sleeping,
traffic problems, being ill, and boredom.
4. Teenage smoking is caused by personal insecurity, a desire to be like adults, and peer pressure.
5. The status of women in Turkey has improved remarkably in recent years in the areas of economic
independence, political rights, educational opportunities and social status.

Exercise 2: Write the thesis statements for the topic sentences given.
1. Thesis: ________________________________________________________________________
a. First of all, watching TV has the value of relaxation.
b. In addition to being relaxing, television is entertaining.
c. Most importantly, television is educational.
2. Thesis: ________________________________________________________________________
a. One reason is people cannot find employment in their hometowns.
b. Another reason is they want better education opportunities.
c. Most importantly, they feel safer in a city where there are modern health facilities.



The function of the introduction is to serve as a "map" of the essay, outlining to your reader the main
argument and points which you develop in your essay. Most introductions begin with an orientation in the
form of a brief general statement that leads the reader into the topic showing how the specific topic relates to
bigger issues or to the discipline field. This is followed by your thesis statement, which is your concise
response to the essay question.
The introductory paragraph is like an inverted pyramid (

). (the funnel theory)

General Statement
More specific
More specific
More specific
Thesis Statement

In general, a good introduction accomplishes three purposes:

1. It attracts the reader's interest.
2. It provides the reader with background information.
3. It includes the Thesis Statement, which focuses the reader's attention on the main idea of the essay.
Read the introductory paragraph below. Notice how the sentences gradually move from the general topic of
technology to the specific of two areas that have been changed by personal computers.
We live in the age of technology. Every day, new technology appears, ranging
from mini-CD's that contain entire encyclopaedias to giant space
telescopes that can send photographs of distant stars back to
earth. Of all the new technological wonders, personal
computers have probably had the greatest influence
on the daily lives of average people. Through
computers, we can now talk to people in any
country, research any topic, work, shop,
bank, and entertain ourselves.
Personal computers have
especially revolutionized
communication and
business practices
in the past

Exercise 3: Use the thesis statement below and write a general statement for the introductory paragraph.
Watching television is valuable educationally as it provides cultural, social and political knowledge.



Body paragraphs are the heart of the essay, because their function is to explain, illustrate, discuss or prove
the thesis statement. The number of body paragraphs may change depending on the thesis statement.

Each body paragraph discusses one aspect of the main point.

Each body paragraph begins with a topic sentence that states the point to be detailed in that paragraph.

The controlling idea in the body paragraphs should echo the central idea in the thesis statement.
e.g.: Thesis statement: "There are many advantages of living in the school dorm."
The topic sentence of each paragraph should be about one advantage of living in the school dorm.
e.g.: Topic sentence: "The first advantage of living in the school dorm is ... "

The body paragraphs should have coherence and unity. The order of your paragraphs should be the same
as the order in the thesis statement.

As your sentences need to flow smoothly, your paragraphs need to flow smoothly too. This can be
achieved through the use of transitions.
e.g.: Thesis statement: "I love Istanbul because it has historical and natural beauty."
1st body paragraph, topic sentence: "The first reason why I like Istanbul is its historical beauty."
2nd body paragraph, topic sentence: "The other reason of my love for Istanbul is its natural beauty."


The final paragraph of an essay is the conclusion. In this paragraph you tell the reader that you have
completed the essay. This is achieved by either writing a summary of the main points discussed in the body of
the essay or by rewriting the thesis statement in different words. Then you add your final comments on the
subject. Since this is your last opportunity to make your point, you should write a strong, effective message
that the reader will remember.
The concluding paragraph does three things:
1. it signals the end of the essay.
2. it summarizes the main points. (but not just repeating your words, analyzing your ideas and supports.)
3. it leaves the reader with the writer's final thoughts on the subject.
To signal the end of an essay, use a conclusion transition signal such as in conclusion, in summary, to
summarize, in brief, or in short. Then, either summarize the main points of the essay or rewrite the thesis
Thesis statement: Personal computers have especially revolutionized communication and business practices
in the past twenty years.
Concluding Sentences: In brief, the computer age has arrived, and it is changing our lives. Computers have
made communication and doing business faster and more convenient, and they have greatly increased our
access to information.
Exercise 4: Read the following thesis statements. Choose the best concluding sentence for them:
1. Smoking is unhealthy because it can cause heart and lung disease; moreover, it is expensive.
a. In brief, buying cigarettes is a bad idea.
b. In brief, smoking affects your health, and it is also a waste of money.
c. In brief, smoking is a bad habit.


2. London has excellent bus and subway systems.

a. To summarize, the public transportation system in London provides reliable service at all times.
b. To surnrnarize, taking a bus in London is convenient.
c. To surnrnarize, using subway is a good way to get around in London.
Here is an outline and the concluding paragraph of an essay:
Thesis Statement
Watching television is not a waste of time since it educates, entertains and stimulates.
Topic Sentences of Body Paragraphs:
1st : it is a valuable educational tool.
2nd: it provides entertainment to cheer us up.
3rd: it provides something our family can have in common or discuss.
Critics of television will continue to put down the "goggle box". However, because of its educational value,
its entertainment value, and its provision of things we can discuss together, families are going to continue
watching television for a long time, so should others. Indeed, watching television is a good way to spend one's
Exercise 7: Now write concluding paragraphs using the following thesis statements and topic sentences for
the body paragraphs.
Thesis Statement:
Communication in a foreign language can create some embarrassing misunderstandings.
Topic Sentences of Body Paragraphs:
1st : Mispronouncing words can lead to real embarrassment.
2nd: Misunderstanding what someone says to you can create amusing problems.
3rd: Misusing vocabulary can really make you blush.

Thesis Statement:
In order to make a good impression at a job interview, you should prepare well for the interview.
Topic Sentences of Body Paragraphs:
1st :The first thing you should do is plan your answers to the possible questions that the interviewer might
2nd: Then you should carefully plan and prepare what you are going to wear.
3rd:Finally, you should make sure that you arrive on time.



When giving arguments for and against a topic, you should present both sides in a fair way by discussing them
objectively in equal detail. Start your composition by making a general statement about the topic. Then give
the advantages and disadvantages in two separate paragraphs. Finally, end your composition with a wellbalanced consideration of the points discussed. It is possible to state an opinion without using strong,
emotional or personal expressions. (Do not use words such as: I believe, I know etc. Use words such as: It
seems that, etc) If you believe that advantages outweigh the disadvantages, write them just before the final
paragraph so that it will be easier for you to lead the reader to the conclusion.

Paragraph Plan for Giving Advantages and Disadvantages

Make a general statement about the topic
Body 1
Advantages of/ Arguments for the topic
Body 2
Disadvantages of/ Arguments against the topic
Give a balanced consideration of your opinion without using personal words or expressions.

Examine the sample essays below.

Sample For And Against Essay 1
Advantages and Disadvantages of Living in a Foreign Country
As we know, today there are about six billion people in the world. All of them live in different countries and
have special cultures. Some countries have become very sophisticated, while others havent yet been
developed well. For this reason, some people want to go to well-developed foreign countries, especially to the
U.S.A. People want to go to well-developed countries to live more comfortably. They also strongly believe that
if they go there, they will earn more money. Living in a foreign country has many advantages, but it also has
some disadvantages. Therefore, before people come to a decision about going to a foreign country, they
should consider the advantages and disadvantages of living in a foreign country.
One of the main advantages of living in a foreign country is that people have better economic conditions. For
example, they may get a good job and a high salary so they can buy what they want and they may live how
they desire. In addition, they may benefit from well-developed education and health systems. Moreover, one
is given the chance to learn and become fluent in another language through everyday use. Furthermore, one
can participate in lots of social activities. Thus, people can improve their abilities. Finally, they become more
independent by having to deal with difficult situations on their own.
On the other hand, it may be difficult for people to adapt to their new surroundings. If they live alone, they
miss their families and countries. Sometimes they may feel isolated, frustrated, and lonely. In addition, if
someone cant speak the language yet, he or she may face communication problems. What is more, there is
racial discrimination in some countries. Foreigners arent easily accepted in these places. It is possible that
racist people may hurt them.
To sum up, even though living in a foreign country may be hard at first, in time one can adjust to it. It seems
that if a person has an opportunity to go to a well-developed foreign country, he or she should benefit from
this opportunity for his or her future.


Sample For And Against Essay 2

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using a Cell Phone

Until the 1800s people used letters for communication. But this way was very slow, and people couldnt
contact each other in emergency situations. There was also the possibility of letters being lost. But after the
invention of the telephone in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell, it became easier for people to communicate.
Then in the 1970s, the cellular phone was invented. It brought many advantages into our lives. However,
although cell phones brought many benefits into our lives, they also have disadvantages.
The most important advantage of cell phones is that they can be used almost everywhere without cables or
electricity. By using a mobile phone, you can communicate with anyone whenever you want and wherever you
are. Besides this, if there is an emergency situation, mobile phones can be useful. Furthermore, you can get
access to the Internet by using a cell phone. These days, the worlds most common means of communication
is SMS. Cell phones include this system, so in this way you can communicate with someone more cheaply than
by normal calling.
In contrast, cell phones have some disadvantages. For example, cell phones spread electromagnetic waves.
And these electromagnetic waves cause important health problems like cancer. Additionally, cell phones often
affect the electronic systems used by equipment like cars, ABS (automatic brake system), and computers.
This can cause big problems, such as accidents.
To sum up, cell phones not only have advantages, but also they have disadvantages. Mobile phones make our
lives easier. But at the same time, they cause some important problems in our health.

Useful Phrases for Writing For and Against Essays

To list points: one major advantage/disadvantage of, a further advantage, one point of view in favour
of/against, in the first place, first of all, to start with, secondly, thirdly, finally, last but not least, etc.
To add more points to the same topic: what is more, furthermore, also, in addition to, besides, apart from
this/that, not to mention the fact that, etc.
To make contrasting points: on the other hand, however, in spite of, while, nevertheless, even though,
although, despite, it can be argued that, one can argue that, etc.
To conclude: to sum up, all in all, all things considered, in conclusion, on the whole, taking everything into
account, above all, as was previously stated, etc.

Exercise 8: Read the texts below and circle the correct linking word.

Within the last few years mobile phones have become an important part of our society. They have

certainly changed our lives.


Using a mobile phone has many advantages. First of all, it is convenient because you can carry it with
you wherever you go. 1As a result / Besides, it can be very useful in emergencies, for example, if your car
breaks down. 2Whats more / For this reason, they are not just phones, you can use them as alarm clocks,
calculators and much more.

/ Even though, there are also a number of disadvantages. Firstly, doctors always warn

people against them,

so / because using mobile phones too much can lead to health problems such as

brain disease. They are 5on the other hand / also very annoying in cinemas or at the theatre when people
forget to switch them off. Another problem is that they are always being updated. 6Therefore / Despite this,
it is necessary to buy a new one every couple of years. Finally, it is quite expensive to use the service.
In conclusion, I believe that 7although / despite they have some disadvantages, mobile phones can
be very useful. But we mustnt forget that there are also some problems involved.

Ever since the lottery was invented in 1520, people all around the world have dreamed about

becoming suddenly rich.

Some people claim the lottery is a good thing for many reasons. First of all, they are fun to take part
in as they provide a little excitement. It could be you and if it isnt, it always fascinating to see how the winner
spends their money.

What is more / For this reason, in many lotteries, some of the profit is given to

Therefore / In spite of this, even if you dont win, you are helping someone indirectly.

Even though / However, others argue that the lottery is a bad thing and can have a negative

effect on people

so / because it encourages them to waste money on a dream that wont come true.

this / Besides, people might become addicted to gambling and obsessed with special lucky

numbers. 6As a result/On the other hand, they may get into debt so that they can buy their tickets. And
winning a million pounds doesnt guarantee happiness. For example, a few winners complain that they have
lost their friends or are bored because they no longer work. In my opinion these people have only themselves
to blame.
To sum up, I believe that 7although / despite it provides entertainment, helps to fund charities, and
makes a few lucky people millionaires, the lottery may have a negative impact on people especially when they
become addicted to gambling. But we need to remember that it is only a game people are able to choose
whether they play it or not.

Exercise 9: Read the texts below and choose the correct option.
The purpose of this report is to learn about the facilities and the services provided at the Bridge Hotel for
our travel agency. First of all, the hotel offers a variety of facilities. Theres a cosy caf, a dinner hall, a large
pool, a tennis court, and a luxurious spa. There is 1_______ a shop on the hotel premises where you can buy
souvenirs and small gifts. 2_______, the hotel offers a variety of activities, especially during winter months.
But, the basic problem is that both the spa and the tennis court are closed to the public 3_______ there isnt
enough equipment and staff. As far as the staff is concerned, they are very friendly and ready to help guests
with any problems that might occur. 4_______, they dont always know exactly what they should do because
they dont have enough experience. 5_______, sometimes the meals are served late or the rooms are cleaned
up at inconvenient times. 6_______ it has some problems, Im sure that with a few training seminars, these
minor problems will be overcome. The hotel will be a good place in a short time and it will be successful.
1. a) unlike

b) also

c) whats more

d) on the other hand

2. a) Consequently

b) Despite this

c) As a result of

d) Besides

3. a) because

b) but

c) so

d) for example

4. a) Even though

b) For this reason

c) As a result

d) However

5. a) In contrast

b) In conclusion

c) Therefore

d) In spite of this

6. a) Likewise

b) Although

c) Similarly

d) Despite


Exercise 10: Read the text and fill in each blank with the correct linking word.
unless, although, because, therefore, whether, unlike, however, whereas, in spite of

There are a number of arguments against a ban on mobile phones in places where they might irritate
other people. To begin with, its really difficult to stop people bringing their mobile phones into public places,
and 1______________________, it would be nearly impossible to enforce any ban. Some people would see
this as a violation (limitation) of their rights, 2______________________ other people would say they need
them in case of emergency. And 3______________________ they are asked to turn their mobile phones off,
some people insist on leaving them on, or simply forget to silence them. Perhaps the most important point is
that, 4______________________ all the disadvantages, many people these days simply feel that they cant
live without their mobile.
It seems to me that a ban on mobile phones would be pointless



would always find a way round any ban. Despite this, people should be discouraged from using them in places
like restaurants 6______________________ it is absolutely necessary. People should be made aware that its
very bad manners to use them at certain times. 7______________________, there will always be someone who
thinks their call is much more important than other peoples peace and quiet!

Exercise 11: Choose one of the topics below and write a for & against essay.
*advantages and disadvantages of camping holidays / globalization / living in a flat /
being famous /...





Sample Compare/Contrast Essay
It is not easy to imagine that large, new, small, or old cities cannot be similar at all. However, anyone who
has seen Paris and Washington knows that this is possible. The two cites differ in age and population, but
they share many similarities.
Between these two cities, the differences are very slight. Paris is older than Washington. It is over 2,000
years old. Washington, in contrast, is very young. It is about 200 years old. The population of Paris
(2.500.000) is also much larger than Washingtons population (1,000,000).
Although these important differences exist, the cities are strikingly similar. First, both cities are the
political centres of their countries. The president of France lives in the heart of Paris, in the Elysee Palace.
Likewise, the president of the United States lives in the heart of Washington, in the White House. The
French National Assembly meets in Paris, in the Palais Bourbon. The Congress of the United States has its
meeting place in Washington, in the Capitol Building. Second, the two cities look similar. LEnfant, the
French engineer who designed Washington, was greatly influenced by the layout of Paris. For this reason,
many of the buildings and monuments in Washington are symmetrically located in view of one another,
just as they are in Paris. Both cities are also the sites of magnificent monuments like important historical
landmarks, fine museums, beautiful parks, and broad, tree-lined avenues. Finally, tourism is as important
for Washington as it is for Paris. Every year, millions of tourists from all over the world flock to these
In conclusion, Paris and Washington share numerous similarities. Besides being political and tourist
centres, the cities have a similar look.

Sample Persuasive Essay

The writer of the following essay is arguing that murderers should be sentenced to life imprisonment instead
of the death penalty.
In some places, murderers get life sentences for their crimes. In others, they get the death penalty. There is a
lot of disagreement about how murderers should be punished. However, I believe that people should get life
sentences for murder, not the death penalty.
One reason I support life sentences for murder is that death is not the worst punishment. It is worse to have
to sit in jail for the rest of one's life. Life imprisonment is hard. Prisoners never get to do what they want. All
they can do is think about their crimes. They know that they will never be able to get out of prison. Therefore,
life imprisonment is an effective punishment.
Another reason is that sometimes people change. Same people commit murder when they are addicted to
drugs or have other bad influences in their lives. With time, people can change in jail. Many convicted
criminals start studying or learn about religion when they are in jail. Some of them start to really think about
what they did wrong. They even try to help other prisoners by teaching or counselling them. However, change
is not possible if they are dead.
Some opponents of life sentences for murder say that it is too expensive to keep murderers in jail and it would
be cheaper to execute them. However, capital punishment can also be very expensive. The courts are very
careful before they execute people, so there are many court hearings before they decide to execute them.
Sometimes the hearings continue for years. The government has to pay for the court hearings, the criminal's
lawyer, and many other expenses. It is clear that capital punishment is not always cheaper than life in prison.
In conclusion, there are many good reasons to give life sentences to murderers instead of the death penalty.
Life sentences are an effective punishment, they give criminals a chance to change, and they do not involve a
lot of expensive court hearings. For these reasons, I think that life sentences are a better punishment for
murder than the death penalty.


Sample Effects Essay

Influence of Movies
Technology has helped us in the 20th century make a lot of our work easier. It makes our lives more
comfortable and more enjoyable. Many people watch TV and they often go to the movies in order to have an
enjoyable life. Therefore, movies have become a huge part of our lives; most of us enjoy watching all kinds
of movies. Whether we realize it or not, almost all movies affect us in two aspects.
The most important influence of watching a movie is that it destroys peoples psychology. It is not only
destroys peoples psychology but also destroys our imaginations. For example, when you watch a horror
movie, your psychology is affected by this movie badly. Mostly, you may want to be a monster or a murderer.
Another example would be science fiction movies. As we know, science fiction movies are full of imagination.
When people watch this kind of movie, they think whatever they watched could happen in real life. As a
result, it destroys peoples imaginations because of unlimited ideas.
The second influence of watching movies is that it changes peoples life views and lifestyles. In almost every
American movie, you can see a beautiful house which has a garden or it is built on the seashore. Moreover, in
most American movies, you watch people eat simple food. They do not have any food culture. For that
reason, it causes peoples eating habits to change. What is more, people use movies in order to change
history. They easily change an event which occurred in the past in the direction of their ideas. For that reason
most countries histories are destroyed or misinformed by movies.
As a result, movies affect our psychology and it may cause us to change our life views and lifestyles. It is
clear that movies are a huge part of our lives. In my opinion, people should watch movies, but they should
never forget that they are just human productions. Finally, people should try to infer logical ideas from