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Structure

Every piece of writing needs to have an underlying framework whereby each section leads into the next in a logical and coherent way and each point follows logically from the one before it. It doesn't matter whether you are writing formally or informally: you still need to make sure that your reader can readily understand what you are trying to say.

Paragraphs

Most relatively long pieces of writing are divided into paragraphs to help guide the reader through the content and enable them to grasp the main points. A new paragraph signals the introduction of a new idea, theme, or argument and each new paragraph should be indicated by starting a new line: this applies to printed or electronic text and to handwriting. It's usual to leave a line between each paragraph to make the division clear.

Well-structured paragraphs have three sections:

    • the topic (or lead) sentence tells you what the paragraph is going to be about. It's usually the first sentence in a paragraph:

There are many reasons why people join a gym or health club.

    • the next part of the paragraph should support or develop the idea or ideas presented in the topic sentence:

There are many reasons why people join a gym or health club. They may want to lose weight, maintain their current level of fitness, improve their muscle tone, or just meet other people with similar interests. They may want to take advantage of other facilities offered by the gym, for example complementary therapies or beauty treatments.

    • the final sentences rounds off or restates the main idea of the paragraph and it should also act as a link to the next one:

There are many reasons why people join a gym or health club. They may want to lose weight, maintain their current level of fitness, improve their muscle tone, or just meet other people with similar interests. They may want to take advantage of other facilities offered by the gym, for example complementary therapies or beauty treatments. People view their gym membership as an important aspect of their lives, both in terms of health benefits and leisure activities.

Separate paragraphs in a piece of writing need to be linked so that each one flows logically into the next. For example:

There are many reasons why people join a gym or health club. They may want to lose weight, maintain their current level of fitness, improve their muscle tone, or just meet other people with similar interests. They may want to take advantage of other facilities offered by the gym, for example complementary therapies or beauty treatments. People view their gym membership as an important aspect of their lives, both in terms of health benefits and leisure activities.

The cost of gym membership is obviously one of the main factors that influence people's choice of one gym or health club over another.

By repeating the noun phrase ‘gym membership’, the writer links the second paragraph to the content of the previous one and makes it easier for the reader to follow the argument they are beginning to develop.

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Grammar and usage