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The language of listing paragraphs



Using listing language helps the reader understand the train of your thoughts and see how the ideas connect. it can also help you write more accurately: if you use this language, you are much less likely to go wrong.

 

Topic sentence language

Here the goal is to show the reader that you are about to make a number of connected points. Here are some ideas to get you going. obviously, you will need to adapt them to your topic.

There are at least three [reasons] why…. (ie use a number – and traditionally three is the magical number)

There are a variety of [reasons] why

There are several causes for this

There are a number of different of ways in which

The most basic listing language

If this is a new technique for you, this language is a good place to start. Though I would add that you should aim for some more advanced language as you progress. It is also sensible to be fairly consistent with the language. The moment you say “Firstly,”, the reader automatically looks for “Secondly,” and may be confused if they do not find it (or something very similar to it)

Firstly, Secondly, Thirdly/Finally (note the comma)

One [reason] is A second reason is A third/final [reason] is

Some more advanced variations

Here are some slightly more advanced ways of linking your ideas. The point is to start with the biggest/best and then add other ideas using phrase with “Another” and “Also”. This way the connection should still be plain.

The most significant [reason] is

The primary [reason] why

Equally significant is

Another connected [reason] is

A linked reason is

It is also the case that

It is also sometimes suggested that

To keep the connection between your ideas clear use the linking language at the beginning of your sentence

See some examples of listing paragraphs – and test yourself

These paragraphs are based on an essay question asking why people are moving from the countryside into cities and whether that is a positive trend. If you want to test yourself, see if you can complete them. Possible ideas include loss of agricultural land/farming culture, better jobs in cities, better lifestyle and amenities in cities, better infrastructure and transport makes it easier

Simple version

There are three main reasons why people are abandoning the countryside and moving to cities.

Firstly,

Secondly,

Thirdly,

More advanced

There are a number of reasons for this migration from the countryside to urban centres.

Perhaps the most significant of these is that



Another connected reason is that

It can also be caused by

Expert

Close examination shows that there are a variety of causes for this migration. The primary reason why

Perhaps as significant as this is the fact that

It is also sometimes suggested that

IELTS

Can you use this structure in IELTS essays? Most definitely; In fact, you would be foolish not to practise this form of paragraph, it works very well in exam circumstances when you may not be able to think of fully developed ideas but have lots of “little” ideas.

 





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