2.1 Linking paragraphs
One way to lead readers into the topic introduced in a new paragraph is to use the first sentence to mention something the reader already knows something about. This is usually a person, a concept or an event that has already been mentioned in the previous paragraph (Figure 2). This familiar information is used to introduce new information.
For example, the last two sentences of Fred’s second paragraph introduce the concepts of ‘hospitals’ and ‘public space’. These will be perceived as familiar information by readers when they are reused at the beginning of the following paragraph (Figure 3).
A similar way to help readers follow a writer’s reasoning is to mention the same familiar information in the topic sentences of two or more paragraphs. Therefore the topic sentence of each paragraph starts by mentioning the same familiar information. This is usually done when the writer needs two paragraphs to deal with the same topic. In this case, the writer can break each topic into two or more subtopics and deal with each in a separate paragraph (Figure 4).
This is the approach Fred takes in paragraphs 4, 5 and 6. Each paragraph starts with a topic sentence that introduces an aspect of care in residential homes:
[P4] In the residential care setting too, it is important that staff recognise the differences between public and private spaces. …
[P5] In a good residential home, the staff will acknowledge the residents’ wishes to control their private space. …
[P6] The story is very different in poorly run residential homes. …
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