English: skills for learning
English: skills for learning

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English: skills for learning

3.1 From general to specific

Readers can follow an introduction more easily if this first introduces the theme of the essay in general terms and then gradually narrows the focus. You will look at this progression from general to specific points in the next activity.

Activity 7

Allow approximately 10 minutes

Listed below are five headings that summarise the first five sentences of Fred’s introduction.

  • Carers’ understanding of differences between spaces.
  • Normal situations: private and public spaces are clearly separated.
  • Specific care contexts (e.g. hospitals, residential and care situations): difficulties due to reduced private spaces.
  • Care situations: living in public spaces, invasion of private spaces.
  • Effects of this understanding on quality of care.

Think of them as forming an upside down pyramid (Figure 8) and sort them into the correct order so that they progress from general to specific. Make sure that the most general heading comes first and the rest occupy gradually narrower parts of the pyramid. As you can see, in Figure 8 the last heading has already been entered for you.

Copy and paste or type the headings into the box below in the correct order before looking at the answer.

Described image
Figure 8 Partly completed pyramid
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Described image
Figure 9 Completed pyramid

As you can see from the diagram, the correct order, reading from the top down (i.e. general to specific) is:

  • Normal situations: private and public spaces
  • Care situations: living in public spaces, invasion of private spaces
  • Specific care contexts: difficulties due to reduced private spaces
  • Carers' understanding of differences between spaces
  • Effects of this understanding on quality of care


Fred’s introduction starts by considering all everyday situations, then narrows the focus to care situations before moving on to specific care contexts, e.g. hospitals, residential and private homes. For each situation, it focuses on spaces occupied by people. It starts by looking at private and public spaces in general, moves on to private spaces and the invasion of public spaces in care contexts, before saying that the level of understanding of spaces impacts quality of care.


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