4.1 From general to specific
Reread the second paragraph of Fred’s essay, where he has moved from the introduction into the main body of the essay.
 Private and public spaces differ greatly.  The most familiar and private environment is our home.  Here we are in control and can usually determine who will be allowed to enter our private ‘space’.  Conversely, in public spaces, patients have to face the often unsettling experience of losing both privacy and control.  They are reduced to living in public and are on view for most of the time.  In particular, referring to hospitals, Twigg (1997, p. 22) explains, ‘the public nature of the space relates to the access of professionals, of non-kin, non-friends and of relationships that have no private quality to them’.
Now identify the purpose of each sentence by matching it to one of the following headings. Each heading could be linked to one or two sentences. Make your notes in the boxes before comparing your answers with mine.
1 Introducing differences between private and public spaces
2 Private spaces: home, control and privacy
Sentence 2 and 3
3 Public spaces: loss of control and privacy
Sentence 4 and 5
4 Details about a public space where care is delivered
An analysis of this paragraph shows that the paragraph starts with a general sentence that introduces its theme; in other words, it explains what the paragraph is about. The supporting sentences develop this theme by providing specific explanations and details.
In this case, the paragraph uses the topic sentence to introduce private and public spaces in care contexts and then deals with each of these spaces in detail. Finally some details about public care spaces are provided.
Readers find paragraphs easy to read if they start with a clear topic sentence. The next activity gives you an opportunity to focus on this.