English: skills for learning
English: skills for learning

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English: skills for learning

4.2 Sequencing sentences within a paragraph

In order to be able to order information from general to specific, you need to practise the skills of sequencing sentences and writing a topic sentence. You will practise these skills through the following two activities.

Activity 10

Allow approximately 10 minutes

The sentences below come from a paragraph taken from an essay on poverty. These sentences have been mixed up. Reorder the sentences so that they form a paragraph that progresses from general to specific. A good place to start is to find the topic sentence, which is the most general sentence, and then look for any supporting statements.

This context could then impact on the health of the individual and, in turn, affect their ability to work or attend college.

As a result of poverty, an individual may live within an area characterised by poor housing as well as high levels of crime.

Poverty can have a negative effect on people’s lives.

Therefore, governments are committed to reducing poverty so that people can live well.

Their income or ambitions will be affected.

Type or copy and paste the sentences in the correct order into the box below. Then compare your answer with mine.

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Answer

Poverty can have a negative effect on people’s lives. As a result of poverty, an individual may live within an area characterised by poor housing as well as high levels of crime. This could then impact on the health of the individual and, in turn, affect their ability to work or attend college. Their income or ambitions will be affected. Therefore, governments are committed to reducing poverty so that people can live well.

Comment

The topic sentence introduces the theme of the paragraph. The supporting sentences develop this theme by explaining the various effects poverty has on people’s lives. This paragraph also includes a concluding sentence.

Activity 11

Allow approximately 5 minutes

Read this paragraph from an essay on financial accounting.

Financial accounting, which is required by law, is primarily concerned with providing information to shareholders, creditors, and others who are outside an organization Financial accountants prepare three financial statements which are used internally by managers: the profit/loss account, the balance sheet and the cash flow statement. Management accounting, on the other hand, is not required by law and is concerned with providing information to managers – that is, people inside an organization who direct and control its operation (Shepherd, 2003, p. 23).

Now choose the most effective topic sentence from those listed below. Remember that this sentence should tell the reader in general terms what the paragraph will be about.

  1. Accountants spend a considerable amount of time preparing financial accounts.
  2. There are two types of accounting: financial accounting and management accounting.
  3. The accounting department employs 30 people.

Type or copy and paste the most effective sentence into the box below. Then compare your answer with mine.

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Answer

The correct answer is 2. This topic sentence introduces the two types of accounting that are described in the paragraph.

Answer 1 is an ineffective topic sentence because it introduces only the first of the two types of accounting that are described in the paragraph.

Answer 3 is ineffective because it deals with a topic that is unrelated to the sentences that follow.

SWE_1

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