English: skills for learning
English: skills for learning

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4.3 Using a paragraph to make a point

The paragraphs you have considered so far are descriptive as they simply provide details about a particular situation. However, paragraphs are also often used to make a point. In other words, they state and support a particular view convincingly. In the next activity you will look at how Fred makes a point in paragraph 7 of his essay.

Activity 12

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

Reread this paragraph from Fred’s essay.

[1] It would seem that those who receive care at home should be in a stronger position to maintain their autonomy, but even here carers must be aware that their behaviour can change this situation considerably. [2] Carers’ sensitivity to their clients’ private space and needs can therefore make an enormous difference.[3] This is because people in need of care have less choice over who comes into their homes and what carers do once inside. [4] Even areas such as bedrooms and bathrooms can be ‘under threat’. [5] Though the reasons for this invasion of privacy may be fully understood and accepted, it is still difficult to lose control of the home environment. [6] For example, when she was discharged from hospital, Esther Hurdle felt that she had limited control over her day-to-day life as her carer was more concerned with her own routines than with Esther’s needs and capabilities (Peace, 2005, p. 73). [7] Esther felt, as suggested by Twigg (1997, p. 22), that ‘being and feeling at home means managing as you wish’ and not according to some professional ‘mode of coping’.

Now identify the sentences that are used for the following purposes:

  • sentence(s) that make a point
  • sentence(s) that provide examples or evidence to support the point made
  • sentence(s) that provide explanations of the point made.

Note the sentence numbers in the box below before comparing your answers with mine.

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  • Sentence(s) that make a point: 1, 2
  • Sentence(s) that provide examples and/or evidence to support the point made: 6, 7
  • Sentence(s) that provide explanations of the point made: 3, 4, 5


This paragraph shows that to make a convincing point, it is necessary to state this point and explain it (This is because…). It should also be illustrated through examples (e.g. Esther’s experience) and, where possible, with evidence (research conducted by Twigg).

As you can see, both examples and evidence have been taken from academic sources whose authors have been acknowledged through a reference.

Explanations and examples and/or evidence are both necessary if a convincing point is to be made; however, the order in which they appear in the paragraph may be different. This is illustrated by the next activity.

Activity 13

Timing: Allow approximately 5 minutes

Reread the following paragraph and identify the:

  • point
  • explanation
  • example.

[1] The story is very different in poorly run residential homes. [2] At Cedar Court Nursing Home, for example, residents’ rights to privacy and dignity are totally ignored by staff and they are treated as objects of care (Peace, 2005, p. 75). [3] As a result, the quality of life experienced by these residents appears to be very low. [4] It is therefore clear that, in residential homes too, when carers fail to distinguish between private and public spaces and disregard residents’ wishes and needs, the quality of care suffers.

Note the appropriate sentence numbers in the box below before comparing your answers with mine.

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  • Point: Sentence 1
  • Explanation: Sentence 4
  • Example: Sentence 2


This paragraph starts with a point, illustrates it with an example and ends with a concluding sentence that provides an explanation.

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