How To Write Main Body Paragraphs

In this post, we will look at how to write IELTS writing task 2 main body paragraphs. Being able to write strong main body paragraphs in your task 2 essay is important because it shows the examiner that you can logically organise your ideas and support your points with evidence. 

In the main body paragraphs, you want to show the examiner that you can write about your ideas, explain them and support them with examples that are relevant, if you do this, you will gain marks for coherence. You should also make sure your writing is following a formal style as this is an academic essay.


Main Body Paragraph Structure

By learning a structure for your main body paragraphs and practising it over and over with many questions, you will be able to write one quickly about any topic. 

Your main body paragraphs should have 3 main sentences >

  • Introduce the topic 
  • Explain/give detail
  • Example

Introduce the topic

Start the paragraph by introducing the topic. This is where you need to have a topic sentence that introduces the examiner to the main idea of the paragraph.

Explain/give detail

The next sentence(s) should explain the topic, going into detail. This gives some background information related to the main idea of the paragraph. It explains the idea, telling the examiner how it is relevant to the question.

Example

The third part of your main body paragraph should give an example to support your main points. The example you give could be something from your own experience or made up - it is ok to make up something as the examiners will not fact check your information. They want to see your ability to use English at a certain level. You could make up an example from a report, journal, newspaper or University study to support your view



Examples

Here are some example main body paragraphs written for common question types. Please take note of how they have been written and structured. 

Cause/Effect Essay

Question

In current society, many people are struggling with obesity. What is the main cause of this? What are the effects?

Main Body Paragraph 1

Firstly, obesity is caused by many factors in modern society, including the easy availability of unhealthy food. When a bad diet is matched with a sedentary lifestyle, weight gain is inevitable, since eating large portions of food that is mainly processed, high in salt, sugar and filled with chemicals, the body gains weight fast. For example, a documentary by Channel 4 in 2016 showed that the most obese populations were situated in underdeveloped nations, like Venezuela, where people admitted to finding it difficult to eat a balanced and healthy diet and had no nutritional education.

Main Body Paragraph 2

Secondly, the effect that immense weight gain can have on a person, is that they will likely develop health issues, like diabetes or heart disease.  As the body becomes larger, the metabolism slows down, so that the body is more likely to get a chronic illness. This is impacting on health services around the world, as hospitals are seeing an increased demand to care for obese patients. For instance, The NHS in the UK has admitted to spending around 16 billion per year on obese related diseases like diabetes. UK newspaper The Telegraph reported in 2016 that more money is spent on treating obesity in the UK than on staffing the police force and fire service.  

Feedback

The main body paragraphs both have the same structure, the first sentence introduces the topic, next there is an explanation and lastly, there is an example given to support the point. The paragraphs also contain complex sentences, cohesive devices and high-level vocabulary.

*Read the full essay here*


Advantages/Disadvantages Essay 

Question

Many people in society believe that having fixed punishments for all crimes is a more efficient way of dealing with criminals in the justice system.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a fixed punishment?

Main Body Paragraph 1

On the one hand, the main advantage of having a standardised punishment system could lead to a downward trend in crime, as the system would serve as a deterrent. This would allow the courts to easily hand out justice to all criminals, in order to make the judiciary system more powerful. For example, in some states in the USA, there are tough sanctions in place for criminals, including death by lethal injection. In 2014, the New York Times reported that up to 65% of criminals who were incarcerated for high-level crimes (murder, manslaughter) received the lethal injection.

Main Body Paragraph 2

On the other hand, the primary disadvantage of having fixed punishments is that people who have committed low-level crimes may also be given harsh sentences, in the same way as those who have been sentenced for high-level crimes. This may make the system unjust, as the punishment should befit the crime. For instance, a person who may have acted in self-defence should have their case heard in full, before being given a punishment befitting of someone who has been part of a violent act.

Feedback

The main body paragraphs both have the same structure, the first sentence introduces the topic, next there is an explanation and lastly, there is an example given to support the point. The paragraphs also contain complex sentences, cohesive devices and high-level vocabulary.

*Read the full essay here*


Problem/Solution Essay 

Question

Due to poorer countries experiencing a 'brain drain' they are seeing many professionals, such as doctors and teachers, leaving to work in more developed countries.

What problems does this cause? What solutions can be suggested to deal with this problem?

Main Body Paragraph 1

The foremost problem with skilled professionals, such as doctors and teachers leaving is that it deprives the country of people who are necessary to its survival. A shortage of doctors in hospitals could lead to them being severely understaffed, even though they have the trained doctors and nurses who are local and willing to work. In addition, some academic institutions will also suffer, with a lack of skilled teachers in highly desirable subjects, like maths, science and languages. Many professionals desire better pay and working conditions, leaving in search of a better lifestyle so that they can earn a higher salary. For example, a study from Cambridge University showed that in Romania in 2014, 75% of graduates had applied to work in the UK and the USA.

Main Body Paragraph 2

A possible solution to this problem is for skilled professionals to enter into mandatory service in their origin country, before being able to migrate. Those who earn their qualifications from state universities should have to work in service to their country for a set amount of time, even though they are ready for the wider workplace. This would address the shortage of workers in hospitals and schools, meanwhile gaining experience, in order to give something back to their community and country. For instance, in Romania, it is common practice for graduates from state-funded university courses to work in areas where their services are needed for a minimum of two years before they are able to apply to work abroad.

Feedback

The main body paragraphs both have the same structure, the first sentence introduces the topic, next there is an explanation and lastly, there is an example given to support the point. The paragraphs also contain complex sentences, cohesive devices and high-level vocabulary.

*Read the full essay here*


DISCUSSION ESSAY 

Question

Some people think that developments involving the internet have brought people closer together while others think that people and communities have become more isolated.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Main Body Paragraph 1

Firstly, during the last two decades, there have been many tech developments and advancements, bringing convenience to all. One significant attribute of this modernization is the internet, while this technology has made our lives more convenient in many aspects, including our approach to communication. In the past, we only used mail or the telephone to send our messages across the globe, whereas today, the internet allows us to reach out to almost everyone in just a few seconds. The inconvenience of long distances is eliminated as we can talk and even see distant friends or relatives for an unlimited time. For example, the internet connects people whose relatives or families are abroad, through Facebook, Twitter or Skype anytime and anywhere.

Main Body Paragraph 2

Secondly, this technological development has its drawbacks, as it has been observed that some individuals tend to spend a lot of their time surfing the internet or on different social networking sites. Communities meet online via private Facebook groups, instead of in a community hall to discuss matters, since this does not allow them to socialise physically with people, they isolate themselves in this virtual world. Both teenagers and adults use much of their time online and this does not allow them to develop their interpersonal skills. For instance, a study from 2015 by The Social Media Explorer saw that over 93% of teenagers aged 16-19 have a social media presence, with more than three social accounts per person.  

Feedback

The main body paragraphs both have the same structure, the first sentence introduces the topic, next there is an explanation and lastly, there is an example given to support the point. The paragraphs also contain complex sentences, cohesive devices and high-level vocabulary.

*Read the full essay here*


AGREE/DISAGREE ESSAY 

Question

Due to the growing number of overweight people in today's society putting a strain on the healthcare system, some people think that the best way to deal with the problem is to offer more physical education lessons in the school curriculum.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Main Body Paragraph 1

On the one hand, I believe that the best way to fight health care problems is by utilising health education. By integrating physical education classes into the curriculum, impressionable young children and adults will be exposed to healthy lifestyle practices of sport and exercise, whereas they will also learn about teamwork and see their self-confidence grow. For example, at Westminster primary school in the UK, 10-minute exercise intervals were introduced between classes. The children must run laps around the playground before going to their next lesson. This formed part of a study by Cambridge University, where it reported that 85% of the children performed better on tests and obesity records were at an all-time low.  

Main Body Paragraph 2

On the other hand, in my view having more physical education classes in the curriculum is not the only way to teach young people how to have a healthy lifestyle. The children should be educated how to balance exercise with a healthy diet, so that this could extend, not only to the students in the schools but also to the parents. For instance, the NHS in the UK regularly hold talks in schools for both parents and students to educate communities on how to have a balanced diet. They also promote proper exercise, involvement in sports, and having an active lifestyle. As a result of this program, in some areas, they saw a decrease in the number of overweight health issues.

Feedback

The main body paragraphs both have the same structure, the first sentence introduces the topic, next there is an explanation and lastly, there is an example given to support the point. The paragraphs also contain complex sentences, cohesive devices and high-level vocabulary.

*Read the full essay here*


POSITIVE/NEGATIVE ESSAY 

Question  

Many employers are now offering their employees the option to work from home.As a result, employees will have much more flexible working hours in the future.

Is this a positive or negative development?

Main Body Paragraph 1

On the one hand, having the option to work from home, can have a positive impact on an employee's schedule. This is especially so if the person has children or other dependants because working long hours is not always possible depending on your lifestyle. Therefore it allows the employee to manage their own schedule while ensuring that they maintain a work-life balance, working from wherever they are in the world. Having flexible working hours means that collecting children from school, spending time travelling and being able to attend non-work related appointments becomes much easier. For example, Google allows senior engineers to work remotely, using flexible hours for those who travel a lot or have the need to work with little interruptions.

Main Body Paragraph 2

On the other hand, employees can become isolated from the company and/or co-workers when not active in the office environment. When working away from the office, a worker may feel removed from colleagues and the day to day issues that arise from that environment. Working for hours each day without face to face contact with co-workers and management can seriously impact a person's mental health, leading to frustration, depression and burnout. For instance, according to an article published in The New York Times in 2016, a survey of people who work online, from home in the state of New York showed that 24% of people said they had developed depression.

Feedback

The main body paragraphs both have the same structure, the first sentence introduces the topic, next there is an explanation and lastly, there is an example given to support the point. The paragraphs also contain complex sentences, cohesive devices and high-level vocabulary.

*Read the full essay here*


Direct Question Essay

Question

The arts, including art, music and theatre are considered to be important in society.

Do you think the arts still have a place amongst our modern lifestyles?

Should the arts be included in school programs?

Main Body Paragraph 1

Firstly, the creative arts, such as paintings, sculptures, music and theatre have a long and ardent history throughout the ages. They have grown and evolved with the times, appealing to new generations every year, in order to keep being a part of everyday life. People enjoy the arts, often as an escape from their lives, listening to music they enjoy, going to see a play with friends or visiting galleries and museums to see paintings, photography or sculptures. For example, a study from the New York Times in 2017 showed that over 75% of New Yorkers said that they regularly visited the cities art galleries, museums and theatres. A further 35% said that they donated money regularly to art societies, for the preservation of the collections, so they can continue for many years to come. 

Main Body Paragraph 2

Secondly, many people develop a love for the arts early in life, when they are at school. In my opinion, I think that a range of arts subjects should be included in the school curriculum, as not all students are 'left brained' enjoying logical, core subjects like mathematics. Others are more 'right brained' where they enjoy being creative, whether that is in writing, painting or making music. Children should be encouraged to find their talents at school and develop them for their own enjoyment and advancement. For instance, St. Cuthberts school in the north of England dedicated 40% of the curriculum of creative subjects, including fine art, pottery, music, drama and dance. Those subjects proved to enhance school results by over 25% in 2017. 

Feedback

The main body paragraphs both have the same structure, the first sentence introduces the topic, next there is an explanation and lastly, there is an example given to support the point. The paragraphs also contain complex sentences, cohesive devices and high-level vocabulary.

*Read the full essay here*


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