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The golden rules of writing the first paragraph

2019-05-26 免费资源 阅读

Some say retirement is the happiest time of a person’s life. 
To what extent do you agree with this view?


In this personal opinion (thesis-led) essay question, you are required to support a certain point of view. Clearly, the organization of ideas would be different from that in an argument-led essay. Here, you are expected to state the issue and present your stance (thesis) in the introduction (the 1stparagraph). Now, let’s analyze a model 1stparagraph for the same topic and improve it.
 Model answer:

Nowadays, in all countries, the population is ageing rapidly, and this presents the older people themselves with challenges as well as opportunities. I think that retirement is not in fact the happiest time of life, and I will explain why in this essay. 

Nowadays, in all countries, the

Caveat 1: Avoid using clichés!

The paragraph begins with a cliché word (nowadays) which is redundant as it does not add new information to the message the writer is to convey. Such phrases as ‘in this day and age’, ‘today’, and ‘these days’ are frequently used by a large number of students which makes them far from impressive. 

Caveat 2: Refrain from making over generalisations.
Every time you use sentences containing words like all, every, any, none, always et., you are running the risk of extending the application of a rule to items that are excluded from it.
The writer stumbles into an overgeneralization about the ageing process by using the phrase “in all countries”, leaving no exceptions to this shift in population.  
I think … is not … the happiest time of life….

Caveat 4: Avoid using simple language.
Although there are no wrong thesis statements, you need to state your opinion using words and phrases that are more impressive. Hence, instead of simply saying ‘I think’ or ‘I believe’, you can use more effective expressions like ‘my contention is that’, ‘I am convinced’, or ‘I am inclined to believe’. 
the happiest time of

Caveat 5: Do not use the same words that are given in the question rubric. 
It is important that the key words and phrases provided in the question be paraphrased using suitable synonyms. Repetition of the same words indicates a limited knowledge of vocabulary and, to a large degree, lack of mastery over grammar and style. Hence, in the model answer given above, ‘happiest’and ‘time’ can easily be replaced with ‘contented’ and ‘stage’, respectively. 
… and I will explain why in this essay.

Caveat 6:  Do not restate the assignment as part of your thesis. 
More often than not, students directly communicate to the reader what they are about to do in the body paragraphs (e.g. I will discuss the main causes of this problemthis essay delves into the reasons for, or the main causes will be explained and two solutions will be presented). This, however, is not interesting and readers tend to think of it as trite and redundant. Alternatively, reasoning could be used to add to the clarity of the thesis.  
Taking all these tips into account, now we can rewrite the paragraph in the following way:

In many countries, the population is ageing consistently, and this transition presents the older people themselves with challenges as well as opportunities. It seems to me that retirement is not in fact the most contented period of life due to the adverse impact of physiological and attitudinal changes associated with ageing. 

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