How do I begin a paragraph in an English essay?

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The best way to begin a paragaph for any essay subject is to write a "topic sentence". A topic sentence is a sentence that clearly defines the content you will tackle in the paragraph and is a direct answer to the essay question. It should be a mini introductory sentence that signposts to the marker what you are wanting to argue.

For example, if your essay is about the benefits of knowing the context of Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Fautus, and you wish to talk about the reaction of a contemporary audience, you could begin the paragraph: "It could be argued that it is helpful to understand the historical religious and political context of Doctor Faustus when considering the auidence for whom Marlowe was writing."

A topic sentence helps focus the paragraph for the marker, but also for you. When writing coursework, it is often helpful to just read the topic sentence from each paragraph and see if you have a clear structure to your essay.

If you want to be more sophistocated, paragraphs later in the essay could also include a linking sentence. A linking sentence simply links the argument from the previous paragraph to this one. If in the previous paragraph you were discussing the unreliability of contextual knowledge, you could start the paragraph: "Although we cannot be certain of Marlowe's personal religious beliefs, it could be argued that it is still helpful to understand the historical religious and political context of Doctor Faustus when considering the auidence for whom Marlowe was writing."

Imogen B. A Level English tutor, GCSE English Language tutor, A Level...

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