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Structure and paragraphs



This is the heart of your piece - it contains the key points and will probably have three, four or five paragraphs. You should have one basic idea in each one, and the paragraph explains this, develops it and makes it relevant for your readers.

So paragraphs are like stepping stones - they lead the reader from one end of your writing to the other. But when do you start a new paragraph? Well some people like using TiPToP, so let's see how this works.

A watch, the Eiffel Tower, 'Vandalism' spray painted on a wall and two people to represent time, place, topic and person.

Ti - stands for Time, so start a new paragraph for a different time period.

P - stands for Place, so start a new paragraph for each new place.

To - stands for Topic, so start a new paragraph for each new topic, idea or subject.

P - stands for Person, so start a new paragraph for each new speaker.


Look at this sample question about the park and see if you can TiPToP it.

An empty children's playground

Write an article for your local paper, arguing that the local park should be preserved.

In this question, we are mainly dealing with ideas, so we need to concentrate on changes in topic. So where would you put the new paragraph in the following passage? Just click 'Check ideas' to see.


The park is excellent for children. There is a small playground with a slide and swings, but there are also places where children can run around safely. In fact it's the best place in town to take children to because there is always something to do.

The war memorial was first constructed in 1922, with the names of the people who died in the first world war. Since then other names have been added, from the Second World War and also from more recent times, such as Northern Ireland. We cannot just forget these people and we certainly cannot just destroy the memorial.

It's important to use paragraphs, and to use them in the right places. So TiPToP it by using a new paragraph when...

  • You are writing a story with speech and you change speaker.

  • You are describing a number of different things.

  • You move from writing details about something in the past and then a number of details about the present.

In fact, TiPToP it when you change Time, Place, Topic or Person. There is no set length for a paragraph either. A short paragraph, sometimes just a line long, can be ideal and grab your attention.


Structure and paragraphs activity

The importance of beginnings, middles and ends.

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