Many texts in English follow a predictable pattern of organization.
The length and style differ depending on the purpose of the text, but
the basic organizational structure remains the same.
Basic Organizational Structure
Indicates the topic of the text
Sometimes stated in a clever or unusual way in order to attract the
attention of the reader
Introduces the topic of the text in a way that makes the reader want
to continue reading
Introductions often begin with a hook. The hook could be an anecdote
(a very short story), a series of questions, a quotation, a vivid
description, or a surprising statement or question. The hook is
sometimes just one or two sentences, or it can be a whole paragraph.
Topic and Background Information
After the hook, either in the same paragraph or in a new one, the
writer introduces the general topic of the text and gives some
Usually at the end of the introduction (but sometimes at the beginning
or in the middle) the writer gives the central idea. The central idea
includes the topic of the text as well as the controlling idea, that
is, the writer’s purpose, point of view, opinion, or attitude
concerning the topic. It is this central idea that will be supported
in the rest of the text.
Supports the central idea in body paragraphs. Some topics are
developed in one paragraph. Other topics require two or more
The opening sentence(s) of each body paragraph refers to information
from the previous paragraph, and introduces the new topic. This is
called a transition. The transition might be one or more sentences,
depending on how complex the topics are. The sentence or part of the
sentence that introduces the new topic is often called the topic
sentence of the paragraph.
Development and Support
Details such as facts, examples, descriptions, anecdotes, reasons,
steps in a process, or references to authoritative sources develop and
support the topics in the body paragraphs.
Reviewer’s recommendation (directly stated or implied)
Restatement of the Central Idea
The central idea is usually restated in the conclusion, either at the
beginning or end, by using synonyms to rephrase it and by changing the
A Satisfactory Ending
A satisfactory ending depends on the central idea and purpose. For
example, the conclusion might end with a call for future action (what
the writer wants the reader to do), an unanswered question that the
writer wants the reader to think about, or a prediction for the
Unity and Cohesion
A piece of writing is unified when all of the sentences in the text
are related to the central idea.
Cohesion happens when the relationship among ideas is clear, and the
sentences in the text flow logically. Cohesion is accomplished through
the use of grammatical patterns and vocabulary. There are several good
ways to achieve cohesion.
1. Repeating key terms
Repeating the most important words in your essay makes the reader pay
attention to your main idea. It also helps link different parts of
your essay together:
In the United States, the average family size continues to decrease.
At the same time, the average home size has grown. According to the
U.S. Census, the average home size in the United States was 2,479
square feet in 2007, up from 983 square feet in 1950.
2. Repeating grammatical patterns
Using a similar sentence structure and word choice in your essay,
especially at the beginning of a body paragraph, helps link different
parts of your essay together so that it is more cohesive:
3. Substituting a pronoun for a full noun or phrase
The second time you mention a noun in a sentence, it is better to use
a pronoun to replace it. This avoids repetition, which can make your
writing sound boring and stiff:
The simple design of the houses means that they can be built in just
three weeks …
4. Using linking words
Linking words and expressions help you to join ideas, sentences, and
paragraphs together in a clear way. You can use them to show what
order something happens in, for giving reasons, for adding
5. Using synonyms
Using a synonym adds variety and interest to your writing. It also
helps to link sentences or ideas together by saying the same thing in
a different way:
One way of understanding symbiosis is to consider the benefit or harm
to each species in the relationship. However, it is important to note
that many associations between species do not fit neatly into one
For their owners, these vast homes represent a piece of the American
dream. However, a growing number of people … have started to question
the need for such large domestic spaces.