One Clue In Paragraph Organization

Whatever the text type in the Writing paper of the Cambridge English qualifications B2 First, B2 First for School, C1 Advanced, or C2 Proficiency, there is one important element – the omnipresence of body paragraphs (BP). These are parts in between the introduction and the conclusion, where the main arguments are developed. There is no specific number of BP‘s since it varies depending on the task and level.

Today we will look into an effective method of organizing a BP. This technique works perfectly well, and it must be taken on board when we need to explain a problem or clearly define an argument.

This method is called TEEL. It stands for:

  • Topic sentence: this identifies the main idea of a paragraph,
  • Explanation: this expands the topic and could be more than one sentence,
  • Example: this provides specific examples or evidence to support our idea, and
  • Link: this summarizes the main idea and serves as a transition sentence to the following paragraph, and thus bridging both parts.

A paragraph structured this way shows a successful paragraph-level flow. Its main features are the following:

  1. Clear organization structure
  2. One well-defined argument in each paragraph
  3. A well-backed up paragraph starter
  4. The paragraph is long enough to inform the reader very well, but not too long to make him/her feel bored.
Example paragraph

B2 First for School Writing paper, Part 1 essay question:

Children’s diets are unhealthier today than in the past. Do you agree?

One of the main reasons for a less healthy dietary routine is the fast food. (T) These are products which are bad for the children’s health since they are not fresh and contain artificial preservatives, sugar, fat and salt. (E) Among these are snacks, such as fizzy drinks, pastry like doughnuts and muffins, hot-dogs, hamburgers and many more. (E) The fact that parents have far less time for cooking triggers for the consumption of such unhealthy food, which in the end affects children’s health. (L)

Hands-on activity

This paragraph is written in response to the B2 First exam Writing paper, Part 1 essay question:

Learning a foreign language is very important. Do you agree?

Read the paragraph below and identify which part is missing.

When people can communicate with locals while visiting other countries, they can integrate, though temporarily, into the society. In this way, one can find out a lot about a country’s lifestyle and customs. Besides, travellers can easily get information and also make new friends. All this improves people’s cultural knowledge of foreign countries.

Topic sentence

Using the TEEL paragraph structure will help candidates get a high score in the writing paper, since the essay will meet the requirements stated in the 5-band descriptors (page 23) to the following writing assessment criteria:

Content: Target reader is fully informed.

Communicative achievement: The target reader’s attention is held with ease.

Organisation: Text is a well-organised coherent whole using organisational patterns with flexibility.

In a nutshell, TEEL is paramount in all kinds of writing types, no matter the register, informal, semiformal or formal. Using it, you will avoid choppy, disjointed pieces and, instead, you will succeed in writing paragraphs that flow well. 

Whether you are an avid writer or someone to whom writing doesn’t come easy, I do hope this method will make your writing experience a lot easier and rewarding.

Stay tuned for more words of advice and handy material!

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