IELTS WritingWriting Task 2

IELTS Essay Writing – How To Write Task 2 Main Body Paragraphs

On this page you’ll learn:

    • The 3 part structure
    • 3 common mistakes to avoid
    • How to write great main body paragraphs

Many students make IELTS essay writing more difficult than it needs to be. I aim to make it as simple as possible and to give you easy to follow the step-by-step instructions that will help you get the score you need.

On this page, you’ll learn how to write the two main body paragraphs of Task 2 essays. These are also known as supporting paragraphs because the information they contain supports, or backs up, the statements you made in the introduction to your essay.

Task 2 essays should be made up of 4 sections:

1)  Introduction

2)  Main Body Paragraph 1 

3)  Main Body Paragraph 2 

4)  Conclusion


If you haven’t already read the page on How to Write a Task 2 Introduction, I suggest that you follow this link and do so now. The lesson on this page follows on from the one on writing introductions.

The 3 Part Structure


All the IELTS essay writing tasks have easy to remember structures that will help you to write high-scoring essays. An important part of your preparation for the exam is to learn these structures so that they come quickly to mind in the test.

For Task 2 main body paragraphs, the structure has 3 parts:

    • Topic sentence
    • Explanation
    • Example

If you can’t think of an example, you can add a further explanation instead but be aware that examiners do love examples.

The Question

Here’s the question we began answering in the lesson on writing a Task 2 essay introduction.

And, here’s the introduction we wrote.


The final sentence of this carefully structured introduction is called the ‘outline statement’.

Outline statement: The two most serious are, the depletion of the rural workforce and the loss of local education facilities.

It outlines the two main points that will be covered in the rest of the essay.

These two ideas will become the two main body paragraphs.

    • Main body paragraph 1 – the depletion of the rural workforce.
    • Main body paragraph 2 – the loss of local education facilities.

3 Common Mistakes


Before we move on to writing these two main body paragraphs, you need to be aware of three common errors that students make. Knowing these will help you to avoid making them yourself.

1.  Having too many ideas

2.  Having undeveloped ideas

3.  Not including explanations or examples

All the IELTS essay writing tasks require you to write a short essay and for Task 2 you will only be writing around 250-300 words. If you have too many ideas, you won’t have time to develop each of them fully. You will lose marks for this and there are certainly no extra marks for including lots of different ideas.

All you need is 1 or 2 ideas for each paragraph and to fully develop them.

So, how do you fully develop your ideas? You simply,

    • explain what they mean
    • support them with good examples

I’ll now show you how to do this.

How To Write Great Main Body Paragraphs


The structure of a good supporting paragraph:

    • Topic sentence
    • Explanation sentences
    • Example

Topic Sentence

The overriding objective when completing an IELTS essay writing task is to give the examiner what they want to see. A happy examiner means high marks.

Your essay must firstly, answer the question, and secondly, be structured in such a way that the ideas flow logically from one to another. Achieving this will gain you a high score for task achievement and cohesion and coherence.

The topic sentence plays an important role here. It states the main idea, acting as a signpost for what is to come next, that is, what the paragraph will be about.

That’s all it needs to do so it doesn’t need to be complicated.

Let’s look at our question again and the topic we identified as the main idea for main body paragraph 1.

    • Main body paragraph 1 – the depletion of the rural workforce.

You will already have your ideas ready from when you planned your essay. Now they need to be formed into a sentence.

If you haven’t yet studied the lesson on The Planning Stage of Task 2 IELTS Essay Writing, follow this link.

Here’s an example topic sentence for main body paragraph 1.

The idea of the rural workforce being depleted is expressed clearly in simple language. This is all that’s required.

Now for the second paragraph. Here’s the main idea and an example topic sentence.

    • Main body paragraph 2 – the loss of local education facilities.

Again, the main idea is stated clearly and simply.

In the exam, you will fully complete the first main body paragraph before moving onto the second. I have created both topic sentences together just for illustration.

Explanation Sentences & Examples


These ideas now need to be developed with an explanation and, ideally, an example.

We’ll start by developing the idea in topic sentence 1.

Here we have two sentences giving more detail on the idea and two sentences setting out an example.

Examples can come from many sources including personal experience, news reports and articles or academic studies you’ve read.

Don’t worry if you can’t think of a real example. It’s fine to make one up, as this one is, as long as it’s believable.

If you really can’t think of an example, add another piece of information to support your idea instead.

Next, we need to develop topic sentence 2.



Again, we have a couple on sentences containing extra information to support the main idea and an example which, in this instance, is true.


Finished Main Body Paragraphs


So, let’s bring our two main body paragraphs together.


Note that I’ve added the word ‘furthermore’ to the beginning of the second paragraph as a cohesive device to link the two ideas.



As you can see, you don’t have time to include many ideas in this IELTS essay writing task. Here’s a summary of what each main body paragraph includes:

    • A topic sentence
    • An explanation
    • An example


With the introduction and body paragraph complete, we just have to add a conclusion and our essay is finished.

You’ll find lots more help with the writing of main body paragraphs on the individual Task 2 IELTS essay writing pages. You’ll find links to them below under the heading ‘The 5 Task 2 Essay Types’.

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