IELTS, TOEFL & TOEIC Vocabulary: Using 'this' in the first sentence of a new paragraph?

ScottsEnglishScottsEnglish Administrator Posts: 1,097 admin ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
edited July 9 in IELTS Test
Read the following student's introduction and the beginning sentence of the 2nd paragraph:

Nowadays, it is quite common for companies to hire people and ask them to work from home. It is argued that most companies will follow this approach in the future and in increasing numbers, people will work from their homes. I believe that in the future, as a way to improve productivity, many employees will do their work from home.

It is clear that following this model will be useful in increasing employee productivity.... 


What's wrong with the first sentence of the 2nd paragraph?

Well, the problem is the student's use of the demonstrative pronoun 'this'.  In other words, 'this' is the problem when it is used to begin a new paragraph.  'This' is used to refer back to something that has been previously mentioned.  Consider this sentence:
This is the reason why he is consistently scoring 5.5 the IELTS writing test.

The sentence is confusing because you don't know what 'this' refers to.  It's not mentioned.  The sentence above is a bit like this.  When we begin a new paragraph, we are 'starting again', we are beginning a new flow of thought and discussing a new and different idea from the one(s) mentioned previously.  Therefore we do not recommend using 'this' to refer to a previous idea in the first sentence of a new paragraph.

So, the correct way to write the above student's work would be:

Nowadays, it is quite common for companies to hire people and ask them to work from home. It is argued that most companies will follow this approach in the future and in increasing numbers, people will work from their homes. I believe that in the future, as a way to improve productivity, many employees will do their work from home.

It is clear that having people doing work from home is a useful way of increasing employee productivity.... 

In summary: avoid using 'this' in the first sentence of a new paragraph  B)




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