Structure concerns the links between your ideas, and a key part of communicating your structure to your reader is the connective phrases you use to express the logical relationship between your paragraphs and sentences. There are a number of ways in which your ideas could be linked, and various connective phrases you could use to signal this, for example:
Adding similar points or going into more detail:
- also, moreover, in addition, furthermore, similarly, additionally, likewise, for instance, this
- firstly, secondly, thirdly, initially, finally, next
- however, yet, in contrast, but, although, alternatively, on the other hand, conversely, despite
Giving causes, reasons or results:
- accordingly, thus, therefore, as a result, because, due to, consequently, hence
Using these phrases, especially in prominent places in the first couple of sentences of the paragraph, will help your reader to follow your structure. If you find that you are using connectives which simply add, think about whether your essay is becoming too descriptive, listing points rather than relating them in an argument. Make sure you have chosen an appropriate connective phrase, as it can completely change your meaning.
"One problem word for me is ‘thus'. It's used too often when it's not needed - the argument follows anyway. And it's used too often when what it claims follows doesn't actually follow. The lesson here is that explicit structure shouldn't try to cover up for a lack of implicit structure."