How should I make use of general statements in my writing

■ Your main, or 'topic', sentence in a paragraph is often a general statement which is then explained, amplified, supported, exemplified or modified in the rest of the paragraph. The first sentence in the paragraph below is a general statement round which the rest of the paragraph is structured. See also Section 2.3 Paragraph Writing.

Industry produces a large number of poisonous metal wastes, most of which are very dangerous to humans. There are five extremely dangerous ones: lead, cadmium, mercury, chromium and arsenic. Breathing in even tiny quantities of these metals damages the heart and lungs; and eating these wastes destroys the kidneys and liver. Scientists also claim that cancer is caused by some of these toxic metals.

■ When describing information in a figure, e.g. how something operates, the principal, or generalised, point you want to make can appear in your main text, with subsidiary information given under the figure.

Blackett made the cloud chamber more effective for cosmic rays by combining it with counters (Fig. 3.21). Only when the counters fired was an expansion made and stereoscopic photographs taken, thus enormously reducing the waste of plates and time in scanning them.

(This text is accompanied by a labelled diagram. The text under the diagram explains how each part of the cloud chamber operates)

■ Similarly, when describing data in a graph or chart, the primary facts you want to highlight can be presented in the form of general statements in your text, with the detail merely left visible on the graph itself.

Fig. 7.1 illustrates how the growth in population in the US has been accompanied by a trend to urbanisation.

(This text accompanies a graph with 2 axes, one showing a time scale, the other the % of US population living in cities)

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  • benjamin
    How to make general statement ?
    7 years ago

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